Fashioned Not According to the World
Text: II Corinthians 6:14-7:1
I. At times it isn’t easy to take a stand for the truth and it appears to be getting harder with the passing years.
A. People are social creatures. We want to think that other people are like us. But when we are forced to see differences, we will go out of their way to insist that others speak and behave as we do.
1. The problem is that the standard is ourselves.
2. People, including ourselves, make mistakes.
B. When we go into a new society, we watch what other people do and imitate it. Why? Because we want to fit in.
1. The problem is that the standard is people.
2. People make mistakes.
C. Romans 12:1-2 - Christians are not to pattern their lives to conform with the world.
II. The Hatred of the World
A. John 15:18-19 - We have been chosen out of the world, and so the world naturally does not like us.
B. John 17:9, 15-18 - It is not leaving the world, but leaving the evil of the world.
C. It is tempting to escape criticism or persecution by appearing to be like everyone else.
1. Jesus wants us to be different, not for the sake of being contrary, but to hold on to what is right.
D. Think of the pressure of the world
1. If you disagree that homosexuality is an acceptable “alternative lifestyle” what are you labeled? Bigot? Homophobic?
a. But what the world refuses to understand is that God spoke on this matter and declared it to be wrong - Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27
b. To the world it is an opinion, tons of partial facts and the least hint of possibility is brought to bare as evidence.
(1) One popular “evidence” was to point out that penguins will sometimes pair off in male couples.
(2) There was an article in July, 2009. People are upset. Seems one female penguin at a zoo lost her mate and one of paired off male left for the female. Oh, did they mentioned that this zoo has more male than female penguins? [http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2292401/posts]
(3) But wait a minute! Supposedly homosexuality can’t be changed!
c. You see, the point isn’t what is right or what is true. The world as a whole pushes what it wants to believe in.
2. A new study came out titled “Young Adult Attitudes About Relationships and Marriage: Times May Have Changed, But Expectations Remain High” [Child Trends Research Brief, #2009-30, July 2009, http://childtrend.org]
a. Did you know that almost 90% of 20-24 year-olds report that they have had sex? Only 21% were married.
b. So is it surprising that 57% agreed that it was OK for unmarried couples to live together even if marriage is not being considered? And an additional 19% were neutral on the statement.
c. So what happens when Christians state, “No, that’s wrong;.that’s a sin”?
3. I received a letter with yet another person upset that I’ve pointed out that spanking is one of several ways listed in the Scriptures for disciplining a child.
a. Any scripture to back their opposition? No.
b. Rather she listed numerous “experts” who oppose spanking. The argument is basically “everyone else says it is wrong, so you should too.”
c. What happened to righteousness and conforming to God’s will?
III. The Church is Called Out of the World
A. I Peter 2:9 - Called out of darkness
B. In an eagerness to increase their numbers, many denominational churches have accommodated themselves to the unbelieving world.
1. The latest fad is to survey the region to find out what people want in a church and then to implement it.
2. Entertainment is considered a “must” for young people.
3. The “health and wealth” message may attract numbers, but won’t save souls.
C. People are looking for an easy faith
1. But true faith isn’t always easy - Mark 10:17
2. Why did Jesus insist that he do something so hard? - Mark 10:21
3. Because he loved him so much that he wanted him converted!
IV. Opposition Strengthens
A. How do you get physically stronger? You run – against your tendency to stay still. You lift weights – against their tendency to remain on the ground.
B. Opposition by the world to the church and truth may be rough, but the end result is strength
1. The apostles led the way when they refused to bow to pressure to stop preaching - Acts 5:29
2. The church was run out of town - Acts 8:1-4
3. And the more they were persecuted, the stronger became their faith and their numbers
C. Jesus’ blessing - Matthew 5:11-12
V. Don’t Be Surprised
A. People are going to see Christians as “enemies” simply because they oppose sin.
B. John 15:18-20 - Jesus knew that being a Christian is hard because we don’t always fit in.
C. We have to choose God’s ways over all else - Luke 14:33; Matthew 16:25
D. The world full of problems. There is strife, hatred, sin, evil, injustice throughout life.
1. As Christians we are not shielded from these things.
2. Instead we are called upon to go on despite these things - Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:38
E. Will you follow Jesus this day, knowing it won’t always be easy or popular?
[Based on an article by Clem Thurman]