Has Becoming a Christian Changed You?

Text: Romans 12:1-8

 

I.         The Barna Group has done several surveys on the impact Christianity has on people’s lives.

            A.        In May, 2006, a survey showed that 51% said that they had been greatly transformed by their faith.

                        1.         I found that interesting because of what Jesus said - Matthew 7:15-20

                        2.         An survey two years earlier shows that a lot of people don’t practice what they claim to believe.

            B.        In May, 2004, the Barna Group published a report on the behavior of various religious beliefs.

                        1.         They divided their survey into four groups

                                    a.         Evangelicals (7%), people who believe ...

                                                (1)       The Bible is accurate

                                                (2)       That they have a personal responsibility to share their faith

                                                (3)       Their faith is very important in their life

                                                (4)       Jesus Christ did not sin

                                                (5)       That God is the Creator and ruler of this universe

                                                (6)       Satan is a real being

                                    b.         Born Again Christians (33%)

                                                (1)       People who accepted Jesus as their Savior

                                                (2)       But do not necessarily accept the Bible as completely accurate

                                                (3)       Do not always accept a personal responsibility to share their faith with others

                                                (4)       Do not always believe that Jesus was holy

                                                (5)       Do not always believe that God is the Creator

                                                (6)       Believe that Satan is symbolic

                                    c.         Notional Christians (33%)

                                                (1)       People who consider themselves Christian, but don’t profess personal faith in Jesus

                                    d.         Atheists and Agnostics (12%)

                        2.         They selected 19 activities they thought would be affected by belief

                                    a.         Only Evangelicals and Atheists / Agnostics were consistent between their beliefs and their activities.

                                    b.         Born Again Christians were not distinguishable from Notional Christians or followers of other religious beliefs, such as Islam, Buddhists, or Scientology. In other words, they were much like the world in general

                                    c.         One area that was surprising is that these more lax Christians were more likely to purchase a lottery ticket than atheists or followers of non-Christian religions (15% born-again, 23% notional, 10% non-Christian, 12% atheists).

            C.        More disturbing is the results from a November, 2003, survey regarding what was morally acceptable. (See table)

II.        Being a Christian involves changing habits

            A.        Romans 12:1-2 - Transformed by the renewing of your mind

            B.        Don’t walk like the world - Ephesians 4:17-24

                        1.         Those in the world are past feeling

                        2.         It doesn’t bother them and they don’t care

            C.        You cannot hang on to the ways of the world - James 4:4

            D.        We must change - I Peter 4:1-3

III.       The change is not instantaneous

            A.        Not offering an excuse, but acknowledging that habits are hard to break.

                        1.         It is a process of growth - Proverbs 4:18

                        2.         We are a building being put together for God - Ephesians 2:19-22

                        3.         Grow up to be like Christ - Ephesians 4:15

                        4.         Become children of light - Philippians 2:14-16

            B.        Some put off becoming a Christian until they feel they have defeated sin

                        1.         The problem is that day never comes.

                                    a.         We will always battle temptation

                                    b.         The problem of sin doesn’t stop when we become Christians

                                    c.         Instead, we become targets - I Peter 5:8-9

                        2.         Too, these people are attempting to fight sin without weapons.

                                    a.         We need the whole armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-13

                                    b.         That armor includes salvation - Ephesians 6:14-17

                                    c.         I Thessalonians 5:6-11 - We need all the help we can get

                        3.         Baptism is the point when we commit ourselves to the walk - Romans 6:4

                                    a.         It is the time of a change direction and a clean slate - Titus 3:3-7

                                    b.         You become a new creature - II Corinthians 5:17

                                    c.         Created with a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit - Psalm 51:10

                                    d.         Things need to be done in a proper order

            C.        Renewal comes through knowledge - Colossians 3:9-10

                        1.         Knowledge is what all Christians must grow in - I Peter 2:1-3

                        2.         II Peter 3:18 - Grow in grace and knowledge

IV.      Christ wants us pure

            A.        Colossians 1:21-23 - It was to this end that he died for us.

            B.        We have been sanctified by Christ - Ephesians 5:25-27

            C.        We ought to hold our bodies in sanctification and honor - I Thessalonians 4:3-5

            D.        Be holy - I Peter 1:13-16

V.        We plead that you be reconciled to God - II Corinthians 5:14-21

            A.        So that you might become righteous

            B.        Why should anyone die? - Ezekiel 18:31




Percentage of adults who consider a behavior to be “morally acceptable.”

 

All Adults

Evangelicals

Born Again

Other Faith

Atheist / Agnostic

Gambling

61%

27%

45%

69%

75%

Cohabitation

60%

12%

49%

70%

87%

Lustful thoughts

59%

15%

49%

71%

78%

Having an abortion

45%

7%

35%

47%

69%

Sex outside of marriage

42%

7%

35%

47%

69%

Pornography

38%

5%

28%

49%

70%

Profanity

36%

7%

29%

46%

68%

Getting drunk

35%

8%

24%

44%

61%

Homosexuality

30%

5%

20%

41%

55%

Drugs

17%

6%

11%

25%

38%

Based on Barna Group reported dated November 3, 2003


Morally Acceptable Behavior chart Would buy a lottery ticket chart