January 7, 2018

By Faith Moses Did Not Compromise Part 2

Text: Joshua 24:1-28; 2 Corinthians 6:1-18

Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.

 SCRIPTURES:  Joshua 24:1-28, 2 Corinthians 6:1-18

 

 BIG IDEA: By Faith Moses Did Not Compromise –  Part 2

Conformity with this world is dangerous and deadly. Conformity to Christ is the plan and purpose of God for every one of His children.

INTRODUCTION/REVIEW:

When PB was a teenager, the great call of the world was to be non-conformists. Those in the 1960’s tried to dress differently and act differently from their parents, they wanted to be non-conformist. In seeking to be non-conformists, they actually conformed to each other! The word conform is used by Paul – he tells us to not be conformed to this world but be transformed in your mind. As we have just read in 2 Corinthians,  we are to be separate. We saw this played out in the life of Moses last week when we looked at 4 ways that Pharaoh offered compromise. First Pharaoh said you can sacrifice but stay in the land. Secondly, Pharaoh says that Moses can go a little bit outside the land but not to go too far away. This is the compromise that tempts us to live with one foot in this world system and one foot in the kingdom of God. Thirdly, Pharaoh said you can go into the wilderness but don’t take your wives and children with you. This compromise is a call to make your religion an individual thing – don’t force your convictions on other people – just you go. Finally, Pharaoh says OK go to the wilderness, take your families but leave your stuff.  The compromise here is that we try to retain control of our time and possessions.  Pharaoh says do not take your flocks and your cattle – go worship God but don’t take anything with you that will allow you to worship God. It’s with our “stuff” that we worship God. Everything I own belongs to Him. Here are these 4 compromises that Pharaoh presented to Moses. By faith Moses did not compromise. Faith was looking forward to what God had promised – the promised land. True faith is a dependence on what God has said. By faith in God’s promise  Moses refused the offers of compromise.

OUTLINE FOR TODAY:

  1. What does the New Testament say about the world?
  2. Practical steps of how we are not to be separate from the world
  3. How to not conform

Point 1:What does the New Testament say about the world?

  1. Let us hear what the apostle Paul says:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12

who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father,  Galatians 1:4 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  Ephesians 2:2

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia,[a] Titus to Dalmatia. 2 Timothy 4:10

  1. Let us hear what the apostle James says:

 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.James 1:27

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  James 4:4

  1. Let us hear what the apostle John says:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  1 John 2:15-17

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.1 John 4:5

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 John 5:19

  1. Let us hear what the Lord Jesus Christ says:

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  Matthew 13:22

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  John 14:17

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19 have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:16

Nineteen different passages that include the word “the world”. How  are we supposed to understand this word?  It is not the planet earth. At the same time it’s not just exactly the people of the world. That can’t be the case because in John 3:16  we see that  God so loved the world. So God loves the people and the earth that He created. Rather we are to understand the world as a system of thinking, a way of looking at life, the world as the ideas and philosophies which are in opposition to God and His ways and His laws. We are told there is an enemy – Satan-   described as the ruler of this world. He has put into place influences and ways of thinking that the people of this world have bought into. They are of this world pronounced by the arch enemy of God and the enemy of our souls. We sometimes don’t see this. Satan hates God and therefore hates the creation of God. His reason of existence is to destroy and bring pain and slavery to the people of God. This enemy seeks to influence the thinking of humanity in such a way that it would draw our thinking away from God. He seeks to show us that we might live as there is no ultimate and sovereign God.  We think that the person we need to change the mind of is the overt atheist.  But it’s not the atheist that is our danger, but the influence of the enemy who would have us live as though we were atheists. There is a prevalence of practical atheism that many pursue. Practical atheism is living as if there is not God, living as if God’s laws are not pertinent, living as if God’s promises are not pertinent to us. Practical atheism can be seen as scientism – science has all the answers and human endeavor can solve all our problems. But we need to remember that this life is just a blip. We invest all of our energies into having a better life now forgetting that this life is just a blip.

Examples of how the world influences us:

  1. Commercials: you only go around once;
  2. Commercials that tell you that you deserve a break today, you deserve (fill in the blank),
  3. Commercials that tell you that you need these things so other people will think highly of you,
  4. Your fitness/clothing, etc is of ultimate importance.
  5. The world tells us that a successful life is one that has a good retirement, unlimited travel, etc.
  6. So we dress ourselves and our children in name brand clothes and get them into a good school so they can get a good job and have a good retirement. As a result we have no plumbers, tradesmen, etc. and we have college graduates with thousands of dollars of debt and no jobs.
  7. Even people who do not buy into this spend their time reading about ways we can manipulate God so that even the uneducated can have wealth and prosperity.
  8. The world system is all around us. It is the attitude that Jesus confronts when He says seek first the kingdom of God. Whatever He brings into your life is a good thing for your ultimate life.

Point 2: How are we to separate the world?

Here are some wrong ways to separate from the world:

  • Don’t give up your job, calling and vocation. Don’t leave secular callings and find a sacred calling! Don’t quit work altogether – that is a sin; idleness. There is no division between secular and sacred in that sense. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever as …… whatever your life is. That’s your sacred calling.
  • It doesn’t mean that I remove myself from all the relationships and friendships with uncoverted people. John and Charles Wesley created the “holy club” and then signed up to be missionaries to the colony of Georgia. He found that it wasn’t his classmates at Oxford, his family or the savages in Georgia that were his problem- he brought his problems with him! It is not to withdraw from people. It is to guard myself against the attitudes and lifestyle of theunconverted.
  • It doesn’t mean that I take no interest in the world around me. I can’t ignore the wonder of God in the world around me.
  • It is not to be weird in the way we dress or talk. We are not to take on a holy sanctimonious speech. Be a regular person. If we don’t then we are saying to the world that we are better.  We have seen this with the Puritans, the Amish, etc. We are to dress in a modest way. We understand  that God gave us clothes to hide ourselves, to protect ourselves. He did not give us clothes to bring attention to our bodies. But He didn’t say just be dull.
  • It is not to pull away into a secluded life like a monk. We are not to withdraw in that way thinking that the “religious” are those who have secluded themselves. We don’t want to only be in a “holy huddle”.
  • It is not to withdraw from the fellowship of a church. We might think that there are hypocrites there so I am going to separate myself from that church. This was the error of Roger Williams who was kicked out of MA because he was Baptist. So he moved to Newport, RI.  He kept on finding that people in his church weren’t living up to his standards and so he kept on kicking people out of his church until it was just he and his wife (and then he kicked her out too!)

Point 3: The Biblical Response – what am I supposed to do?

  • Transformation of Mind – I need to think differently. I need to think Biblically. I need to know the Word of God. It will help me to answer the very basic questions: what is reality? Where did everything come from? Is it just an illusion? The Bible tells us there is a God and He created this world. Reality is not just one thing. We are two-ists: there is a God and everything else is separate from Him. Where did I come from? How did I get here? We are not the results of chance. Who am I? We are created in the image of God. People are different from everything else. But I am a fallen sinner; I am no longer the owner of a heart that is inclined to worship God. As a sinful person, I have a heart that hates God.  There’s my great problem. I am a disobedient rebel against the God who created me. How can I fix this? What is the solution? The world’s answer is to give them more education and more money. We need better presidents, etc. We need a better system. The world says the problem is outside you but the solution is in you. The Bible tells me the problem is inside me and the solution is the God who lives outside me. This God because of His great love  sent His son Jesus Christ to take away the penalty of sin and to give us a new heart – to live as a  child of God and we are given the ability to serve Him and love Him and enjoy Him.
  • Renewal of Appetite for the Bible

If there is a lack of appetite then there is no life in God. We are desperately concerned if we have a child who won’t eat. That child will eventually seek to exist. If I am that person who has no appetite for the Bible then I need to ask myself why do I not want to be nurtured by the Word of God. I need to ask myself seriously about my relationship with God.  We ruin our appetite with the junk food of this world.

  • Conform to the Image of Christ – intentional endeavor and pursuit of conformity to Christ. What does that mean?
  1. Matthew 11:28 Jesus says I am gentle and humble in heart. Gentleness and humility is a good place to start.
  2. Look at the life of Christ and see what Christ was like. Christ was compassionate (Luke 11:13 and Mark 6:34). Part of praying that I would ask for a heart of compassion that goes out to people in need.
  3. Jesus was tender towards children. He was patient with slow learners and impatient with sin. He was consumed with zeal for the glory of God. To be like Jesus is to be consumed with the expansiveness of God.
  4. And He was sacrificial. He gave His life. Every Christian is supposed to love one other; other oriented living.
  5. Look at the fruit of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. Who’s spirit? Jesus’s spirit. Bear the fruit in my life. How can I show more love? I can I exhibit more joy? Are we peace loving people? We have peace with God because of Jesus Christ who has reconciled us to the Father. To conform to the image of Christ is to show patience. Patience is understanding that God has His timetable and it is a good timetable. Seek goodness and gentleness, a sweetness in my life.
  6. Can you imagine Jesus out of control? Not ever. Life in submission.

CONCLUSION: Do not be conformed to the world around us.