Summary: The world views Christianity as being "abnormal." True normalcy is living the life that God designed us to live as His greatest creation.
ARE YOU NORMAL?
A. Are you NORMAL? (Turn to the people on the right and left of you and ask “Are you normal?”)
1. No one wants to be ABNORMAL! Am I right?
a. One of the least COMPLIMENTARY things one can say about another is, “He’s nice, but he’s a little STRANGE."
Our children learn this early. One of their most persuasive ARGUMENTS to get parents to purchase some item is, “Everybody’s got one!” This implies that if your son or daughter doesn’t get one, then he or she will be ABNORMAL. And we parents certainly can’t stand for that! After all, what will the NEIGHBORS think if we have an ABNORMAL child in our home? So we run to Macy’s or to Best Buy and buy whatever it is that will make them NORMAL!
b. So, are you NORMAL?
2. I suppose the question we should be asking is, “What is NORMAL?”
If you ask this question of people from different CULTURES and BACKGROUNDS, you will receive different ANSWERS!
What might be NORMAL in America is not NORMAL in other parts of the WORLD, and vice versa. I’ve traveled extensively in other parts of the WORLD, and I tell you right now, we Americas are considered extremely WEIRD. In fact, some of the things that people do here in the North would be considered strange in the Southern part of this country.
A few years ago I interviewed with a church in New Haven, IN, just outside of Fort Wayne. It was my first time to be that far NORTH. I was born and raised in Oklahoma, and at that time I was preaching in Texas. If you think I talk FUNNY now, you should have heard me back then.
During a question and answer session, one of the ladies of the East Allen church asked, “If you move to Indiana, will you be willing to change some of your SOUTHERN MANNERISMS?” I told her that I didn’t know that I had SOUTHERN MANNERISMS. (DO I HAVE SOUTHERN MANNERISMS?) I then asked her to clarify her question. “Well,” she hesitated, “do you think and act like Texans are the only people on earth?”
I replied, “No way! . . . But those OKIES are sure hard to BEAT!” (I remained in the South.)
B. But what about Christians, are they NORMAL?
1. Listen to Peter in 1 Peter 4:1-5 (READ) -In v. 4 Peter said, “They (those in the world) think it STRANGE that you do not do the same UNGODLY things they do...”
Peter is saying that “to people of the world, it is NORMAL to live an IMMORAL LIFE.” Those who don’t embrace their LIFESTYLE, are considered WEIRD or ABNORMAL. This adds to the Christian’s dilemma: No one wants to be considered STRANGE or ABNORMAL. Therefore, how should a Christian respond to the IDEAS of the
2. Because one submits his or her life to God, some have the idea that LIVING as a Christian ARDUOUS, DREARY, and terribly ABNORMAL.
One man speaking to a preacher about his SALVATION sincerely remarked, “I’d like to be a Christian, but I’m afraid that I couldn’t live a NORMAL life any more.”
3. Living as you were DESIGNED by your DESIGNER is the most NORMAL thing you can do.
Anything else would be out of HARMONY and CHARACTER and NATURE of God. What God CREATED in the Garden of Eden that He described as “VERY GOOD”- Genesis 1:31—when man WALKED in perfect HARMONY with God, is what God INTENDED for MAN-KIND.
The problem is, man has been living SUBNORMAL for so long that he has come to believe that NORMAL is ABNORMAL. God’s Word redefines what NORMAL really is!
I. WHY DOES THE WORLD CONSIDER CHRISTIANITY ABNORMAL?
A. There are two WORLD VIEWS in our culture.
1. The non-Christian WORLD VIEW (Peter refers to this view in v. 3)
For the non-Christian, the purpose of life basically is to find PLEASURE. He marshals his TIME, ENERGY, and RESOURCES toward that end.
At the basis of each decision are these questions: “What would I like best?” “Which would I prefer?” The more PLEASURE he FINDS and the more DISPLEASURE he AVOIDS, the more SUCCESSFUL he thinks his life will be.
The person who did not pursue PLEASURE or try to avoid DISPLEASURE if at possible, would be considered ABNORMAL to the non-Christian world view.
This WORLD VIEW can be seen by looking at the Roman Arena in the first and second centuries when Christians were thrown to the LIONS. The Romans, who believed the PURPOSE of life was PLEASURE, could not understand those STUPID Christians.
There was certainly no PLEASURE in being RIPPED APART by a LION. All they had to do to be FREED was say, “Caesar is Lord.” But they wouldn’t do it! And, to the Romans, it just didn’t make sense.