Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Christians are to walk worthy of our call by being different from the world around us.

Be Distinctive!

Ephesians 4:17-5:2

Focus: Christians are to walk worthy of our call by being different from the world around us.

Function: To challenge & call Christians to holy living in their minds, speech and attitudes.

Several years ago a good friend invited me to come and watch him compete in an area skate boarding

contest. He’s several years younger than me, but we were both kids. I had always thought that my cousin

was just a little bit ‘different.’ He didn’t dress normal. He’d wear big baggy pants so brightly colored that there was no way you could miss him coming down the street! He didn’t wear his hair normal. It was

shaved almost to military length around his ears, but up on top he let it grow till it hung down well over his eyes. He was an excellent skateboarder, but I couldn’t see how he could even see to know where he was

going! And he really didn’t talk normal, either. He used words I hadn’t heard before- ‘gnarly’, ‘hang ten’,

‘bogeyd’, etc. We were good friends and I loved him a lot, but to be honest, I thought he was just a little

weird! When I would say something to him about it, he’d explain to me how this was just his personality-

how he wasn’t going to CONFORM to any kind of societal norms. He was determined to be himself . . . to

be DIFFERENT! I was surprised then, when I went to see him compete in that skateboarding contest to

see that all of the other skateboarders looked just like him! He wanted to be different, sure, just like

everybody else!

What is it about American society in general that has led to the creation of certain sub-cultures; certain

‘counter-cultures’ through the years? In the 1920’s there were the flappers whose outrageous dress and

provocative dancing embarrassed the older generations. In the 1950’s there were the greasers- who sought to be different by rocking to Elvis Presley, riding loud Harley Davidsons, slicking their longer than normal hair back with some sort of oil and generally frightening any man with a daughter old enough to go out on dates! In the 1960’s there were the ‘flower children’ who sought to be different by sticking flowers in their hair, tie-dying their brightly colored t-shirts, sowing American flags to the seats of their faded blue jeans, listening to the Beatles, growing their hair even longer and promoting ‘love’ not war. The 1970’s saw

counter-cultural movements such as disco; the 1980’s- break dancing; the 1990’s gangsta rap . . . and on

and on and on.

What’s so interesting about each of those movements within our popular culture is that in their beginnings

they were extremely counter-cultural, yet when we look back over those periods of time, they sometimes

define the culture. Its hard to sustain a purely counter-cultural movement, because just as soon as

reaches a certain popularity, it has become so cultural that it is no longer ‘different’ or counter cultural. Are

you with me?

Well, I say all of that to ask this: What has become the norm in our culture and where do we as

Christians fit in? Are we ‘cultural’ or ‘counter-cultural?’

This is what Paul is interested in, in the text this morning. We’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the

Ephesians. Last week he turned from discussing a theology of the church to its implications for the


Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (NIV)

Literally, that’s “walk worthy of God’s call.” In other words, “You are Christians, so live like it!”

And the first thing he mentioned, “walk worthy of the call by preserving unity among fellow Christians!”

That is SO important for the body of Christ! There are not hundreds or thousands of little bodies of Christ scattered all over the place . . . NO! There is one body of Christ– parts of whom meet in different locations because of geography, but there should be unity among them & a spirit of love & cooperation!

And in today’s text, Paul continues the same train of thought and says, “WALK WORTHY OF YOUR CALL BY BEING DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD!”

Eph 4:17-5:2

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of

their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the

ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given

themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (NIV)

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