Summary: Christ calls His followers to be different. This morning I would challenge those of you who have entered the gate and are standing on the narrow road to travel the road and to dare to be different.
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
Introduction: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” The word that Jesus used for “narrow” in the phrase “narrow is the way” refers to a road that is “narrow and troublesome” to travel. The road is not difficult because it has potholes, debris, or rocks on it. It is difficult because it is just too narrow. As a result, it is very undesirable for most to travel. There are very few who really travel it; for traveling the road requires one to be different. Christ calls His followers to be different. This morning I would challenge those of you who have entered the gate and are standing on the narrow road to travel the road and to dare to be different.
I. Be Different than the World
A. Romans 12:1 - 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
B. Be Different in your Actions
1. Ephesians 2:1 – 3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
2. The Princeton Religion Research Center has measured the impact of religion on day-to-day work. Comparing the "churched" with the "unchurched" on a wide range of behaviors like pilfering supplies (stealing), overstating qualifications on resumes (lying), calling in sick when not sick (lying and stealing), and overstating tax deductions (lying, stealing, and cheating), the center finds "little difference in the ethical views and behavior of the churched and the unchurched." What differences there are "are not significant or are of marginal significance." - William Hendricks, in Christianity Today, Nov. 25, 1991
3. Ephesians 4:21 - 24 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
4. When unbelievers see Christians act like the world, they conclude that their message is not authentic.
5. 1 Peter 2:9 - 10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special (peculiar) people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
C. Be Different in your Worldview
1. Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
2. We shall never act differently unless we think differently.
3. James Engel summarized the belief system and the presuppositions that commonly prevail among what he calls modern man:
• God, if He exists at all, is just an impersonal moral force.
• Man basically has the capacity within himself to improve morally and make the right choices.
• Happiness consists of unlimited material acquisition.
• There really is no objective basis for right and wrong.
• The supernatural is just a figment of someone’s imagination.
• If a person lives a “good life,” the eternal destiny is assured.
• The Bible is nothing other than a book written by man. – Living Proof by Jim Peterson, NavPress, 1989, p. 198
4. A Christian worldview leads us to believe in moral absolutes, miracles, human dignity, and the possibility of redemption through Christ.
5. True Christianity is more than a set of ideas to use at church. Christianity as taught in the Bible is itself a worldview. The Bible never distinguishes between a “religious” and a “secular” life; the Christian life is the only life there is. Jesus proclaimed Himself “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and, in doing so, became our Weltanschauung / worldview. – What is a Christian Worldview, Copyright 2002-2007, Got Questions Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
6. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you