Summary: As servants of God we are called to be different, this sermon encourages you to dare to be strange and live differently!
Do you ever feel like you don’t quite fit in with the people around you? Do your values and lifestyle seem to be a little different from the people at work, your neighbours, or even your own family?
Our preaching theme for this year is Dare to be Different and it is a theme that will cause each of us to examine ourselves.
As servants of God, we are called to be different. In Psalm 139:19 the psalmist says, “I am a stranger on earth”. In Hebrews 11:13 all of the great men and women of the Old Testament are described as ‘strangers on earth’. In 1 Peter 1:17 the apostle writes, “Live your lives as strangers or ‘temporary residents’ here”
This morning I want to encourage you to Dare to be strange and live differently!
When we come to Christ, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour the Bible speaks of us being ‘born-again’. We begin a process of change and transformation that changes the way we act, the way we think, the way we live our daily lives. Our focus changes, instead of focussing on ourselves, our needs, wants or desires we focus on God and His will and purpose for us.
That is what is meant to happen to us as followers of Jesus we are meant to be different. Sadly, some people refuse to be different, they want all of the benefits of having their sins forgiven, all the benefits of being loved and cared for by God, the guarantee of a place in Heaven, but they don’t want to be different.
The truth is there is a cost in following Jesus, there are changes that we must be willing to make in how we live our lives. There may be things present in our lives that we enjoy that are against the will and purpose of God.
God calls us to be different, Holy, set apart, strangers. God calls us to honour and serve Him in every aspect of our lives.Not just for an hour or two on a Sunday when we meet together, we are meant to be different every moment of every day.
How can God expect us to really be different from the people around us? Dare we be different? Are we worried that others may consider us strange if we live as God expects us to live?
Can we really be different? In our own strength we can’t, but if we allow God to work in us and through us, we will be changed and transformed by the power of The Holy Spirit.
Remember Jesus last words before His ascension recorded in Acts 1:8 Jesus said: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The word translated Power is in the Greek dunamis. Dunamis is used 120 times in the New Testament.
It is a word that refers to “strength, power, or ability.” Dunamis is not just any power; this word refers to miraculous power or marvellous works. Dunamis also refers to “moral power and excellence of soul” Dunamis is the root word of our English words dynamite, dynamo and dynamic.
We will be different when we allow God to empower us through the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit.
As I said earlier, this morning I want to encourage you to Dare to be strange and live differently!
Listen to The Psalmist in Psalm 119:17-19, Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. I am only a stranger in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me!
Let’s break this down a little, the Psalmist acknowledges he is a servant of God and he wants to live by obeying the words and commandments of God.
The modern world would call the psalmist strange.
Strange because He believes there is a God.
Strange because He believes God is good.
Strange because He believes in obeying the word of God.
Strange because He believes the Word of God is truth.
The psalmist says, ‘I am only a stranger in the land’ and like the psalmist if we Dare to be Different, if we truly live as servants of God some people will think we are strange.
Truth is, some of us are stranger than others.
I openly confess I know I am strange.
I love God, I trust God,
I believe the Bible is the Word of God,
I believe God speaks to me through His Word,
I believe Jesus is the only way, the only truth, the only life,
I believe the Holy Spirit empowers me,
I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,