Summary: Just doing Christian stuff won’t keep you from being like the world and it certainly won’t change this world.
In the World or Of the World?
a. I asked myself several hard questions this week. The answers I gave were not very reassuring. Let me share with you those questions and the answers I arrived at.
i. How am I different from the unbelieving world in which I live, how am I different from its values, its priorities, its system, its methods and its mindset.
ii. And…how does the difference I claim to have express itself in the way I live?
b. I answered the first question by stating my values are different…I’m pro life, pro love, pro family, for justice, for truth, for honesty, I seek to understand God’s point of view as expressed in the Bible before making decisions on how I live and conduct my affairs. I am a forgiven sinner by the grace of God and my priorities are ordered in light of that fact. My methods of relating to the world are governed by the truth of God’s word as best as I can understand it.
c. It was the 2nd question that I struggled with. I hope you struggle with it to.
i. I spend my money somewhat differently, giving priority to God and His church and the needs of others. But I don’t really live sacrificially. If I did, I probably would bring my lunch to work instead of eating out 2x a week or spend less on indulgences like candy and entertainment.
1. If I really took seriously the call to care, I would sacrifice those luxuries for those who don’t have the necessities of life.
ii. I spend my time somewhat differently from the rest of the world. I spend a lot of time at church. I imagine that you do too. Granted, its my job to be here, but even if it weren’t, I would still be here every time the doors opened. However, if I am really honest, I would recognize how I spend other large chunks of my time. I spend them on me or my family. Not that it is bad, but it is the way that most other people in the world spend their time. They value their family and their own time. How is the way I spend my time really different from theirs?
1. If I really took seriously the call to care, I would be more open to spending more of my time in prayer for others, and in spending time with those who are shut-ins, and with those who don’t know Christ.
2. That would be living differently from the way the world does.
iii. I spend my talents differently from the world. I don’t spend them enriching or advancing myself. I believe that I try to use my abilities for God’s glory. Or so it would seem to someone looking at me from the outside looking in. Truth is, I waste a lot of my ability and talent and neglect opportunities to use them for advancing the kingdom of God.
1. If I really took seriously the call to use my talents for God, I would look for opportunities to use them in new ways rather than in ways that I feel safe and comfortable using them.
2. Scripture this morning relates to this subject and to making an evaluation of how you are different:
a. John 17:11-, 14-19 "I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. …verse14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.