Summary: Paul writes that we must be willing to change and adapt to the world that we live in if we are to be successful in being all that God wants us to be.

Living and Thriving In God's World

(are we relevant)

1 Corinthians 9:19-27 (NLT)

Intro: A lady was out hitting all the local garage sales when she came across an old needlepoint picture that read, “Prayer Changes Lives.” She bought it, took it home and began to look for just the right place to hang the new picture. Finally, she decided that it went well in the dining room over the dining room table. With great pride she admired her garage sale discovery and could hardly wait to show it to her husband. That evening when her husband arrived home from work, she showed the picture to him but he made no indication one way or another of his likes or dislikes of the new picture. The next day as the lady was cleaning the house, she discovered that the new picture was gone. As she continued to clean the house, she discovered the picture behind a bookcase. She thought, “That’s strange,” and rehung the picture in its original location. The next day, to her dismay, she discovers the picture gone again and again discovers it behind the bookcase. When the husband arrives home, she confronts her husband and asks him if he is displeased with the art of the needlepoint, to which he responds, no, not at all, it is a great work of art. She continues, is it the place? Do you not like the place it is hung? He says, no, not at all, it is in a great location. She concludes that it must be the message and asks him if it’s the message that he doesn’t like. He says, no, not at all, the message is great. Finally, she says, then what’s the problem? He says, “I just don’t like change.”

. Change, an awful word to some folks.

. One deacon in a small Midwestern church said, “Change is sin, and we sin as little as possible around here.”

. The only person who really really likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.

. I am not a person who embraces change. I had never sent nor received a text until I started here. My first text was from Glen Butler. I don't remember if I even texted him back. I don't think I knew how but now I probably text 20-30 times a day.

. I don't know why we as individuals and as a churches many times resist change so much.

. We are and should be the people of change.

. Jesus is the ultimate change agent. He came to change everything.

. He tells us in Luke 5: 32 that He came to call people to repentance. He calls for change. That's what repentance is, change.

. Our world is constantly changing.

. Think about it. How did we ever manage to live without a smart phone.

.We buy a state of the art computer and within a year it is outdated.

. Our world and culture is ever changing.

. There really is no such thing as a moral compass anymore. Folks take things in any direction they want with absolutely no regard with what we are doing in the lives of those who are so impressionable.

. 50 years ago, who would have believed we would have abortion on demand, legalized homosexual marriage in some states, physician assisted suicide, open nudity on TV.

. Now I know I live in sort of a vacuum but when I do look at singers simulating sexual acts during their performances, I just want to crawl back into my vacuum, my own little world.

. Even though we are uncomfortable, & should be uncomfortable, w/many of the changes in our culture, we must also understand that this is the culture that we are called to minister in.

. This is the world that we are called to live and to thrive in.

. This is our world, & God has placed us here for such a time as this.

.We have been called to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of this generation.

. In our scripture this morning Paul gives us an example of how to share the Gospel in a culturally relevant way.

.Before we look at that I want to make something very clear. We need, we must be relevant in our changing world but the Message must not and cannot be changed.

. While we live in an ever changing world, some things can never change.

. Jesus will never nor can we ever change who He is.

. Hebrews 13:8,9 says this:

. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.9So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. ...

. In a world that is constantly changing, Jesus is the only constant. The writer tells us that He will never change.

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