Summary: Conformity and Compromise with the world’s value system has devastating effects in the life of the believer.
Muddying the Waters
INTRODUCTION: There are nearly 100,000,000 people in our country who claim to be church members. As professed believers, we are not having the moral and spiritual influences on our nation and in our world that, you would think that we would be able to make. Why isn’t the church having a greater impact on our culture? Why it is there so little commitment on the part of believers to church attendance, witnessing, and to become world changers? I believe that the main reason for our failure is that we have violated the teachings of God’s Word and particularly the command of Romans 12:2, " be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed". When we conform to this world, we muddy the waters of our lives and testimonies often with disastrous results.
I. What does it mean to be conformed to this world?
A. Conform - An external fashioning or shaping of one thing like another.
B. "Don?t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking."
C. "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world."
D. As Christians, we have the responsibility not to pattern our lives after the world’s value system.
E. What is the basis of the world’s value system.
1. There are three main values summarized in I John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
2. Possessions - the lust of the eyes - Materialism
a. Someone has said, "The essence of life today is not having--it is having to have."
b. Luke 12:15 "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things, which he possesses."
c. One of artist Andy Warhol’s great pictures is his "Last Supper" in which he superimposes the General Electric logo and the wrapper from a bar of Dove soap over a dim drawing of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work. Warhol meant no irreverence. He was rather making a statement that few will deny. Spiritual values are often overshadowed or hidden by materialism.
d. One day the department store manager left all the windows open and a great windstorm blew all the price makers around the store causing them to land in total disarray. The next day, the shoppers delighted to see socks for $149.95, suits for $1.19, shoes for 5 cents and a scarf for $1,299.99! This is how worldly Christians live every day. The put low value on spiritual things and high value on things with none.
3. Pleasure - the lust of the flesh - Carnality
a. II Timothy 3:1-5 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
b. Many of our adolescents and young adults cannot "just say no" to drugs because their whole approach to life has been shaped by television, the land where "no" does not exist.
c. A VERY HUNGRY FOX, seeing some bread and meat left by shepherds in the hollow of an oak, crept into the hole and made a hearty meal. When he finished, he was so full that he was not able to get out, and began to groan and lament his fate. Another Fox passing by heard his cries, and coming up, inquired the cause of his complaining. On learning what had happened, he said to him, "Ah, you will have to remain there, my friend, until you become such as you were when you crept in, and then you will easily get out."
d. Too often, Christians get caught up in the passions of their flesh that in the end they will have to pay for their sins. Therefore, no matter how alluring things may appear to us, we must simply walk away and avoid temptation.
4. Prestige and Position - the Pride of Life
a. The supplanting of sound values by the world’s methods of popularity and success is clouding the influence of the Bible in the lives of many Christians.
b. John 12:42-43 "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
c. People are strange: they want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.