Summary: New life in Christ means the end of conforming to the patterns of this world.
Dakota Community Church
January 23, 2011
The End of the World
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions¡Xit is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith¡Xand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God¡X 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God¡¦s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Last Sunday we covered:
1. Dead in transgression and sin
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins¡K
¡Kmade us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions¡K
This week we move on to verse two and discover that not only are we dead in trespasses and sins, we are also:
2. Conformed to the pattern of this world
¡K2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world¡K
Before we come to saving faith we are all conformed to, followers of the ways of this world. We are born in sin and we know nothing else. We are incapable of glorifying God in our sin.
My message title today is not a reference to some kind of apocalyptic prophesy.
I am not about to announce the date of the Lord¡¦s return and sadly I know that will be a disappointment to some of you.
This is about the ways in which coming to know Christ forces us to make a break from the patterns of this world.
To be a Christian is to be counter cultural in many ways.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God¡¦s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God¡Xthis is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God¡¦s will is¡Xhis good, pleasing and perfect will.
So before we knew Christ we ¡§followed the ways of this world¡¨; and as believers we are not to ¡§conform any longer¡¨, but this idea of separation and counter-culturalism raises tough issues.
How do reconcile passages like this with others that seem to contradict them?
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God¡¦s law but am under Christ¡¦s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.
We are not to conform to the pattern of this world, yet we are to become whatever is necessary for the sake of winning the lost?
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God¡X 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
How can I make a strong counter-cultural stand ¡V not conforming to the world ¡V while trying to please everybody in every way for the sake of evangelism?
Most people are not going to be pleased in every way if you stand up and resist their ideas.