Understanding the World We Live
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this
world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may
prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This message was preached
July 27, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at
Have you ever told your children, "you can't go there." or
"You can't go with them." Often parents have a hard time guiding
their children away from those things that would harm them.
One of our biggest problems is that children do not believe their
parents. They think the parents are being over protective. They think
that the parents are the ones who just do not understand.
Many a young person has wrecked their lives simply by rejecting
the sound advice of parents.
In the same way God cautions His children concerning certain
things. But we too often have the idea that God is just out of step
with the times. One of the things He cautions us concerning is the
world and our relationship to it.
Mankind has always been presented with good and bad choices. But
the problem is that we all too often make the wrong choices. When
God's children make wrong choices God does not disown them but as in
life many times wrong choices bring bad results that cannot be turned
God intended this world for beauty and peace. He intended his
creatures to live at peace with one another.
He created man to have dominion over the other creatures.
He created us to enjoy the creation along with the creator.
God created us for Himself and He created a wonderful world for us
to enjoy. Man's problem is we have forgotten the God who created it
all and have given ourselves over to simply enjoying the creation
rather than the creator.
When God had finished the creation He said it was very good. And
it was. But God did not intend for the creation to draw us away from
To make matters worse Satan brought sin into the world and mankind
became rebels against God.
Thus was set the challenge of the ages, Satan and his horde
against God and His few.
The first battle was waged when Cain killed his brother Abel.
God had pronounced a curse between the seed of God and the seed of
Satan and Abel was the first victim. So it has continued down to this
day. Reports of Christians dying for their faith continue to grow
But Satan's ways, his wiles, are varied. Where he cannot used his
influence to bring God's children to death he uses another
Satan also uses the world to neutralize Christians. He does this
by getting them to compromise.
Compromise has become somewhat of a virtue in our day.l But it
seems to me that it is seen as a virtue only when a conservative will
give in and it is never seen as a virtue when a liberal gives in.
Several of President Bush's judicial nominees have languashed in
committe for months. The liberals have been able to keep them form a
floor vote by the most uncompromising and unethical means.
If the President would only appoint judges who were in favor of
murder of the innocent and were in favor of immoral lifestyles and
were opposed to the mention of God in the pledge, they would win
I see a great hypocrisy when our Senate votes to uphold the use of
God in the pledge and at the same time demands the type of judges who
would rule it unconstitutional. Our government has done more to
promote liberal politics by their appointments to the judiciary than
all the laws they have passed.
But when Christians will compromise the teachings of God's holy
word they are seen as progressive.
When Christians abandon the Christian faith consistently held for
almost 200o years they are considered sensible.
Christians have forgotten that our mission in this world is not to
work our a compromise. God is not interested in compromises. He
demands total capitulation.
One of the most revealing places where this contest is laid our
for us is in the ten plagues and the release of the children of
God's messenger, Moses, gave this command to Pharaoh. Let my
people go. Pharaoh at once denied the request. But later he tried to
work out a compromise with Moses, with God.
There were four compromises that Pharaoh purposed. Once we
understand them we will understand the world and their thinking.
- Pharaoh's first response, "Who is the Lord that I should let
- Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I
should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD,
nor will I let Israel go."
- This is the typical response.
- They do not know God and they do not understand why they
should obey or serve Him.
- John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made
through Him, and the world did not know Him.
- 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and
has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is
true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus
Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
- First Compromise: Serve in the land.
- Ex. 8:25 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said,
"Go, sacrifice to your God in the land."
- The compromises proposed by Pharaoh are those urged upon
- The first says in effect: "Be a Christian if you will,
but not a 'narrow' one--stay in Egypt."
- Invariably it ends in world-conformity, world-pleasing,
and seeking the world's money for God
- This view reminds me of the many times pastors are asked
to pray but not use the name of Jesus. If Jesus is not in
your prayer, it is not a prayer.
- If we can adopt a quasi type of religion that sort of
embraces everyone and rejects no one then we are welcome to
worship our God "in the land".
- But if we embrace Jesus Christ as the only hope of a
dying world we are branded as intolerant and unlike
- Those that would offer an acceptable sacrifice to God
- Separate themselves from the wicked and profane; for
we cannot have fellowship both with the Father of lights
and with the works of darkness, both with Christ and with
Belial, 2 Co. 6:14, etc.; Ps. 26:4, 6.
- They must retire from the distractions of the world,
and get as far as may be from the noise of it. Israel
cannot keep the feast of the Lord either among the
brick-kilns or among the flesh-pots of Egypt; no, We
will go into the wilderness, Hos. 2:14; Cant.
- They must observe the divine appointment: "We will
sacrifice as God shall command us, and not otherwise.''
Though they were in the utmost degree of slavery to
Pharaoh, yet in the worship of God, they must observe his
commands and not Pharaoh's.(1)
- 2 Corinthians
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what
concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the
temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the
living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk
in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my
people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you,
and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
- Galatians 1:4
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from
this present evil world, according to the will of God and
- This is the same
kind of compromise that many Christians make. It is always
satanic. This compromise says we can be Christians but not
narrow ones. Be a broad-minded Christian and don't change your
life. If your life doesn't change, you are not a Christian.
- Second Compromise:
Go but not very far.
- Ex. 8:28 And
Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the
LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far
- The second
compromise is a modification merely of the first.
- "Do not be
- We are in a
race today with two horses. One horse is black and one is
white. If you decide to ride them and put one foot on one
horse and one foot on the other, you will soon make a
strange discovery. These horses will run in opposite
directions. You must make up your mind which horse you want
to ride. Moses will not accept Pharaoh's compromise. Moses
insists on Israel's going three days' journey into the
wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord
- Third Compromise:
Go but leave your families behind.
- Ex. 10:11 . . .
Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what
- The third
compromise proposed by Pharaoh is, perhaps, as applied to
believers, the subtlest and most successful of them all.
- The most
godly parents desire worldly prosperity and position for
- Matthew 20:20
¶ Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children
with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing
of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith
unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on
thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy
- Fourth Compromise:
Go but leave your possessions behind.
- Ex. 10:24 Then
Pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go, serve the LORD; only let
your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones
also go with you."
- "Leave your
property in the world."
- Matthew 16:25
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in
exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in
the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall
reward every man according to his works.
- Luke 18:18
¶ And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said
unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one,
that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not
commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear
false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he
said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when
Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou
one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come,
follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful:
for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very
sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches
enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a
camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to
enter into the kingdom of God.
- You would think
that just leaving their flocks and herds behind would be a
compromise that Moses might make for the Israelites. Pharaoh
has come a long way in making concessions to Moses, and you
would think this one would be agreeable. Once again there is a
lesson here for the modern-day Christian. God called Israel to
leave Egypt "lock, stock, and barrel." The children were not to
be left in Egypt to be raised in their educational system. If
we expect to bring our children up in the wisdom of the world
and expect them to pour all of their energies into becoming
successful, we should also be prepared to lose them to the
world. I listened to a mother tell about how she had sent her
son to a godless school, and how he was being advanced. She
didn't mention to me that he had lost his faith, although he
had. He had graduated from this school, was given a high
position. I see his name in print many times. Then she came
with tears in her eyes to tell me how her son had turned his
back upon everything she held sacred. Well, that's the way she
started him out. The world is subtle.
- Moses' answer ought
to be our answer.
- Ex. 10:9 And
Moses said, "We will go with our young and our old; with our
sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will
go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD."
- The world would
strip us of every thing that is of God so that we would be just
1. 1Henry, Matthew, Matthew
Henry's Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
2. 2 J. Vernon McGee, Thru
the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos
Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon