Understanding the World We Live In

Rom 12:1-2

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. NKJV

This message was preached July 27, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

 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 back.

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 our creator.

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 each year.

But Satan's ways, his wiles, are varied. Where he cannot used his influence to bring God's children to death he uses another tactic.

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 immediate approval.

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 Israel.

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.

  1. Pharaoh's first response, "Who is the Lord that I should let Israel go."
    1. 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."
    2. This is the typical response.
    3. They do not know God and they do not understand why they should obey or serve Him.
      1. John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
      2. 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.
  2. First Compromise: Serve in the land.
    1. Ex. 8:25 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God in the land."
    2. The compromises proposed by Pharaoh are those urged upon Christians today.
      1. The first says in effect: "Be a Christian if you will, but not a 'narrow' one--stay in Egypt."
      2. Invariably it ends in world-conformity, world-pleasing, and seeking the world's money for God
      3. 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.
      4. 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".
      5. But if we embrace Jesus Christ as the only hope of a dying world we are branded as intolerant and unlike Jesus.
      6. Those that would offer an acceptable sacrifice to God must,
        1. 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.
        2. 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. 7:11.
        3. 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)
      7. 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 Almighty.
      8. 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 our Father:
    3. 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. 2
  3. Second Compromise: Go but not very far.
    1. 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 away.
    2. The second compromise is a modification merely of the first.
      1. "Do not be too unworldly."
      2. 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 God.(2)
  4. Third Compromise: Go but leave your families behind.
    1. Ex. 10:11 . . . Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired."
    2. The third compromise proposed by Pharaoh is, perhaps, as applied to believers, the subtlest and most successful of them all.
      1. The most godly parents desire worldly prosperity and position for their children.
      2. 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 kingdom.
  5. Fourth Compromise: Go but leave your possessions behind.
    1. 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."
    2. "Leave your property in the world."
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
    3. 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. 2
  6. Moses' answer ought to be our answer.
    1. 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."
    2. The world would strip us of every thing that is of God so that we would be just like them.

1. 1Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

2. 2 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.