The Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33b) Why? Because following the world’s ways and its wisdom will cause you problems. Look at the teachings of Dr. Spock and psychology and think about the problems they have caused to the traditional family. Look at this country removing the Ten Commandments and you will admit that lawlessness has increased beyond measure. We will have trouble in the world because we are foreigners and foreigners are never really accepted in another country! We have trouble in the world because we are expected to be a part of the family. We are at a time in our nation’s history when people are calling us one big happy family which would include the perverts, child molesters, drunkards, atheists, and new agers. Yet, we must resist! We are not part of this big happy family; it simply does not align with the biblical doctrine that says, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)
Become World Changers by not belonging to the world – but come out of her my people (Read John 15:19)
Our citizenship is in heaven, and we no longer belong to the world, but we belong to Christ. What does it mean to belong? That’s a wonderful word, to belong. The world longs to belong to something even if it means relaxing its morals or beliefs. Belonging is such a strong psychological factor in humans that young people will join gangs just in order to belong. They will rape, pillage, steal, and even kill to belong. Christ said we do not belong to the world, but we belong to Him. To belong to Christ is more than membership in an exclusive club; it’s even more than membership in His physical church.
To belong to Christ means to rest under His providential care and under His divine protection. Wow! Nothing will ever escape His notice. Nothing can happen to us unless He allows it. I cannot ever think of anything more comforting. We become a part of His family in heaven. And if a part of His family, then we rest under His providential care. We belong to Him! We also are entitled to all the benefits from being a member of the Family. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have instant communication with our Father in heaven. We never get a busy signal or put on hold. He’s always there to listen, to comfort, to direct, and to encourage. It’s a great feeling to belong!
But if we belong to Him, then we do not belong to the world. That means we do not look to the world for protection, or providential care. We do not seek their comfort, their direction or even their encouragement. We do not belong to this world. Friends, this will have a tremendous effect upon your pagan neighbors. They cry after all these things from the state and local governments. They belong to the world, so they turn to the world in their time of trouble. For the Christian we turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are loyal to Him, we are dependent on Him.
So if we no longer belong to the world then we must come out of the world, not physically, that is we cannot leave the planet, but we can come out from the influences all around us. We can refuse to participate in anything that would influence us to follow after the patterns of this world. Kittle wrote, “The summons in Revelation 18:4 suggests a literal flight from a doomed city (as Christian Jews fled to Pella at the fall of Jerusalem), but when projected on the larger screen of the consummation it becomes a call to the last generation of believers for “spiritual withdrawal from Vanity Fair.” Augustine interpreted this Scripture to mean, “We must renounce our rights as citizens of this world, and flee unto God on the wings of faith.” Friends, to do so will be our first step in becoming world changers for Christ.
Become World Changers by not conforming to the world – but be transformed (Read Romans 12:1-2)
So we no longer conform to the old ways, such as entertainment, sports events, clubs, fraternal organizations, desire for wealth and worldly wisdom. We stop following the world’s patterns for life. But we are transformed by the renewal of our mind, that is, we discover kingdom ways, thus exchanging the old culture for the new. We exchange entertainment for fellowship. We exchange sports events for being on mission for Jesus. We exchange clubs and fraternal organizations for the teaching ministry of the church. We exchange worldly wisdom for God’s wisdom and truth. We exchange avarice for the ministry of giving to others.
Friends when we make the great exchange and follow the culture of the kingdom by no longer being conformed to this world, then surely transformation has taken place in our life. Once we are transformed by the renewal of our mind then following the Christian culture will be easy – it will be our greatest desire. Following Christ’s culture will have a profound effect upon your pagan neighbors and workmates. Indeed, you will become a world changer without ever uttering a word.
Become World Changers by not loving the world – but return to your first love (Read I John 2:15; Rev. 2:4-5)
Think about if for a minute. Why do people love the world? They love it because they love to fit in, they love the praises of people, and they love the acceptance from the world. They love the things of the world because they think they will make them happy. Even Christians love the world – but the Bible says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (I John 2:15) And you will not stop conforming to the patterns of this world until you change your affections, until you change your love for it. Dear friends, our affections for the world are very strong. Just try stopping something that you have been accustomed to doing – something you really love to do. This is only possible when you find something you love to do more. The same is true in stopping our love for the world and the things of the world – we need to find a greater love and that love is Jesus.
Do you want to stop loving the world and the things of the world? Then start loving Jesus more and more. Put Him into your life, rely on Him, turn to Him in the time of need, seek His audience about every decision you make, walk daily with Him and you will fall in love with Him. When you do, the world and the things of this world will no longer have any value for you, because you now have a new love.
Yet the world is always enticing the Christian to continue its love affair with the world. This happened to the Christians living in Ephesus. They loved the praise of men in keeping their orthodoxy more than they loved Jesus. Christ sent this stinging letter through the Apostle John telling them to repent by returning to their first love, to ascend to the height from which they had fallen. Friends, the world easily entices you, but now we must return to our first love, Jesus Christ. When we do then we will once again join the ranks of the world changers in the name of Christ.
Become World Changers by not waging war as the world – but use spiritual weapons (Read II Cor. 10:3-4)
“Of course we are human, but we don’t fight like humans. The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.” (II Co. 10:3-5, Word of God translation)
Once you have chosen your side which you will serve and love, then you want to fight for your new kingdom. This is only natural. Why do men go to war? Is it not for the love of country? Men will always fight for the things that they love. We will lay down our life for our wife and children. We will fight for our brothers and sisters in the Lord even if we get wounded in the process. That’s what men do!
A wonderful illustration is seen in the movie, Dances with Wolves. Kevin Costner, a Lieutenant in the US Army who was stationed at an abandoned Army Fort found that his only friends were the local Indians. This friendship in time grew so strong that they had become his own people, a people loved as dearly as his own kinfolks. There was one point in the movie that all the men of the tribe left to fight a neighboring tribe that had been brutal to his new found friends. So Kevin Costner wanted desperately to join them in their fight.
In the same way it will only be natural that we as Christians will want to wage war against the enemies of Christ. But we cannot use old weapons of this world, but new spiritual weapons. The old weapons will have no affect upon the enemy. Our weapons are: the weapons of prayer, the weapons of confrontation in love, and the weapons of speaking the truth in love (not compromising the truth). The biggest evil in our world that needs to be overcome by every believer is the evil of tolerance.
Become World Changers by letting your light shine (Read Matthew 5:14, Read Ephesians 4:17f)
Finally, to be world changers we must let our light shine. We’re to reflect His light – He is the true Light that must shine forth through us to the world of darkness all around us. We must always be conscious among the pagan. We must always let our good behavior be evident to all. World changers are not negative but always positive. World changers are not complaining but always thankful. World changers are not brooding but always joyful. World changers are not slothful but always willing to go the extra mile. World changers are not combative but always ready to turn the other cheek. World changers are not anxious but peaceful. World changers are not judgmental but accepting. World changers are not condemning but forgiving. World changers are not prideful but truly humble.
Friends, when you do all this you will impact the world around you in a way you never thought possible. “It is said of Robert Murray McCheyne, a godly Scottish minister of the last century, that his face carried such a hallowed expression that people were known to fall on their knees and accept Jesus Christ as Savior when they looked at him. Others were so attracted by the self-giving beauty and holiness of his life that they found his Master (Jesus Christ) irresistible.”
It was also said of the French pietistic François Fenelon that his communion with God was such that his face shined with divine radiance. A religious skeptic, who was compelled to spend the night in an Inn with Fenelon, hurried away the next morning, saying, “If I spend another night with that man I’ll be a Christian in spite of myself.” That is the light God wants His people to be.
Let your light shine and especially among the pagan, and when you have done all this your good works (or good deeds) will mean something – they will praise your Father who is in heaven. I have a dream – If only one church took Christ’s words seriously and came out of the world it would be an amazing thing to see. I have a dream – it would turn the world upside down – I have a dream!
“Some years ago a magazine carried a series of pictures that graphically depicted a tragic story. The first picture was of a vast wheat field in western Kansas. The second showed a distressed mother sitting in a farmhouse in the center of the field of wheat. The accompanying story explained that her four year old son had wandered away from the house and into the field when she was not looking. The mother and father looked and looked all day but the little fellow was too short to see or be seen over the wheat. The third picture showed dozens of friends and neighbors who had heard of the boy’s plight and who joined hands the next morning to make a long human chain as they walked through the field searching. The fourth picture was of the heartbroken father holding his lifeless son who had been found too late and had died of exposure. The caption underneath read, “O God, if only we had joined hands sooner.”
Friends, it’s time to join hands together and fight the good fight against paganism and corruption in this country before anything worse than September 11th happens against our dear country. It’s time to take our stand for truth and righteousness and we can only do that when we take our stand together as a unified church for the cause of Christ. The question we must ask ourselves this morning is, “Do we want to be that church?” If so – show it by coming forward this morning – make your public statement – take your stand today with Christ. Who will be first?