FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
309 East North St. Sidney, Ohio 45365
937-492-4909

Sunday School 9:15am

Sunday Worship Service 10:30am

Scriptures: Romans 8:29; 12:2 & Philippians 3:10                                                                                 September 25, 2022

Sermon: “The Spiritual Concept of Conformity”                                                                                                   Pastor John Young

 

            People who live in our society are expected to act in a certain way.  We expect them to abide by the principles, standards, and laws which govern our Country.  We hope they will “conform” to our society.  Along these same lines¾employees are expected to conform to the standards and objectives of their particular employers.  Even if you join a club or athletic team, you are asked to uphold certain principles.

            If a person doesn’t conform to the standards set by any of these, they lose their position or rights.  I.E. if someone breaks the law, they are put in jail.  If someone doesn’t do their job, they get fired.  If you are a member of an athletic team and don’t follow the coach’s instructions, you will be kicked off the team.  (We understand this and expect this!)

            However, many people in the church today want the blessings, rights, and privileges of being a child of God; but they are unwilling to conform to the biblical standards associated with this position!  For some reason, conforming to God’s standards doesn’t seem as binding or important as conforming to the standards of this world.

            When we believe in Jesus Christ and receive His salvation, He gives us all the rights, honors, and privileges that come with being a Christian¾but He still wants us to conform to His standards.  To deny Him this should be unthinkable.

            Now, if people can rigidly conform to the standards of society, athletics, jobs, and other social groups, certainly Christians ought to be able (and willing) to make a commitment to walk in the manner God desires.  The verses that we have looked at reveal that God has called all of us to conform to a particular walk within the Christian life.  That is:

I.         There is a Purpose to our calling!

A. Turn with me to Ephesians 4, and notice how the apostle Paul explains this.

1.  In the last three chapters of this book Paul is exhorting Christians to commit themselves to God’s calling.  Ephesians 4:1 begins, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

2.  However, in chapters 1-3 Paul discusses the rights, honors, and privileges of Christians.

a.  Notice them with me, briefly:

1) He granted us “the riches of his glory” - 3:16

2) He “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” -1:3

3) And, in the ages to come He will pour out “his grace in his kindness toward us.” - 2:7

b.  These chapters are also filled with reminders of our ‘position’ in Christ Jesus:

1) In chapter 1:4 we are told that God chose us “before the foundation of the world”¾(while there may be some disagreement with what this phrase refers to, all of us would agree, this ‘work’ wasn’t just some band aid for a Divine mistake!  It was God’s plan!).

2) In verse 5 we are told that He has adopted us as His children!

3) Verse 6 says He has accepted us!

4) Verse 7 reminds us that He has provided redemption and forgiveness for us!

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And it goes on and on!

5) Verse 11 says we have “an inheritance” based upon His riches!

6) Verse 13 relieves our fears and concerns, as He reminds us of the gift He has given us¾the Holy Spirit!

And we could go on for a while!

7) Look at chapter 2:1¾He made us alive who were dead!!!!

8) And in chapter 3:20¾He makes this promise that warms and fills our souls! (Read!)

3.  Now!  Based upon all that Christ has done for us, Paul tells us what the Lord expects of us in 4:1¾“walk worthy of such a calling!”

a.  The Lord expects us to act like members of His family¾

b.  To make His goals and objectives OUR goals and objectives.

c.   He expects us to be like HIM!

1) In Philippians 1:27, Paul says, “...let your conversation (or way of life) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:”

So, the purpose of conformity is to allow us to walk worthy of our calling!

II. There is a Plan for our Calling.

[We are not called to conform to a vague generality of opinions.  We are called to conform to God’s Word]

A. This is illustrated in the book of Ephesians.

1.  Paul makes an obvious transition between chapters 3 & 4, and it is typical of the way he wrote.  He often moved from doctrine to duty, from principle to practice, from theology (if you would) to life.  This is important because, doctrine must always be the basis for our duty.  What you or I “feel” about something, doesn’t matter.  Only what God says matters!

a.  The word “therefore” in Ephesians 4:1 indicates the transition that Paul made.  Chapters 1-3 were all about the doctrine (i.e. the biblical truth) of our position in Christ.  Chapters 4-6 are about the practice of that position.  So he writes, “therefore” (in light of chapters 1-3¾the biblical, doctrinal position you have in Christ), AND THEN, “walk worthy!”

B. This same transition is found in the book of Romans.

1.  Practice or duty is found in chapter 12:1 (notice the “therefore”).

2.  If you are familiar with the book of Romans, you know that the first eleven chapters are all about doctrine!

3.  We don’t have time to look at this, but you’ll find the same pattern in Galatians 5:1; Philippians 2:1 and Colossians 3:5.

4.  In all of these places, Paul reminds us that duty is always performed in response to doctrine (biblical truth)!

Which brings me to my last point:

 

 

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III.      There is a Priority with our calling.

[In short: spiritual conformity is impossible unless we give priority to attain Biblical knowledge!]

A. We are supposed to walk worthy of our calling, but to do so we must KNOW the principles to follow!!

1.  In First Thessalonians 4:1 Paul says, “...we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”

a.  First Paul taught the Thessalonians how to walk and then exhorted them to do it!  (Instruction must come first!)

b.  A person can’t be expected to function on what he doesn’t know.  So we must search the Word of God to know the principles of life.

B. Do you search the Word of God for this reason¾to know the principles of life, so you can walk worthy of your calling?

C.  Are you conformed to “Baptist” principles; or Pastor John’s principles; or someone else’s principles (perhaps your own)?

D. God wants us to be conformed to His principles¾His Word!

1.  In Job 28, the first twelve verses describe the lengths people go to in order to mine treasures from the earth (It’s pretty extensive!  They will endure about anything!)

2.    In Proverbs 2:4-6, Solomon says that when we exert as much effort to know the wisdom of God as people exert to find gold and silver, we will know God’s wisdom.

Conclusion:            There is a Divine purpose for our existence!  God has a Divine plan for our lives.  And, He has given us a ‘manual’ to accomplish the task!  Let’s commit ourselves to mastering it, so we can live it!

Let’s pray