Christians In A Non Christian World

Romans 1:22-32

 

22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

 

One of the greatest challenges that a Christian must face is being faithful to God while living in a non-christian society.   Even though we live in this world we must not be of the world (Jn. 17:16).

16“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

 

A little boy once asked, “Mother, do you remember that vase which has been in our family for three generations?” She answered, “Yes.” “Well,” he said, “this generation just broke it.

 

Things which have been regarded as sacred and dear for centuries are being broken by this generation, young and old like.   The greatest problem that we face in this generation is the moral and spiritual erosion of the people in America

 

      Let’s examine some of the issues at hand as we consider the theme  “Christians In A Non-Christian Society.”

 

Defining the word Christian it come from the Greek word “Christianos.  This Greek word simply means “a follower of Jesus Christ.”  Being a follower of Christ naturally implies the necessity of doing the will of God as revealed in his word,  walking as He walked. Obeying his will requires being born of water and the Spirit into the family of God (Jn. 3:5   1 Tim. 3:15).

 

When Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch, the record reveals that  “ .. . a whole year they assembled themselves with the church and taught much people” (Acts 11:26). This verse explicitly states that these same disciples, who were members of the church, were called “Christians.

 

 From that eventful time in Antioch down to the present time every member of the church has been a Christian, and every Christian has been a member of the church. When one is “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27), he thereby becomes a follower of Christ, a Christian. The act of baptism also inducts one into the body (1 Cor. 12:13), which is the church (Eph. 1:22- 23).

 

 A Christian then is a follower of Christ who has been born into God’s family and thereby becomes a member of the Lord’s Church.

 

Consider the Non-Christian Society of which a Christian must live and associate daily.... The Bible uses the term “present evil world” in Galatians 1:4 Which would certainly be a very accurate description of our society today. There is no doubt that we live in a very sinful and non-christian society. 

 

Our generation is a time in which certain definite trends are very clear and identifiable. The trends of our day include a trend away from discipline and hard work toward irresponsibility and give me.. There is a trend away from self-control toward license. There is a trend away from the virtuous to the sensuous.

 

There is a trend away from the moral toward the immoral. There is a trend away from such principles as honesty, integrity, and truthfulness toward doing just what is expedient and easy at the time.

 

There is a trend away from the spiritual things toward the material and secular.  There is a trend away from faith toward doubt. It is obvious that the trends of our day are not in the direction which Christians ought to go.

 

We live in a society today that is as wicked and ungodly as the society described in our text.  Romans 1:29-31

 

29being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;”

 

The list of some of the blackest sins ever committed in could describe our society accurately. Sexual immorality is running rampant in our society. According to a recent Gallup Poll only one out of three believe that premarital sex is wrong. And according to a recent newspaper article “a third of the nation’s voters believe that two people of the same sex should be able to get married if they love each other.” 

 

 Young people in this country are definitely feeling the impact of our sinful society as fifty-three percent of  teenagers have engaged in premarital sex, which is double from what it was twenty years ago. In the state of Alabama, nineteen percent of all babies are born to teenage mothers.

 

In the world, as well as in the Church of our Lord, the number of divorces is multiplying. It is estimated now that two out of every three marriages will end in divorce. This number has increased tremendously during the years I have been preaching and tracking this statistic.

 

 People today, as a whole, apparently no longer hold sacred and dear the promises they make to one another when the marriage vows are made. It is quite common in today’s society to hear of the sexual escapades of our leaders and even Christians.

 

There is the problem of social drinking, social dancing, profanity and impure speech, gambling, immodest dress, salacious movies and literature, drugs and alcohol, and on and on the list could go. It is frightening to think about the direction our society is heading at this time.

 

America has now moved away from the high and moral standards upon which this country was founded. People today do not ask the question: “What is right?” any more, but instead the question asked is: “What works and fits best in our culture?”

Truth today seems to be determined by what the majority thinks and feels is right.  That is why a growing number of people no longer see anything wrong with the evil that we are witnessing in today’s society.

 

How far will it go? How bad will things actually become? Can things be turned around? May we always remember that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).   Conformity to the living and thinking of our time would be disastrous to the Church, and to the eternal salvation of  Christians.

 

So what is a Christian to be and to do in this non-Christian society?    First, a Christian is to be “pure in heart” 

 

From the sermon on the Mt. Jesus is describing the character that should accompany those who wear His name stated Matthew 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”,  Solomon in the long ago stated:  “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he” (Prov. 4:23).

 

Someone has said “Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a life. Sow a life, reap a destiny.”  The apostle Paul said it in such a way that it is easily remembered,  Galatians 6:7-8

 

7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

So we need to understand that our thoughts are going to determine our actions in this life as well as our eternal destinies. In Matthew 15:18 the Lord made it very clear that “the things that come from the heart are what defiles a man. “This is why the Psalmist prayed “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10).

 

A Christian is to grow spiritually through Bible study and prayer.  As Christians, we are to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”      & 2 Pet. 3:5:11

 

5But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

The word of God is to be “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway” (Psa. 119:105). The reason we must rely upon God’s word is because man is unable to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23).

 

 Christians are commanded to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

 

 And certainly prayer is vital to a Christian if he is to be pleasing to God. Christians ought to always be involved in praying to God (Luke 18:1; Phil. 4:6). Prayer can solve problems. It can change things, change people, and change lives.

 

 By failing to pray, our Christian lives will deteriorate at a very fast pace. Jesus was a man of prayer as well as all great people of God that we read about in the pages of inspiration.  Prayer and Bible study will help us to be faithful to God and to remain pure in this ungodly world in which we live.

 

 A Christian should be evangelistic.  One of the greatest needs in our non-christian society is for more personal workers.  The Great Commission is without a doubt the greatest responsibility of a Christian. Hear It again....               & Mt. 28:18-20

 

18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

The Christians of the first century recognized their responsibility to lost souls, and that is why they preached the gospel to “every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23). A Christian is to be zealously involved in good works (Tit. 2:14).

 

There is a song we often sing written by the late Tillit S. Teddlie  “Into Our Hands”  This song says better than I the responsibility we share in preaching the gospel. Consider the words

 

Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages. 

Swiftly the hours are changing to years.

How are we using God’s golden moments?

Shall we reap glory, or shall we reap tears?”

 

Millions are groping without the gospel,

Quickly they’ll  reach eternity’s night

Shall we sit idly as they rush onward?

Haste let us hold up Christ the true light

 

Souls that are precious, souls that are dying

While we rejoice our sins are forgiv’n

Did he not also die for these lost ones?

Then let us poin the way unto heav’n.

 

Into our hands the gospel is given

Into our hands is given the light

Haste let us carry God precious message

Guiding the erring back to the right.

 

A Christian must always follow the example of Jesus “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). The local congregation provides an excellent atmosphere to be involved in good works that advance the cause of Christ in the local community. All Christians have talents and abilities, and a failure use those talents is to be “wicked and slothful” (Mt. 25:26).

 

Then A Christian should be a nonconforming transformer.  Christians are not to be conformed to this non-christian society in which we live (Romans 12:2),

 

2And 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.

 

Yet a Christian is to exert that transforming influence in every situation he faces. Christians are commanded to “love not the world neither the things that are in the world       &1 Jn. 2:15.

 

 But just knowing when one must not love the world nor conform to its fashion is not enough.  A faithful Christian must go even further by exerting a positive and transforming influence toward the world—

Matthew 5:13-16 we read from the lips of our Master and Teacher...

13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

 Again responsibility is noted in  Philippians 2:14-16

 

14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;   16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.

 

 As one reads the story of God’s people, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament,  he is impressed by the fact that God’s people have always stood firm. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews contains a list of a great host of people who had a faith so great that they were willing to trust God’s way, rather than go the way of the world which was around them.

 

 Some has likened a Christian to a policeman standing in the middle of a downtown street, during a heavy rainstorm. He is pelted by the rain from above, and splashed by the dirty water of the street as cars and buses pass him on all sides; but he does not become dirty.  He is insulated against these elements by his rubber hat and hood, his raincoat, and his rubber boots. But more important than the fact that he did not get wet is the fact that his presence accomplishes good. He directs the traffic to the benefit of all concerned.

 

In the same way, the Christian must be insulated from this world and yet be a positive influence for good among those with whom he comes in contact.

 

But above all, a Christian needs to resolve to be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10)  So that he can receive that glorious crown of life that God has promised to all those that love his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). Realizing that he is a stranger and a pilgrim. 2 Peter 2:11

 

A Christian will not allow anything to deter him from that heavenly home with God when the pilgrimage of this life is over.

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658