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To Make a Difference

February 5, 2020, 10:00 AM

To make a difference in this world, we must be different!

Being a Bible believing Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, there are many troubling trends in this sin cursed world that disturb me.  However, as a pastor of a Sothern Baptist Church, I find some troubling trends in church circles even more disturbing.  Particularly troubling is the dramatic deline in attendance of most Christian church's, and not just in SBC church's.  

But even more disturbing than the decline in numbers attending and numbers of salvations, is  the solutions that many pastor's and leaders have turned to in order to "remain relevant" in today's society in order to reverse the downward dive in numerical results.

There is increasing pressure and momentum to "change with the times" or be perceived as archaic and be left behind.  

Many church's have changed their methodology and ministry philosophy in order to draw in the crowds.  

The music standards have changed, the "dress code" has changed, the message being preached either has been changed or is not far from being changed.  

Now before you jump to conclusions about me and this message, understand I am not opposed to having some lively music.  I am not suggesting we must stick only with the old hymns.  I am not saying we to keep with only piano's and organs.  Personally I like much of what many call contemporary music.  I like upbeat music as much or more than the next person.  In fact if I had my way, I think we aught to have a good mix of old hymns and newer praise music. 

I also am not saying you have to wear a suit and tie if you are a man, or skirt and dress if you are a lady.  At Pleasant Hill Baptist we have no such dress code.  in fact if you were to show up at our services you would find a range of dress spectrum from Overalls to three piece suits.  From dresses and skirts to khaki's and jeans.  My personal philosophy is that you aught to put thought into what you are wearing and be modest doing it. You are not going to be seen by man, but you will be seen by man as you go to worship God.  

So if you show up in shorts and flip flops, it does not bother me.  If you want to sing songs that are repetitive and make you want to lift your hands in the air, I am ok with that too.  

What I am not ok with is changing our church methodology to match that of secular world for the purpose of enticing the world to show up or so they can be comfortable in doing so.  I am not okay with changing methodology so that the church is able to entertain those that come inside it's doors.  

A major trend in church's is to make the church service more appealing by making it look and feel more like the world.  This is extremely troubling and it will not work.  When it comes to appealing to the flesh, we cannot win, nor should we be trying.  

I know the argument of many is that we appeal to them so they come in the doors, and then we blast them with truth of the gospel gun!  

Except that is called bait and switch and it really never works.  Once they realize what you goal is, they view you as disingenuous and go somewhere else where they can get entertained without having to be lectured by the Gospel.  

Church's that are successful in drawing in a crowd with entertainment quickly realize that they must keeping upping their game in order to keep the fickle crowds and must water down the message so that the people don't feel "lectured."

So what is the answer?

The Answer is found in the changed life that Christ has given you.  The answer is in being different than the rest of the world.  The answer is loving even if you are persecuted and hated.  The answer is going the extra mile even for those that take advantage of you.  The answer is loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, and responding to an angry word with a kind one.  

That is the kind of changed actions that people will respond to and take notice of.  People will take note of you being different than they expect you to be.  People will want to know why.  

That is the kind of change that God will honor, because it is the kind of change He is working out in us and calls us to.  

The story of Paul and the Philippians Jailer in Acts 16 describes just such a situation.

1.    Paul and Silas prayed to and praised God even though they were suffering - that is different!

2.  Paul and SIlas sang even though they were shackals and had been beaten, when most people would have been crying and complaining -that is different!

3.  Paul and Silas did not try to escape the prison when an earthquake loosed them from their bonds and broke open the doors when most people would have ran for their lives and freedom - that is different!

4. Paul and Silas stopped the jailer from harming himself, when ordinary prisoners would have attempted to harm him - that is different.  

What was the response of the Jailer?  He fell down before Paul and Silas and begged them to tell him how to be saved!  Not only that, but his whole family came to Christ as well.  He then treated their wounds and fed them in his house and praised God with them!

The trend to make our church's and life's more like the world in order to win the world is troubling and wrong because it does not work.  In fact the opposite is shown here to be true.  

But it is impossible to expect people to treat people the way that Paul and Silas did?  You are right, it is nearly impossible.

That is why we must remember that it is not so much what we do that draws people and wins people. It is what God does in us to draw and win people.  

I can do all things through Christ that Strenthens me...and he is calling us to be different.  

Talk different, walk different, act different, be different.  

In order to make a difference in this world for Christ I must be different.