Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, June second. The attractions of the world often pull Christians away from the commitment to live a righteous life. Today, you'll hear how to keep from being conformed to the world in part two of A Call to Godly Living.
Well, the apostle Paul lived in a day when sensuality and sin and rebellion and ignorance and blindness and darkness were so prevalent. And so, writing to the Romans, he wrote to them what he would write to our city today or all across America. And I want you to look, if you will, in the twelfth chapter and beginning with this first verse. He says, Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
It's the right thing to do. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Now, those two verses are loaded with truth and are an awesome challenge. Because what he is saying here is it's a call to God's people to live a godly life. And if you'll notice what he says, he says, Stop being conformed to this world.
And so, I want us to think about this for a moment. Stop, and that's what he uses. He uses a present imperative verb. What he's saying is stop being conformed. They were living the same kind of life that we have in our nation today.
Listen carefully. One of the greatest dangers in America today, one of the greatest dangers in the church today is the danger of compromise. Allowing ourselves to be shaped and conformed or patterned after the world. And you see, the world system, if you'll think about it for a moment, who do you hear about in the news primarily? It's always those who are out there seemingly wealthy and rich and in the politics and so forth, and they're this, and now they're famous and so forth. What about the millions of Christians who live a godly life every day? Do you ever see anybody on television say, Today we have, Mr. So-and-so is a very godly Christian. No, you don't see any of that.
Usually what they are promoting is some wicked, evil idea. Now, there's some wonderful people out there, but I'm just saying, if you'll think about what's happening, I've lived long enough to watch this nation go in a very, very devastating direction. Now, if you're young, you say, Well, I don't, what's going on?
Because you haven't lived long enough. You haven't seen, you haven't studied history, you don't know where we're headed. And I'm telling you that you and I are living in a very dangerous time in the life of our nation.
Because you see, this whole idea of compromise, listen, that's what politics is all about, compromise. It's not what believers are all about. We are about living a godly life. Now, what he's saying is this by conforming, he's saying the world has its set pattern. Disobedience, evil, wickedness, vileness, cursing, immorality, you name it. The world system out there, somebody says, Well, what do you mean by world? Here's what the Bible means by world. When the Bible speaks of the world system, it is, it's the way they think and the way they act.
That is, the world system is a system of life without God. And you and I are living in a time when more and more people in this nation are compromising their belief system. He says stop being conformed to the world. If you don't want to be conformed to the world, stop looking at them.
Stop practicing what they practice. And so what happens is we have a society that is immoral. We have a society that is so composed of anti-Christ, anti-God. And what's happening is it's not just slowly, but very quickly something is happening to our nation. Only God can rescue us. And you know what, if it's going to happen, it's got to start in the church.
And one of the problems is the church. There are more and more pastors today who are giving up their doctrinal stance. Now, why I leave that up to them, but statistics can prove it. How many of them have decided that Jesus was not born of a virgin?
That's what they say. The same men used to stand in the pulpit and preach the gospel and say He was. Did the Bible change?
No. The same thing is true about whether the Bible is really God's inerrant Word or not. Well, I used to think that, but now I don't. Well, I don't think anything in here's changed. Then so why have you changed your attitude about it? And so what happens is, and after a while, immoral living is okay because God doesn't expect us all to be the same. We have to be loving and kind and accepting. There's not a thing in the Word of God that says I should accept evil and disobedient living.
There's not one thing. You and I as believers, we're to be different. He says stop being conformed. Don't let their pressure shape you into their system, thinking the way they think and acting the way they act.
Compromise is a dangerous thing. And to conform to the world is to compromise your knowledge of truth, your God-given knowledge of truth and your convictions about what is right and wrong. When the Bible says, Thou shalt not about something, there is nothing else to be said. It doesn't say, Thou maybe shouldn't, or Thou could think about it, or Thou might consider it. Thou shall not.
And so, we live in a system that doesn't want this Book for the simple reason. It, you know what happens? It cramps their sinful living. And sometimes, you may have a friend that all of a sudden your friendship has a little something about it's not right. And oftentimes, you know what that is? They've chosen, decided to live in a way that they know would not please you or you would disagree with. And the truth is they can't quite disagree with what you believe.
So, somebody says, Well, what am I supposed to do about that? Well, it's very interesting what the Scripture says because when you begin to think about how people live and how we have to relate to them, look in Second Corinthians for a moment. And look at this sixth chapter. And I want you to notice what he says. And I won't read all of this, but just the portion of this fourteenth through the seventeenth verses. And Corinth was a very sinful, sensual city.
Big city, lots of people passing through in different parts of the world. Listen to what he says. Verse fourteen, Do not be bound together with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? Verse fifteen, What harmony has Christ with the devil? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? And verse seventeen, Therefore come out from among the midst of them, and be separate, says the Lord.
Now, all three of those verses are telling us something. Don't let yourself be shaped by the world system. That is, don't, listen, if the group that you run with, your friends, if they are living in such a fashion that really is a contradiction to what you believe, you need to find different friends. Somebody says, Oh, now wait a minute, I want to be a witness to them.
I've heard that a lot of times. You know what usually happens? They win, you lose. If they have chosen to live an ungodly life, walk away.
I can remember till this day, the very day where I was when my friends and, we've been friends a long time, and they're good boys. We were not into anything. None of us drank or anything like that.
No immorality going on. And, but on this particular time, they wanted to go somewhere. And I knew that was not right. And I said, Well, you know what? I can't go. Oh, come on, Stanley.
Come on, come on, come on, come on. It's not going to hurt you. Who's going to know? Besides that, as soon as my friend said that, I said, Well, there's one person you're going to know.
And knowing my mother, she'd find out. I said, I know two things I knew for sure. I remember walking, with all their pleading, I remember walking away. And I'd walked about a mile to get to them.
I walked away. I'm going up North Main Street. And I know exactly where I was because I delivered newspapers on that street. And I knew everybody's name because I'd delivered newspapers there for four years. His name was R.B.
Rogers. I was in front of his house when God said to me, You will never regret your decision not to follow them. And I've never regretted it.
Here's what I want you to see. It may be unpopular for you to take a stand for God. But it is the right profitable thing for you to do in the eyes of God. He will honor you in ways that you would never begin to understand. He will honor you in ways that you would never begin to understand. He will honor you in ways that you would never begin to understand.
He will honor you in ways that you would never begin to understand. The tug of the world, it's always going to be there. Stop allowing the world to shape you, to think the way they think. Talk the way they talk. Go where they go. Drink what they drink. Commit immorality as they do. You say, Well, how am I going to do that? That's what I'm coming to. Well, I'm going to do it the way I need to do it. I'm going to do it because I'm going to do it because I can't do it. So, be as firm and moving as you can.
And I think that's what makes you better. And so, be as comfortable to Him and available to serve Him. Don't be conformed to this world any longer, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Now, how do you, how do we correct this issue?
And if I tell them I'm a Christian, they're going to laugh at me, or they'll say, well, I know some other Christians who do it, and tragically enough, they do. What does it mean when He says, would be ye transformed? Well, think about this. To transform anything means to change it. He says, be ye being transformed.
That is, it is a process. And so, to be transformed means there's a change. Now what, a change in what? A change, first of all, in the way we think. A change in every aspect of our life that is in a contradiction to being obedient to God. He says, be ye transformed. That is, it's a turnaround.
There's got to be an adjustment here. You don't have to keep thinking that way. Listen, whatever you and I think about is what affects us. Now watch this, whatever you and I focus on is what we become. You focus on things that are righteous and good you become that way. You focus on things that are sinful and evil and vile you become that.
For example, let's say a person who focuses on pornography. Before long, their feet are going to take them where their eyes started. You think about this. He says, now how has a person transformed?
By the renewing of your mind. Now what does that mean? That means I'm going to think differently.
That's what it means. Now how does a person begin to have a renewed mind? Here's where it all starts.
By doing what? A change of mind. Well, what am I going to think about? I'm going to think the way God thinks. I'm going to think about what God said. If I want to live a godly life, I have to think the way God thinks.
And so, I must be in the Word, feeding my mind upon the Word of God. As we said, people, for example, who are into pornography, why are they into it? They look, their mind thinks, their mind lusts. And before long, they're committing things that are ungodly.
And he, you see, listen, when you tolerate something in your life, always ask yourself this question, where is he going to lead me? What are the consequences? But you see, people don't want to think about consequences, do they? They just want to think about the pleasure of the moment. They sacrifice their entire future for the pleasure of the moment.
And they don't think about it till it's too late. Stop being conformed to the image of this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
How do you do that? First of all, you fill your mind with the Word of God. What does God say? What is God thinking about all these things? And does He not say in Philippians four, eight, He's, in Colossians three, He says, set your mind on things above.
And in Philippians He says, think on these things, things that are pure and good and righteous and holy. It's the way we think. You sit at home and watch these crazy soap operas and all the stuff, everybody's committing adultery and living with somebody else's wife. And I mean, it's just trash, junk, filth, evil, vile. And when you look at it and you watch it, what happens? You put it in your mind and what you're saying is, either I like this or something, but I'm here to tell you that you're, what you're doing is you're allowing programs on the television to get you conformed to the rest of the world. Before you're along, you know what happens?
You're out doing the same thing. How do you renew your mind? You focus on the Word of God and you begin to apply God's Word in your heart. There's some chapters in this Bible that are so powerful, it changed your mind. You can take these two verses and you start reading them every day.
You go to work tomorrow and somebody gives you a little, you say, now what did God say? He says, don't be conformed to the image of this world. God's Word, listen, will adjust, readjust your thinking, change your thinking. You meditate upon the Word of God. Secondly, listen, you focus upon things that are good and righteous and holy. Don't join in with a crowd of people who are going to lead you in the wrong way, who are thinking in a way you don't want to think.
And isn't this what you tell your children? Now, I don't want you running with that crowd. Well, why don't you want me running with that crowd, Mom?
I mean, what's the problem here? I don't want you running with that crowd because what's going to happen is before long, you're going to be just like them. Listen to the Bible say, listen. Bad company corrupts good morals. That's why you say to your children, I don't want you running with them. Well, God says the same things to us adults. I don't want you running with them because they're going to corrupt you.
And corruption leads to disaster. If I'm going to have a transformed mind, I've got to get God's Word in my heart. Secondly, I've got to begin to focus on things that I think are good and righteous and holy and things that are, that keep me with God's Word. And not only that, I've got to apply these things to my heart. When I think about what people really want in life, and here it is, and they say, I want it, but I want it some other way.
You don't get it any other way. It's only by the grace and goodness and love and cleansing power of God that you and I have the assurances in life that we're looking for. And so, I think about one way to transform your mind is, think about this, is to practice His presence. Now, listen carefully. In the morning when you get up, you get up in the morning and you start talking to Him.
Your focus is on Him. Today, Lord, I know I'm going to face some situations that are going to be sort of tempting or trying, and so today I'm going to focus on You. I want You to work in my heart.
I know that You are present within me, and so help me to be aware today that I'm living with Your indwelling presence within me. I want to do what's right. I want to be obedient. I want to be able to take a stand. I want to be strong, God.
I want my life to count. I want to be different. I don't want to be conformed. I don't want to be shaped by the world. I want to be conformed to the image of Christ because, here's what He said, He predestined you and me to be conformed to the image of His Son, not the image of the world.
It all boils down to one word that we don't like. That's the word surrender. You can't live a godly life and have your hand over here on something that you're grasping and saying, well, I'm willing to give up most. I don't, listen, I'm tired, I go to church, I read the Bible once in a while, I have Christian friends, and I can't be perfect, so I'm willing to give up most anything but her or what or Him or that, whatever it might be. You can't live a godly life.
Watch this, this is hard, but it's true. You cannot live a godly life willfully disobeying God at the same time. So, I simply ask you this question. In order for you to live a godly life, what is it that God has put His finger on even in this message that you know does not belong in your life? Somebody else's wife?
The bar? Or we could just go on down the line. What is it He's put His finger on and you know and nobody knows but you and God what it'll take for you to live a godly life? I can only say it'll take this, open hands, full surrender. That's what it takes to live a godly life. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of A Call to Godly Living. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia. We'll be right back.
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