Rev. David Holwick M Communion
First Baptist Church
Ledgewood, New Jersey
April 7, 1991
I. We hate to be different.
A. People conform in many ways.
1) Hair styles. (kid getting off bus with 2 foot "spike")
B. All ages conform.
1) Young people and multi-laced athletic shoes.
2) Older people - AT&T businessmen all dressed in dark suits.
C. Ultimate area of conformity - thought patterns.
1) Much social pressure to conform to majority view.
a) Even if it is wrong.
b) Gnadenhutten massacre of Christian (Moravian) Indians
burned alive in their church.
2) Instead of majority view, we need to conform to true view.
a) Jonathan Blanchard, first president of Wheaton College:
"One person plus the truth is a majority."
b) Genuine Christians must conform to the gospel, not the
II. Christians need to be different.
A. Non-believers say we are different, in nerdy sense.
1) They say we are different in a few habits like drugs.
2) We are also different in being more racist, narrow,
B. Christians must be different, in God's sense.
1) We must be different because Jesus was different.
William J. O'Malley writes in "America" magazine:
"Quite unlike Hitler or the Rolling Stones or Hugh Hefner -
who also changed the world, simply by figuring out which
way the parade was heading and getting in front of it,
Jesus did not give us a message we wanted to hear.
He came to turn the parade in precisely the opposite direction.
He spoke words hard for our canny hearts even to give
credence to, much less heed:
-Take the last place (the real parade is heading the other way),
-Forget yourself (even your shortcomings),
-Take up your cross,
-Heal the hateful."
2) We must be different because Jesus demands it of us.
a) Be better than sinners, who love their own. Luke 6:32
b) Ephesians 4 - don't join in old way of life.
1> Bad thinking leads to bad living. Eph 4:17
2> Be different in your thinking. Eph 4:23
3> And be different in your living. Eph 4:24
C. Moral area.
1) Sexual integrity.
a) Contraceptives handed out in schools.
1> "Face fact that kids are sexually active."
2> Sad, but true.
A> Nothing new - note orgies Paul refers to.
b) Shouldn't be true of Christians.
1> God gives us a higher standard.
2> It is a standard that makes a lot of sense.
a) Taxes due soon.
b) World says fudge all you can.
c) What does God say?
1> "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."
D. Thought area. Eph 4:23
1) Shape new values that go against the world's.
III. The world enforces conformity.
A. Subtle pressure used to mold others to agree.
1) Kids - "You can't be our friend."
B. Christians will face pressure by being different.
1) Ostracism. 1 Peter 4:4
2) "Ford syndrome."
Those who buy Fords (or any car) try to convince others
Fords are best cars, to reassure themselves they made
the right decision.
C. But what is more important than obeying God?
IV. When Christians are different, they make a difference.
A. Writer Leo Rosten:
"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be "happy."
I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible,
to be compassionate.
It is, above all, to matter: to count, to stand for something,
to have made some difference that you lived at all."
B. Example of Christian who has made a difference.
Charles Colson tells story of a man named Pascal:
Pascal was a university professor thrown into prison in
Madagascar, Africa, after Communists overthrew the gov't.
He became a Christian in prison.
Released, started a small export company, but returned to prison
to preach the gospel.
One day he saw 50 corpses in the prison yard and asked about it.
They told there was an epidemic, turned out to be malnutrition.
He tried to get others to help, and ended up cooking meals in his
own kitchen for the prison.
"Without benefit of a government agency or even a theme song,
this little platoon makes all the difference for 700
prisoners in Madagascar."
A. How different are you?
B. How much of a difference are you making?
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