What is the primary complaint that many people have with Christians in our day and time? Sometimes they think that we're too judgmental. Sometimes they think that we're too narrow-minded. Sometimes they think that we're irrelevant, far behind the rest of the world in regards to education and understanding. But the number one complaint that people have with Christians is that we are "hypocrites" - that we often live and act differently than what we profess to believe. And the sad thing is, that that complaint is often true in regards to the lives of many professing Christians.

Thousands of years ago during the great Greek culture when Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and Euripides were writing plays like Homer, the Iliad, the Odyssey, etc. they used to have on actor play multiple roles in those plays. A guy would come from back stage to play a part and he would wear a mask, say certain things and play that role. Then he'd walk backstage, get another mask, come back out and play another role. One guy could have multiple roles and many masks. And he was called in Greek the name "hupokrites." We get the word "hypocrite" from it. What does it mean to be a hypocrite?  It means we're not the same with everybody. It means we talk and act one way with this group and we talk and act another way with another group. And it's come to mean that we don't live out the values we profess to believe in our lives.

Real Christians Are To Live Differently Than The Rest Of
The World.

I'm speaking today about how the world often perceives Christians - because one of the characteristics of real Christianity is that Real Christians Are To Live Differently Than The Rest Of The World. In recent CONNECTING POINTS, I've been talking about how "Religious belief, behavior, and belonging are lower than they have ever been in American history," That's not good because Sociologists and Christian leaders know that beliefs determine people's behavior. I've also been talking about 7 primary beliefs people need to have in order to really embrace Jesus and Christianity. I've said that real Christians must embrace the truths that:

  • God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us

  • Jesus Is The Only Son Of God And Savior Of The World

  • The Bible Is God's Word And Authority And Guide For Our Lives (which is an emphasis we're really making in our There's A "Script" For That sermon series)

  • The Holy Spirit Lives In And Empowers Christ-Followers

And the fifth belief we must lead people to embrace is that Real Christians Are To Live Differently Than The Rest Of The World. Let me share with you a few Scriptures to substantiate that premise, and then a few principles that help us to understand what it means to live differently than the rest of the world. First of all, the Bible says,

  • "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away . . . all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  • "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2)

What Does It Take To Live Differently Than The Rest Of The World?

Those Scriptures and many other Scriptures tell us that Christians are to love and live differently than the rest of the world. We're to think differently, talk differently, act differently, and even in some ways dress differently than the rest of the world. The key question is, "What does it take to live differently than the rest of the world?" Here are some answers to that question.

To begin with, to live differently than the rest of the world we must Submit to Authority in our Lives. The Bible tells us that are to submit to: 1) God's authority (Exodus 20:3), 2) Scriptural authority (2 Timothy 3:16), 3) Governmental authority (Romans 13:2), 4) Parental authority while we're in our Parents home (Ephesians 6:1), 5) a Husband's authority (Ephesians 5:22-23), and 6) Pastoral authority (Hebrews 13:17) in our lives.

To live differently than the rest of the world we must also Live with Integrity in our Lives. This means that we must strive to always: 1) Live out our Values (Proverbs 20:7), 2) Tell the Truth (Proverbs 12:22), 3) Keep our Promises (Proverbs 15:14), 4) Refrain from Stealing (Exodus 20:15), and 5) Refuse to Gossip (Proverbs 11:13).

Third, to live differently than the rest of the world we must Commit to Purity in our Lives. Ephesians 5:3-5 says: "Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes - these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God."

Then, To live differently than the rest of the world we must Make God's Will our Priority in Life. Jesus said, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:33)

When I look at what it takes to live differently than the rest of the world, I'm overwhelmed and think, "I can't do that." But then I'm reminded that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). And I'm reminded that I need to live, act, talk, and even dress differently than the rest of the world if I'm to convince the people of the world that they need a relationship with my Jesus. In order to live differently than the rest of the world, so I won't be known as a "hyprocrite," I have to often pray Paul's words in Galatians 2:20 where he wrote,  "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." 

 One way we demonstrate we're committed to "living differently than the rest of the world" and being difference-makers in our world is by having a real commitment to prayer. And since tomorrow (May 4) is our nation's NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER,  I encourage you to join me tomorrow in prayer by Facebook Live at 7:14 am (or later on demand); praying with me for our region, state, and nation. You can be on the Celebration Church Metairie-New Orleans Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/celebrationnola). And you can encourage friends and family members to join with us as well.
 Someone asked me recently, "What's the best thing that we can do for our region, state and nation?" There are many good answers to that question. But the best thing we can do is pray because prayer connects us with the person of God and prayer brings the power of God into the situations and relationships that we're concerned about in our region, state, nation and world. So, join me for prayer on the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER if you can, remembering that the Lord said in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land." 
TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE!
May 4 is also Celebration At City Park NightOn this night Celebration members and our guests can enjoy the beauty, rides, and food of New Orleans famed City Park at a significantly reduced price, while also enjoying fellowship with other Celebration members and our Crescent City Christian School students and family members. Tickets are $15 per person if you order them today (you can purchase tickets here) and are $20 per person at the gate (which opens at 6:30 pm). All proceeds go to benefit our Crescent City Christian School. To learn more about Celebration At City Park Night go to www.celebrationchurch.org.

Our Pastors and I look forward to seeing you for Prayer, at City Park Night, and in our Sunday services (in-person and online) as we continue our series, There's A Script For That.

Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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