Leon Fontaine - Conformed to the World
My message today is an absolutely crucial one every day of your life which you know there are times when you don't realize what you don't have until pressure comes to bear on your life. Then you find out what you're made of. Then you find out are you truly a discipline follower of Christ. And so today, I've entitled my message, "Are you as a believer still conform to the world".
The Bible, I've noticed over the years in dealing with people, that there are two kinds of born-again believers. There are the one kind who have never transformed and keep transforming in God's Word. And they're, and so they just stay conformed to their old way of thinking, their old identity, their old beliefs, their old hurts, their old emotions, their old behaviors, etcetera. And their life as a born-again follower of Christ doesn't change and in many cases it gets worse as life just keeps coming their way and they are living in hell even though they're going to go to heaven one day when they die.
And so we've got to recognize that as a born-again believer, that you can still be suicidal. You can still struggle with adultery, addiction, anger. You can destroy relationships. You can be so messed up in your head and in your relationships, your health, etcetera, and the Bible teaches that. One of the problems that we have is that people will get born-again and everyone tells them a quick shallow truth like, "You're now everything's new and yes, the Bible says that. And God's in control, everything's going to be okay".
And I think more people backslide when they don't hear the truth in context because that is true that you can move your life to that place. But if you don't work the process that God has given us, then you as a born-again believer with Christ in your spirit can live as great a hell and as great a pain with death going on everywhere in your life and just blame God. That's where the sovereignty of God doctrine comes from. People who don't understand when things aren't going good at all anywhere and what's going on.
And so you make up all these doctrines. And it's something I've had to fight all my life as a pastor is to not give in to this wishy-washy doctrines that make people feel comfortable, not pushing through to complete victory. Jesus is the author and the finisher of your faith. Don't get stuck in the middle somewhere. And I believe this message today is going to help you immensely because when storms blow, when the water rises, when pressure comes to bear. The Bible says, Jesus says you're not going to be shaken in any area. But if you don't do what He says, the Bible says you will be destroyed. Listen to me. Stop saying, "God's got the whole world in His hands, everything's under control". That's not even a Bible verse. It's a song. He's got the whole world in his hands. Not a Bible verse, and He doesn't have the whole world in His hands.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says Satan is the God of this world. And so yes, as a believer, you can give your life to Him and then do what He says. And Jesus says you can't be shaken by the storms. So if you want to say God's in control of your life, that's because you're walking with that daily. Because you can walk out of that anytime you want.
Now, one of the things the Bible teaches us is that if you are conformed, and I'm going to give you a test right now, because so many people think because they know some Bible, that they're in faith. But a vast majority of the Christian population are in a head faith. It's just a, they agree with doctrine. They think learning something is to have faith but they still walkout. They can't get victory in so many areas of their lives. So what are the signs of someone who's not walking in this transformation, who's got this poor soul the Bible teaches us about. Well, here we are. I will give you eight things that I've noticed that follow this people.
1. They have a lack of knowledge of the Bible. That's a Hosea 4:6 says, "My people perished for a lack of knowledge". Not a lack of Jesus, a lack of knowledge. Crucial, crucial part. They don't know.
2. You can tell when you're just conformed to the world's way of living and thinking when you are controlled by the desires of your flesh. Your physical desires, sex, food, money, possession. Romans 8:5 talks about this. If you're controlled by those desires, and you're not controlling them. You are conformed to this world's way of thinking.
3. If you're weak and indecisive. You're double-minded. You can't seem to make up your mind on things. On, off, on, off. The Bible says in James 1:8, then you've just, you have not been transforming in the Word.
4. If you're fantasizing on the negativity. You always notice the negative in every situation. You see the negative dot in the middle of a beautiful situation and you're fantasizing on the negative. Feeling unable to control your thoughts. That's a 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 teaches us.
A fifth thing you need to look at yourself and gauge yourself is this refusing to change, defending past behaviour, making excuses for yourself, Proverbs 9:7-9. When you can't be changing. You can't change until you acknowledge the mistakes you're making. The beliefs that need to be changed. The attitudes, the behaviours, the emotions. So many people are so immature that they won't acknowledge that they need to change. And so refusing to change. Oh, man, is that destroy people's lives.
The sixth thing you need to look at yourself with, is are spending all your time on natural, earthly material things, Colossians 3:1-2. So many people tell me this story. And they say, "You know what, I'd come to church, but I need to go play golf that morning every Sunday. It's the only way I can get rid of my stress and have sometime of my own. I get a chance to relax a little bit. When I'm walking in the golf course, I feel God". Someone else, "I, every Sunday I'm going to go to the mountains. I'm going to walk". You know what, I have no problem with you enjoying this world, the mountains, the golf. Please do it. But when you place it in front of God's Word, then you're spending all your time on natural, earthly, material things, not bad things. And you have not put the kingdom of God first, then the rest of them after that. That's a sign. You're not transforming. You conformed to this world.
7. You allow emotions to control your attitudes. You allow your emotions to control the way you behave, Ephesians 4:22-24. You're not to let your emotions control an attitude. You can't let your emotions control your behavior. But did you know the vast majority of the Christian population do and most of the world does. The Word of God it says power here.
8. Allowing fear, allowing anger, bitterness, gossip, negative thinking to consume you, Philippians 4:8. Then you have not walked out. You're born-again if you've given your life to Jesus and believed on Him. You'll go to heaven when you die. But you will live in hell as you walk this world out because Jesus has not promised that everything's going to go smooth. He's saying, "And I'm going to walk you through". How can we live our lives filled with what the Bible says. That we can have peace and joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. John 10:10, Jesus come that you might have life and more abundantly.
Let me walk you today through some crucial thoughts as I show you how to do this. God created you for two reasons. To be like Him, number one and number two, to be close to Him. God said, "Let us make man in our image". You and I are made in the image of God. That doesn't mean we just look like Him. You know, when you see the children of someone and until they get to a certain area of making all their own decisions. But usually you can tell whose kids they are, because they're made in the likeness and the image of their parents. It's not just their looks. It's how they walk, how they laugh, how they talk. It's little movements that they make.
You and I are made in the likeness and the image of God. In your salvation, there is two issues you need to understand. There's a legal side to being born-again and there's an experiential side to salvation. All right? Now, in the legal side, there is in the courts of heaven. Jesus has won some things and you have a legal right to them. And that is the teaching of what Jesus did on the cross. His death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension to the righthand of the Father has created a new covenant, a new document, a new agreement between heaven and born-again believers, between God and Jesus that you and I get to enjoy. And so this legal, you need to understand the legal part of your salvation.
Now, people who just stay in the legal side. They're boring. And you know, they're just... But there's also an experiential side. So people who don't ever learn to experience God, they're boring and no one wants what they've got. They can argue until they're blue in the face, but no one cares. But then there's people who've experienced God and they're all about experiences but they're too lazy to go learn the legal side of their salvation. So they can weep, cry, do the moonwalk. They can do all sorts of stuff. They're all about emotions and feelings and relationship and experiencing. But if they don't learn the Word, they're going to just blow up.
People who only look at the legal, dry up. People who only look at the experiential, blow up. But people who take the legal and experiential teaching and relationship of God's Word, they grow up. And man, do they look healthy and bless and happy. You need to understand this. You can change. You can. You can change to make your life what you want it to be. You know, one of the governing things about psychology is in most cases they'll tell you we can't change a person, but we can help them modify their behaviour. They have found that out after decades of and I've got great people in our church who are in psychology, psychiatry, counseling.
I've been counseling people for close to 40 years. And so I've had a chance to watch and to see track record and what works. I want you to know as a Christian, you can. You can. You can change and you can make your life what you want it to be. That's one of the most beautiful things about having Jesus on the inside. If you've got a map for the wrong city, it doesn't matter how good your attitude is. It doesn't matter how positive your confession is. You're going to stay lost. Why? Wrong map. You're never going to arrive at your desired destination. Why? Wrong map. If you do not change your believing and your thinking, you've got a wrong map to succeed in finances, marriage, relationships, family, business, career. You're never going to end up. I don't care how born-again you think you are. You got the wrong map.
Another thought I want to give you today. The new birth changes your spirit but it's the renewing of the mind that changes your soul. Soul and spirit are different. Spirit is who you are. Soul is your thinking, your emotions, your will, okay? Some people's will is so stubbornly focused on lies. They're destroying their lives. The Bible says you can destroy your whole family, your whole marriage if you focus stubbornly on the things that are not true. So the new birth which is a complete gift changes your spirit. But it is the process of renewing your mind that changes your soul.
Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world. But you, you be transformed by the renewing of your mind". He's talking to Roman Christians in Rome. And then it says, "You can have the perfect will of God". It doesn't say just become born-again. It says, "Now, that you're born-again, don't stay conform to the way this world thinks". The way you were raised. The heartaches, the hurts, the brokenness. The way your mom handled stuff. The way your dad handled stuff. The way your grandpa handled stuff. The way you've been taught, etcetera. Don't stay conform to that. You have an amazing ability to be transformed and that God's Word will renew your mind.
Here is where you're going to walk out the life you've been dreaming or stay stuck in the bitter, irritable life. Jesus says it so clearly when He talks about the two houses. One on the rock, one on the sand. Both are born-again believers. One's listening, one's not. One's destroyed. Destroyed! He's warning us. 1 Corinthians 1:18, it says, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". Why does it say being saved which doesn't mean past. It means present and future. We know that we're completely saved in our spirit.
But here in 1 Corinthians 1:18, it says that you are being saved 'cause your soul needs to get saved. And then it will be able to dominate and control all of the desires of your body. Your body doesn't have, I'm not talking about bad desires. Although, you've got to deal with those, too. You see, God gave you a sexual desire, a desire for food. He gave you a desire to even desire to lead and to be a leader 'cause you're called to subdue this world, to get up and have dominion. Everybody has a desire to be a leader, to rise up, and to take control. Okay? But when we be and get God's Word, we harness this sexual desires. We harness this food desires. We harness the desire to be happy and party. We harness this desire to be the leader, to rise to the top, and we make it submit to the Word of God.
Philippians 2:12 says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Wait a minute Leon. I thought that I'm born-again. Everything's new. Yes, in your spirit man. That's why the Bible's so important to take this beautiful thoughts and dive in deeper and understand them. But if you have to work out your salvation every day with a sense of fear and trembling. What's he mean? He means that have this awe for God and His Word. And there better be a concerned in you, that if I don't dive into the Word, am I going to be responsible for not working out my salvation. Renewing my mind with the thoughts of God, the principles of God, the thinking of God, the mind of God.
The Bible's the most precious thing you could ever hope for, teach it to yourself, walk it out. Teach it to your kids, your grandkids. Get together as couples and be determined to stick to God's Word and all that you do. And then the Bible says you'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water that never, doesn't bear fruit. It's always bearing fruit in every season. Even in the old age. It says here that you're going to be fine.
James 1:21, says, "Lay aside filthiness, overflow of wickedness". You know, everyone keeps thinking, "Ax murderers. That's not me". No. When He talks about wickedness, He's talking about unbelief. He's talking about you're stubbornness. He's talking about your attitude. He's talking about you think you're it and you don't need the Word. Listen to me. It says with meekness get the implanted Word which is able to save your souls. Listen to me. Our souls aren't saved. They are being saved by renewing the mind day after day. And every change in the season of your life is going to cause you to need to renew your mind in more areas.
When you were single, oh, man, you were happy and bless. Then you got married to the love of your life. But now, you need to dive into the Word and figure out how to walk out arguments, how to bring two completely separate people, two completely different ways of thinking together in a common theme. That together, and so now you've got to get into renewing your mind about marriage. Well, wait to that first baby comes along or at least the second or the third. And now you have to figure out how to raise up a family. How to get them through every age bracket. How to get an agreement as a man and a wife.
And then you're going to go through financial issues and physical issues. This world's got stuff. You need the Word. It is the Word that helps you to renew your mind through every season of life. If there's a season of lack where everything you seemed to have been, been building your whole life is gone. Boy, you better dive into the Word because in the world you're finished. If you have got this thinking of conforming to the world, you've lost everything. And people all through Wallstreet often take their lives when they lose everything that they have worked for. But if you're in the Word, do you know what the first thing that will come to my mind was?
The Bible says that God's going to replace. He's going to make the devil replace seven times what has been stolen. And that God can renew. He can restore what the locust have eaten. Every verse that rises up in me, if you lose something is how God is going to be there. And don't you worry about it. He's going to take you. You're going to go to a place of blessing, double, triple, seven times. There's a verse that says get His Word on the inside of you.
My challenge to you today is to make this decision. Recognize that the renewing of the mind is more than learning. It is changing. It is changing. The greatest compliment that your family, your friends can give you is not that you know so much. You can get pretty arrogant and stuck up while you dominate every conversation with what you know. Maybe it's time to close your mouth. Show them what you can do. You see, learning isn't changing. Changing is the crucial part of life. And without the renewing of the mind, without choose daily, continuing to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Without you getting the Word implanted on the inside of you. You're going to find out that somewhere in life something's going to stump you, hurt you. But I want you to begin to work this process. Get your mind. Don't be lazy. The Bible says, "Study to show yourself approved unto God, as a workman that needs not to be ashamed". That simply means there are things that are yours and you get ashamed when you can't seem to deliver. You can't seem to rise up. You can't without the Word. Your spirit man's alive.
Now, renew your mind so you can take your body. You can make your body a living sacrifice and you can walk out the joy, the peace, the beauty of God. Refuse, refuse to blame anything outside of yourself for the way you are struggling. Begin to know that you and God are a majority and He's going to work with you. His Word is going to get implanted. He's going to renew your mind every day, every week, every month of your life and you're going to rise up and walk out a life that no one else could have made for you.
Listen to me. When you were a child, you thought like a child, believed like a child, acted like a child. But when you grow up, you put away childish things. Let me give you the one of the greatest things you must put off and stop being a childlike. Is that somebody else is responsible for the way you are. Oh, people going to hurt you. I get it. The power of God in your spirit. His Word renewing your mind. You get to walk out an amazing life regardless of what you used to be conformed.