This sermon is a companion to three previous sermons: Be Not Conformed to This World (Part 1) - Romans 12:2
Be Not Conformed to This World (Part 2) - Romans 12:2
Be Not Conformed to This World (Part 3) - Romans 12:2
Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
In Romans 12:1 God the Holy Spirit pleads with us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. Then in verse 2 God the Holy Spirit gives us two commands that we must obey if we are truly to present ourselves to live unto the Lord our God. The first of these two commands is found in the opening portion of the verse – “And be not conformed to this world.” The word “conformed” means “to be formed together,” that is – “to be made into the same form, or to be brought into agreement.” Brethren, we are not to have the same form as this present evil world; and we are not to be in agreement with this present evil world. We are not to think like this world thinks, feel like this world feels, behave like this world behaves, talk like this world talks, or look like this world looks. We are not to have the same philosophy, the same priorities, the same purposes, the same desires, the same interests, the same habits, or the activities that this world has. Brethren, we are not to make our decisions or have our mind set like this world does. We are to “be not conformed to this world.”
Yet the question might be asked – Why are we not to be conformed to this world, and how important is it to our Christian lives that we not be conformed unto this world? God’s holy Word reveals a great number of answers to this question. Already in the first three parts of this message (see above), we have considered eight of these answers. We are to “be not conformed to this world” (1) because this world stands opposed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (2) because this world stands opposed to true Christianity and the true followers of Christ, (3) because this world is willfully without God, (4) because this world is under Satan’s deception, (5) because this world is following Satan’s direction, (6) because this world is evil and wicked by nature, (7) because we have been delivered out of this world, and (8) because we are not of this world, but of the Lord our God.
Answer #9: We are not to be conformed unto this world because we are to be the spiritual light of the world.
In Matthew 5:14-16 our Lord Jesus Christ declared, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In like manner, Philippians 2:14-16 instructs us, saying, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
Brethren, we are the spiritual light of the world; and we are to “so shine before men.” We are to be like “a city that is set on an hill,” clearly seen by all. We are to be like a candle that is put “on a candlestick.” We are to “give light unto all that are in the house” (that is – unto all those that are around us). We are to be “holding forth the word of life.” This world is a world of spiritual darkness. They need to come to the light and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. They need the “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” to shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Even so, we are to be points of spiritual light in this world of darkness. We are to be points of spiritual light that are filled with the light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that reflect the light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that point people to the light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are to live and behave in such a manner that those of this spiritually dark world around us can see our good works and godly lives, and that thereby they might glorify our heavenly Father by receiving His Son as their Savior. We are the children of God our heavenly Father in this dark, crooked, and perverse world. Thus we are to present ourselves before the world as the children of God – blameless, harmless, and without rebuke. Certainly then, we should not be conformed to “this present evil world.” Certainly then, we should not cover our light under the bushel of worldliness and carnality.
Even so, Ephesians 5:1-12 proclaims, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”
Brethren, we are to be followers of God our heavenly Father, as His own dear children. We are not to be followers of this present evil world. In fact, the things of this world are not even to be once named among us, “as becometh saints” – as those who have been saved from their sins, and who have been set apart as the people of God. We are not to be partakers with this world in the things of this world. Before our salvation we were the children of darkness. At that time we lived in the spiritual darkness of this world and contributed to the spiritual darkness of this world. Yet now that we have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin we are “light in the Lord.” We have been delivered “from the power of darkness.” The Lord our God and heavenly Father has called us “out of the darkness into His marvellous light.” Thus now we are to “walk as children of light.” Those of this dark world around us must see us as “children of light.” They must see us “walk as children of light.” They need to see us bringing forth “the fruit of the Spirit,” which is “in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” They need to see us walking in the things that are “acceptable unto the Lord.” Therefore, we are to “have no fellowship [absolutely none at all] with the unfruitful works of darkness.” “The unfruitful works” of this spiritually dark world are to have no place in our lives at all, for these “unfruitful works of darkness” are directly contrary to “the fruit of the Spirit [the HOLY Spirit]” that we are to bring forth. Yea, by our godly walk in the light we are to bring reproof upon “the unfruitful works” of this spiritually dark world. Certainly then we should not, and must not be conformed to “this present evil world.”
Finally, let us consider the affect that we are to have upon this world. We are not to be conformed to this world. Rather, we are to “shine as lights in the world.” Indeed, we are to have an affect upon this world. Even so, Acts 17:6 reveals the nature of that affect, saying, “And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down.” As “the light of the world,” as those who “walk as children of light,” we are to turn this spiritually dark world upside down. We are not to become like the world. We are not to stand in agreement with the world. We are not to partake in the things of the world. Rather, we are to have a powerful affect upon the world. We are to turn the world upside down. We are to turn the world from its darkness to our Lord’s light. We are to turn the world from its sin to the Savior. We are to turn this world from the devil’s deception to God’s Word of truth. We are to turn the world from the broad road of destruction to the narrow way of eternal life through faith in Christ.