The Scriptures are full of warnings.  Warnings to us to take heed to our character what God is most concerned about.  Warnings to us to take heed how we do things.  Jesus told the disciples be careful how you hear, do we hear things with the right heart condition?  All throughout the New Testament the Scriptures time and time again warns us not to be conformed to this world, but sadly most Christians today have not heeded this most critical warning.  Brethren this is a very serious matter in our lives, but it seems we just ignore the Scriptures so that we can satisfy and fulfill our fleshly desires.  Peter tells us, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:   10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”  (1 Peter 2:9-11) James lets us know what being undefiled looks like, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27)  John really drives the point home when he said, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  (1 John 2:15-16) Paul again hits the heart of the matter,  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.”  (Romans 12:2)  And Jesus (our example) also told us to take heed to ourselves in this area, maybe His words is the reason we fail to heed.  “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  (John 15:18-19)  With all of these verses (and many more) why do we (now I used a pronoun here so I could include myself) still have an appetite for the garbage of this world?

The Bible tells us we are to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), well how can we have the mind of Christ if we keep filling our mind up with the cares and news of the day?  The Bible instructs us to be separated from the world, it says we are a royal priesthood unto the LORD, we are a called out of the world Body of Believers, and a chosen generation unto God, but from what we see and hear (as Karen and I travel) no difference in the lives of most Christians we meet than those in the world that defy the draw of the Holy Spirit and shake their fist in defiance at God’s word.  My friend our earthly hungers and thirst for the things of the world drives us out of God. Oh LORD please forgive us and strengthen us in the inward man so that we will be able to overcome in such areas.              

 Now one should expect those in the world not to know the truth of the word of God, but my friend this article is not written to those in the world as much as it is written to those in the church.  The big saying now is the LORD looks on the heart so it does not matter what we do, what we wear or what we look like, well my friend this is just a bold face lie to satisfy our flesh. God is very concerned how we act, what we say, and what we look like make no mistake.  Yes it is true God does look at the heart, but He also knows if there has truly been a change of heart then there will be a change in the way we talk, look, and act.  Now we cannot change our self; as we cannot save our self, but God can save and change us as we allow Him to work in our lives, through His dealings and judgments in our lives.  There is an old saying that says:  if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and sounds like a duck it probably is not a chicken.  So too in God, if it looks like the world and walks like the world and sounds like the world it probably is not a Christian. 

As we travel around the States we cannot believe all of the Youth Pastors with body piercing (ears and face) and tattoos. Whatever happened to our body is not ours it is the temple of the Holy Spirit?  Today Youth Pastors mark their bodies with sticks of metal and paint because they think they will appear “cool” to the youth in the church; wrongly thinking somehow the kids will be able to relate to them better, well this is just plain foolishness. This is nothing more than direct disobedience and rebellion to God’s word while satisfying their flesh. Shame on those Youth Pastors who do this, repent and stop leading the youth of your church out of God’s way and to hell.  If you want to go to Hell so be it, but please do not deceive a young person into going.  Another area is fashion. We cannot believe the lack of modesty in most churches.  Please ladies cover your body. Men you do not need to wear tight pants to show off your manhood, it is a shame before God. We are not to sport the latest fashions in and out of church. We are to be well dressed and modest in taste and style. We are not to dress like the world, remember if the world is going after something God is not. Another area is technology. We cannot believe how Christians go after technology (especially during preaching) having to have the latest electronic distraction the world is selling.  Old, but workable in God is okay.  I have said this for years and will say it again the more we go after technology the less of God will be in us. Technology drives our spirit. It separates us from the day-to- day contact with people who need to know about a Savior who can save them from their sins.  It is flashy, God is not.  It often does not work, God does. I do not even like microphones, why because often they can be more transforming than the Holy Spirit. Funny how when you get one in your hand suddenly you think you are someone you are not.  Another area is politics.  I cannot believe how the Body of Christ is so fractured and divided out along political lines. Heaven will not be separated by Democratic, Independents, or Republicans. God has placed His Body in the moral high ground and when we get involved with the political wrangling of the day we willfully pull ourselves out of the Spiritual place God has placed us. Heaven will not be separated out by color, yet we find Sunday between 9 and 12 is the most segregated time in America. Sadly, most black churches support the radicalized social justice movement of collective salvation instead of individual salvation as the Bible teaches while most white churches are trying to make as much money as they can so they can build bigger buildings, but Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:10) not to fight for social justice or to make money.  The more the church of today (world-wide) goes after money and human rights the less they will be concerned about the lost.  I must also mention you cannot be a Democrat and be a Christian knowing the position the Democratic Party takes on abortion, lesbians, sodomy, and gay marriage.  I owe no allegiance to any political party I am a Christian, but one thing for sure if you vote and you call yourself a Christian you must vote the Bible if not you are a liar and the truth is not in you.  Today I see the church dithering as they play politics, titillating with the excitement of control and power as souls are being lost for all eternity.  

Not being of this world means we are not to have a favorite TV program.  Most Christians can tell you what is going on with American Idol or their favorite TV program, but cannot tell you what their pastor preached on last Sunday. We are not to have a favorite sports team.  Most Christians are so plugged into sports: basketball, football, baseball, you name it.  Why, the local Baptist Churches in town on the night of the Super Bowl close down services at their churches, but meet at the Baptist Association and host a Super Bowl party under the guise of evangelism. The church does a lot of deception with the world’s business under the banner of evangelism. Who are they trying to kid?  Please do not sit there and try to convince me that the LORD will get some time during the game or at half time.  They should be ashamed of themselves for selling out to the world. At least come clean and admits it, be honest with yourselves and the community we will have no services tonight at our churches because we love the Super Bowl and our denomination more than we do Jesus.  Often we are so plugged into the world we could care less.  Now I know I am taking on some of the unspoken taboos of the church and even going after some religious sacred cows, but these things need to be said. We are not to have a favorite song and that can include Christian songs.  Where in the Gospels did Jesus and the disciples sing?  Paul talks about making melody in our hearts not in church where our flesh can get puffed up.  Why do we spend so much time singing (with amplified instruments, lights, smoke, flags, and more) and money on instruments?  In some churches one would think they were at a worldly rock concert.  Music, in most cases, is a great distraction to the flow of the Spirit of God.  Most churches have adopted worldly formats that serve to enhance the attendance gimmicks (like Super Bowl parties), emotional manipulation, indoctrination, and in some cases out right propaganda.  Now I do believe the hymns are okay and acceptable to God because they were birthed out of a genuine love and need for God, birthed out of great loss, despair, and a desire for Him, but look what we have today (where are the song books) in most churches a selfish, self-seeking selection of songs telling God to come and bless us.  The focus is not about us going to God, but about God coming to us and giving us what we want.  The focus is not on the blood of Jesus or the message of the Cross, but on the gifts and blessings of God.  We even have contemporary music that supports the Christian Dove Awards?  How much more worldly can you get?  Are you kidding me an awards show like the world has that exalts the flesh and glorifies man and his achievements? Oh no my friend most churches have sold out to the worldly Hollywood style singers and movie makers while covering their deception with a religious veneer to sell an ungodly lie to the people.  Be not deceived God is not mocked a day is coming where the truth will be known.  Why during the altar call do the musicians get up secretly while everyone else is to have their eyes closed and head bowed? They sneak to their instruments to set the mood for manipulation and brow beating by the pastor which makes up for the lack of Holy Spirit convicting power in their message,  this my friend ought not to be.  Make no mistake my friend when the Holy Spirit is really dealing with someone’s heart they will not need the pastor to make them feel bad, oh no they will run with lightening speed to the open arms of Jesus.  And why always the altar?  Can not the Holy Spirit reach someone in their seat or in their bed at night?  Why is there always a requirement to have people come to the altar? Oh I see it must be a public confession of accepting the LORD, well I am not so sure about that my friend God is every where is He not?  I believe verses like, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 10:32-33) have been hi-jacked and twisted to manipulate people to make an open and public show of an inward work of the heart.  Here Jesus is not talking about “walking the aisle,” but living their lives for God before men on a daily basis. If you have to convince someone they need the LORD they do not really want Him.  I will even go further; this public display of “walking the aisle” sometimes is more about the pastor’s ego (I know I have done altar calls) being mighty and anointed, but not so my friend we cannot save our self, it is the Holy Spirit who draws, and it is God who saves no matter where we are. Please do not be deceived into making a public display to please man.  God is after the inward work of the heart not a public display of religion.  I have found those who “walk the aisle” out of guilt are doing it because they have been manipulated by words and do not really feel in their heart a genuine need and sense of repentance.  Without this holy work of God in their lives they will play the part of a Christian, do and say all of the right things, but the Godly sorrow that leads to real repentance and the inward cleansing of the soul will be far from the truth in their lives.  Why do pastors use the “cool” terminology, hip phrases, and hand gestures of today or why do they dress in special clothing with monograms or their ministry name on their shirts. Now please do not get me started on diamond rings, gold necklaces, and $500 suits. If we do and wear these things we are trying to win people to a worldly Christ.  Christ was not “cool,” He was lowly in Spirit.  Isaiah tells us, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  (Isaiah 53:2-3) Did you get that, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:” He was a man of sorrows not the life of the party. Pastors who use “hip” language think it will endear them to the people, but God does not care if you are fond of your pastor or if he is fond of you, but God is concerned if you are obedient to His words.  Our best in God is on the other side of our obedience to Him. This is the loss in disobedience; missing out on God’s best for our lives and settling for something else.  I have a good friend and great Bible teacher who is offended at me, sadly God told me greater revelation for him is waiting on the other side of his ability to restore fellowship with me. God is not into division among the brethren and always desires reconciliation.  It seems we Christians are so concerned about the economy, our pay checks, and retirement plans.  Whatever happened to God being able to take care of us? Can God take care of the birds? Yes! How about us?

Do not kid yourself we will never be able to overcome the lustful desires of our flesh and Satan if we first do not overcome our desire for the world.  And my friend I am speaking from first-hand knowledge.  Remember our testimony is not what we say about our self, but what other people see and what they hear come out our mouth.  In revelation John shares these words, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  (Revelation 12:11)  “The words of their testimony” was not what they said in some testimony service, but what the other folks in town was saying about them.  They “overcame,” their lives were an open testimony before the world. Their lives testified before the world of the power of God and His ability to keep them.   Make no mistake my friend those in the world and God know who are in Christ Jesus and who is in the world.