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Scripture Memory: Guarding the Heart
VERSE : Proverbs 4:23 
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

13 October 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Eld Lim Teck Chye (When Temptations Come, Mat 4:1-11)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Calvin Loh (Behold the Lamb of God, Mat 3:1-17)

20 October 2013
9.30am 63rd Church Anniversary Combined Baptismal Service 
Rev Charles Seet ((Witness for Christ! Mt 5:13-16)

6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Is God Pleased with Your Giving? Mt 6:1-4;)

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ARE YOU CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD?

Conformity presents the least problems. It is the path of least resistance, because it is the easiest way to gain the world’s acceptance, and to avoid any criticism and ridicule. When a person tries to be different from the rest, he is liable to draw attention to himself and stick out like a sore thumb. When Daniel’s three friends refused to conform to what everyone was doing in front of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, everyone could see them standing while all the rest were bowed down to the ground. Their non-conformity brought instant attention and reaction from the people and from the king himself (Daniel 3:7-13).

The problem with taking the easy path of conformity is that it establishes a close relationship between the one who conforms and the world. James calls it ‘being friends with the world’ – "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)

John calls it ‘loving the world’ – "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. For 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)

According to these passages, the close relationship forged by our conformity with the world is incompatible with our relationship with God. James says that being friends with the world makes us enemies of God. If you are a friend of the world, you are not a friend of God. John says that loving the world means that the love of God is not in us. If you love the world, you cannot love God.

In this we can see the serious danger that comes with conformed living – it puts us at variance with God. Conformity to this world is tantamount to committing spiritual defection or adultery. It is akin to idolatry, which is the ultimate sin against God and a violation of the first commandment – "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3).

The Dangers of Conformed Living

Conformity with the world brought about the downfall of Lot’s family. Lot was the nephew of Abraham. When he left Abraham with his family and flocks, he pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12). By the next chapter, Lot was already dwelling in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). As a result of this Lot was taken prisoner in the battles that were fought by the kings of the east against Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a picture of a compromising Christian who gets hurt in the crossfire between warring factions in the world because he has conformed to it.

Instead of learning his lesson, Lot became even more conformed to Sodom. By Genesis 19:1, he was sitting in the gate of Sodom, i.e. he has become a recognized member of the community. The story of Lot ends tragically with the loss he suffered when God destroyed the two cities because their sinfulness. Although he survived, his wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back longingly at Sodom, and his two daughters who were infected with Sodom’s immorality became vile with sins of incest.

Conformity with the world brought about Israel’s downfall during the time of the Judges. Israel faced the Canaanite world with its idolatrous culture, customs and practices. Before the Israelites entered Canaan, God had already warned them not to be conformed to Canaanites, but to keep themselves separate from them(Deuteronomy 12:29-31). Despite the stern warning, Israel conformed to them not long after Joshua died, and the Lord had to chastise His people by bringing other nations to oppress them.

In the New Testament, conformity with the world brought about Demas’ downfall. Demas was one of Paul’s fellow workers at Rome. His name is found in the greetings that Paul conveyed in two of his epistles (Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24). But the only other verse where Demas is mentioned after that gives us a brief but sad comment about him: "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…" (2 Timothy 4:10)

Having seen the dangers of conformed living, let us consider what exactly we should not be conformed to in this world. When God’s Word instructs us to "be not conformed to this world" it is not referring to the created physical world, nor the world of sinners that God loves (John 3:16). The world that we should not be conformed to is the world system of sin, pride, ambition, pleasure and power that man has built up under Satan. It would include the materialistic and hedonistic attitudes and values which prevail all around us, and which influence the lives of the young as well and the old. In this world system, success is measured in at least four ways.

1. Achievements

The world tells us that the great rule in life is that everyone can get whatever he wants in the end, if he only tries hard enough. Those who work are expected to conform to high standards of achievement in meeting deadlines, improving quality, productivity and efficiency. The desire to achieve is inculcated in our children right from the time they begin their first day of school. Wherever we go, we are always being tested, examined, judged and evaluated all according to our achievements. We are accepted if we have attained a certain level of achievement, but rejected, if we have not. That is the way that the world sees our worth.

But this poses a problem, because not everyone can attain those levels of achievement. Many who try to do so, fail. Some even take their own life when they cannot achieve. It is a fact that achievement-oriented societies have a higher suicide rate than others.

The Word of God teaches us not to have such a high regard for human achievements (Jeremiah 9:23, 24) Let us recognise the danger of making worldly achievements our measure of success.

2. Appearance

People often judge one another by their physical features, personality, and public image. Slimming programmes, beauty treatments and cosmetic surgery have become very popular. Tattooed skin and body piercings are in vogue today, and many want to have them. Why? Because it is commonly believed that good looks bring love and acceptance. Everyone naturally longs to be loved and accepted. That is why many spend a lot of time and expense on keeping up a good outward appearance. They wear nothing but branded items and are fashion-conscious in their choice of apparel.

If you spend an inordinate amount of time and money on your outward appearance, or if you feel depressed or insecure because your looks and clothes are not as impressive as others, please be careful: It means that you are conforming to the world’s standards, not God’s (1 Samuel 16:7).

Your office environment may also pressurise you to conform to the world’s standards. To the world, the busier you are at work, the more important you are. Hence many Christians compromise time for spiritual things in order to appear to be busier at work, e.g. doing more overtime and taking on more projects than others.

3. Affluence

Material wealth is the chief pursuit of most people. The rich are often portrayed in the media as the most successful and respected people in the world. They seem to have created their own heaven on earth. Because of this it has become the desire and dream of many to become materially rich.

Wealth is not inherently evil. It is not sinful to be rich. Abraham and Job were both materially rich, and yet they were godly men. It is the attitude of covetousness and lack of contentment which the Scriptures frequently warn us against (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

4. Amusements

The hedonistic philosophy of life tells everyone to ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’ With multiplied means of enjoying oneself today, the pursuit of pleasure has become extremely prevalent in the world. Some may try out all the various exotic spas and high-end restaurants. Others spend much time and money on the latest gadgets, engaging in different forms of entertainment: from tiny PSP games, to sophisticated Kinect games, and now 3D Television providing hours of listening and viewing pleasure for couch potatoes.

The pursuit of pleasure has lured many unwary souls into sin and vice. On-line gambling and pornography have become the bane of the Internet. Whatever the pursuit may be, always ask yourself, "Would I be comfortable doing it with the Lord beside me?"

Be Transformed, not Conformed

Thus we have seen that the world measures success by a person’s achievements, appearance, affluence, and amusements. When you are tempted to conform to all these, think of the dangers that were mentioned earlier: Conformity with the world puts you at variance with God. If you are friends with the world and you love the world, you displease your Lord who has saved you. You may also end up in the same sad state as Lot’s family, or as Israel in the time of the Judges, or as Demas who forsook Paul. Let these thoughts be so deeply etched in your mind that you will never forget them! Ask the Lord to seal them there so that you will not be blinded by all the dazzling sights, and charmed by the hypnotic strains of the world.

God’s Word teaches us how to counter the strong influences of the world – "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) This ‘renewed mind’ has been re-programmed to think like Christ, to discern the true value of all things, and to prove what is really good and worthy of our time and efforts. It is focused on doing one thing – the will of God. By this renewing of the mind to prove God’s will you can become less conformed to the world, and more transformed to the image of Christ.

This is why you must be careful with your thought life. Whatever you allow your mind to dwell on will make an impact on your life. How can you develop a renewed mind? By allowing the Word of God to fill your thoughts as much as possible (cf. Psalm 1:2; Philippians 4:8). Your thinking will change as you invest much time in the Word by reading it, studying it, talking and thinking about it,. Your old selfish and worldly thought processes will be replaced by new ones that are conformed to the mind of Christ.

As your thinking changes, your life changes. You will want to live as a pilgrim, having no lasting attachment to this present world, and no attraction for the ever-changing trends and fashions of this world. You will no longer regard this world as your home, but as a temporary place that you are just passing through. You will keep looking forward to the world to come (Mark 10:30) and desire to lay your treasures up there in your eternal home. And that will certainly be a better world to be conformed to! —Pastor

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63rd Church Anniversary Combined Baptismal Service

Lord’s Day, 20 October 2013, 9.30 am.

Fellowship Lunch after Service

(Offerings to defray the cost of the lunch are welcome. Please contact Dn Benny Goh, 9743-3383.)

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1) Migrant Workers’ Outreach. We thank God for helping us to complete the 10 weeks of English lessons. There will be a graduation service cum gospel meeting for the migrant workers, you are welcome to join us. Please register with Bro Beng Hong by 27 Oct. 2013. Venue: Pasir Panjang Christ Church; Date: 3rdNovember 2013 (7.30-10.00pm).

2) Our condolences to the family of Soon Wee Boon (79 yrs old) on his homegoing on 11 Oct 13.

3) Congratulations to: (1) Daniel Tay and Stella Tan on the birth of a baby boy on 1 Oct 13. (2) Tan Soon Hui and Ang Feng Qian on the birth of a baby boy on 6 Oct 13.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Indonesian Service, 4pm. Rev Quek at Life Chinese Service, 10.45 am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25