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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

               Do Not Be Conformed To This World (12:1-2)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our text, we note the command:   "And do not be conformed to this
   world..."

2. What does the word "conformed" mean to you...?
   a. Is it just a word that we quickly glance over?
   b. How does it relate to your daily living?

3. We need to be very familiar with the concept of "conformity"...
   a. Not just to understand what Paul is saying
   b. But because this word plays a very important role in our lives,
      whether young or old

[That we might properly apply the exhortation of the apostle Paul, let's
examine the concept of conformity...]

I. UNDERSTANDING CONFORMITY

   A. DEFINITION...
      1. To conform to another's pattern (RWP)
      2. E.g., the desire to be like someone else
         a. Do what they do
         b. Say what they say
         c. Wear what they wear
      3. To accept the ideas, the fashions, way of walking and talking,
         etc., that is popular
      4. A conformist, therefore, is someone who:
         a. Is afraid to be different
         b. Feels a need to be like everyone else

   B. CONFORMITY IN OUR SOCIETY...
      1. There is tremendous pressure to conform to the standards of the
         group
         a. Even adults feel a need to conform
         b. Also many young people (in their clothes, cars, etc.)
      2. The pressure to conform is often strongest during adolescence
         a. The young often have low-esteem
         b. They want desperately to be accepted and esteemed by others
      3. Advertisers often complicate the problem
         a. Trying to market and sell their products
         b. Trying to get people to conform to use their products (an
            old ad campaign:  "Wethead is dead!")

   C. THE DANGER OF CONFORMITY...
      1. It can easily lead you to do things you know are wrong
         a. E.g., boys in a car for a joyride, and one begins popping
            pills
         b. E.g., men at a business luncheon, where drinks are served
      2. When others follow suit, the pressure to conform is great
         a. Ridicule to conform is often applied
         b. Once you give in, the next time conformity is easier
      3. Conformity to the things of this world can separate us from
         God! - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17
         a. By giving in to the lust of the flesh (immorality)
         b. By succumbing to the lust of the eyes (materialism)
         c. By yielding to the pride of life (arrogance)

[We now understand why Paul commands us "do not be conformed to this
world"!  There are grave dangers in conforming to another's pattern.
How shall we deal with the pressures of conformity...?]

II. DEALING WITH THE PRESSURE TO CONFORM

   A. BE A TRANSFORMIST, NOT A CONFORMIST...
      1. A conformist (as used here) is one who...
         a. Undergoes a superficial, shallow change
         b. Becomes a cheap imitation, letting others do their thinking
            for them
      2. A transformist is one who...
         a. Undergoes a real change (like a caterpillar becoming a
            butterfly)
         b. Experiences a true "renewal"
            1) That begins with conversion - Tit 3:5
            2) That involves a renewal of the mind - Ro 12:2
            3) That continues as we go through life - 2Co 4:16
      3. Becoming a transformist...
         a. Addresses the reasons why many conform
            1) A feeling of insecurity (yet we learn that God loves us,
               we are special! - 1Jn 3:1)
            2) A desire to follow the crowd (yet we learn the ultimate
               end of following the world - 1Jn 2:15-17)
         b. Marks the difference between...
            1) Christians who are truly converted
            2) Those who are shallow imitators of true disciples

   B. BE A LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER...
      1. A transformist is a leader
         a. Who "proves" to others what is good, acceptable and perfect
            - Ro 12:2
            1) Presents their bodies as living and holy sacrifices - Ro
               12:1
            2) Has the courage to say "no" to things that are wrong
         b. Whose example helps others fight off the pressures to
            conform
            1) Giving others the strength to say "no"
            2) Encouraging others to do what is right - e.g., Joshua,
               Josh 24:14-15; Judg 2:7
      2. A conformist is but a simple follower
         a. Letting others do their thinking for them
         b. Letting others lead them into harm's way

CONCLUSION

1. Everyone experiences the pressure to conform to the standards and
   practices of the world...
   a. Especially the young who are so impressionable
   b. But even those who older are persuaded by those in positions of
      power and influence

2. We have a choice...
   a. Either to buckle under and be led by those destroying their own
      bodies, minds, and souls
   b. Or look to Jesus, the true nonconformist, and allow ourselves to
      be transformed by the renewing of our minds

3. If we are to conform, let us conform to the image of Jesus - cf. Ro
   8:29
   a. For that will require a true transformation of the inner man
   b. And we can demonstrate what is the good, acceptable, and perfect
      will of God!
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