Sermon Rundown: 30 September 2018

To conform is to behave, believe, conform and follow the socially accepted standards and ideals of a dominant culture.

For so many of us as Christians, sadly, nothing differentiates us from our atheists neighbors or our rebellious classmates. We look like them. Talk like them. Act like them. And probably the most alarming believe like them.

Read the stories about Jesus. He was punk before there was punk. Non-conformist and completely counterculture.

Over the next four weeks we’re going to look at the story of Daniel, a courageous Israelite who refused to conform to the culture that he found himself in.

Daniel could have easily conformed to the culture that he found himself in, but instead, he followed God and transformed the culture.

Will I conform to the culture or transform the culture?

God “handed” Nebuchadnezzar victory over the Israelites. He was disciplining His people, but there was so much more God was orchestrating behind the scenes.

Throughout the book of Daniel we find this incredible theme: life seems to happen unexpectedly, but God is always working supernaturally.

Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were all a part of this deportation. And we’re all in danger of conforming to the dominate culture rather than being transformed by God.

God desires faithfulness to Him not the culture. And here’s what’s amazing, as we follow Him and fight against conformity He actually uses us to transform the godless culture that we’re in.... Will we conform or transform?

Every dominate culture becomes uncomfortable when people choose not to conform. The “world” wants you to conform, to follow their standards not God’s. Conformity equals control.

Daniel could not change the Babylonian assault on Jerusalem. He could not change being exiled to Babylon. He could not change Nebuchadnezzar’s four-fold plan. There was little he could change, but he did have some control. He could control how he responded to his difficult circumstances.

You see, Daniel still had control over his thoughts, his words, his hopes, his dreams and most importantly his devotion to God. And so do you.

The Babylonians could move Daniel out of Jerusalem. They could provide him with an incredible education. They could give him great food and drink. They could even change his name.

But they couldn’t take away his identity as a child, a son of the living and true God. He wouldn’t conform. He wouldn’t go mainstream. He would seek to transform where he lived....

Will you conform or will you transform?

If you choose to transform, you need to constantly and intentionally remind yourself that you are citizen of heaven. You are a child of God. He has transformed you so that you would bring that transformation into this world. Will you?

Don’t conform, but transform. Stay punk rock!