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SermonChanging Worldly Ways
An all-creatures Bible Message

Changing Worldly Ways
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
21 May 2017
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Acts 17:16-34
1 Timothy 4:6-9

Changing worldly ways is the way that all major societal changes begin.
 
At one time slavery was considered a norm in most of society, but the more people that spoke out against it the more societies began to change; those that spoke out were changing worldly ways.
 
However, segregation and prejudice continued to flourish, until more and more people began speaking out against these practices, but they still remain in the hearts and souls of some people even though it is illegal.
 
When we look at the exploitation of animals, we see another societal norm that accepts it, and is for the most part indifferent to the suffering of animals.
 
These worldly ways are never in the heavenly will of God, and most people fail to make the connection, but as more and more people are speaking out against these cruel practices, we are seeing more people start to return to eating only the plant foods that God originally created for us to eat.
 
The more we speak out in peaceful and loving ways, the more we are able to begin changing worldly ways.
 
In Acts 17:16-34, Luke recorded how Paul was changing worldly ways from paganism to belief in God and Jesus Christ, and from this we can learn ways to effectively be changing worldly ways when it comes to ending the exploitation of animals and helping to free creation from its present corruption.

16. Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was beholding the city full of idols.

We and a lot of other people get provoked when we see all the pain and suffering that is inflicted upon animals, particularly farmed animals, by people who are indifferent to their suffering and eat them and their by-products.
 
In a very similar way the killing and eating of animals has become a type of idol to many people, even if they donít realize it, and this is the reason that we feel compelled to find ways of changing worldly ways.

17. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

Paul was trying to begin changing worldly ways that were controlling the peopleís lifestyle.

18. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. And some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities," ó because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

In other words, some of the people were listening to what Paul was saying.

19. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?
 
20. "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; we want to know therefore what these things mean."
 
21. (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

Like what was happening in Athens, if we want to begin changing worldly ways, we need to convince people to want to hear everything we have to say.
 
And even better, that we can convince them to follow the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, where there is no longer any pain or suffering or death.

22. And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.
 
23. "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

This is an excellent way of changing worldly ways; we need to find something in the lives of the people we are talking to, so that we can relate to it in such a way that it shows the errors of their ways.

24. "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
 
25. neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;
 
26. and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation,

If this was true in Paulís time, some 2000 years ago, and it was true from the beginning of time, then why are so many people living as if they donít believe or know about this fact?
 
We need to find ways to instill the truth in thenÖ

27. that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
 
28. for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.'

And this is still true today; it is eternally true.

29. "Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

God is Spirit; He is not in a solid image that human beings can mold and carve; He is God, and not a product of His own creation.

30. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent,

We talk about this all the time.
 
Redemption and salvation only come to us when we repent of our worldly ways, and truly seek to live in the heavenly will of God.

31. because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

And we are now living nearly 2000 years after Paul said this, which makes the date set by God that much closer to our time.
 
Are we ready for His return?
 
Or, are people going to fight against Him as they did when Jesus first walked this earth.

32. Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."

Even today, most people seem to be sneering, because they are still living in the corrupt ways of this earth with all its pain, suffering, and death, which is evidenced by the fact that they continue to eat the tortured remains of once living animals who wanted to live just as much as we do.
 
Itís time we commit to begin changing worldly ways into the heavenly will of God.

33. So Paul went out of their midst.
 
34. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
NASB

We need to find others who will help free creation from its present corruption.
 
And while we are talking about changing worldly ways, note what Paul instructed Timothy, which is recorded in 1 Timothy 4:6-9Ö

6. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

This includes the sound teaching of Jesus that encourages us, and even commands us, to live in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

7. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

We donít believe that this is fair to old women, for we know some old ladies who are living a Godly lifestyle, and not killing and eating other animals.
 
We need to commit our bodies, souls, and spirits to the Lord our God and live in His heavenly will.

8. for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

This is the natural way of all people who are committed to living in the heavenly will of God and doing everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption.

9. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
NASB

Which we hope we all do, for it is the only way we will be actually changing worldly ways.
 
Amen.

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