This sermon is part of the sermon series "Harmony and Humility in the Church". See series.
As believers, we sometimes feel pressured to act in certain ways, fit in with certain norms, or participate in certain activities. The pressure is subtle, but it carries the idea that if you really want to please God, you must act a certain way or engage in certain activities.
For example, you may feel compelled to belong to a particular political party, or participate in certain social protests; you may feel the need to have acceptable opinions about such things as capital punishment, gun control, welfare, the legalization of marijuana, the war with Iraq, home schooling, rock concerts, which beverages you can drink, and whether it's appropriate to go to Las Vegas.
You might make sure to give 10 percent of your income to your local church. Perhaps you'll give extra sums to other missions or charitable organizations, but the 10 percent tithe itself has to go to your home church. You may believe that setting aside a time to read the Bible and pray is a necessary condition for really walking with God, so you'll budget at least 15-20 minutes for a quiet time everyday. You might regularly and actively witness to your neighbors or somebody at work, engaging them in conversations and inviting them to things at church.
Sometimes we can feel as if an evangelical lifestyle—a set of behavioral expectations—is being imposed on us. The implication is that if you follow these rules and regulations, you can be confident that your Christian life is what God wants. If you disagree about any of these things and publicly voice your disagreement, we'll probably wonder about your spirituality and distance ourselves from you a bit. If it turns out that others in the church feel the same way you do about these things, then ...
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