For some of us, the pressures of the Matrix are constantly trying to move us to conform; for others who have not broken out of the Matrix, they need to break the mold. The old school Christian term for this was regeneration. (A) The issue is between the unique saint who God wants to craft, build & refine from your old life…and the World’s assembly-line produced citizen. Today’s common man appears lost, going nowhere, with few values except what the Matrix tells him is important. For instance, being a consumer on the consumer treadmill is important—the person consumes widgets that are designed to fail or be obsolete soon, so a newer replacement will be purchased to keep the consumer economy humming. People think they are their own person by rebelling in the prescribed way. In my teenage years it was to buy bell-bottoms…now it is to purchase a tattoo. In recent years, the roots of the hippie movement have been exposed as the CIA & MI-6…just one example of how controlled even “anti-establishment” movements are generally.

THE TRUE NON-CONFORMIST. Christ was rejected because he did not conform to people’s expectations. The same kind of approved solutions that the World is enchanted with today were in use back in Yahshua’s day: tax revolt, law reform, isolating in cloistered communities, armed revolting, regime-change, & hiding & surviving in the wilderness, getting drunk or high…to name a few. To most everyone’s frustration & consternation, Yahshua did not fulfill their expectations. He ignored their preconceived solutions, to offer his own unique ones. He incorporated a Roman tax collector & a revolutionary zealot into his band of brothers. He was neither liberal nor conservative, neither right nor left, neither pro- or anti- Roman, neither activist or passivist. He broke the mold, and by abiding in the Father allowed the Spirit to divinely craft him into a unique Savior. His way was called “the Way” back then. His kingdom was definitely not of this World.(B)Success in it was by serving one’s fellow man. He was constantly warning the religious leaders that they had missed how & what God was doing. One of the Pharisees, who was doing all the right worldly & right religious things,(C) who was both a Roman citizen & a Pharisee, realized that all the Matrix’s answers & approved methods were “rubbish”.(D) I am speaking of Saul of Tarsus, later known as Apostle Paul, who had an encounter with Christ. He broke out of the religious mold & the Hellenist-Roman cultural mold, to be regenerated into a new way of thinking.(E)He said, I am now another man. He told others, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”(F) It’s exciting how God changes things: “Behold, I make all things new.”(G)

EXAMINING 5 WAYS OF BREAKING THE MOLD OF THE MATRIX (WORLD). When the Spirit of Truth guides us out of the Matrix of lies into all truth (H)…what does that look like?

1. ETERNAL LASTING EXCELLENCE v. MASS-PRODUCED SUPERFICIAL DISPOSABLE JUNK. When you look at how Worldly organizations operate, it is clear they usually want to make people into machine cogs that can be replaced. For instance officers, even high ranking generals, are replaced as disposable junk. Hire & fire. Sexual partners are one night stands. Babies are disposable, abortable fetuses. Salvation is a quick recital of a sinner’s prayer. Lunch is a candy bar. Philosophy is a slogan or bumper sticker. News is a sound bite of media spin. Relationships are shallow, trivial and disposable. Worldly churches give spiritual fast food, that is nutritionally on par with McDonalds…after you have eaten you are undernourished on the essentials. On the flip side, God guides our lives into elegant excellence. We are encouraged to think on excellent, good quality, noble things. (I) We are exhorted, “Be perfect as your holy Father is perfect.”(J) The whole experience with God is like a fine pearl.(K) Christ inspires people to get their minds out of the gutter. So let us hold on to Yahshua & truth, and not return to the trivia & trash.

2. A LIVING HOPE & THE ARMOR OF GOD v. A HOLLOW, CYNICAL & DISTRUSTFUL EXISTENCE. The Christian hope is like the beautiful flower growing in volcanic ash. The World has gotten to the pt. that cynicism=survival, and to be optimistic is seen as naïve. God is said to be dead & they live in existential despair. They reject the concept that answers exist. They even reject that “good news” exists. The Christian smile of joy is mirrored by the cynic’s sneer. We saints are asked to be prepared to give an answer to all about why we have hope.(L) We have many of the same trials as those in the world, and the trials perplex us, but we are not in despair.(M) As the 23rd Psalm says, He restoreth my soul. We have many promises, for instance: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”(N) A person in the World told me: “If you tell someone you love them, you open yourself to be stabbed.” I have met various people like this, and their feelings have turned to stone out of fear. Yes, loving people does create a vulnerability. The only place we can be safe from the vulnerabilities of love besides heaven (where there is no sorrow) is hell (where there is no love). So the Christian way, the way of Christ is to forgive and move on. Letting go allows God to work a new beginning in our lives. So let us hold on to Godly patience (which is a peaceful stillness in the heart), and not return to resignation (which is a deadness of the heart).

3. BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST’S BODY v. THE ME-FIRST, LONELY INDIVIDUAL. We are “in Him”. While American individualism has taken a toll on the community aspect of being a Christian…& we are a long ways from the communal living of the first churches (described in ACTS 2); Christians usually still sense that they are a part of something big & great. Christ was not a mystic hermit isolated in some desert. Nor did he promote that. The personal peace we have as Christians should translate into interpersonal peace as well as making us peacemakers. To remind us who are of the Christian Body are many Biblical thoughts, such as: we are many parts, but one body.(O) Each member belongs to all the others.(P) Each part (person) does its job & builds up the whole with love.(Q) In a loving community of brothers & sisters…yes we are more vulnerable…but honest godly vulnerability is really true security. That is when we really bond as one. It is when we are free to declare our affections without being stabbed. And a wise man listens to advice.(R) So it is a blessing to have close accountable friends and brothers in Christ. On the flip side, in the world many lack wholesome families & friends. People are lonely in the crowds of individuals. Everyone is busy doing his own thing. There are no ties, no bonds, no relationships. People are cut off. If I live only for myself, I have a very small purpose. What am I, if I live only for myself?? Let us hold on to our extended family in Christ and not trade it for the fragmented social life of the World.
[And now as I need to wrap this up, I will be briefer with the last two items I chose.]

4. GODLY CONTENTMENT v. MATERIALISM, CLUTTER, & COVETIOUSNESS. Godliness w/ contentment is great gain.(S) Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.(T) You cannot serve God and Mammon.(U) It is a delusion that earthly possessions give security. It is a misconception that materialism only affects the rich. When you look at the poor here in Portland, they often are pushing around stolen shopping carts full of clutter & junk. It is absolutely mind boggling the clutter they push around in those stolen carts—pure worthless garbage. There is freedom in simplicity. The world clutters itself with the superficial…and the godly with the sacrificial. So let us hold on to our generosity, and our good stewardship for all that we have is God’s…and let us not fall into the trap of materialism.

5. PEACE & STEADINESS v. FRANTIC HURRIEDNESS & STRESS. Haste makes waste. I have seen that repeatedly in my life. Haste panics while patience prays. Recently I was caught in a stopped train unable to move down the line due to other stopped trains. The dead time turned into prayer time for me…a blessing. We are asked as godly people to run the race with perseverance.(V) I had been told that a man can outrun a horse if he runs steady with patience. I tried it once & it worked. It reminded me on JER 12:5 which asks, How will you compete with horses. There is only one way…a steady pace as a horse is quicker but does not have the patient endurance. The frenzy of modern life is a constant collection of noises, incl. ticking, ringing & beeping. There is a cacophony of noise & pointless activity. As the 23rd Psalm says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures…he leads me beside quiet water, He restores my soul.” Let us hold on to the Peace of Christ & not trade it for the anxiety of the World.

(A) TIT 3:5, cf. MT 19:28. It begins w/ a new birth-JN 3 & the person spiritually grows as a little child-MK 10:15 (B) JN 18:36, at JN 6:15 he left before they could make him a worldly king (C) PHIL 3:5-6 (D) PHIL 3:8 (E) COL 3:8, 3:11, 2 COR 10:2-5 (F) ROM 12:2, cf. EPH 4:23 & TIT 3:5 (G) REV 21:5 (H) JN 16:13 (I) PHIL 4:8 (J) MT 5:48 (K) MT 13:45-46 (L) 1 PTR 3:15 (M) 2 COR 4:8-9 (N) 2 COR 12:9 (O) 1 COR 12:12 (P) ROM12:5 (Q) EPH 4:16 (R) PRV 12:15 (S) 1 TIM 6:6 (T) MT 6:21 (U) MT 6:24 (V) HEB 12:1-3


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