Renew your mind
Sermon from Jan. 12th 2020
Pastor Marchitell reminds us of the need to have renewed minds.
Our verses for this morning are:
Romans 12:2-5 “2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
The Book of Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible
It is a “big picture” book about:
Salvation, Creation, Sin, human nature,
How God works // How He deals with people,
How people respond to Him,
Romans is a book of “Big” topics and how they fit into our life as Christians.
And our verses this morning will show us that it also talks about the “grand picture” of how we as Christians are supposed to think, and how that thinking moves us into a divinely appointed position within the overall kingdom of God.
Now, we read v.2-5;
But were really going to be focusing on verse 3.
“...the faith God has distributed to each of you….”
Other versions will say “....the MEASURE of faith that God has given you....”
So…. like last week, the beginning may be a little bit “teachy”
Its important that we understand what’s written, before we dig into what it means.
With our first verse this morning we have something called an “If, then” statement.
“IF you are not conformed to this world, but instead you are transformed by the renewing of your mind… THEN ….you will be able to test and approve what is God’s will….”
IF your mind is renewed, THEN your thinking will be transformed, THEN you'll be able to see God’s will all the better.”
This is an important topic right?!
“...test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”
We all want this, and look for this, theres a bajillion number of books about “finding God’s will” // or “hearing Gods voice” the list is quite long.
People go to conferences and weekend workshops,
There are entire ministries dedicated to this topic
This is a topic everyone wants to know more about
Sow how do we do that?
How do we “test and approve”what God’s will is?
The apostle Paul is telling us here, that it is the renewal of our minds that not only transform us, but that is how we “figure out” God’s will
Thats good news right?!
Were sitting here trying to figure out how to figure out God’s will… while theres a first step in that process right here in the Bible!
That’s pretty convenient, it’s almost like it was planned out….
If we want to figure out God’s will, we need to renew our minds.
…..but…. How do we do THAT?
Theses verses tell us:
that renewing our minds will transform us,
preventing us from being conformed to this world…
And will help us be able to “test and approve” or “figure out” God’s will.
So, how do we do that?
How can we renew our minds, in such a way, to such a degree that we experience a transformation away from the conformity of this world ((( cultural sway, societal pull ))) which allows us to “test and approve” the will of God?
The very next verse (verse 3) gives us THREE STEPS for how to renew our minds;
(when you're reading the Bible, and something seems a little unclear or leads you to a question, keep reading. Chances are your question will be answered)
STEP 1 - Don’t think highly of ourselves
STEP 2 - Think with sober judgement
STEP 3 - Think according to the faith that God has distributed to each of us.
STEP 1 - Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought
There is a strong tendency for us humans to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We blow up our strengths, we inflate our abilities, we inflate our knowledge, etc
For some people, it’s out front and apparent.
The people who think their stuff doesn’t stink
We can all bring to mind those kinds of people.
The look down their nose at me, up on their high horse, conceited, arrogant, jerks
The people whose entire persona is
“I'm better than you”
“My house is better than yours”
“I’m more successful than you”
“My children are more successful than yours”
“I have more money than you”
“I’m better looking than you”
“I’m holier, nicer, kinder, smarter, stronger, and in every way that a person can be, I am better than you.”
We all know that kind of person, who intentionally thinks more highly of themselves
Maybe their parents raised them that way, or maybe there’s something far below their surface, that has caused those feelings to form.
So theres those people, the intentional, in your face, snobs
But theres also another way that we can think to highly of ourselves:
When we have thoughts like:
“If that person could just think like me, they wouldn't be in that situation”
“Theyre doing things the wrong way, if they did them THIS way, it would work better for them.”
“I can fix that person”
“If they’ll just let me in, things will get better for them”
Now those kinds of thoughts arent ALWAYS based on us thinking more highly of ourselves, but they dangerously flirt with that line.
One of the most apparent ways that we can be shown to be thinking to highly of ourselves, is in relation to the things of God
When we have a sin in our life, that we just cant seem to get under control
Were confused because we think were stronger than we are
When were confused over a friend or family member that weve been talking to about God, and behaving correctly towards, and loving and forgiving, and doing alllllll the things the Bible tells us to do towards others in our life….but they still arent saved…..
Were confused because WERE doing all the things that the Bible tells US TO DO but they still don’t beleive!
So what do we do then? ------------- I know for me personally, I would swing completely to the other side of that thinking, and end up with thoughts like:
I’ll never be anything
I can’t do anything right
Im useless // I’m a failure
Everybody hates me, nobody loves me,
I’ve failed my family // I’ve failed my friends
I’ve failed God
That kind of thinking, is garbage. So throw it away.
John Piper (another preacher that I love and highly recommend) said:
"The opposite of thinking highly of ourselves, isn’t thinking were worthless……….
It’s thinking highly of Christ"
----and that is step 2
STEP 2 - Thinking with sober judgment will always cause us to think highly of Christ
When we start to not think so highly of ourselves, and our mind starts to renew, when we begin that transformation AWAY from the conformity thinking of the world, the picture in our heart of who Christ is will become clearer and clearer.
Thinking “soberly” means thinking free from influence.
And there is a ton of influence in this world trying to manipulate the way you think, especially in relation to Jesus Christ.
When we start to do that, we will begin to gain a picture of Christ that is free from the influence of the world.
Understanding that He is God and we are not
Understanding that we can’t fix our sin and that it needs to be brought to Him
When you have your quiet time with God; LITERALLY say, out loud, with our mouths: “God I have this sin in my life that I am not strong enough to stand against”
Thinking hihgly of Chirst will make us aware that our loved ones who dont believe need to be brought to HIm
When we have our alone time with God; LITERALLY say, out loud, with our mouths: “God I have this person in my life that needs you! Ive loved them, talked about you, lived as an example, invited them to Church, ive forgiven them, ive prayed for them, ive cried for them, ive done all the things and said all the things I can, but nothing is happening, theres no change → Im giving them up to you God!”
That is HARD …… but that is what it looks like to think highly of Christ
When we recognize who Jesus Christ is and allllll that He does-----when we stop thinking highly of ourselves, and instead thinking highly of Christ
We will be thinking with sober judgement
One of the most profound things we will realize, when we begin to think with sober judgement, and our minds start to renew, we will see how reliant on God we actually are.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Our faith IN God… is a gift FROM God - we cannot save ourselves.
If it were any other way, if we ourselves thought through all the steps and relied on our own thinking and somehow birthed our own faith in God, we could boast and brag and lift ourselves higher than we should.
So if and when those kinds of feelings come up, where were thinking too highly of ourselves, or if we think we might be, we need to remember that we didnt create our own faith, it was given to us
It is that kind of thinking that renews our minds and transforms us away from the conformity of the world:
The world wants us to do what is best for us // The Bible tells us to live for Him
To lift ourselves up // The Bible tells us to lift Him up
The world tells us that Jesus didnt even exist
That He was just another teacher
The world tells us that there are numerous ways to reach eternity
To control our weaknesses // The Bible tells us to go to Him in times of need
The world tells us that we are the ones who decide what is right and wrong…..
If we start the journey of renewing our mind by not thinking highly of ourselves, by thinking with sober judgement and as a result begin to think highly of Christ, then we will bring ourselves to the last step in renewing our minds I mentioned earlier…………
That’s where STEP 3 comes in - do you guys remember what it was?
“...in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
You see, when God saved us, that faith that He gave us doesnt lay dormant somewhere in the back of our souls.
He didn’t save you, to set you on a shelf somewhere.
He has a direction for you, a journey for you
And the faith He gave you for that journey, is specific for YOU.
My faith may not be as strong as another persons, and thats ok, because im not walking their journey, im walking my own.
Never think to yourself “if only I had faith like that person”
This is something ive said before, and im going to say it again
When God made you, it wasnt accidently
He made each and every one of you, on purpose
He didnt just mush together a last minute assortment of genes and personality traits
He made you, on purpose, in such a way that when you are given that gift of faith, you yourself, can do work for the Kingdom of God that NO ONE ELSE can do.
Where you are strong, others are weak // and the other way around
All of us are meant to work together
To compliment eachother // To lift each other up
To support eachother // To correct eachother
To comfort and pray for and pray with and ask for prayer from
To empower other believers ------------------------
It might take one person a little bit of faith to make it through a trial, or to step up and make a difference, when it takes me a TREMENDOUS and EXHAUSTING AMOUNT of faith to make through something even smaller than them…..and thats ok
But NEVER think “I could have done that, or gone through that, if I was them”
because you're not them, so calm down.
So…… what do we do with that information?
This is what the rest of our verses this morning are talking about when they say:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us…”
These verses are the action steps.
Get involved with your Church,
give your time,
live into the plans and purposes that God has for your life.
He distributed to you, the exact amount of faith you need, through all the moments of your life, to be able to do what Ephesians 2:10 says about those whom God has given the gift of faith to:
“For we are his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We are all individual members of one body.
All of us can make an impact in this individual Church, and the Church of God as a whole.
All of us can do “Kingdom centered work”.
All of us can do the work of God.
And all of us are vitally important
→ Call up the Worship team ←
As we close, I want you to remember these three things about how to renew your mind:
If you want to be yourself, and not a by-product of this world and its societal influences The Bible gives us the first steps of how to do that:
1- Think rightly about Jesus Christ
Who He is and what He has done
Confess your sins to Him
Read His Word; Every-single-day
2- Think rightly about yourself
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Know that God has given you the faith you need to go through life
Know that the faith He gave you, is specific for you and for your journey
3- Get involved
Be an active member of your Church
Build relationships with other Christians
Volunteer, Support, Give your time,
This last one is so important, because no one else can be you.
(→ → Closing prayer ← ← )