Living a Transformed Life

Dr. Steve Viars September 6, 2020 Romans 12:1-8
Outline

3 ways to live in celebration of the mercy of the gospel

I. Present Yourself Daily for God’s Service – v.1

Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

A. You have considered the riches of His mercies

Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

“urge” – parakalew – calling alongside in order to help or give aid

Romans 3:23-26 - …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

“In the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), paristēmi (to present) was often used as a technical term for a priest’s placing an offering on the altar. It therefore carried the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. As members of God’s present ‘holy priesthood’ (1 Pet. 2:5), Christians are here exhorted to perform what is essentially a priestly act of worship. Because the verb is in the imperative, the exhortation carries the weight of a command.” (John MacArthur, Romans 9-16, p. 142)

Romans 6:11 - Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Malachi 1:8 - “But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

B. True worship is the reasonable response

Romans 12:1d - …which is your spiritual service of worship.

“spiritual” – “logikos”

1 Peter 2:5 - …you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?…Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.” (Livingstone’s Private Journal: 1851–53, ed. I. Schapera [London: Chatto & Windus, 1960], pp. 108, 132)

II. Don’t Be Conformed to This World – v. 2a

Romans 12:2a - And do not be conformed to this world…

Ephesians 4:17-20 - So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way…

A. Meaning of “world”

B. Because this world is evil

1 John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” (J.B. Phillips)

“Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God.” (Kenneth Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955], 1:206–7)

“Marx was an atheist utopian who envisioned a new morality without God…for those social justice Christians who like to invoke communism as somehow consistent with or reflexive of Christian social teaching, well, Karl Marx begged to differ. ‘The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility’ scowled Marx. ‘The social principles of Christianity are hypocritical…so much for the social principles of Christianity.” (The Devil and Karl Marx, Paul Kengor, pp. 28-29)

C. You were saved to be set apart from the world

Galatians 1:3-4 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…

D. Because this world is blinded from seeing the glory of Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 - And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

E. Because you are to be shaped like Jesus

Romans 8:29 - For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…

2 Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

III. Be Transformed by Renewing Your Thinking – v. 2b-8

Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Old Mind

(Romans 1:18-32)

Renewed Mind

Suppresses the truth about God (v.18)

Believes the truth about God

Does not honor God (v.21)

Honors God

Does not thank God (v.21)

Thanks God

Futile in thinking (v.21)

Useful and effective thinking

Claim to be wise (v.22)

Trust God to be wiser

Exchange the glory of God for images (v.23)

Exchange idols for the glory of God

Exchange truth of God for a lie (v.25)

Exchange a lie for the truth of God

Worship and serve the creature (v.25)

Worship and serve the Creator

Dishonorable passions (v.26)

Honorable passions

Do not acknowledge God (v.28)

Acknowledge the Lord

Depraved mind (v.28)

Renewed mind

Disobey the command of God (v.32)

Obey the command of God

Colossians 3:10 - …and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…

Ephesians 4:20-24 - But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

A. So that you will discover God’s perfect will

Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 5:8-10 - …for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

B. So that you will think properly about your place in the church

1. not highly, but soberly

Romans 12:3 - For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

2. different and diverse, yet united

Romans 12:4-5 - For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

3. gifted to serve for the good of others

Romans 12:6 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…

Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

- one of the areas of Faith Church for which I’ve been especially thankful over the years has been the way our church family loves to serve…

- just as an example, I was in Meijer the other day and ran into the husbands of one of the women in our church going through a significant medical trial…

- I was asking how she was doing – and his answer was interesting…

- he said – what really bothers her is that in is getting in the way of the ways she likes to serve…

- that’s fascinating when you think about it…

- not, she’s upset about the side effects…or concerned about the prognosis—although I’m sure that has to be part of the equation at some point, but what really bothers her is that this disease of hers is getting the way of her serving…

- I’ve had a similar experience as I’ve spoken with different church members during the pandemic…

- for example, I was speaking with one of our youth leaders the other day…and he said that he and his wife were itching to get back to some kind of in-person ministry because they were missing the teenagers so much…

- there’s words you don’t often find in the same sentence – “teenagers”…and “missing them”…[that was a little joke to tweak our teens a bit]…

- But this man was serious, and Pastor Johnny has said that about a lot of his teen ministry servants…they are chomping at the bit to get back at it…praise the Lord for that…

- here’s another example – if you’re a member at Faith, you know this is the time of year where we ask you to make recommendations about potential deacons…

- if you’ve studied that biblical office, you that the word “deacon” literally means servant…and when our deacons and their wives are willing to fulfill that role, they are signing up for a significant weight of serving God and their church family…

- and as our pastors and deacons reviewed the list you suggested…it was amazing the number of high-caliber people whom the Lord has given to potentially fill those roles…

- often when I’m speaking at conferences and talking to pastors and church leaders…that’s a very consistent refrain…we just can’t get anyone to serve in our regular ministries – we couldn’t possibly start a community-based counseling ministry or a creative community ministry…

- and while we’re far from perfect, that’s not our experience here at all…

- and the other piece of that, I don’t believe that’s because of guilt…no one is being judged or threatened with being thrown out of heaven if they don’t serve…

- it’s being done as a response to the beauty and power of the gospel…it’s a way of life because of the mercies of God…

- that’s what we’re going to study this morning – Living a Transformed Life

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Romans 12…

- our church’s theme this year has been Celebrating God’s Truth

- the Lord has certainly given us many unexpected opportunities to do that in 2020, has He not?...and I realize that you might say – could I be invited to a different party next year?...we’ll see…

- but we began the year working verse by verse through the book of Romans…

- and it had always been our intent to take a break in the summer once we got through chapter 11…

- that gave us the opportunity to focus the last twelve Sundays or so on Overcoming Fear and Worry

- but now, we have the opportunity to start our Romans engines again…and take one final trip around the track of this great book…

- now, let me give you some encouraging news…did your mom or dad teach you the important lesson of accomplishing the hardest tasks first?...

- so, make a list of what you need to do that day – and do the hardest ones first…

- the same is true when you’re out bike riding – pick a route where have to go against the wind on the first half of the ride…and then turn around so the last half is easier because the wind is blowing you home…

- well, without a doubt...that’s what we did this year…chapters 1-11 are very, very rich and profound…but without a doubt, they are also some of the most challenging portions in the NT…

- chapters 12-16 could not be more practical and easy to understand…

- applying all of this is another matter…but this fall there is a clear sense in which we’re being rewarded for the hard work we did earlier this fall…

- please follow along as I read chapter 12:1-8…READ

- so we’re talking about Living a Transformed Life…and with the time we have remaining, please think with me about 3 ways to live in celebration of the mercy of the gospel.

I. Present Yourself Daily for God’s Service – v.1

- Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

- so people serve this way because…

A. You have considered the riches of His mercies

- the word “therefore” serves as a critical transition in this entire book…

- it connects chapters 1-11 with chapters 12-16…

- and I realize that its been a while since we’ve been in this book…but do you recall the way Paul concluded his discussion of the beauty and power of the gospel – the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the free gift of salvation that is available through trusting in Him?...with an incredible doxology…

- Romans 11:33–36 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

- when that’s the way you think about your salvation…you don’t have to be goaded into serving God…you want to…

- it’s also interesting that Paul uses the word “urge” – parakalew – calling alongside in order to help or give aid

- we’ve seen this word before – in fact its even one of the names of the Holy Spirit…our “paraclete”…

- because these men and women have been so impacted by the gospel…Paul can come alongside them and encourage them to live this way without stern warnings…it’s something people want to do because of their transformed heart and life…

- please keep in mind also that we’re talking about “brethren” – these are men and women who have had a definite time in their life where they admitted their sin and then placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord…

- if you’re here this morning and you’ve not yet made that decision…please don’t think that you serve God in order to earn grace or merit or favor…

- remember the essence of the gospel in chapter 3 – what many consider to be the heart of the book if not the heart of the Bible… Romans 3:23–26 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

- that’s how you become a brethren (or a sistern, I suppose)…and it is wonderful to see the Lord draw men and women to Himself even during this pandemic…

- well, if you’ve experienced the mercies of God by coming to Him by faith alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone…what then are you motivated to do?...

- “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice”…

- what an incredibly powerful metaphor… In the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), paristēmi (to present) was often used as a technical term for a priest’s placing an offering on the altar. It therefore carried the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. As members of God’s present “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5), Christians are here exhorted to perform what is essentially a priestly act of worship. Because the verb is in the imperative, the exhortation carries the weight of a command (John MacArthur, Romans 9-16, p. 142).

- see, please go back to some of the examples I mentioned at the beginning…what is that woman struggling with a serious disease by still longing to serve doing?...she is presenting her body as a living and holy sacrifice…because of the way her heart has been impacted by the mercies of God…

- what are those youth workers doing who are chomping at the bit to spend time ministering to teenagers… presenting their bodies as a living and holy sacrifice…because of the way their hearts have been impacted by the mercies of God…

- a man and wife who would be willing for him to serve as a deacon…or the hundreds and hundreds of other examples we could give…

- and don’t you love the image of a living sacrifice?...that has the gospel mapped all over it…

- normally we think of sacrifices being dead and then laid on the altar…

- and in a sense that’s true, and Paul explained that in great detail back in chapter 6…when you came to Christ – part of His mercy for you is that you were united with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection…

- Romans 6:11 - Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

- and the significance of being a living sacrifice is that you can make this presentation day after day after day…

- and while I’ve been giving examples of serving at church…this principle should impact every area of a Christian’s life…

- imagine the transformational aspect of that?...

- consider, for example, in the Christian home…

- where dad wakes up…and thinks…because of the mercies of God, I’m presenting myself as a living and holy sacrifice…how and who can I serve…

- and then momma is right behind him… because of the mercies of God, I’m presenting myself as a living and holy sacrifice…how and who can I serve…

- and then the kids come bounding out of their bedrooms…here we are mom and dad…we’re presenting ourselves…how can we serve you and the Lord today?...

- that ought to impact the way we drive our cars…it ought to impact the way we function at work…

- think of the impact it could have on social media…we’re presenting our bodies – including our hands and our typing fingertips – as a living and holy sacrifice…

- and I want to be sure it is acceptable to God…

- the OT Israelites were notorious for bringing their worst to God, not their best… Malachi 1:8 - “But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.

- there are people who have never been impacted by the mercies of God…

- and lest someone would say – well, this is an unreasonable expectation…that’s exactly the opposite of what these verses are saying…

B. True worship is the reasonable response.

- Romans 12:1d - which is your spiritual service of worship.

- now, we have to be careful with that phrase – because we might think Paul is talking about only what “hyper--spiritual” people do…

- “spiritual” – “logikos”

- we obviously get the word logical from this term…

- if we are thinking logically about the mercies of God…presenting our bodies to the Lord daily in this way and for this purpose is the only logical thing to do…

- so we’re talking about a lifestyle of priestly self-sacrifice…and it’s a beautiful concept…because now that Christ’s perfect sacrifice has been made and accepted by our Holy Father…[proven when the veil in the temple was rent in two and God raised His Son from the dead]…now we have direct access to God’s throne as believer priests…

- this is what Peter meant when he said - 1 Peter 2:5 - you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

- we embrace and celebrate a lifestyle of priestly self-sacrifice…

- David Livingstone, the great missionary to Africa wrote in his journal…

- People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?

… Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us. (Livingstone’s Private Journal: 1851–53, ed. I. Schapera [London: Chatto & Windus, 1960], pp. 108, 132)

- Can I ask you to evaluate how you’re doing on this all-important matter?...are you in the habit of presenting yourself daily for God’s service…and what changes would have to be made to strengthen that habit?

- now, Paul goes on to tell us what we have to avoid if we’re going to live this way…

II. Don’t be Conformed to this World – v. 2a

- Romans 12:2a – And do not be conformed to this world…

- Paul told the Ephesians…Ephesians 4:17–20 - So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way…

- now, a good question to ask is – what world is Paul talking about here?

A. Meaning of “world”

- the word world is used in at least 3 different ways in the Bible…

- there’s the cosmos, the physical world God created…

- there’s the world of people – as in John 3:16 – for God so loved the world…

- but there’s also the world’s system, or philosophy, of way of thinking…

- that’s the world that’s in focus here…

- and our world would tell you to do the exact opposite of verse 1…to worship yourself or some false god available out in Vanity Fair…and present your body to that…

B. Because this world is evil

- this is why John admonished his readers - 1 John 2:15–17 - Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

- Can I ask you this am – do you consider this issue before you decide the kind of music you’re going to listen to?...the source to which you turn for news or commentary on current events?...

- J.B. Phillips in his well - known paraphrase of this verse stated it like this – “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.”

- Kenneth Wuest – “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955], 1:206–7).

- and please keep in mind – the word “conformed” is passive…don’t let this happen to you…if you’re not careful and on your guard…the world would be more than happy to squeeze you into its mold…

- here’s one of many examples I could give…I’ve been surprised and saddened by the number of so-called Christians embracing some form of socialism or communism…

- a family from our church sent me a book recently that I’ve been enjoying, although it’s not a pleasant book to read…

- The Devil and Karl Marx by Paul Kengor

- and I’m not suggesting that there’s any perfect economic system…because as long as sin-cursed human beings are involved, there will always be deep flaws…

- but Kengor argues that communism was not simply an economic system, but a theological/philosophical one…

- “Marx was an atheist utopian who envisioned a new morality without God…for those social justice Christians who like to invoke communism as somehow consistent with or reflexive of Christian social teaching, well, Karl Marx begged to differ. ‘The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility’ scowled Marx. ‘The social principles of Christianity are hypocritical…so much for the social principles of Christianity.” {The Devil and Karl Marx, Paul Kengor, pp. 28-29).

- and we have some so-called followers of Christ foolishly embracing such theories without apparently taking the time to study the theological or philosophical roots of such ideas…

- and what just happened?...they allowed themselves to be squeezed into the world’s mold…

- and whatever sacrifice they’re making with their words and their actions and their choices…it is not a sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God…

- here’s an essential aspect of the root of all of this – it’s the lust for the approval of the world…

- some Christians long to be approved by the world…that is a powerful yearning of the human heart…and I want to say strongly as your pastor…be careful what you bow your knee to…

C. You were saved to be set apart from the world.

- Galatians 1:3–4 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

- you might want to pause and ask yourself…to what degree has the rescue been successful?...

D. Because this world is blinded from seeing the glory of Jesus.

- 2 Corinthians 4:3–4 - And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

- this is another way the world can squeeze you into its world – it’s by distracting you…

- we should all ask – how closely tethered are my thoughts, and desires, and words, and actions…to the gospel of the glory of Christ?...

- I had a wonderful time last Sunday am speaking at Faith Church North…and I know that some of you have sacrificed in incredible ways to help us get this close to our goal of having that 16.5M campus completely debt-free by the end of the year…

- but I want you to know…the Lord is doing some marvelous things there…and the future could not be brighter when you layer in the ministries of the HH and Northend Teens and the CDC and everything else…

- and listen – we can either argue about racial tension and injustice, or we can try to do something about…the world’s approaches lead to more tension, and anger, and violence, and division…the world has been squeezing people into that mold for generations…

- what I observed last Sunday was a multi-ethic, multi-generational, multi-economic group of brothers and sisters in Christ presenting their bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which was their spiritual service of worship…and the unity and the joy in Christ I experienced was absolutely delightful…

E. Because you are to be shaped like Jesus

- God has a different mold for people like you and me, doesn’t He?...

- Romans 8:29 - For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

- 2 Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

- do you know why what I saw last week at FN, or the week before that at FW, or here today – why it’s so joyful, and peaceful, and delightful – such a precious haven from this divided world in which we live?...

- it’s because we’re people who have said – I’ve decided what mold I want to be conformed to…I have decided to follow Jesus…

- then Paul gives the positive side of the equation…

III. Be Transformed by Renewing Your Thinking – v. 2b-8

- Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

- don’t you love the fact that because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, you can change not just in your behavior…but at the level of the heart?...

- BTW, this is as good a place as any to ask you – has there been a definite time in your life when you acknowledged your sin and placed your faith and trust in Christ?...

- if not, we would invite you to do that today…

- if so, are you allowing the Word of God and the Spirit of God to renew the way you think about life and the world around you?...

Old Mind

(Romans 1:18-32)

Renewed Mind

Suppresses the truth about God (v.18)

Believes the truth about God.

Does not honor God (v.21)

Honors God.

Does not thank God (v.21)

Thanks God.

Futile in thinking (v.21)

Useful and effective thinking.

Claim to be wise (v.22)

Trust God to be wiser

Exchange the glory of God for images (v.23)

Exchange idols for the glory of God.

Exchange truth of God for a lie (v.25)

Exchange a lie for the truth of God.

Worship and serve the creature (v.25)

Worship and serve the Creator.

Dishonorable passions (v.26)

Honorable passions

Do not acknowledge God (v.28)

Acknowledge the Lord

Depraved mind (v.28)

Renewed mind

Disobey the command of God (v.32)

Obey the command of God.

- this is such a key aspect of Christian growth, or progressive sanctification…consider these passages…

- Colossians 3:10 - and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

- Ephesians 4:20–24 - But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

- that’s why the study of God’s Word is such an important disciple of the Christian life…because we’re trying to be transformed by the renewing of our minds…

- but looks what happens when that occurs…

A. So that you will discover God’s perfect will

- Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

- it’s amazing how many people want to know the will of God on the big-ticket decisions of life – who to marry, what job to take or what car to buy…without doing the hard work of transforming your mind and heart with the truth of God’s Word day-in and day-out on the routine decisions we constantly have to make about what to think and do…

- Paul told the Ephesians - Ephesians 5:8–10 - for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

- friend, does that past phrase describe you?...

B. So that you will think properly about your place in the church

- what Marxists call weakness…followers of Christ call strength as a result of a transformed heart and mind…

1. not highly, but soberly

- Romans 12:3 - For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

- one of the ways we’ve been seeing this played out is the way students, and teachers, and parents, and administrators of our local schools have handled the return to school…

- and it far too early to spike the football or do a victory dance…but I think we can say – a lot of people are doing very, very well – even though its hard…

- so on the one hand – people haven’t given into hype and hysteria…from those who said it wasn’t even worth trying…

- but on the other hand – people have said – we are going to serve one another…who knows how much of this social distancing and mask-wearing will prove to have been necessary…

- but think about how many people have let their faith motivate their choices – they’ve presented their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is their reasonable service…

- think about how many health-care workers, and police officers and first responders, continue to do that exact same thing…

2. Different and diverse, yet united

- Romans 12:4–5 - For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

- I had yet another conversation with one of my friends from another city whose church is fractured like never before because of different ways of thinking about social justice…and this man is very intelligent, and their church was doing very well until this explosion…

- but the conversations that erupted on this topic among their members was anything but people presenting their bodies as living and holy sacrifices…

- this is why I believe Christian people can and should have a leadership role in discussing racial injustice in a gospel centered fashion…

- we’ve watched in horror at what has been happening in some of our nation’s cities…

- and we had a very small amount of that here…

- but you know, there were some others who staged a few protests here locally, but they purposely scheduled them during the day…that immediately tells you something about them…

- and they spoke out about what they perceived as injustices…but without making threats or becoming violent…

- and they met with the mayor and the mayor listened to them…and some police officers have listened to them…

- Christians ought to love all truth…even if some of it is uncomfortable to hear…

- so it is possible to love this country, to respect law enforcement, to speak honestly about aspects of our culture that need to change, and then join arms to try to make those changes together…and it is possible to do that…and perhaps even necessary to do that…in a way that is sacrificial service to God and others…

3. Gifted to serve for the good of others

- Romans 12:6 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…

- I appreciate those who are stepping up to serve as we move forward in the next step of our reopening plan next week…

- those who are willing to serve to make our outdoor CFN at the county amphitheater a success next Sunday…

- and those who historically have been faithful servants around here…

- Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video