Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P42 (05-12-21)
The renewing of our mind is what will be going on in us until the day we meet the Lord. He reminds us to keep our mind on whatever is good, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. As we tend to drift toward anxiety, getting our minds flooded with all kinds of thoughts on a daily basis, it is easy to get our emotions focused on all the bad things that might happen tomorrow or to drift into depressing thoughts of the mistakes we made yesterday. That is what emotions do. They predictably respond to whatever you are thinking, and emotions do not know whether those thoughts are real or not, are happening now, tomorrow or yesterday. They just respond to whatever you are thinking. So let us get our mind back on what is true, and casts all our cares on Christ Jesus, for He cares for you.
Remember Christ Jesus is God. He is the creator of the whole world and of your complex being, the human body, and knows all there is, and He lives in you. He no longer calls you a servant, but He calls you His friend. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you, and being eternal, He will be with you in your tomorrow. So we can trust someone who loves us and accepts us unconditionally. As we go to Him with all our prayers and supplications with thanksgiving, He guards our hearts and minds. As a result, we experience His peace that surpasses understanding.
There is room for all of those things. Do I approve of it? No. Do I think it ruins people? Yes. But is that my responsibility? No. My responsibility is to proclaim what I know is true, and let the chips fall where they may. The results are in the hands of God. The same thing with freedom. In a free country, never attack. You do not find a free republic, a free country, attacking a communist country? You find countries who were in bondage attacking free countries. Free countries have always had to be defended and fought for.
When you come into a relationship experiencing freedom in Christ, do not expect acceptance. Do not expect everybody is going to say “Praise God. What do you have?” You will always have opposition. Those in bondage will be the ones who will continually try to destroy you. You are not trying to destroy them and that is why it is difficult to understand them. But you have to realize they will try to destroy you. That is why you cannot compromise. That is why there is no room for commingling law and grace. That is why Jesus said you cannot put old wine into new wineskins.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
That is why you cannot have a little law with grace. You have to have one or the other. When you come to the side of grace, you have become an enemy of the legalist. When I say an enemy, an enemy attacks. So we have to understand that. That is not judging people but it is judging what people are teaching and what they believe.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
He is not talking about tithing here. He is talking about dealing with your life.
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
When I first read this passage, it hit me right between my eyes. Why do you look at someone else’s sin, when you have a log in your own?
42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
In other words, before you start criticizing, take a look at your own critical spirit. Check out what is going on inside of you. Check out your anger. Check it up against 1 Corinthians 13. Am I being patient with this person? Am I being kind to him? Am I keeping record of his wrongs? Am I trusting the best? If that is not going on, you have a plank in your eye, and so do I. Before I am ever in a position to try to remove something out of someone else’s;. eye, or to help someone with a speck, I have to get a log out of my own. There again, it is down to the point, instead of being preoccupied with what everybody else is doing something wrong, although we should be alert to the proclamation of what is true, you also have to look at your own attitude and your own heart. You have to be able to ask yourself, “Am I functioning in love? Or, am I functioning out of vengeance, vindictiveness or bitterness myself? Until I get rid of that, I am in no position to deal with another person’s problem.”
1 John 3:18
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Now turn to Luke 6:46. Jesus asked that question, and people were not acting in that way, not carrying out what they know to be true.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
He went on to explain about putting the word of God into practice, acting upon it. It does you no good to stand there. It would be like you and me walking up to this crevice and see this big canyon below us, and there is a bridge that goes across, the one like Tarzan walks on. We look at that and we want to get to the other side, but there is that bridge. You sit there and say, “I studied engineering and bridge building, and I tell you that thing will hold you.” “You know, I have a little experience myself. And I think it will hold us too. The more I look at that thing, the more convinced it will hold us.” “Yes, I think it will hold us both the same time.” “I do too.” “Me too, Bob. Me too, Bob.” We could stand there until we have beards to our ankles and never get to the other side, just fully convinced that bridge will hold us. What faith does, is once we become convinced the bridge will hold us, you step out on it and start walking across it. That is when you put what you say you believe, you put into action.
Now, when you are talking about Christ, you are not talking about stepping out on a shaky bridge. You are stepping out into the arms of God, who has demonstrated His love, mercy and grace to us in its fullness. It is the stepping out that makes the reality of this real. So when we do not do that, it is like a man building a house on sand. When we heard His words and put them into practice it is like a man building a house on bedrock.
47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
We are talking about a foundation. The foundation has to be based upon truth, but then once that truth has come, then put it into practice. When it says rest, put it into practice. How do you do that? Rest. Realize Christ Jesus will do exactly and precisely what He said. Jesus will complete the work He began in you.
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
As Jesus said.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
It is interesting that here He is commanding to do what He says, yet with a full awareness that that is impossible to do. It ties into what Jesus said when the apostles finally came to Him and asked, “What is the work of ministry?” “To believe in the one who was sent?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Only through trusting in Jesus are you going to pull this off. There is a world of difference between what you do and what you think. I came to renew your mind. The Spirit of God, living in you and me, is what gives us the ability to understand the word of God, to have our mind renewed.
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.
Let us look at the difference between a psalm in the Old Testament and an admonishment in the New Testament.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. 60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
Here is David saying, “I will obey your law. I will hasten and I will not delay to obey all your commands.” Does that not sound familiar? This was David who ended up with Bathsheba. This is the kind of a statement that came when Moses brought down the ten commandments. They all said, “We will do it, Lord. Give them to us and we will obey them.” Was there heart there? Is there something happened that is good? Yes. “I have considered my ways and it is the pits.” The heart is there to want to obey God, to be like God’s. That is the kind of heart God is looking for. That is why David is called the man after God’s own heart. These guys wanted to do instant obedience. There are people walking around like that, deceived enough to think they are doing instant obedience, but have no clue in regard to what He is talking about in regard to mercy, love, not judging, forgiving, turning the other cheek, and all of those things. Hoping the best, trusting the best, thinking the best, not keeping records of wrongs. That is God’s criteria. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Do not worry about the ten commandments. Worry about loving one another. That is where law is fulfilled by.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
So we look at that and say, “I am in deep trouble.” Now, that was in the Old Testament, without the Spirit of God living in them.
Now look at Philippians 4:8, where Paul is speaking to people who have been regenerated, born again with the Spirit of God living in them.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
What will truth do? Set you free. Also think about whatever is right, noble, pure, lovely and admirable. We do not need the supreme court to figure out what is right and wrong. Anybody can figure out what is right and wrong. People are talking about loving one another whether heterosexual or homosexual. Who ever came up with a thing that it is right to be loving each other outside of marriage anyway, in sexual marriage? Where did that come from? That is an old-fashioned thought. You know when things are right and wrong. Anybody engaged in such activities knows full well what is right and what is wrong. As a guy you can be huffing and puffing like a big bad wolf, saying: “I am just so in love and I am in love.” You go forth into that act and then see how anxious you want to get home. I am stepping on toes. I am talking frankly from a human being standpoint. That is not love. That is sex. We know deep down in our heart what is right and wrong. In the heat and passion of the moment it seems so right, but after the climax, you know full well what is right and what is wrong. Let us be honest with each other.
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Why does He say to think about these things? If you think about them and act upon them, that is the way you are going to live your life. It does you no good to say: “Lord, I considered your ways. I am going to obey your commands.” It is when you come to the point of saying “I cant. I can’t walk in those statutes.” He says, “I know, but I can.”
“Lord, then what is the work of the ministry?” “Believe in Me. Trust Me.” “Trust in you to do what, Lord?” “To renew your mind, to teach you truth. That truth will set you free. I want you to think upon these things. I did not put that thing on top of your shoulders to be a hat rack. I gave that to you for you to think with. Concentrate on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Think on those things.”
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Have you learned some things? Have you received them? Have you heard them? Have you seen them? Put them into practice. It is a mindset. You have had your mind changed. There is a mindset that I need to be merciful. I cannot but I need to be merciful. But God begins to change your heart so you want to be merciful. He works on your insides, to change the attitudes of your heart, so your attitudes are like that of Christ Jesus.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Folks, you cannot be abiding in Christ and walking around demanding your rights. God says we do not have any rights. Everything we have is a privilege. I do not have a right to breathe. I do not have a right to be born. I do not have a right to be alive. I do not have a right to have a house. I do not have a right to have a car. I do not have a right to have a job. I do not have a right to have health care. I do not have a right to anything. Those are privileges.
Whenever we stop seeing gifts of God as privileges and see them as rights, then I need to demand instead of receive. There is no grace in that. That is like saying, “I have got a right to salvation. After all, I am alive. I am a human being. I am wonderful. I am fantastic. God, it is not fair of you to not have to save me the way I want to be saved. I got a right. I have a right to eternal life with you. I do not want to have anything to do with Jesus. But I got a right.” Try that on with God. That may work with the president or the Supreme Court, but that will not work with God.
We have no rights. We have privileges. I have no right to be saved. When I look back on that after some 20 years, then I am even more amazed today as to how God could reach down and pull me out of the blackness and darkness of life into the kingdom of His Son. Do I have a right to that? No. Unbelievable privilege, but not a right. When we go around as Christians demanding our rights, that is not the attitude of God. If that is in your attitude, then we need to get rid of it. And you need to ask God to renew your mind and teach you truth. You will never find the attitude of mercy when you are demanding your rights. These are real attitudes of heart that God is dealing with, and wanting to change. Those are the things that make us different. That is what sets you apart. Not by what you do, but what you think. Hopefully what you do is a reflection of what you think. What good does it do to change an action if you have not changed the heart.
He is dealing with these things. And he is talking about the peace of God that will be with you. What is the peace of God? What is the opposite of that? Anxiety. Does the bible speak on that? Yes it does.
In 1 Peter 5:7, what does he tell us to do with our problems and anxieties?
1 Peter 5:7
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
To cast all our anxieties on Him. Why? For He cares for you. Why would you want to cast your anxiety upon another man, necessarily, if you do not think he likes you? Can you imagine someone calling me up saying this? “Bob, I really have a problem. Who should I go to?” “Do you have a really bad enemy? Someone who hates your guts?” “Yes, I do.” “Well, that is the guy you go to.” He would hang up the phone on me, if I said that. You would want to go to a guy who loves you, who cares for you, and is interested in you, not someone who cannot stand you. But if I do not know God’s unconditional love and acceptance, and I do not know about God’s provision, of His mercy and kindness and His everlasting provision for me, then why would I want to go with him with my anxiety?
When I come to understand His provision, I do not have much anxiety. Anxiety is an emotion that deals with the future. I am anxious about what is going to happen tomorrow. I am anxious about getting older. I am anxious about that. I hope I do not get in a nursing home. I am anxious about what kind of boyfriend or girlfriend I will have, if you are a teenager. Or I am anxious if I am ever going to be married and to someone married, they can be anxious about how to get unmarried. All of that goes on, and is all about the future.
Your emotions were designed by God whereby your emotions predictably respond to whatever you are thinking. Your emotions do not know whether what you are thinking is really happening or whether you thought it did happen. They do not know. They just respond. That is how you can make yourself an emotional wreck. The only time you can feel something is right now. Emotions create feelings. But I can think back about what I did yesterday and the day before and all the mistakes I made and my emotions do not know whether that is really happening or whether I think it is happening. They do not know. They are just presenting. So I am sitting here anxious thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow, with all those pictures and sounds in my head. The emotions do not know but they are just predictably responding. Through your mind, we can make ourselves an emotional wreck, an absolute emotional basket case, stretching our emotions like a rubber band where there is no elasticity left in them, by our own minds.
So it tells us to think about the things of God. For those are real today. They are not real tomorrow or yesterday. They are real right now. Think about those things. And you will have peace, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So two major words there, “anything” and “everything”. We reverse that. I am anxious about everything, but in nothing by prayer and supplication, requested to God. So we have it reversed. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything. And that means everything.
So many people talk about Lordship. That is not the issue. It is the issue of coming to the point of realizing who it is who lives in you. He is the Lord God, Jesus Christ my Lord. As my Lord, my creator, as God Himself, I do not have to be very smart to realize that He probably knows more than I do. My keen mind picks up on that. You come to the point to say, “In Him is all wisdom and all knowledge.” Somebody you can call who created the world into existence, who could create an instrument like us, and we sit there and deny His wisdom and His power? That is stupid. We come to the point of realizing that God Himself lives inside of me.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
He is those things. That is who Christ is, and He is living in us. If that is true. Those things do not make any sense until we understand the fullness of God’s grace. It does not do any good to tell someone not to be anxious, for they do not know why not to be anxious. But if God is living in you and loves you perfectly, there is a reason you do not have to worry about tomorrow. The reason you do not have to worry about tomorrow, and not that I do not because I am stupid too, but the Spirit of God never leaves you in your ignorance. “Bob, hold on. You do not even know if you will be there tomorrow. I do not call you servants anymore, but I call you friend.” So my best friend, the God of this universe, says “Bob, let me ask you a question? Who are you trusting today for your life?” “Well, you Lord.” “Where do you think I will be tomorrow? I will be in your future. I am already there. If I am already there, what do you have to fear tomorrow for? If you do not have to fear today, then why should you have to fear tomorrow?” “Lord, that does not make any sense does it?” “No, it doesn’t, Bob. The only time you can feel something is today, and I want you to have a great life now.”
10 I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.
“You cannot have abundant life today worrying about tomorrow. Nor can you have abundant life today beating yourself up over what happened yesterday. What you have to do is give thanks for my provision for you right now, today.”
So do not be anxious about anything because you do not need to. It is not a command to not be anxious. It is like saying, “Go love somebody”. Try that on for size. It is because of who He is in who you are. It is because of that, that I do not have to be anxious about anything. Instead, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Let Him know what is going on in your heart. He already knows so you might as well talk about it.
There is a by-product to that. That is the peace of God, not the peace of the world, not a peace of transcendental meditation. It goes on to say that there is a peace of God that transcends all understanding. He said be still and know that I am God. Not take a pill and know that I am God. He is talking about the peace of God. He is not even talking about going out into His nature and enjoying a mountain stream. That is also a kind of peace, but not the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. You do not need Jesus living in you to enjoy that.
There are a lot of things I can do to instruct you to have some temporary peace. You can have some temporary peace talking to me sometimes. I do not have any interest in giving you truth. I could say, “Yes, you are a victim. You have a pitiful situation. I understand. You just leave with peace.” But that would not be the peace of God that surpasses understanding. But the peace of God will do something. It will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
It is like a guard. If you saw a guard, as an example, in the Old Testament times or in places where there were castles with a wall around it, you see guards there. What were they doing? They were guarding the palace. What were they doing? They were protecting it. It says the protection of your heart and mind is the peace of God. That is an interesting thing to think about, the way your heart is guarded. We are always talking about binding that and binding that. That will do nothing for you. That is pitiful binding wire. You want your heart protected. The way that God protects and guards your heart and your mind is with the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.