Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P60 (09-02-20)
It is so important to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. To worship God, you must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. If you have the Spirit of God living in you, you have truth living in you. Truth will not lead you to the pattern of this world. Truth will be transforming you by renewing your mind, not by altering it.
Much of psychology is about altering your mind. But Christ living in you is about changing attitudes of heart and thinking in the new way of the Spirit, in accordance with how God intended you to function, with Him living in you. Who would you rather go to for truth, God your creator, who knows how the mind works, or the psychologist, who most likely does not even know God and is relying on the thinking patterns of this world, and relying on his own understanding?
As a lost person, you cannot worship God because you do not have truth living in you. How can you worship someone you do not know? But when you are born again, you know God by the Spirit He has given you. But you have flesh patterns of thinking, thinking of the world. That error in thinking must be replaced with truth, and that takes time.
By studying God’s word to get to know Him is how your mind is renewed. One of the ways your mind is renewed is by knowing what true worship is. Many people do not know what true worship is. Sadly, so-called places of worship are not really teaching truth. Such places have become entertainment centers for the lost, like a big business or an activity center to draws crowds, and has simply become about nickels and noses.
People think of worship as a place you go to or where you sing songs or raise your hands. Church is understood as a place you go to, a building on the corner of walk and don’t walk. And for many people, the only time they even open the bible is at church, and even less so nowadays. Bible studies have turned into book studies, where the bible is nowhere to be found.
But you are the church, the Ekklesia, the called out ones, called out to be separate from the world. You are born again into the family of God, whose head is Christ Jesus, and called to be separate from the world. God has already given you everything you need in Christ Jesus.
The only thing left is for you now, in view of the mercy of God, who did this for you, who had given everything you need, in view of that, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. You are set apart. Do you know what sets you apart? Walking in dependence upon God sets you apart from the rest of the world. Being a child of God separates you from the rest of the world. Having the wisdom of God sets you apart from the rest of the world. What you know is true sets you apart from the world.
What true worship is is what is defined in Romans 12:1-2 as your reasonable act of worship, to live in dependency on the Spirit, to make your bodies available to God, to allow Him to live His life in you and through you. You are to live in dependency on the Holy Spirit as Jesus modeled for us and explained to us in John 15 in the parable of the vine and the branches. By abiding in Him, by having your mind renewed through His word, relying on the Spirit to teach you truth, that is how the fruit of the Spirit is produced in you and through you.
So make yourself available to God. Rely not on your own understanding, but let Him renew your mind. Thereby you are allowing truth to set you free. On such truth you take your stand and communicate that to others. Let the grace of God, the fruit of the Spirit, such as the love of God, whom you access, so that which is from God flows through you into the lives of others. All this is for the building up of the body of Christ in love as He leads you to do.
It is so easy to say what Jesus would say in regard to these nice things. He did other things. He lived. Do you want to duplicate that? Some people say “Oh, yes.” How did it go? The issue is we do not duplicate actions. Actions come from the direction of the Father. What we go to copy and imitate is the attitude, the attitude of dependency that Jesus had. The attitude of dependency He wants to develop in us is to be available to listen to the voice of God and act accordingly. If He says go there, go there. If He says go give a cup of water in the name of Jesus, go give a cup of water. It is listening to the word of God. Again, the attitudes of Christ and the attitudes of the apostle Paul, who certainly lived by this, you are going to see that total attitude of dependency upon Christ. Do not try to duplicate what I do, but duplicate my attitude of dependence.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Is that eternally, or is this talking about the time He spent on the earth in an earth suit? Certainly the latter is what we are talking about here.
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
He made himself nothing. What do you mean, made Himself nothing? He came in human likeness. Is this not a study of contrast? When you talk about the difference between God and His creation? But compared to God, we are nothing. Jesus used that word nothing when He said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” So, He is saying to us here that that attitude of dependency is an attitude that says “I am not the important one. My desires are not what is important. What is important is that the desires of the Father be communicated to me and I am willing to carry them out. That is what is important. I am not going to be the dynamic of my own action and the cause of my own effect. I am going to live in dependency upon my Father, even though I am God. I am not going to hold onto that.”
The characteristic of God is He calls things into existence that are not as if they were. He is the initiator of all things. He did not consult us when He created the earth. He did not consult us when He saved the earth. All these things come from understanding that compared to God, we are nothing. The psalmist said that.
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
We need to understand that attitude. We are not the center of the universe. We are not a big deal. Who are we, God, that you should be mindful of us?
You fly up in the sky and you look down. You cannot see people. You can hardly see houses. You can hardly see buildings. You cannot see anybody but you know there are people all over the place. Whenever I get in an airplane and I look down, I say, “Who are you that you are mindful of us?”
What you are looking at in light of the immensity of the universe, just how important are we? When you look at that, then you are saying, “That is an attitude that it is not my will but it is your will, Lord.” Even though from a size standpoint, I could look at that, totally insignificant and yet we are absolutely precious in the sight of God. He even knows the number of hairs on our head.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
It is so amazing to realize that God is big enough to create the universe and small enough to live in our hearts and be mindful of us. His mind is so great, to the creative power of God, yet He sits down and teaches our little minds. It is a love relationship that we can never ever get our arms totally around.
He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. He did not come to be king, but a servant. He was made in human likeness.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
Death on a cross is the worst of all ways to die. He was found in the appearance as a man. Yes, Jesus was totally God and totally man. But he is a man totally different than us. He did not have a sin nature. He was born of a virgin. His conception was from God. Ours was from mom and dad. Even though Jesus certainly had the appearance as man, he never lost his identity as who he really is, God. “I am God with an appearance as a man. I am not a man as you are because my conception was not as yours. But I do have the appearance as a man, and I had been made in human likeness and I am going to show you how to live as a man.”
Being found in appearance as a man, he became obedient to death. He lived in total dependence on the Father, even to the point of dying on a cross, saying “Lord, not my will but yours be done.” He did express human desire but spiritual truth is he did not come to do his will, but he came to do the will of the Father.
The attitude of expressing God’s love to others involves that continual renewing of the mind.
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. 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.
Once again, as we are listening or going through these studies together, let us keep our focus. Jesus came to this earth. He took upon himself our humanity. He identified with us in our humanity so we could identify with Him in His deity. He walked in total dependence upon the Father, and said therefore to us, “As the Father sent me so send I you. As I live, so you live with the same attitude of dependency upon the Father. I have done everything for you. I have justified you.” You have been reconciled to God through the death of the Son. Having been reconciled you have been saved through his life. You have been given everything you need for life and godliness. Therefore there is nothing else that you need. You merely access what is there. There is nothing more to get. There is no more new experience. There is no new miracle that will ever surpass the miracle of your new birth. There are no signs that are necessary. You have already been given the sign you will ever need with his resurrection from the dead. There are no wonders that are greater than the wonder of the one who indwells you. You have been given everything you need for life and godliness. That everything means everything. It did not say some things. It said everything.
As a result of that and as a result of Christ Jesus giving His life for you, so that He could give His life to you, so that He could live His life through you. In order for that to take place there is only one thing left for us to do. Make our bodies available to the living God who lives in us. That is it, folks. It is like saying to a branch. “I made you a branch. I have given everything you need to live a branch life. You got it all. You are not going to get another branch. You are it. You are branch. In the original language. I am the true vine and you are branch. It does not even say a branch just branch. Now that you are branch, I have given you everything you need to function a branch through abiding in the life of the vine you are attached to. If you detach yourself from that, then you will dry up and die. As long as you are abiding in the life of the vine you have been given everything you need to function as a branch. We are told the same thing.
“I have given you everything you need.” The only thing left is for you now, in view of the mercy of God, who did this for you, had given everything you need, in view of that, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. You are set apart. Do you know what sets you apart? Walking in dependence upon God sets you apart from the rest of the world. Being a child of God separates you from the rest of the world. Having the wisdom of God sets you apart from the rest of the world. What you know is true sets you apart from the world that does not know anything that is true. At CHrist’;s death, the question was asked, “What is truth?” The world does not know what truth is, but you do. You are a child of God. You have been blessed beyond measure.
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.
There is a spiritual act of worship and a natural act of worship.
Let us spend some time on that word, worship, and its meaning. If you were to ask the average Christian today, what is worship, what would they say? That is what you do inside the church on the corner of walk and don’t walk. That is where you go in with a stained glass window and an organ, and you worship God there. To some group what worship would mean is you lift your hands up, you roll your eyes in the back of your head, you get all excited and you get into worship services where the music plays and repeats itself over and over and over again. The organ plays and swells with excitement at just a certain time and the worship director tells you to get excited. There are all kinds of things in regard to what people call worship. On the other side of the pendulum, that kind of thing is ridiculous. What you do is sit still with your hands folded quite piously, and you make no sound, and you stare up into the sky or bow your head. That is what others say worship is. For those two perils of the pendulum, it just goes all over the place of what worship is.
Folks, I want us to use our minds. God gave us minds and wants us to use them. Do you have to be a believer to get goosebumps listening to spiritual songs? Do you have to be a believer to get all excited and jump up and down? Or, could you see that at a football game? Do you have to be a believer to go through all of these shenanigans you see taking place in the name of Christ? The answer to that is no. You do not have to be a believer to get goosebumps listening to a song, or to get excited or to have an experience of some kind. People who are lost do that all the time. Many cults engage in those activities who do not know the Lord from a lamp post. Do you have to be saved to sit piously in church and fold your hands and be extremely quiet and worshipful? People call that worshipful to be quiet. Is it a sign that you are worshipful when you speak with “thee” and “thou” rather than “you” and “me?” Do you have to be saved to do that? The answer to all of those questions is “no.” You do not have to be saved to do what Christians call worship today.
God says there is a spiritual act of worship. There also has to be a fleshly act of worship. What we just talked about is the fleshly act of worship.
The spiritual act of worship is to make your body available to the living God who lives in you. Who can do that? Only in someone in whom God dwells. You cannot make your body available to Christ who lives in you unless He lives in you. This is applicable only to a born again person. It is not applicable to the religious Christian world. It is only applicable to those who are born again, which quite frankly is what the bible calls church, the Ekklesia, the called out ones.
It is not an organization we belong to but an organism we are attached, of which Christ Jesus is head and we are the body. There is only one act of worship that God spoke of in that transaction. “Make your body available for me to live my life in and through you. That is the only thing I am impressed with, is what the life of the vine does. I am not at all impressed by what the life of the branch does because the branch does not have any life apart from me. He just thinks he does.”
People have substituted the real thing for this artificial stuff that anybody can do. But if your goal is nickels and noses, and you get people in, whether lost or saved, your main goal is to have activities and programs and keep attracting people. “I do not care about what their spiritual life is, just get the numbers in here.” You build bigger buildings for them. For if that is your goal what do you care? How are you going to teach the spiritual act of worship to 60 to 70 percent of your congregation who do not know the Lord? They do not have the Spirit of God living in them. “So we better do things that look like spiritual acts of worship. So let us keep the music playing and keep the worship services going and absolutely ignore what God says what true spiritual worship is.” True spiritual worship is to offer your body as a living sacrifice. It has been made holy and pleasing to God. That is your spiritual act of worship.
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.
What I just mentioned is part of the patterns of this world. “Get them in. Sit and soak. Do not get too deep in your preaching because you have to be politically correct. Do not give the gospel. Let us get more music.” I asked my metro the other day, “How many of you were saved through a song?” Not one hand was raised. Yet in the media, it is going more and more to music and music, tickling the ears of the saints. “Do not give me too much to have to think about.” The old teaching radio stations are going by the wayside. People have subsituted good gospel for psycholgical gobbly-gook. People dragged in secular psychology in the name of Jesus. If people are not doing that, then all they are dealing with, many times, is the spectacular. Thank God for preachers, although now dead, their sermons are still on the air in some places. There are people who are still teaching the depth of the word of God.
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.
It did not say to be transformed by the altering of your mind. That is the pattern of this world. If you want to be conformed to the pattern of this world, just give in to everything the world says is the solution to the problems in this world. He says that the solution is walking in a newness of life, living in dependency upon Christ. If you are doing that how can you be living a defeated life, if you are living in dependence upon God? The answer to this is it is impossible.
Instead of teaching people how to walk in dependence upon God, people are more interested in entertaining people, in placating people, in not getting into too deep stuff because they just cannot understand that. All of that talk is doing nothing but conforming to the pattern of this world instead of being transformed by the renewing of the mind. People have an option, to renew your mind or altar your mind.
The world says to alter your mind. That is why, today, psychotic drugs of all kinds are one of the largest businesses in this world, even to the point now of giving drugs to three year olds because they are acting like three year olds. People have become totally adapted to the pattern of this world.
If you are lost, that is not your problem, of conforming to the pattern of the world. Your problem is you need salvation, a new heart living in you. When you have a new heart living in you, then you realize the pattern of this world is all error. The transforming of my mind is to get involved in truth.
The issue to me is why are people who are exposed to truth, who have truth living in them, supposedly, are so insistent upon conforming to the pattern of the world? It is not just the case of saying, “Yes, I understand what the bible is saying on renewing of the mind, but brother, I do this and I am going to defend that and then get mad at you and everything else.” And you have the Spirit of God living in you? That to me does not compute.
If you have the Spirit of God living in you, you have truth living in you. Truth will not lead you to the pattern of this world. Truth will be transforming you by renewing your mind, not by altering it. When you renew your mind, what do you have? A new attitude toward things. When you have a stinky attitude toward things, you are going to have stinky thinking. He says, “I am going to renew your mind and teach you truth.” It is only when you are allowing God to transform you by the renewing of your mind.
Again, we are getting into a lot of debatable issues today. A lot of people just get their hairs raised on the back of the neck. It did not say renewing of your mind occurs through your talking to God. Renewing of your mind occurs when you let God talk to you. I am not renewing my mind when I am praying. I am renewing my mind when I am learning what the word of God has to say.
If I do not want to do that since that takes time. I have to think and I might have to read the bible. I would rather just sit in church with a bible in my hand. I would rather pray and be a prayer warrior. I do not know anything, but I just pray. Yet that is what the Christian world is telling you, just pray and pray. And I do not know anything but just pray. That is not transforming your mind.
If you want your mind transformed and to be able, as in that last verse, to know and to test what God’s will is for your life, you have to quit talking and start listening. I want to know what God’s good, perfect and pleasing will is for my life. Don’t you? If you do, then you have to listen to Him. You are going to have to read His word. You are going to know the difference between old covenant and new covenant, to realize we are under a brand new contract compared to what it was prior to the death of Christ. It is called grace. It is not partial grace. It is full grace. It is the grace of God that will teach you to say “No” to unrighteousness. What is that? Transforming your mind, renewing your mind.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
The renewing of our mind is what teaches us to say “No” to unrighteousness. That is what this Christian life is all about, is to get to know the good and pleasing and perfect will of God for your life that comes from allowing Him to renew your mind that transforms you. When that occurs, you are going to be able to test and approve what God’s will is. To know what it is. I realize that is not good information for some people, but I want you to think about it folks. Where are you spending your time? I am not saying there is nothing wrong with talking to God or praying to God, but if you have not listened to what He has to say to you, you are praying not with a transformed and new mind but of the old mind of the flesh.
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