Start - GratitudeThanks Thank you for being here,...
Start - GratitudeThanks /
Thank you for being here,
and for letting me be here.
1. for listening, for your time and ears
for helping me grow and learn.
2. For this chance to apply your earlier comments - today.
In the Spirit, we are all parts of His Body
and we need each other - so thank you.
So today, let us consider Romans 12:1-2
First, what is Romans?
It is a letter - a pretty long letter
written by the Apostle Paul
to the Roman people and believers everywhere -
there was a mature Christian community in Rome
He wrote it in about 57 AD
25 years after Jesus was crucified
Paul had not yet been to Rome
but he was a Roman citizen and he was going to go there
People in Rome had heard of Paul,
but there were misunderstandings about his
view of the Christian faith
So, he thought it would be useful - necessary
for them to have a first hand account of the
faith he proclaimed to the world
This letter is the most carefully worked out
statement of the way Paul understood the Christian faith.
He wrote the letter to
Introduce himself to Roman Christians
In the first half of the letter,
chapters 1-11, he explains - what we believe
the foundations of Christian faith -
There is one God, all humanity is sinful,
but Christ died for our forgiveness,
to make us all right with God,
as we believe and trust in Jesus - the risen King
In the second half of the letter,
from Chapter 12 on, he explains - how we behave
He explains that our belief and lives in Jesus,
our new Christian life, has practical implications,
knowing Him, embracing Him,
affects how we choose to behave
in every way and every day
Second, who was Paul?
The Lord chose him to write this letter
because Paul had met the Lord, he knew Him
They met on the road to Damacus
Acts 9; Acts 22:3-11; 26:9-18
Until then, Paul was Saul of Tarsus
He/Saul - had it all in this world
He was very religious
The finest education available
he knew the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures)
was a good Jew
his efforts/intentions were sincere
"He had the absolute most reason to put confidence in the flesh"
and he really "believed"
the Christian movement was dangerous to Judaism
so, he hated it and
zealously persecuted the Christians
BUT THEN, when he had it all in this world, POW!
There, then, on that road,
THE LORD MET him and he met the Lord
Note what Saul asked -
"Who are you, LORD?"
THE LORD - THE KING OF ALL
HE KNEW THEN - JESUS
and that JESUS IS ALIVE and LORD
Just like Isaiah in his vision of the Lord (Is. 6)
Saul's life changed instantly/forever
While Saul believed in God before
NOW, PAUL KNEW GOD and WHO HE IS!
Beyond this brief context of knowing Saul/Paul and about his letter to the first century Romans, I personally relate to Paul in many ways
I too believed in God as a young boy
I was born in Spokane, an All-American kid
Confirmed Lutheran - "Protestant" product
Enjoyed YL - Malibu Club in Canada
Went to Whitman; YL leader for WA HI
Went to Notre Dame Law School
Got a fancy "law" job in Seattle
Early partner - rainmaker - good guy
Results, hours, money, clients
Married, kids, family, church
Reasons to put confidence in the flesh
BUT - I WAS A "Cultural Christian"
I was full of this world, but really EMPTY -
Honestly, I didn't REALLY KNOW HIM
or I was just not really paying attention to HIM,
I was busy in my/this world
and I still am in many ways
We are all in process
You see, before, I knew He loved me,
so I thought I was "good" or "worthy"
I didn't really realize that He loved me,
because that is WHO HE IS - not me...
So, I didn't really know Him
I didn't allow Him to transform or renew me or my mind
I "successfully" conformed to the patterns of this world
So, before my 40th birthday -
Somewhat like Saul,
I REALLY met Him
In spite of myself/my-self-ishness
He still was there, had mercy on me, and loves me
So today, I now REALLY know just two things:
He loves meus so much & Created meus - but - "I am not"
And, as Saul learned, I learned, REALLY meeting HIM
JESUS is LORD of ALL
HE is the "I AM"
Knowing this then, knowing Him, what does it/HE mean?
Everything - in every way.
C.S. Lewis quote - really resonates
Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2,
KNOWING this - HIM
means at least 3 things for our behavior -
1. offer ourselves as "living sacrifices"
2. do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world
3. be transformed by the renewing of our minds
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers,
in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God—
this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer 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.
1. offer ourselves as living sacrifices
What might this mean?
Maybe we too have died to ourselves, the flesh
and now live in the Spirit.
While we still have these bodies,
every day we might awaken and arise
and thank Him for the gift of life itself.
In surrendering anew each day our inherited natural selfishness
and remembering He is Lord of all,
we/our bodies are living sacrifices.
2.do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world
What are the patterns of this world?
Do not conform ....
3. be transformed by the renewing of our minds
A friend once shared
Two types of thoughts - millions each day
Of, from and about Him - or not
Embrace Him and turn all others over to Him
Minute by minute, step by step
Thought by thought
Relationships, business, home, school
Let's consider this whole text in sharing a true story
Brother Cornish -
Greasy spoon lunch diner in Des Moines, 3 years ago
Wise teacher - 80+
Head of Seattle Bible College
Conversation about a star alumni pastor/preacher
Spirited Sunday service - TV
Wife and he - unannounced, unnoticed
Hundreds people, sat in back, quiet
"Growing" aggressive "successful"
Less than complimentary remarks
Elevate oneself by bringing others down
Hurtful - in public - affront
SBC/Brother always tried to teach and help
Humble biblical teaching
Down home - down to earth
He is Living Sacrifice
Natural reaction - pain, anger, resentment
Wife upset and gets home
"Go call him and let him know we heard"
Uncalled for - demand apology
Brother Cornish said - "I'll handle it."
Wrote a letter
But, his letter asked for forgiveness
Regretting school experience of Pastor
SBC aim - always educate to mature in Truth
sent that letter
He did not conform to the patterns of this world
So, what is the Pattern of this world?
Maybe it's here in many ways
The preacher - big church
self importance, "success," haughty
anger, protective, demanding
I'm naturally both/all
What do we do when someone?
puts us down
Do we ever fall into the trap of putting others down to elevate us?
For me, it is our "natural" way
Our inherited tendancy to self
My elevation, my perspective, my opinion,
My pleasure, my wealth, my business,
my way, my church, my ministry
Is this not our/humanities fall?
GK Chesterton describes us/this world
Like a glorious ship, run aground
Evidence of His/its created beauty abounds
Evidence of our created beauty, abounds
but as skipper, humanity makes our selfish choices
Choosing ourselves over others/Him
We go our own way - and wreck
Following the tempting lies of the enemy
the prince of this world/
we are the boss of ourselves
we are in charge
we control and will say what happens
it is about me/us
So, what does it mean to be in this world, but not of this world?
The Lord - His ways are other than our ways. Isaiah.
His ways are all about others, selfless giving love.
Opposite to the ways of this world.
Things we often believe to be true in this world are false
and that which we think is false is actually true.
Might our life in this world be paradoxical?
Application - Paul Cornish’s story – wise old brother; applying ourselves in a way which is completely contrary to and opposite to the natural reactions and ways of this world.
Some way to explain what this means as Paul writes to the Romans – why then?
What was in the mind of the original audience?
What were the ways of the world then?
How are they similar to the ways now? How do they relate to now?
Put skin on the bones?
So, what is Paul saying to us now, put life on these from an application standpoint now?
What are our ways of the world, then and now – how do they transcend time?
Is it really not conforming to the pattern of this world?
What are some ways we conform or do not conform?
Look at some of the books we have?
Do exactly the opposite of what the world expects, what we intend to do?
What’s the point? He transforms our mind? It is His Spirit at work in us, not us?
Meet each of us where we are –
Father, mother, spouse, teacher, neighbor, at work, school,
What relationships are we in the suffer because of our stubbornness?
How do we expect others to understand His forgiveness, if we don’t forgive
Or model our own humility in requesting forgiveness for our ways?
How might Brother Cornish’s response be something we follow, implement?
How might we lay our natural reaction/response at the foot of the cross and respond otherwise?
How might we not conform, but trust in Him?
Any relationships or offenses, hurtful, angry, bitter, where we ask for forgiveness and apologize?
Blue like Jazz reverse confession story?
Radical - do exactly the opposite of what “we” think or what we want to do?
Overcome evil with good?
Also, who is doing the transforming?
We are the recipients of the action – we are. His action, the Spirit transforms us.
Who’s mind? The mind of Christ.
Here again, we are recipients of transformation. We have to be willing to receive.
How does this apply to us?
Might we need to look at all people through the eyes of Christ?
With His mind? Not ours….
Through His thoughts, what are His thoughts?
Two kinds – from/of Him or not
He was the ultimate “non-conformist”
We are being acted upon in this from the Greek text? Exegesis?
Other Comments and Issues:
Additional thoughts for outline:
TMN 5/16 am outline
a. Consider starting with a confession and apology for not clearing conveying the message that I had hoped concerning Isaiah 6. Please forgive me for my lack of clarity, but recognize consistent with Romans 8:28 that there is good news from that story in as much on Saturday morning in our men’s Bible study, a, circumstance presented itself where I was able to share some of what I had learned in that regard with the men in our Bible Study Group. And they were captivated and fascinated both by Isaiah and Uzziah and we also talked about the Pharisee and the tax collector. And for you James the difference in how people respond in the presence of our holy and almighty God. So the Lord, used my manuscript and structure foibles for his good in the conveyance of the message he had put on my heart in a way very powerful way just a day and a half after. His ways and circumstance and timing is completely different than mine.
II. This ducktails nicely with the message today. So let us try to do better. Today I’d like to share the story of a wise old man who is a very mature believer and brother - story of Paul Cornish. Up till the time he confers with his wife and writes a letter.
a. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world”
b. What are the patterns of this world?
1. Explain several of the different patterns, the measures, the terms and what have you and raise questions as to whether or not those are accurate or a lie. Consider the prospect of the father or the prince of this world is the father of all lies and the enemy.
2. We needn’t accept the measures of this world, but rather we should question them. What is success? What is leadership? What is being a servant? What is work? How do we live our faith in this world?
3. NT Write, noted theologian, says that on the cross, Christ reversed this world’s values. In many ways he is right, but perhaps his wording might be better re-characterized: maybe it is the world that has reversed God’s values? So from an application standpoint. Maybe what we do as living sacrifices, we take captive every thought that we have every minute of every day. Those thoughts are either of him or from or not. So when we process thousands of thoughts each day in our minds we are charged by our faith and not us, but him through us to avail ourselves of understanding that every thought that we capture or take hold of needs to be of or from him in every circumstance. We need to look at every circumstance and person through the eyes of Jesus to the extent that we can. This is a living sacrifice and a living faith.
III. So in CONCLUSION, the finish, the suspense unveiled of Paul Cornish’s letter. What was the effect of his application? Tell the story as to how it brought about reconciliation, healing, forgiveness and enlightenment to the recipient. And then conclude somehow with the end of Romans chapter 12 that we overcome evil with good and that we often times amaze and surprise not us, but Him through us, others who watch our response and behaviors and reactions as we live out our faith in a manner completely inconsistent with what the world’s expectations are. This consistent with the fact that we are alien citizens in, but not of this world (somewhere within there I may convey, if time permits, the story of the man who called me with a purported employment legal issue and it became clear to me that he had no legal issue whatsoever, but was struggling with bitterness. My initial reaction and tendency was to dismiss him and his case as it was fringing upon my time. The worldly ways of a lawyer would have hung upon the man. The ways of the Lord, the prompting of the Spirit, however, allowed us to carry on a conversation for 30-45 minutes in which he then came to the realization that, after being encouraged in the Lord, it was he who needed to release his bitterness and to rejoice in all of his blessing with his children, his job, his security, his knowledge, his faith. All those things which are different than those which the world would tell him he needed to pursue with respect to title, money, riches, houses, or his multimillionaire brother who does not know the Lord.)
a. The ways of the world focus on me or I and self. The renewing of our mind in the ways of the Lord, (Casey and Isaiah) focus on him and others. [Look at my outline in light of the fact of my book as well. Possible share the Bill Gates story. Possibly share the Patrick Henry legacy story]
b. Focus statement: As Christ defeated the prince of this world and the father of all lies (Satan) on the cross; we have the certainty of knowledge that his ways are higher than the ways of this world.
c. Function Statement: Trust in Him and his ways as revealed; not in the ways of the world as soul.
1. Things are often time other than what first they might appear. Do not be deceived by illusions/magic. Example: David Copperfield, Hollywood, glitz and glamour; illusions of prosperity and fame and glamour; nor illusions of hopelessness and despair.
The reality is both the dyer condition and ultimate consequence of our fallen state and human nature (the world is like a shipwreck/GK Chesterton); yet also the hope we have of knowing that he is risen and has defeated the enemy and redeemed and saved us. Eliminate such grand theological words, but fold those underlying messages of the reality of our condition and the reality of his victory.
When last I preached I had so desperately wanted to convey to you new information that I had gleaned from my study of Isaiah 6. I wanted to convey how I have come to an understanding as I wrestled with that scripture about how the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know and how I saw that in Isaiah and his vision of God. That in the presence of almighty God his indescribable holy presence, Isaiah was reduced to nothing and he realized that the more he knew in the presence of God, the more he knew God, the more closely he knew who God was, the more intimately he knew how holy, righteous, mighty, awesome God was, the more he realized how little he knew. He also did so in a way in which there was fear and trembling within him at his very core of his soul, because he knew Uzziah had been in the presence of the Lord and had been disobedient, unfaithful and prideful. And as a result of that leprosy broke out on his face and on his body and resulted in his exclusion and separation from the temple and from the palace. I tried to convey to you the sense that Isaiah had this perspective in the presence of God that was a prevalent perspective at that time and that was of fear and trembling of reverance for God, Almighty God. Of his power and I didn’t do so very well. I found myself trapped by the confines of my inability to properly prepare through a manuscript or otherwise. I found myself trapped by the confines of outlining thoughts and structure and all of the things I had been learning about preaching and not effecting very well. I found myself entangled and not unable to disentangle my thought process and to really share with you my heart and for that I apologize. So today, my hope is to share with you much more effectively much more effectively my heart, my thoughts. As I have studied, prayed, contemplated, learned about the scripture that I would like to talk about today. That maybe we together can embrace and that is Romans 12 - 1 through 2
”Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”
Wow. The pattern of this world, but I also want to talk in a thought block manner. And so moving on to my next thought block the first one being my confession of my entanglement in my sermon last time. The next one being four sign posting standpoints. The next one being this thought block, before we launch into our scripture today I’d like to share with you how the Lord works in strange and mysterious ways, his wonders to behold. As I have prepared for this sermon in our class. And as I had conveyed my knowledge and information in a less then fully articulate manner I left thinking well that doesn’t feel so good, because I had disappointed myself, I had disappointed you or so I felt. In that I did not convey the information and my heart and what the Lord has shared with me in a manner that would be something that you could understand. I felt that I did not do as well as I should have done. I felt that all of the work that I had performed for that sermon or prepared was for you. In some ways it was, but I learned that in many other ways it was for me. For my education, for my learning, for my experience, for my development for my own self criticism, for my appreciation for the difficulty of preaching. For also my appreciation of the importance in not being tied to any particular structure or any particular words in order to properly convey myself and allow the spirit to work through me. And so for that I am appreciative. The Lord then gave me the following Saturday, a day and a half later, an opportunity to share on my heart what I had learned in Isaiah 6 and about Uzziah in our men’s group, but in an informal, casual, fellowship manner. Yet others had an opportunity to genuinely hear the message that I had just shared with you. The big theme, the big idea, yet in fellowship and so I praised the Lord for that opportunity that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, I praised the Lord for there receptivity which otherwise wouldn’t have existed. And so I rejoice in his timing not mine. Allowing me to fall or to be humbled before you, yet for his glory not only here, but there and so amen. And so as we look at that, I think about the pattern of this world trying to get an “A” in class, trying to excel in sermon development and preaching, the pattern of this world, to do well, to get a good grade, but “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” and recognize that he is sovereign and that his ways are other than our ways. To rest in Him so that is what we can consider together today.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ” Why it is not my mind but His will working through the gifts that he has given to me and to you. It’s not about an “A,” it’s about the Lord, in fellowship with others, in preaching and sermons, it’s about him, not my grade. It’s about what I learn, but not for me yet to bring glory to him. So as we look at this scripture we need to evaluate first of all who it is Paul was talking to and what it was he was trying to accomplish, when he conveyed this information to the Romans in Chapter 12 verses 1&2. Paul, of course, was the great apostle. What I take this to mean, what my study has helped me with in this instance in most instances things are often other then what they might at first appear. So my sermon appeared to be a flop, yet was otherwise by the Lord because the information and the knowledge and the insight that he had shared with me or that I had learned was just to be shared with others at a different time, in a different manner, in a different setting. Unbenounced to me. Amen. Now I have the benefit of sharing this with you. Amen.
What about an attitude of gratitude even on suffering. Uzziah didn’t have an attitude of gratitude. He was ungrateful for all the things he received. He received all these things, but he was ungrateful or even give the Lord praise for his blessings. Isaiah on the other hand recognized his woe and his position and he was ruined, yet was extremely grateful. So too Paul, he recognized on the road to Damascus that he was ruined in the presence of the Lord, yet in his ruin he was saved. Can we see the paradox? Everything is upside down, it’s backwards. Our ways are not his ways. His ways are higher than our ways beyond our ability to understand. So we see how we need to perhaps look at everything askance and from a different perspective. So from whose perspective from the Lord’s perspective. Through the eyes and the heart and the mind of Christ. And so what does that mean? It means a paradoxical perspective, a doubting perspective, not a doubt of him, but a doubt of the ways of this world. That which the world tells us, the Father of all lies, Satan, as success is in fact often times not. That which he tells us is the truth is more often than not a lie. That which he tells us is going to make us happy will not, but will bring to despair. The paradoxical nature of life how in our weakness we are made strong, how the humble shall be exalted, how the last shall be first. The greatest shall be a servant of all.
It says so much
It's far too rich for us to fully consider
let alone understand - today
So, James, let us unveil - a little
Casey, let us consider - His Ways, not ours
Brook, let us explore the process -
of Him transforming us