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Rom 12-Spiritual Transformation

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| Spiritual Transformation! Romans 12:2

January 31, 2008 (NIV) 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. (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. (Phillips) Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold you minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity. PRAY Scripture Memory: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. - Romans 12:2 (NIV) Intro:How many of you would consider yourself to be nonconformists? How many of you struggle with people who do things that are contrary to what you consider normal – like body piercings, or unusual clothes, or …? How many of you have struggled, at times, with being dressed appropriately or in appropriately? – like the time I was asked to do a prayer at the Pro-Life breakfast… 1. The Question of Conformation vs. Transformation2. The Question of Renewal of the Mind3. The Question of God’s will 1. The Question of Conformation vs. Transformation(NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,(NLT) Don’t copy the behavior & customs of this worldConform - 1 : to be similar or identical; also : to be in agreement or harmony — used with to or with2 – to act in accordance with prevailing standards or customs (Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary)Synonyms: do the accepted thing; obey the rules; play the game…suschēmatizō; to conform – schematics…Schematics – A drawing or diagram which provides a systematic or organized frameworkWe are told here that we are NOT to conform or to copy the patterns or the customs of this world.Phillips: We are not to let the world around [us] squeeze [us] into its own mold.To CONform is the natural route for anyone to take. Everything around us pushes us in that direction…The pressure to conform…The tendency to pick up mannerisms, etc. from those we spend time with… husbands, wives, becoming our parents… “You’re just like your mom!” “I can’t believe I just said what my mom always said!”The reality is that we ALL conform to others in some way. The question is not really whether or not we will do so. Rather the question is WHAT are we conforming to?The non-conformists at Bryn Mawr & Haverford…Cartoon: Think he’ll know we’re visitors?Those who will not conform are called… rebelsSo, is God calling us to be rebels?!?Perhaps… Once again the question is: what are we being told to rebel against?Answer: This world1 John 2:15-17 – 15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.  17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world…2 Tim 4:10 – Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.. This world which we are to be careful to not conform to is:☞ the natural, seemingly logical way of approaching things – Getting even (revenge), watching out for #1, money in the bank, standing up for my rights, not denying myself anything I have the power to get, little white lies, etc.☞ The current of society – political correctness, being more concerned with offending someone than we are with their eternal destiny, not calling sin “sin,” assertiveness training, sexual intimacy as nothing more than a pleasurable expression of affection between two consenting adults…This is the default setting in life. The alternative: transformation, being transformedNote: it does not say to transform ourselves…Transform: Metamorphoōtrans- prefix[Latin trans-, tra- across, beyond, through, so as to change] Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionaryForm – the shape and structure of something as distinguished from its materialMetamorphosis – a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances (Webster’s Dictionary)To be transformed, therefore, is to have our shape, our being, our very character changed.Note: CONforming is the natural route for anyone to take. Everything around us pushes us in that direction. Our NEED for TRANSformation reminds us that we can NOT follow our NATURAL inclinations.The NEED for transformation is a reminder that this is NOT the default setting…Question # 1: Do we see and acknowledge our NEED to be transformed?Question # 2: Do we want to be transformed enough to invest ourselves to that end? 2. The Question of Renewal of the MindBe transformed by the renewing of your mind. (NIV)Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (NLT)Transformation is an inside to outside process.We are transformed from thinking and acting the way that is natural by this world’s standards by our minds and thought patterns being changed.How does this happen?☞ NLT: Let God transform youIt is a work that GOD does, not something we can manufacture or force on ourselves or anyone else.It is something that is not natural.NOTE: While this is PASSIVE work, a work that GOD must do, it is also a command. We are COMMANDED to be transformed. ☞ Let God transform you… by changing the way you think. (NLT)It is a work that God does in our minds.This transformation comes about by having our MINDS changed… |   | Eph. 4:22-24 – 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. NLT v. 23 – there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.Eph. 1:17-19 – 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  19and his incomparably great power for us who believe.QUESTION: What forms or affects the way we think, the way we view life, our attitudes, our priorities, our ability to enjoy God & the life He gives us?ANSWER: the TRUTHJohn 8:32 (NIV) – You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.John 14:6 (NIV) – Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.John 17:3 (NIV) – This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. The obvious question: What are we filling our minds with?Why should we invest time in the Scriptures?Why should we read Christian books?Why should we listen to God’s Word being preached and taught? SIDE POINT: We need to be able to discern when a preacher is preaching or teaching God’s Word and when he is preaching or teaching his own ideas, or even worse, the world’s perspective… 3. The Question of God’s will(NIV) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.(NLT) Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.The goal of this renewal of the mind, which will then result in being TRANSFORMED by God, rather than being CONFORMED to this world, is that we might know and do God’s will.That we might be able to test & approve God’s will:☞  To test God’s will: To discern it, to recognize it, to understand it… ☞  To approve God’s will:  to see the wisdom in it…To see how good it is, how pleasing it is, how perfect it is…How good it is for US…How pleasing it is to God…How perfect it is in every respect…Question: do you WANT to know what God’s will is?Question: do you WANT to see His will played out in your life? Do you want to grow in your ability to see and to acknowledge His loving, sovereign hand in all of life?The key: Invest yourself in filling your mind with God, with His Word, with His Holy Spirit. Commit yourself to being in His Word on a daily basis, and even more, to meditate on it throughout each day… What causes us to conform to this world?The Media: Mindless ingestion of this world’s media☞ Our Entertainment: Imbalanced consumption of this world’s entertainment☞ Our Passivity: Passive, or convenience oriented input of spiritual truths☞ Our Hearts: Allowing ourselves to be guided by our hearts, rather than by the truth of God’s Word☞ Our Friends: Having a circle of friends who do not share our desire to be transformed by the renewing of our mindsWhat things positively impact the spiritual transformation of our minds?☞ Disciplined time spent in God’s Word on a daily basis☞ Taking advantage of the many opportunities for good Biblical teaching (radio, conferences, tapes, etc.)☞ Spending time with others who share your desire, or even more, who surpass your desire to grow in this area☞ Making the effort to go beyond mere READING of God’s word – meditation, study, memorization…☞ Increase other spiritual disciplines in our lives (fasting, worship, thanksgiving, service, etc.) Romans 12:2 – an alternate version:Do not allow the schematics of the way people do things here and now to shape the way you think. Rather be metamorphosized by your mind being renewed. Then you will recognize God’s will and see the wisdom in it. You will see how good it is for us, how right it is in God’s eyes and how perfect it is in every respect. A Truth to Remember: God wants to transform our minds so that we can understand and appreciate the goodness of His sovereign will. A Challenge to Consider:What you doing to facilitate the transformation of your mind, or, on the flip side, to allow yourself to conform to the world around you? One thing I heard this morning was…       |

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