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Reflect

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This morning’s Scripture lesson comes from two passages:
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 4:8–9 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Every year people make resolutions, and every year they fail to keep them. Why is this?
I would like to suggest to you it is because they fail to reflect carefully over what they should be resolving in the first place. In our second Scripture lesson taken from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, we read that we should think about those things that are true and good. The first step to a good resolution is to...

Reflect on Your Standard of Truth

The greatest crisis America faces today is not COVID-19, but a crisis of truth. No one knows who or what to believe. The press, scientist, politicians and educators are so driven by ideology that very little they say can be trusted. It is increasingly common to hear people say there is no absolute standard of truth. (This of course, is a nonsense statement, because to claim there is no truth, is to be making a “truth” claim!) Apart from such nonsense, the question remains, who decides what is true? This is the question that confronted Adam and Eve, it is the question that has confronted every person ever since.
Adam and Eve knew God’s standard, He had told them exactly how they were to relate to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but Satan came into the picture and suggested an alternate standard. My friends, this is the scenario that plays out in every person’s life. This is what turns pastors into heretics, denominations into false churches and each and every one of us into sinners. It is the question that determines whether or not a nation is blessed or cursed. It is the question that determines whether a resolution will bring success or failure.
Jesus prayed this for His followers:
John 17:17 ESV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
To be sanctified is to be set apart and prepared for to serve and to have fellowship with God. This is what Paul was speaking of in Romans 12:1 when we read:
Romans 12:1 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
The WSC puts it this way, “humanity’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” However, this can only happen by being conformed to and transformed by the truth of God’s Word. So, I urge you, reflect in the coming days on what your standard of truth is. Is your standard the Word of God or is your standard the opinions of man? You can’t have it both ways. Paul goes one in Romans 12 to say, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Consequently, in the next few days you need to...

Reflect on Your Conformity to that Standard

This requires honesty on our part. Most Evangelical Christians will confess that Scripture is their only rule for faith and practice, however, their conformity to the standard of God’s Word brings this confession into question. It is so easy to become conformed to the world, because the “world” is the environment we grow up in, get educated by, are entertained by and work in. It is all around us. It is the very cultural air we breathe!
There was once a time that American culture had more conformity to the standards of God’s Word, but those days are long gone and even then, it was a challenge for God’s people to be conformed to the standards of God’s Word.
To be a faithful Christian means you have to be a counter-cultural rebel. It means you will be looked down upon, dismissed as ignorant and out of touch. Everyone wants to be liked and to belong; but to be conformed to God’s standard means you will be disliked, and you will not belong. So called “Progressive Christianity” is very popular right now, it is popular because it conforms to the standards of this world.
As our text from Philippians reminds us, the battleground for our hearts begins in our mind, what are we thinking about? Are we thinking about the truths revealed in God’s Word or are we think about the false truth found in this world?
This brings us to the last point:

Reflect on Your Resolve to Be Transformed

As we reflect on what resolutions we should make for 2021, I want to challenge you to transform your thinking by the Word of God. Nothing you can do will have a more positive impact upon your life this coming year. Let us look at Philippians 4:8-9 again:
Philippians 4:8–9 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Everything the Bible teaches is true, everything that is contrary to it is false.
Everything the Bible teaches is honorable, everything that is contrary to it is dishonorable.
Everything the Bible teaches is just, everything that is contrary to it is unjust.
The list could go on, but you get the point.
When we fill our minds with the thoughts of this world we are filling them with trash! When we fill our minds with the thoughts of Scripture we are filling them with pure gold!
The Psalmist recognized this long ago:
Psalm 19:7–11 ESV
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
This transformation of your thought life will not happen overnight, it takes constant practice. Hebrews 5:14 says:
Hebrews 5:14 ESV
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
This message is a call to “meat and potato” Christianity, with a good helping of vegetables thrown in for good measure; but by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I am confident you are ready for solid food! Why am I so confident? I am confident because Scripture teaches us this is God’s will for our lives. I have no idea whether or not wants you to lose 30 pounds next year, but I know for a fact that He wants you to think His thoughts after Him!
So, dare to make this resolution with the knowledge that God will help you.
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