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The Remedy

Renewed Thinking  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Living a transformed life by a renewed mind

Last week we looked at Luke chapter four where Jesus was reading Isaiah sixty one in the synagogue.
Jesus recited the scripture closed the scroll and said today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.
Today, we as His ambassadors carry on the same goal that He began, to bring the good news to the world through healing and mending.
The four specific goals from Isaiah were:
preach the gospel to the poor
heal the broken hearted
proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind
set at liberty those who are oppressed
But, in order to get there, we need a change of mind and heart.
And so today we examine the remedy for the church’s shortsightedness, and sterile proclamation of the gospel!
Romans 12:2 NKJV
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This verse in Romans twelve shows clearly how we as the body of Christ are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service, according to verse one.
But verse two goes far beyond simply changing one’s thinking, it has more to do with transformation of the heart through the Spirit of God.

I. Avoid the schemes of the age.

Many have let their guard down because they have considered themselves to be insulated from the tactics of the enemy.
But there is subtlety in this passage, that we may not have taken the time to sift through!

Do not allow the world to change you.

This is the idea behind the word conform. And so it demonstrates the uncanny persuasion that the world system, including culture, sin, and ideology, has upon us.
It is not that we conform to it, but are conformed by it!
An example of this is how much sin the church has accepted in recent times, because of this slow boiling. Hence the proverbial frog in the pot syndrome so to speak.
Now sometimes change is good, especially when it manifests Christ likeness in our lives.
But if its not, then its taking us away from the simplicity in Christ, and changing the church into something it should not be.
2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Today, the western church many times looks and acts more like a fortune 500 company than a church.
The business model has slowly crept into the ranks of church leadership, and has produced managers, CEO’s, and communicators, replacing Deacons, Elders, and pastors.
Spiritually engaged dialogue and prayer has been replaced with business plans, contracts, and pragmatism.
What has happened?
We’ve changed! because we’ve slowly allowed another philosophy to creep in.
Yet, the scripture is clear - Do not be conformed to the world!

II. Allow the fruit of transformation to take root.

“…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...”
As we saw in the first part of the verse, the verb “Transformed” is here in the passive voice, that is that the action is happening to the subject.
You see, you can not transform yourself, but you can be transformed!
It is what happens to you.
And yet, it is not some abstract process.
But comes through “the renewing of your mind”.
The apostle Paul says it this way to the Ephesian believers:
Ephesians 4:23 NKJV
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Here, we have a key to what he was saying in Romans 12:2, which many have gotten wrong.
Because they would suggest that renewing your mind means to change your thinking!
But this isn’t it at all!
What is really interesting here, is that Your is plural and mind is singular.
Which essentially means that we the body of Christ have one mind.
Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Again here, mind is singular and you is plural.
Do you sense a pattern?
There is a great verse in proverbs.
Proverbs 27:17 NKJV
17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
The fellowship of believers is not an option to achieving this renewing, it is essential!
The more time we spend in genuine fellowship, serving one another in the spirit of love and compassion, our heart is transformed to the heart of Christ!
I remember when I was first saved, lots of things were changing in my life, and I had a new understanding of spiritual things. However, I distinctly remember that there were things in my life I was reluctant to hand over to God.
For many today, that could be prejudice thinking, racism, or political opinions that separate rather than enhance the body of Christ.
There was a time not too far in the past, that theological ideas different than mine would cause me to separate myself from certain brethren. Today I find that I can have these conversations and not allow it to divide us.
What happened?
My thinking has been renewed.
Many Christians have a shallow sort of relationship with the church and a much more robust association with the world; it’s not surprising that they do not experience a renewing of the mind.
Our home, our family, our primary relationship in this world is the fellowship of believers.
Here is where we are nourished and shaped into the image of Christ.
Here is where are minds are renewed to the mind of Christ.
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