Today’s Scripture:  “ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Introduction:

Greetings friends, and welcome back to our “Living the Surrendered Life” series that we’ve been working our way through.  Along the way we’ve learned…or at least I hope we’ve learned a little more about what a surrendered life is and looks like.  I also hope that we’ve been challenged to go deeper into the things of God, seek Him for areas in which we need to surrender to Him, and I also hope that you’re aware that this surrendering our lives to God is a process…not an event.

I’ve been walking with the Lord for most of my life, but until the last couple of years that walk with the Lord hasn’t been what it could’ve been.  It’s only within the last couple of years that I’ve begun to understand that there is a very real need to get serious about being serious with God.  It’s only been since January that I’ve really begun to buckle down…and do that because God gave me that statement as kind of my personal mission statement for 2012…and beyond.

So, we manage to return to this series in a passage that’s familiar to many Christians…but today…I get the sense that we’re going to be talking about the “renewing of our mind”…and therefore I cannot wait to get into today’s message to see what it is the Holy Ghost would have to say to us today…so without any further delay…let’s get into today’s message…Amen!?!

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father I seek You today to help me to get out-of-the-way of the Holy Ghost so that He can speak…and so that You…Lord God can say what You want to say to us today.  I ask that You’d make my fingers that as a pen of a ready writer…writing only that which You inspire and anoint me to write by the supernatural ability which You supply me with by the Holy Ghost.  I ask that You would create in the readers ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to them, eyes to see where we need to grow and mature and become more like Jesus…and hearts that are receptive and ready to respond to what You would have to say to us this day.  I ask these things in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen

Today’s Message:

You cannot talk about Romans 12:2 without including Romans 12:1.  They go hand in hand, and when we’re talking about Living Surrendered Lives…there’s no way that we can talk about renewing our minds, and surrendering our lives to God without these verses paired together…it’s like trying to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter.  Peanut butter sandwiches are pretty good, but jelly sandwiches…however…not so much.  So…in reality I’m saying that Romans 12:2 is the jelly to Romans 12:1…but together they’re like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  What an analogy…hey?  Anyways…just so we have both of them together…here they are:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Now, I realize that we still have 5 messages in this series, and that Romans 12:1 may still be part of the series, but like I just said we cannot really talk about one verse without talking about the other.  See…because without Romans 12:1 we don’t know why we need to be renewing our minds…and in a large part there are a few main places that we need to have totally surrendered to the Lord in order to have  what I guess we’ll call a successful start in surrendering our lives to God…those places:

  1. Our Hearts:   We talked about the heart on Day 11 of this series.  We said that our heart goes far beyond that physical muscle that pumps blood through our entire body, but that it’s the very core of who we are.  Inside of our heart is our mind, our will, our emotions, and everything that we hold near and dear to us…we always say that we hold it near and dear to our what?  Our Heart.
  2. Our Mouths:  On Day 14 of this series we talked about how our mouths reveal what?  What is in our hearts.  Jesus even said that “what’s in your heart will come from our mouths.”.  We also discovered as we all have heard hundreds of times that the power of life and death is in our tongues, that we can destroy a person’s reputation with the power of our tongues, and like we just mentioned…what comes out of our mouths is really the fruit of what’s been planted in our hearts.
  3. Our Minds:  I’m fairly certain that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.  Our minds is where our will and our soul is located…and in reality our mind is not that place that’s between our ears.  Like the heart in our bodies is not really what’s being referred to when the Bible talks about guarding our “hearts”, but actually the guarding of our hearts is actually the life source and place of our minds.  Our hearts and minds are basically in the same location…it’s that deep down inner place where the Holy Spirit dwells…it’s where that still small voice resides, and it’s that place above all places that we know that we either belong to God…or aren’t really sure…our minds…our hearts…our soul…we’re to love the Lord our God with all of our what?  All of our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our mind (might).  In other words…these three areas (our heart, our soul, and our mind) is what we refer to is the “every last fiber of our being”.

As we’ve done throughout this series…I’m going to post what has been written in this series by the writer of it…Mrs. Cindy Beall…and then listen for the Holy Ghost to speak more to us.  Amen?

In Romans 12:2 the Greek word for “renew” is anakainosis and it means “renovation” or a “complete change for the better.”

I just love that. For us to renew our minds we must actually strive to make a complete change for the better. I can think of no better way to “renew our minds” than by diving into the Word of God. Not only diving into it, but allowing it to submerge our very being. When we fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, we will be changed from the inside out.

I find the word “renovation” interesting here…because anyone who has watched shows about things like “flipping houses” you know that what these people do is buy this old rundown houses, make plans for renovation or completely changing them for the better, and then turning around to sell them to hopefully cover the cost for not only buying the house, but the cost of the renovations…and the main goal is to hopefully sell the house for more than it cost to buy it and renovate it so that you can make a profit.

Do you know that’s exactly how the Word of God works in our lives?  Come on, most of us when we come to the Lord for salvation are kind of like these old, broken down shacks that are bought by these real estate agents who are seeking to take something old and ugly and turn it into something beautiful and profitable.  You do know that the Word of God is “profitable” don’t you?  If not…I’ll show you that if you turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17  says this:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  The good news is that we have a Savior who is a Master Carpenter Who is responsible for the renovations…Amen!?!

So, we come to the Lord as broken people, and then as we learn from Ephesians 2:10 (KJV):  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” and also in Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) we read that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the dayof Jesus Christ;”

The good news here is that it’s God who does the renovation…but the problem for most Christians is that we don’t understand that the Bible is the blueprint that the Master Carpenter has to renovate us from.  Just like when the construction workers have to adhere to the blueprint that’s drawn up that the real estate and architect…the Holy Spirit is bound by the blueprint that’s drawn up in the Word of God…and it’s only through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit can operate in our lives…and do the rebuilding in our hearts, our minds, and transform us and conform us into the image of His Son.

Listen…this is the Holy Spirit right here…this is good.  Romans 8:29 says that we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”.  Do you know what that means?  As the Holy Ghost is sent forth to work in our lives…His job is to work with in us according to the blueprint (which is the Word of God) to transform our minds and conform our hearts into the very image and likeness of the Son of God.  The image of God’s Son…Jesus Christ…is the final picture…of what we’re to look like while the Holy Spirit is working on us.

You see.  When these people buy and flip the house…you have before…during…and after photos.  The goal is to get the flipped property to look like the image in the photo at the end of the renovation process.

The spiritual parallel is this:  what the Holy Spirit is working on is making sure that every single one of us looks as close as possible to the final image (Christ) just like these construction workers are trying to do with the renovation of the house.  The goal is to have us all conformed into the image of His Son…that is the final picture…that is the image the Holy Spirit is trying to create in us, with us, and through us.

Again…the problem is that we are the ones who are trying to do the building…and we can’t.  There are a couple of reasons why we can’t do the building.  Ready…

  1. We are not master craftsmen…we’re not even amateurs when it comes to renovating and transforming our lives into the image of the Son of God.  Do you know why that is?  The Holy Spirit is the ONLY one who knows exactly what the Son of God looks like.  The Bible does it’s best to give us a picture, a blueprint, and like the drawings of the house being renovated…they try to give as close and as clear a picture as possible as to what the house will look like when it’s finished…but in reality…the only one who really knows what the house is going to look like when it’s finished is the one who draws up the plans…they have a picture in their minds as to what the completed house is going to look like…the Holy Spirit is the only one who has a picture of what a life conformed to the image of the Son of God looks like…because He has seen Him.
  2. We refuse to follow the blueprint…can I be anymore forward than this?  We just finished a series not long ago in which we found out that less than 25% of Bible believing, Bible reading Christians read their Bibles…and of that less than 25%…about 10% or so read their Bibles on a regular basis.  Can you imagine what these renovated houses would look like if the construction crews refused to go by what’s on the blueprints or the drawings…but yet we have millions of Christians trying to renovate their own lives without the Word of God…and then we wonder why in the world our lives are in such messes and shambles…and worse…we blame God because of it.

I knew this message was going to be tough because I’ve been trying to write it all weekend, and I never really was able to put anything together that I felt good about.  So…I knew that the Holy Ghost was wanting me to set this aside because I needed to be able to fully concentrate upon Him…and hear His voice clearly…because as we’ve seen…there’s a lot of good…solid stuff that He’s said already.

For us to renew our minds we must actually strive to make a complete change for the better. I can think of no better way to “renew our minds” than by diving into the Word of God. Not only diving into it, but allowing it to submerge our very being. When we fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, we will be changed from the inside out.

Can you imagine what would happen if the construction workers only worked to renovate the outside of the house these real estate agents are trying to flip for profit?  We all know that Jesus talked about the religious people having a gorgeous outside appearance, but on the inside they were a filthy mess…and that’s much the same with us today.

Most of the attention is on making our outward appearance look better ignoring what is on the inside which brings us back to talking about what’s rooted and grounded into our hearts.  Why?  Because what’s rooted and grounded in our hearts is what makes us either a sweet-smelling incense or a foul odor in the nostrils of God.  We all have or at least heard it paraphrased that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance…He looks at what is in our hearts.

Don’t you know that when people buy a house they don’t just look at the outside of it, and they’re like…hey…that looks gorgeous.  We’ll take it.  No…they go inside the house…they inspect everything from closet space to the efficiency of the kitchen to the stability of the foundation.   While some like the antique or rustic look to homes…they still want it to look immaculate both inside and out…don’t they?  Are you seeing where the Holy Spirit is going with this house flipping analogy?

The majority of us are so consumed with making sure our outer image is improved that we neglect and even ignore the inside.  We try to dress ourselves up a little, maybe we tan, maybe we spend hours at the gym trying to look like the people we see in the movies and magazines.  We have to make sure our hair is just right, our tan is just right, and clothes…it’s all outward…outward…outward.  Again…can you imagine how much money these real estate people would lose on these properties if they just concentrated on making sure the outside of the house was fixed up.

Is this any good?  Is this helping anyone?  Does this all make sense?  I hope so…because I feel like the Holy Spirit is ready to move on…Lord I pray that this message gets in…and that You paint the picture of what You’re trying to illustrate…In Jesus’ name…Amen.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Merely “doing” something good or right without the right heart won’t last. We will find ourselves overwhelmed because we are trying to stay on a spiritual treadmill of sorts. But when we hide, treasure and breathe the word of God, we are less likely to walk in sin.

Again…I think the important thing to point out is that when we refer to the “heart” we’re talking about that deep down inner part of us that makes us who we are…and hopefully where the Spirit of God is residing within us.   It’s in this place where the Holy Spirit goes about His work…but the critical part is that we hide the Word of God in our hearts…because as we learned through the “Why Read The Bible” series…the Holy Spirit can do nothing apart from the Word of God…because it’s in the Word that the Holy Ghost is given the blueprint on how to transform and conform and renovate our lives…so that as He works…more and more of the image of His Son is brought into our lives…and that we reflect that work…on the inside first…because what’s rooted and grounded within us…is what’s going to be shown on the outside.

The Bible is clear that there is power in God’s Word. In fact, we are told in Hebrews 4:12 that it is “living and active…sharper than any double-edged sword…penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

It’s the Word of God that causes the Holy Spirit to bring forth the changes within us.  He’s always at work in us, and I would like to submit to you that when we’re in a dry place where it seems like there’s nothing going on in our lives…it’s not because the Holy Ghost isn’t working…but that we’re not giving Him anything to work with.

Construction crews need all kinds of things in order to bring forth the renovations upon these homes that they are trying to flip for profit…and thus the Holy Ghost needs the Word of God to do in our lives what these carpenters and so forth can do with these homes.  I’ve watched these shows from time to time, and the amazing thing is how they can take an old run down place and turn it into something beautiful…and that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in our lives..but the simple truth is that unless we give Him the Word of God to work with.

Can you imagine the carpenters trying to renovate a house without their tools, without nails, drywall, and the other things necessary for them to bring about the transformations from an old rundown shack into a beautiful home they can sell?  Again, can you imagine those construction people trying to renovate a house without the drawings or blueprints?  See…the blueprints usually will let the construction people know what kinds of materials they are going to need to complete their work.  It helps them to know a lot about the process of rebuilding the property into a place that’s going to reflect their work.

Which brings me back to us and the Word of God.  See.  The Word of God is the blueprint, and it contains what the Holy Spirit is going to need in order to bring about the necessary changes and renovations needed in order to reflect His work in our lives…and that work is then produced in things like love, peace, joy, and so forth until we begin to reflect more and more of the image of the Son of God.  The image that the Holy Spirit is trying to get us all to become is more like Jesus…and the only way that He can bring those changes about is through the Word of God.  It’s the blueprint…it’s the tools…it’s the materials…the Word of God contains everything needed to transform and conform our lives into something that is…well…what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  It brings us back to 2 Timothy 3:17 “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  How do we get to being  “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” or “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”?  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) tells us…the Word of God.

When you find yourself fretting over that thing you keep fretting over, encourage yourself by proclaiming Matthew 6:34 over your life. When you feel picked on and wonder if anyone is on your side, declare Romans 8:31 and walk in victory. There is a verse to apply to the situations in life. Today is the day to claim them!

The Word of God is the source for everything we need…and it’s also the source for everything the Holy Spirit needs to bring forth a “complete change for the better.”  This is why we spent an entire month talking about “Why Read The Bible” before we could get to talking about “Living The Surrendered Life” because the Word of God is what is needed to bring us to surrender, change, and eventually it gets us to become more and more conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Friend, there is power in the Word. And I am more than confident that it will be the determining force to renew your mind today and every day.

So…in order for the Holy Ghost to “flip” our lives from being the old, broken down shacks that we were into beautiful temples of the Holy Ghost…we need to again be reminded of the importance of the Word of God.  We need more than 10% of us to be committed to seriously studying and searching the scriptures daily.  We need to be studying to show ourselves approved.  We need to be hearing the Rhema Word of God being preached and taught to us by our pastors, preachers, and teachers.  It’s the Word that allows the Holy Ghost to do the work…because it’s the Word of God that the Holy Ghost responds to…and that’s why…my friend there’s so much importance placed upon the Bible.

Let’s be committed to renewing our minds with the Word of God…and that’s what these messages are all about.  These messages are nothing without the Word of God…and the Holy Spirit can do nothing without the Word of God…so let us do like Paul writes…and be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…by being even more committed to studying the Word of God…Amen?

Points for Pondering:

  • How much time do you spend reading God’s Word every day?
  • What other godly influences do you use to help you keep “in step with the Spirit”? (i.e., worship music, podcasts, Christian TV shows)

Be A Doer Not Just A Reader:

  • Take an inventory of how much time you spend listening to the things/people of the world. When you spend more time reading God’s Word, you will be amazed at how you change from the inside out.

Conclusion:

I had to take one of these inventories not long ago, and was then prompted by the Holy Ghost to take a 21 day fast away from the things of the world.  I fasted from things like secular music, video games, television, sports talk radio, and anything else that overtook my desire to be in the presence of God.  I was amazed at how much of my life those things consumed, and when I set them aside I was again amazed at how much time I was able to spend on the things of God.

In the place of sports talk radio I was able to establish a list of Bible based radio programs to listen to…and instead of television I watched a lot of good Bible based videos.  I listened to messages from people like:  Pastor Joel Stockstill, Evangelist Josh Radford, Pastor Cass Hill, Pastor Curtis Holt, and Pastor Bryan See, and radio programs from people like:  Dr. Vernon McGee, Dr. Jack Graham, Dr. David Jeremiah, and others.

In the place of secular music I listened to nothing but praise and worship music.  In the place of video games I focused on writing messages, finding good Tweets and Facebook posts to repost, and I spent time studying the Word of God.

The fast has been over for a while, and certain things God used that fast to completely break me from…things like secular music and video games.  I no longer play any games on Facebook, the computer, or anything else.

I’m not going to suggest you do the same…only the Holy Ghost can really speak to your heart, but I will urge you to make sure that you put the things of the world in it’s proper place.  Anything that you place above the Word of God, the presence of God, and God in general…it’s a good sign that those things are far too important to you…and that maybe a fast is in order so that you can see…like I did…just how important those things became…and remind you of what should be important…Amen!?!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father…I ask that You would sink this message deep within the hearts of the readers.  I ask that You would speak to their hearts about things of the world that have taken more importance in their lives that You, Your presence, and Your Word.  I ask that You would do a work in all of our hearts…and help us to understand just how important Your Word is to our own renovation and transformation…and how it’s the main thing that the Holy Ghost uses to conform us into the image of Your Son.  Father…bring those things to our minds that need to be reduce…and maybe even severed from our lives so that we can become more and more conformed into Your image…and have a deeper and more intimate relationship with You.  I ask Lord…that You would be glorified and that Your voice would be heard…and that we would receive and respond in ways that would bring You glory…in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen.