TV Transcripts

“A Renewed Mind” Part One
Broadcast #1611
August 20, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1611 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Phil: Well, I’ve had some thoughts this morning, and this week, that I’m gonna use a very, very familiar scripture as a starting point. And that is Romans Chapter 12. But there’s, there’s so much in that that many times you can kind of use that as a launching pad but then you can focus on a certain aspect of it. And that’s kind of where I’m headed today.

But as we know so well, this Romans 12 is the beginning of what God wants us to understand is our response to basically what He’s done. Because Chapters 1 through 11 are all about the gospel and the amazing, the amazing thing that God has done for us through the death of Jesus Christ. Thank God, He’s put away the guilt of our sins. But it didn’t stop at the grave, did it? He came forth from the grave and He has the power now to share that new life with us. So, it’s not just forgiveness it’s a new life and a new heart, thank God.

And so, the question of course arises, what therefore? What is God looking for from us? And I believe many times we overcomplicate what the Lord is looking for. And it gets down to some pretty simple things. And Paul leads into this with the first couple of verses. And I’ll go ahead and read a little beyond that too.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.

“For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you do not think of yourself more highly than you ought but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same function. So in Christ, we though many form one body and each member belongs to all the others.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying then prophesy in accordance with your faith. If it is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach. If it is to encourage, then give encouragement. If it is giving, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently. If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Now, that’s not an exhaustive list but you get a picture there of where God is going with the gospel. And we know the fact that He doesn’t take us to heaven as soon as we say, yes. He has a reason for our being here.

And some of what I have a sense that the Lord wants to share, has to do with something we’ve mentioned a number of times. How many of you believe we’re here in the kingdom for such a time as this? How many of you believe it’s an accident that you and I are living where we’re at right now and we’re here in in this particular time and place? You think God has a purpose? Do you think he’s absolutely carrying out something or is he standing back to see what’s happening?

I believe with all my heart, God is absolutely here. He’s acting. He has a plan. He has a purpose. But that purpose involves not just a handful of special ones, that are doing things that are public. God has a purpose that involves every single member of the body of Christ. And so, what he’s addressing here is every single one.

And as we sort of summarized briefly in a service recently there are two basic things that God is looking for here. Number one is that we present ourselves. Now, I could emphasize the fact that we are individually presenting ourselves to become a corporate. That’s absolutely true. But the reality is that there has to be a definite transaction in the heart of every member of the body of Christ where we become no longer our own but we’re bought with a price, we belong to Him. Our bodies are not our own to do with as we please they are His to use while we’re in the world.

And there is a presentation, it is a living sacrifice. That means there’s some death involved but the death is so that we can live. There is a part of us that we were born with that has to functionally die. That is, it no longer rules us. It no longer controls us, and only God can teach us and help us to walk in that.

But that’s what God’s plan is, that we would learn to live out the new life that He has given to us and that there is therefore something that is dying and something that is living. That’s why he calls it a living sacrifice.

Just like Paul in the scripture we’ve used so many times he talks about how death worked in him so that life could work in others. Well, that principle applies to every single member of the body of Christ. We don’t just sit back and say, Well, that’s for certain ones that they have this special public role and therefore … but I’m just here. I’m just living my life. I’m biding my time. I’m doing little stuff here and there. Every member of the body of Christ is born for a time and a place and a purpose.

- [Congregant] Amen.

And how many times have we used Esther as an example? Now, obviously most of the Bible examples we have are of very public things that happened in history and certainly this qualifies. But by every measure, Esther was just a Jewish girl who happened to live in a heathen empire at a certain time in history.

Now in the Lord’s providence. He made her very beautiful, made her very appealing, but He had a plan in all of that. Esther wasn’t looking for anything, but when the time came for the king to attract, to pick is the word I want, to pick a new wife. I won’t go into all the details, you know the story. But he came to a place where he needed a queen and ultimately she became his queen.

And then you remember how there was this plot against the Jews by a wicked man who got the king to sign an edict that there was gonna be a slaughter of Jews on a certain day, because they’re enemies of your empire. And how her, Esther’s, was it uncle? Anyway, her relative came in, and told her about it and basically said, Who knows of what you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this. I mean, God had somebody in a critical spot at a critical time to do something that could not be done any other way.

And she tried to talk her way out of it. Who am I? I can’t do anything. But finally she made a commitment that said, I’m gonna do it, and if I perish, I perish.

Boy, think about what that means. Isn’t that a pretty good picture of the Christian life? Could we not every one of us wind up in a situation like that where our life is on the line? The truth is, it is anyway. It’s just that most of the time it’s a living sacrifice where we’re continuing to live out something, but God could call some, some of us here to literally lay down our lives for Him. Is He worth it?

[Congregant] Amen.

Amen, absolutely. You know, he talks about in Romans 12 we’re to offer our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, which is separate to Him. It belongs to Him and not to us and not to anybody else, but it says, This is pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.

What does worship have to do with? Has to do with worth. In other words, you’re acknowledging someone’s value, someone’s worth. Is He worth it? Is it worth it to serve Jesus? Is it worth it to lay down our lives if that’s what he’s called us to? Absolutely. But that’s the call to every single believer. Every single one in the body of Christ. We are called to lay down our lives for Him and simply present them to Him. Lord, I am yours, I am not my own.

To verses three and beyond, there is a whole, to verses three and beyond, there are a whole lot of changes that have to happen, right? It talks about not conforming to this present world in the original. That is a passive word.

And I don’t think I have to convince everybody or anybody, that we are under an avalanche. It’s like standing under a waterfall of the potential influence of this world. It comes from everywhere, and it will absolutely invade our thinking, if we let it. It will cause us to look at ourselves a certain way. It will cause us to feel, who are we, what is our purpose? It has answers to all of those things that are absolutely opposed to God.

We are living in a world that is under a sentence of destruction and we’re simply playing out. We’re part of the outworking of God’s plan to bring us to that time. Praise God, I wanna be part of that, don’t you? I wanna live and walk in harmony with that.

Well, if I’m gonna do that He’s got to do some major overhaul up here. I don’t think we realize the degree to which we think like the world. And the first thing we do, in fact, that’s what we do, we present and then we let God work because the “being transformed” is also a passive word which means we’re not going out and trying to figure it all out, we’re letting God change us.

He will absolutely institute circumstances in our lives that will cause us to see everything from God’s point of view and not from ours, if we’ll cooperate, if we’ll respond God is gonna change your thinking and mine about who we are, what we are, what our place what our purpose is.

I mean, how can you walk? How can any people walk in what he describes here where we belong to each other? We don’t do stuff because we have ability. We do stuff with ability that God gives us. You see the difference? God doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies the called, as you’ve heard that expression.

And so here you’ve got a people that know that they belong to one another, know their role, their purpose in life is to have God’s Spirit, not just in them, but flowing through them to strengthen and bless others and to do that within the context of their place and their unique calling.

And we said many times, there has never been anybody in the history of this world exactly like you. Now I think sometimes we would say, Thank God, but the reality is God made you and He made me particularly for a time, and a place and a purpose. And the gospel is what His plan is to get us to a place where we can even enter that.

But God help us to give ourselves to Him to acknowledge that every day, to reaffirm that as we go along, not to lose sight of whose we are and what our real purpose is, but also to say, God, I need to be changed.

It’s not okay that I just acknowledge certain doctrines and ideas and religious practices. I need to have my whole thinking changed. I need you to do something that I can’t do for myself. I don’t know what to think. This world is telling me, trying to fill my head with ideas and God is not just a matter of reading words in a book. I need the author of that book to come —

[Congregation] Yes.

Phil: — and reveal His word in such a way that it becomes the way I see everything, the way I see myself. And I’ll tell you, God’s got a job.

But I’ll tell you what the thing we need to do besides reaffirming that we belong to Him is every day to say, God, I know in order to really fulfill what you have described in this passage that we read, you gotta have you got some work to do. I’m not there yet.

I’m like Paul, I’ve grasped a little bit and I thank God I can forget the mistakes of the past. I can leave that behind and just put it under the blood. But Lord, there’s more, there’s more. And I need you to change me because I have a part to play. We try to define what these parts are and we tend to think in terms of public things, like the ones who stand up here and have some public role.

But that isn’t what is described here, is it? Do you know how important it is to radiate Christ right where you are? We have the expression, “Bloom where you’re planted.” God’s got you in a certain role in life but He wants to live in you in that place and through that role so that when people are around you what they sense is not you being upset about this, all the natural human reactions we have to life, but to sense Christ.

I mean, do people wanna be around you? Do believers wanna be around you because they feel stronger after they’ve been in your presence? We got something we can ask God about —

[Congregation] Yes.

Phil: — and be conscious of. He can make those changes, I can’t do that. Isn’t that an awesome thing that all I have to do is give myself and let Him make the changes? He provides everything else if I’m just willing. But my brain has got to be reprogrammed. I just don’t think the way He wants me to think.

And of course, one of the obvious things He deals with right at the beginning, He says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Oh, the very heart of human nature is pride.

[Congregation] Amen.

And for us to think, Oh, I can be an instrument of God. Ah, isn’t that great? And I see somebody else, Oh man, I wanna be like them or I wanna be better than they are, I wanna. It becomes a contest. Is that heavenly thinking?

[Congregant] No.

Do we need a renewed mind? Yes. That might be a good title, if they wanna write one: A renewed mind, what does that look like?

On the first place, it’s not about us. It’s not about who I am and what I do and how people think of me as a result of that. Some of the greatest, I mean, I’ve told you about this lady before but Sophie, the washer woman, now she’s rather famous because she was recognized, but there was this poor immigrant woman living in New York City, in borderline poverty. Well, you’d call it poverty. I mean, it was hand-to-mouth. She washed clothes for people and got a little bit of money and she could just barely make her way.

But that wasn’t what her life was about. Her life was about Jesus and sharing Jesus. And it was such an impact she had on so many people right where she was planted. Now, the Lord never put her in a pulpit. She never wrote books or sang songs. She never did anything that the world would regard as important. But I want to tell you on Judgment day, God’s gonna lift her up and say, This is what I was looking for. I just wanted somebody that allowed me to do what I wanted to do in them so that I could act through them to share my life within the world.

There are places that you are that nobody else is. God’s put you in a certain place just like he put Esther. Now that’s a pretty big stage for her. But the principle applies to every single person. Your life is unique, where you’re at is unique. Your role in your family and in your loved ones, whatever it is, in your work. And some of us are beyond that, but anyway, God is faithful to put us where He wants us. But don’t you want to just say, Lord, open my eyes, help me.

Now, notice what he says back in verse two. Do not conform to the pattern or be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed. How? By the renewing of your mind. I need Him to so change my way of thinking.

All right, now what’s the result of that? What happens if I allow Him to change the way I think. All right, then you will be able. There’s an ability that I need if I’m gonna be who He wants me to be, fulfill the place He has designed for me, uniquely for me. I’m gonna have to know what He wants. I’m gonna have to know some things. I’m gonna have to have an ability here that I don’t naturally have.

Now, what is that ability about? Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. You think that matters? Yes. Has God called us given us a book and said, Go build me a kingdom? Everything that He has designed He has not only a place for us, but He has a plan, He has a will. He’s already foreseen things that we don’t know anything about.

Esther didn’t have any idea what was gonna happen but God knew it, and God gave her the courage to do what she needed to do when she needed to do it. Is anybody here that you just all the time you know exactly what God’s will is? I can’t raise my hand either. You think maybe we got some growing to do here? You think there’s some ability that we need to gain to where we can walk close enough with the Lord when we can have a sense of what He wants to do and be willing to set aside what we want, what we think? Say God, just like Jesus. I’m not here to do my own will. I’m here to do His?

And He went to the cross, Not my will, but yours be done. That’s what He’s seeking to reproduce in every one of us while we live in this world. I’ll tell you, that’s a blessed place. Human nature thinks, Oh my God I’m gonna be a slave, paints such a terrible picture of it, but Jesus says, Come to me and you’ll find rest. Praise the Lord!

So anyway, here He is putting us in a position where we need a renewed mind if we’re gonna do what He’s talking about here. I didn’t start with Romans 12 but this is just kind of a jumping off point. I began to think about how God used people throughout history.

In the first place, what’s being described here is not based again upon human ability, is it. God is qualifying those He calls God is using those who are weak. He has called, not the mighty, not many of the mighty not many of the noble and all of that but He’s chosen the weak and the foolish things. So, if you’re foolish today — let’s not be foolish in the wrong sense! I don’t care what the world thinks. Folks, if we’re His, that needs to govern everything and the way we see everything, praise God!

But you know, there’s so many examples in scripture that illustrates some simple points about a renewed mind. Moses is a story that we have referred to many times. And here was a man the scriptures described as mighty in word and deed. He grew up in Pharaoh’s household, no doubt did accomplish great things, was regarded as a high born person in the kingdom.

And God had a purpose for Moses’ life to use him ultimately as the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. Now, did God allow him to develop all of those human abilities so that he can say, All right, now you’re ready. See, the thing is, if we’re gonna give ourselves to the Lord He’s gonna have to set us free from a lot of things including self-reliance, self-confidence in the wrong sense. We’re gonna have to come to a place where we, like Paul said, When I’m weak, I’m strong.

Moses didn’t understand any of this, and so he wound up being chased out of the kingdom, fleeing for his life, living on the backside of the desert as a shepherd for 40 years. And to all intents and purposes, that was his lot. He’s 80 years old. He’s still in good health evidently but he is going along and just every day he’s out tending the sheep.

And, of course, you remember what happened, the burning bush. Finally, all of this sense of, I’m important, I can do stuff, is gone. And the Lord finally approaches him and he goes through a whole lot of telling him what He wanted him to do. And Moses is objecting at every point.

But where do the objections to things like that come from? If the Lord says, I want you to do something. Where where does all that come from? What kind of thinking? Ah, that’s worldly thinking. That’s thinking that says, “I’m not,” and “I can’t,” and “I don’t have,” all those kinds of things you’re gonna see unfold in different lives.

And at one point They’re not gonna believe me. What am I gonna do? What does the Lord say? What is that in your hand?

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