Here, The Apostle Paul is now describing to the Followers at Rome how to be different, how to be transformed, to be God’s singularly unique servant in a hostile world. He honors particular character traits, offers special rewards for each. Anywhere in the world we live right now, we are dared to be different!
- Those who are genuinely humble before God, who turn to Him in absolute dependence, will be assured of a place in His kingdom.
- Those who show compassion on behalf of the needy, the hurting, will receive (in return) much comfort in their own lives.
- Those who are gentle—strong within yet controlled without, who bring a soothing graciousness into irritating situations, will win out.
- Those who have a passionate appetite for righteousness, both heavenly and earthly, will receive from the Lord an unusual measure of personal contentment and satisfaction.
Before going further, let’s ask ourselves these questions (try to answer each one decisively and directly, studiously and honestly, and hopefully and prayerfully):
- Am I really different? How do I define ‘different?” How does Paul define it? How does God ultimately define “being different? being empowered? being inspired?
- Do I take “being different” seriously . . . so much so that I am willing to change?
- Is “being different” coming through to me that serving others, empowering and inspiring others are some one of the most Christlike attitudes I can have?
- What significant difference will the ideas expressed throughout Scriptures have on my life? The life and lives of my family? The life and lives of my community?
The bottom-line question is not, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but rather, “What “different” are you and I becoming, now that we are being empowered, inspired by Father, Son and Holy Spirit to “Go! Light up our world?”
Romans 12:1-3 The Message
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Powerful People are Transformed and Renewed by God
It’s been a while, but I’m going to start with a question:
Are you and I actually allowing God to work powerfully in our lives?
Today I desire to try to encourage you that if you really want to experience God working powerfully in your life you need to allow Him to transform your mind.
Let us begin our time of transformation here;
Romans 12:1-2 Authorized King James Version
12 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. 2 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.
We are transformed, renewed, empowered, enlightened, by sacrificing the whole of ourselves to the perfect will of God. That is a whole lot to think of.
let us try to briefly address that one first:
The will of God is a phrase we might use as disciples of Jesus.
The “the will of God” has two or three biblical meanings.
First, there is the “sovereign will of God”, that is something that will always happen whether we want it to or not. We cannot slow it down, we cannot hinder it by any of our means, any way shape or form, nor can we ever hope to stop it.
Second, there is the “revealed will of God” in the Bible, things like do not steal, do not lie, do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)
In this our sinful world, people might know what the revealed will of God is for humanity and yet still choose to willfully, ignorantly, ignore what God has said.
Then third, there is the path of wisdom and spontaneous godliness.
Wisdom is when we consciously apply the word of God with our transformed and empowered and renewed minds to address complex moral circumstances.
Spontaneous godliness can occur when we live most of our lives without conscious reflection on the hundreds of things we say and do all day.
For us to live and move into our faith, for us to live lives which are holy and acceptable to God we each need to allow Him to change and shape (empower, transform) our minds so that both you and I will have this inspired feeling, urge, this irresistible growing, and maturing desire to seek to freely “give the whole of ourselves up,” to His will and purpose for us in every area of our lives.
As King David Prayed,
Psalm 17:1-4 Authorized King James Version
A Prayer of David.
1 Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry,
give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
2 Let my sentence come forth from thy presence;
let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.
3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night;
thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing;
I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips
I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.
When I became a Christian around 20 years ago, I read the book of Romans for the first time.
Since then, I have revisited the words of the Apostle Paul on many occasions.
Romans contains the beautiful message of the gospel and practical insights into how we should live.
There are four words that can be used to summarize The book of Romans:
SIN, SALVATION, SANCTIFICATION AND SOVEREIGNTY.
SIN: we are all sinners.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered into this world and every generation since then has been damaged.
All of us are born with a corrupted human nature, we sin because we are sinners, we experience less than we were created for in this life.
In our natural fallen sinful nature, we are enemies to the will and purpose of God.
Because of sin we are separated from God, our relationship with Him is broken and we would spend eternity apart from Him.
SALVATION: We need a way to be saved.
We need a way back to God.
We need a way to be forgiven of our sin.
The message of Romans 6:22-23 is clear, the wage of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus, God incarnated into flesh, Jesus lived a perfect life, and willingly went to the Cross so that He could take the punishment our sin deserved.
Because of His sacrifice on the cross, His perfection, His righteousness is imputed to us when we trust in Him as Lord and Saviour.
Imputed, that means by faith we are treated as if we had never affected by sin. Through faith in Jesus, we are ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven by God.
Best of all, our salvation is not something we have to earn it is given as a free gift to all who believe and trust Jesus.
Because of His work on the cross we can have a restored relationship with God in this life and for eternity.
SANCTIFICATION: When we become disciples of Savior Jesus Chrit, God does not immediately transport us to Heaven. There is still some stuff that God needs to do in our lives to make us fit for Heaven.
Think of this as the gradual healing of an opened wound. As time goes on, the doctor attends to it, the body works to heal it, the scab gets smaller. Eventually, our full healing takes place, the scab falls off as it has completed its work. Over time, God takes our scars, forms scabs over them, and then they fall away. As they heal up, they are comforted and they are soothed, and they are healed.
Yes, we are forgiven, yes, we are saved, yes, we are assured of our salvation, yes, we have a new and “healed” mind, a new and “healed” spirit; but we are still under the direct influence of our sinful nature, and still clothed in sinful flesh.
Until we die and God calls us home to be with Him forever, we all will struggle in a continuous battle to be holy as God is holy until we are ultimately glorified.
The Sovereignty of God is the fact that God is the supreme authority, and all things are under His control.
Do we choose God or does God choose Us?
What did Master Rabbi Jesus have to say to this critically important question?
John 15:11-16 The Message
11-15 “I’ve told you about these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things, I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
Ultimately God is in absolute control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws which He has ordained.
God has created a world in which freedom is a real possibility so I have a simple answer, in His Sovereignty God chooses those who will choose Him.
Our thoughts are influenced or conformed by many different things in this world.
Which is why we need God to transform, empower, inspire, the way we think.
Paul instructs us in a few specific areas of our life where our thinking must be transformed from a sinful, worldly way of thinking to a godly way of thinking.
He starts with the Body of Christ, His church, then relationships with other believers, then government, unbelievers, and sharing the gospel with others.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 AKJV
Let’s return to Romans 12:3, Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be rigorously, vigorously honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves not by the faith of the world but faith God has given us.
Here is one characteristic of a transformed mind, Humility.
Do not think you are .000001% better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
Do we tend to think we are better than others?
Do we tend to think we are better than non-believers? Do we tend to think we are better than those with different views on life?
Are we better than those who face different struggles?
Do we judge other Christians who don’t behave the way we do?
Be honest rigorously and vigorously in your evaluation of yourself, measure yourself by the faith God has given you and against God’s sovereignty over you.
This challenge is to church. Your attitude within the church.
Can our attitudes and behaviors cause significant damage within the church?
I am sure most of us could name someone who has been hurt by somebody’s attitude, behaviors or actions within a church.
Maybe you have been personally hurt by someone’s attitude within the church.
If any of us fall into the trap of thinking too highly of ourselves, we will most directly, decisively and very much definitely hurt others and ourselves.
Many modern churches are littered with wrecked lives because of arrogant, self-righteous, and judgmental Christians.
We are meant to be disciples of Jesus who live powerful transformed lives of faith born from a real relationship with God and a growing, maturing, deep understanding of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When we understand the transformational, empowering truth of the gospel, we truly recognise our dependence on Jesus for our salvation and our everyday life.
The gospel, the Word of God is the only true source of our thinking, our acting.
The ways of the world will never lead any one to even .0001 ounces of humility.
Even the faith we have is from God!
Let me be clear, Paul is not advocating self-loathing; I’m a sinner, woe is me, I’m awful!
You and I have absolute worth to God; you and I are so infinitely valuable to our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ! Such a high value – He was willing to die for us!!!
Gain your full significance from the undeniable fact that God loved you enough to give His son for you and for me and the whole world and allow God through the Ministry and work of the Holy Spirit to empower you and to transform you.
Time has gone by quickly so I will close with this:
God gave everything for you and me.
That’s EXACTLY how valuable you and I are.
Jesus gave His life for you.
Jesus gave His life for me.
Our value is not based on what you or I do or even who you or I are. Our value is found in whose (God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) you are.
Your value is measured in nothing less than the price of your salvation – the life blood of Savior Jesus Christ poured out for you and for me.
You and I are indescribably valuable to God.
The question is, “how indescribably valuable is God to you and to me?”
Let me encourage you to allow God’s to change and transform your mind so that you can be a powerful person and live your life as a holy sacrifice to Him.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, let’s pray,
God, Our Father, in deepest gratitude for all which You have done for us, we do offer ourselves and our gifts to You—living sacrifices of worship and praise. Transform our hearts and minds from the inside out; show us what is good and pleasing in Your sight, so that we may be quick to recognize Your call, and quick to respond. In the name of Jesus, our Messiah and Lord, Alleluia! Amen.