9th September 2023
Read (Romans 12v2)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Did your grandmother ever ask "if he told you to stick your hand in the fire, would you do it?" Your granny's question was about how much you were prepared to conform to the whims of another. I suspect most of us like to think we are strong minded and determined individuals who are never pushed, prodded or easily led but realistically we are bombarded by all kinds of pressure every single day and all too often we resemble the world around us.
Don't believe me? Have you ever bought an item because the reviews on Amazon encouraged you to do so? Have you ever started a diet because someone in work said that they had lost three stone in six days? Have you ever voted for someone because your dad told you to? More often than not we conform to the whims of the world. Every single day you are influenced by media giants like YouTube, Tiktok and Facebook. Advertisements on TV and the billboards in town have more sway over you than you can imagine. Even conversations with Sammy next door and that girl in the other office can conform your thoughts, words and attitudes to the agenda of the kingdom of man and that's not a good thing. Paul spoke of this "present evil age" (Galatians 1v4) and understood that this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7v31).
However as the Christian responds to the Gospel they are not to be conformed but instead transformed by the renewal of their minds (v2a). How does the renewal of our minds take place? By Word and Spirit. The child of God is be rooted and grounded in the Scriptures. Paul would remind Timothy of this when he stated "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3v16-17) Elsewhere Paul would say "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4v12)
We cannot underestimate the necessity of a regular diet of the Word in a Christian's life. The Christian should be active in reading God's Word personally, active in hearing the Word read and especially active in hearing the Word preached. It is by this means that the Lord grows us up in the faith and as we read or listen, God the Holy Spirit enlightens us and guides us into all truth (John 16v13).
As our minds are transformed the outcome is a growth in discernment. What is discernment? Discernment is defined as "keenness of insight and judgment" and so the Christian bathed in God's Word is enabled to discern what God's will is on any given subject. The Lord's will is good and acceptable and perfect and as we are bombarded each day by the wisdom of the world, it is essential that we exercise our discernment to ensure we live rightly before the Lord.
I'm reminded of an old song I used to sing in Sunday School which taught "be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear." It was a simple song full of truth. The world seeks to shape the Christian into it's own sinful image. We must resist and instead be transformed by the renewal of our minds.
Q40 What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience? The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.