Jesus Can 2007
Part 2: Jesus Can Straighten Me Out.
2 Corinthians 10:1-5
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Jan 28, 2007
*“WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?” Have you ever wondered that about someone? Has anybody ever wondered that about you? (Recently?)
*An important part of my job is trying to help people going through serious personal problems. And when you get down to the heart of the matter, every time, somebody is seriously mixed up on their thinking. All of us tend to get mixed up on our thinking at times, and often we don’t even see the problem.
*But Jesus Christ can straighten out our thinking a whole lot better than Dr. Phil or anybody else in this world. The Lord can straighten out our thinking, if we will do 3 things.
1. First of all, keep turning your mind to the goodness of God.
*In vs. 1, Paul was pleading, begging the Corinthian Christians to change their minds, and they needed some big changes. One reason why was because false teachers had come to them, corrupting their minds with a false legalistic gospel. On top of that, they had neglected their duty to give. And Paul was afraid that when he visited them again, he would find all kinds of corruption.
*Listen to what Paul told them later on in this letter. This is 2 Corin 12:20-21 from the New Living Translation, where Paul said, “I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won’t like what I find, and then you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come, God will humble me again because of you. And I will have to grieve because many of you who sinned earlier have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.”
*Those believers needed big changes in their behavior, because they needed some big changes in their thinking. And the first thing Paul did in these verses to help them change was this: He reminded them of the goodness of God.
-In vs. 1, Paul said, “I am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ . . .”
1-Turn your mind to the meekness of Jesus Christ, but remember that meekness is not weakness. Wade Hughes defined the Lord’s meekness this way:
-“Great power and strength under control, enduring injury with patience and without resentment, not violent, not haughty not arrogant, not inclined to put yourself forward or in front” (1)
*William Barclay tells us that meekness is the quality of the man whose anger is so controlled that he is always angry at the right time and never at the wrong time. It describes the man who is never angry at any personal wrong he may receive, but who is capable of righteous anger when he sees others wronged. (2)
*David Parks says that this word meekness was used to define a powerful horse that was under control of its master. It is emotion under control. It is not weakness.
-Weakness turns its back on sinners. Meekness restores them.
-Weakness brings disunity. Meekness brings unity.
-Weakness returns the abuse. Meekness takes the abuse.
-Weakness argues. Meekness instructs.
-"Meekness is the strength to back down from a fight you know you could win." (3)
*Melvin Newland said:
-I’ve read a lot of nursery rhymes. One of the most familiar is "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again."
*Melvin found out from Chuck Swindoll that this nursery rhyme was originally written about people, broken people, people who fell and found their lives smashed. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put them back together again. But Jesus can! Because of His meekness. (4)
2-Turn your mind to the meekness of Jesus Christ, and to His gentleness.
*Barclay said that the Greeks defined this word as "that which is just and even better than just." (2)
*Christ’s gentleness is suitable and mild. It gives mercy, kindness, compassion and courtesy.
-We see it in John 4, when the Lord spoke with a woman who had been married five times and was living with a man outside of marriage.
-We see it in John 8, with a woman who was caught in the act of adultery.
-We see it in Luke 19, when Jesus went to visit in the home of Zacchaeus, a man who had been crooked all his life.
*In all of these cases, hearts and minds and lives were changed. Souls were saved. People were drawn to a new way of thinking and living by the meekness and gentleness of Jesus Christ. But the greatest display of His character was still to come, when Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die for our sins.
*Many years ago in Scotland, workers were blasting with dynamite in a rock quarry. One day they attached the fuse, went a safe distance and sounded the alarm. But suddenly they saw a 3-year-old boy wandering across the open space where danger threatened. Every passing second meant that death was closing in on the child. The workmen called to the child and waved their arms, but he only thought they were playing.
*No man dared to run forward, knowing the explosion was only seconds away, and the little boy most certainly would have been killed. But just in time his mother appeared. Knowing the danger, she did not run toward her son or yell to frighten him. Instead, she knelt down, opened her arms wide and smiled for him to come. And instantly, the boy ran towards her.
*Just seconds later, the area shook with the force of the explosion, but the child was safe in his mother’s arms. And a wise man said, “What a picture of the grace of God and of the cross. With outstretched arms on the cross Jesus gives his gracious invitation to the world, indicating we are to come to him for eternal safety. (5)
*The meekness and gentleness of Jesus draw us to new places in our lives, so that our minds can be transformed by His love. Focusing and refocusing on the goodness of Jesus Christ can transform your thinking like nothing else. As Helen Lemmel wrote many years ago:
-Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
-Look full in His wonderful face,
-And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
-In the light of His glory and grace. (6)
2. The Lord can straighten out your thinking, if you will keep turning your mind to the goodness of God. But also trust in the Lord’s mighty weapons.
*In vs. 3-5, Paul assures us that we can trust in the Lord’s weapons. Paul said, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. . .”
*God’s weapons can surely help us win the battle for our minds. But we have to trust His weapons enough to take them up and use them. So what are the weapons of our warfare?
*Certainly the Word of God is one of our most powerful weapons. Eph 6:17 calls the Word of God “the sword of the Spirit,” and Heb 4: 12 tells us that “the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. [And it] is a discerner [or judge] of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
*Can the Bible change the way we think? Certainly! As Psalm 19:7-8 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. . .”
*God’s Word will change the way we think, but if we are spending 60 hours a month watching TV and 6 minutes a month reading God’s Word, it’s not going to do us much good. “Deal or No Deal,” “Gray’s Anatomy,” “American Idol,” “MTV” and “ESPN Sports Center” are not going to change your life, but the Word of God can.
*In Matt 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” God is telling us there that we need to take in some of His Word every day. This is also one reason why it is so important for you and your family to come to church every time you possibly can.
*We have to trust the Lord’s weapons enough to take them up and use them. That includes the Word of God, but what about prayer? Can prayer change the way we think? Most definitely. James 1:5 tells us that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
*Then there are two, wonderful, mind-changing prayers that Paul prayed in the Book of Ephesians. Listen to this prayer from Eph 1:15-21:
15. Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16. do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18. the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19. and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20. which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21. far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
*May God help us to see all of the wonderful things that prayer can do in our world. Dr. Ralph Lewis was encouraged in his own prayer life when a trusted friend told him about an unusual prayer experience. The friend was walking down the street when he heard a public telephone ring. This was before we all had a cell phone, and pay phones were everywhere.
*When this man heard the pay phone ring, his first reaction was to answer the call. Then he thought that would be ridiculous! What would he do with a call for someone else? But he answered the call anyway.
*On the other end of the line was a woman who was very obviously in distress. She asked, “Will you help me?”
-Ralph’s friend responded, “Lady, who are you calling?”
-Then she said, “I do not know. I just know that I have a family problem. I took the problem to the Lord in prayer. While I was praying, the number I just dialed came before my closed eyes. I just got up and called. Are you an answer to my prayer?”
*It turned out that he was. Ralph’s friend was able to counsel with the lady about her family problem. He gave her some promises from God’s Word that had been helpful to him. And he prayed with her. (7)
*God can do amazing things in our lives through prayer and through His Word, “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. [They are] mighty in God.”
3. The Lord can straighten out your thinking, if you will trust in His mighty weapons, but also take-up the Lord’s goals for your mind.
*Listen for God’s goals in vs. 4&5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. . .”
*So what is God trying to do in your mind? How does He want to change your thinking? Certainly He wants to take us to the place of humility. There are strongholds in our hearts, bad attitudes and habits that need to be pulled down. There are high things in our hearts that puff us up with pride, and God wants to pull them down, because these prideful thoughts keep us from knowing the Lord like we should.
*Pride is so close to us, often trying to exalt us in our own eyes. It is easy to take credit for the blessings God has given, like a bumper sticker Aaron Burgess once saw. It said, “I couldn’t have done it without me.” (8)
*How does God want to change your thinking? He wants to take us to the place of humility, and to the place of captivity. God’s great goal for our minds is to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Think about that. How many thoughts do you have a day? -Thousands? -Tens of thousands? And how many of those thoughts are really captive to Jesus Christ?
-We’ve all got a long way to go, but God is certainly able to change our thinking.
*Sometimes He turns a whole life around in a moment of profound insight. Years ago, a young businessman in Atlanta had a moment like that. His name was Jack Stephens. One day Jack got a call from a friend who was director of a Boy’s Club. This friend asked Jack to pick up a young boy and his mother and take them to a hospital. The boy has leukemia Jack was told, and probably had only a few days to live. The boy’s home was only a few blocks away and Jack agreed to the request.
*At 8 that morning, the mother of the boy was sitting in the front seat of Jack’s car. The child was so weak that he was lying down, his head in his mother’s lap, his little feet resting on Jack’s right leg. After he started the car, Jack glanced down at the boy, who was staring at him. Their eyes met.
-“Are you God?” the boy asked.
-Jack hesitated and then answered softly, “No, son. Why do you ask?”
-“Mother said God would come soon and take me away with Him.”
*Those words nearly broke Jack’s heart, and six days later the boy did go to be with God. But a radical changed took place in Jack Stephens’ life. He knew he had to do more than he had been doing. And before long, Jack was director of the Joseph B. Whitehead Memorial Boy’s Club in Atlanta. (9)
*What is it going to take to capture your heart? Stop running away from God. Stop ignoring God. Stop fighting against God. Let Jesus Christ capture your heart and your mind today. That is His great goal for your mind.
*Jesus Christ can straighten out your thinking like nobody else in this world!
-Let Him get started today.
1. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “#8 Fruit of Spirit MEEKNESS” by Wade Hughes - Gal 5:22-23
2. Paul Begins To Answer His Critics - 2cor.10:1-6 (The Daily Study Bible Series - Revised Edition - The Letters To The Corinthians - By William Barclay - 1975)
3. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Christ-like: Meekness” by David Parks - 1 Peter 2:21
4. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Gentleness [Meekness] - Fruit of The Spirit” by Melvin Newland Gal 5:22
5. Original source unknown - Found at tagnet.org/clarkston/Christian Illustrations #2.htm (Pulpit Helps)
6. Helen Lemmel - Singspiration 1922, renewal 1950
7. Adapted from sermon by Curtis Schofield, found on christianglobe.com under title “If You Really Want To Be Helpful” by King Duncan -Luke 11:1-13
8. SermonCentral sermon “How To Develop Gratitude” by Aaron Burgess - Luke17:14
9. W Clement Stone, THE SUCCESS SYSTEM THAT NEVER FAILS (Englewood Cliff, NJ, Prentice Hall, Inc., 1962). Found in christianglobe.com sermon “No Longer Simply ‘Mr. Nice Guy’” by King Duncan - Luke 10:25-37