Summary: We must conform to God and not the world. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is how we can be acceptable to Him.
ACCEPTABLE TO GOD
The obvious question after hearing the title of this sermon is what must we do to be acceptable to God? If we look at Romans 12:2, Paul has given us some insight into what we might do to be acceptable to Him. Our talk this morning will be on five points contained within our text that will help us understand what is acceptable to Him.
What does it mean to be “conformed” many ask? Any one of several dictionaries will tell us that it means to fashion oneself to another’s pattern and in this case, it would be to the world and all of its “things.” We are reminded that these are the things we are not to be focused on but instead those things which are heavenly. The Greek word used here is “syschematizo” from which our words schema and schematic are derived. A schema is a physical representation of something. It could apply to the inner workings of your TV or phone. Here, we are talking about your “schema”—what you are all about.
God gave us a body, soul and spirit. The soul and spirit belong to God and He will lay claim to it when you, or I, die. The body will be disposed, either naturally or unnaturally. The soul is that part that thinks and will accompany the spirit. There are only two places for the spirit and soul to go when one dies but that is another sermon.
All three of these can conform to someone or something. When we conform, we are yielding, adapting, adjusting or accommodating another person or group of persons. We are cautioned by God not to conform to this world (its people), for it is evil and wicked. In James 4:4, He tells us that whoever is a friend of the world is His enemy. So, rather than conform to this world and its evil, let’s you and I conform to Him.
We read in today’s passage that “we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We just discussed how the mind was part of the soul. The Bible tells us that the “Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” It makes sense that we must obey God’s laws for that is good for our souls, but how about the mind? In Philippians 2:5, Paul writes that we should have the mind of Christ, and oh how I agree! But, we are still left with the question “How do I renew my mind?” It seems simple enough, but how do I accomplish that you might ask?
It comes down to four things: We must stay in His Word, ignore that which is worldly, expel (repent) the sin in our lives and renovate our lives (tear out the bad and replace it with that which is good). I would imagine that is why you are involved with this sermon today.
A way to imagine this is consider that you and I have bodies that are God’s temples. He wants to live there—dwell if you will. Do you think that environment is ready for him to cohabit? Are there some things that need to be thrown out? Does it need a good sweeping? You know the devil will reside anywhere. He’s not real picky about where he lives and resides, so beware.
The Greek for this word is “Metamorpho” from which we derive our word metamorphosis. You should think of a butterfly when you are dealing with this word. The butterfly goes into the cocoon as an ugly sort of worm. He leaves his cocoon and he is now a whole different being. He now has wings and can “fly like an eagle.” How might we know if we have been transformed? We need to look at the signs. One who is “un-transformed” will have one or more of the following traits (or characters) also known as the flesh: adulterer, fornicator, unclean, lewd, idolater, sorcerer, hater, contentious, jealous, wrathful, selfish, heretic, envy, murderer, drunk and revelry to mention a few (Gal 5:19-21).
Pretty much, to be transformed is the opposite of what we just discussed. You will know when you are there by your actions for you will have love, joy, peace and long-suffering. You will be filled with kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Your fleshly traits have been crucified with Christ and no longer exist. It sounds hard and it is. We can only do it with His Spirit dwelling within us. We must make Jesus Christ our personal savior.
Our scripture talks also about “proof”. Is there something we need to prove as Christians? The short answer is “yes.” The passage makes mention of something about “perfect will.” It sounds like we have to live it. We need to be living proof that we have been transformed and are His. When we walk with Him on the beaches of life, we need to leave only one set of footprints in the sand. Everyone we know or meet should immediately see Christ in us. That is the proof (that we have made it). Amen.