Summary: At this point in the letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul turns from theology to ethics - from the description of what God has done for us to the question of what we should do for God. Given what God in Christ has done for us, how shall we lead our liv
TITLE: AN INSIDE JOB
SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 12:2
I want to thank Elder Marco Hansell for such a powerful message he bought two weeks ago and thank Pastor Bernie Kidd, in his absence, for the powerful message he delivered last week. These preachers really encouraged us as we have experienced the past three weeks away from our Church and Sanctuary since vandalism occurred and has disrupted our Church family gathering. I also understand the challenges these preachers faced proclaiming a Word from Bishop’s home where the saints had gathered the past few weeks. We are anxiously awaiting the repairs being completed on Tuesday and back in the Sanctuary on Wednesday, just in time for our celebration service on Fourth Sunday. It is truly amazing to me how God and His perfect timing WORK OUT FOR GOOD FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THE LORD.
I recall talking with some of the members a few weeks ago when Sis Newman discovered that our Church had been vandalized. I recall one of our members saying, Bishop, it sounds like An Inside Job. Those that vandalized the building knew when we would not be there. Subsequently, we learned that 13-Churches had been vandalized for the Copper in the Air Units over a 6-7 hour period late Friday through Early Saturday Morning. An Inside Job suggests to us that someone from the Inside knew our church schedule and planned accordingly. However; we know that all churches were closed between 11:00 p.m. Friday night through 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning when the vandalism took place at these various churches including our own.
That being said , - Let me tell you this morning - and this may shock some of us - that I agree – this was An Inside Job. However; it may not be An Inside Job in the manner of which you may be thinking right now. In the book of Romans –the author, Paul forces us to take a Look and Evaluate what takes place on the Inside.
• What would cause a person or people to vandalize a Church?
• What would cause people to vandalize a number of Churches?
• What would cause people to totally Disregard, Disrupt, and Displace members that make up a Church?
• The answer is simple – It’s An Inside Job
At this point in the letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul turns from THEOLOGY to ETHICS - from the description of what God has done for us to the question of what we should do for God. Given what God in Christ has done for us, how shall we lead our lives, HOW MUST WE AND ARE WE EXPECTED TO BEHAVE? Clearly, we shall not live as we have lived before, when all we knew was what Paul calls “THIS WORLD (or “this age”),” but rather we shall live as those who CAN DISCERN THE WILL OF GOD - and thus know what is the GOOD – PLEASING – PERFECT way of life.
• We shall no longer continue to be conformed to this world
• But rather we shall be transformed by the knowledge of God
• Paul is making reference to An Inside Job
Paul proceeds in our text by means of CONTRASTS: He starts by dealing with - CONFORMITY and TRANSFORMATION - he deals with this world and that world – he deals with old and new. He holds out the possibility of RADICAL CHANGE for all of us who believe in Jesus. Today it is a TRUISM that PEOPLE NEVER REALLY CHANGE. How many of us have experienced or know someone who has experienced the costly failure of trying to change the person they married.
• We get married with the misplaced desire to change the other person
• Walk out on one another saying we won’t return until they change
• Get angry in midst of argument say – You will never change
• Paul offers the opportunity to be transformed by the knowledge of God’s will in a renewed mind
This is why we need to understand that it is An Inside Job. ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE US - and that by means of the mighty labor that Paul describes in the chapters of the letter to the Romans up to this point. God’s work through the death and resurrection of Christ removes the burden of sin from those who believe by replacing it with the gift of His own presence and the Apostle describes this as - “GRACE.” This grace renews us by restoring the relationship with God that our sin once broke and thus freeing us from the chains with which sin binds us in estrangement to this world and causing us to do the WICKED, OUTLANISHED things that we do.
There are TWO BASIC KINDS of “change” - INTERNAL and EXTERNAL. We usually like the External change: