Summary: In this coming year we hope to work well together as a church in the tasks to proclaim Christ and to worship Him. Before we can do so as a church, we as individuals need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
1. One of most beautiful expressions of worship and praise is Handel’s Messiah - I love to hear good orchestra play this wonderful work and listen to choir sing the chorus.
2. Perhaps I am picturing an ideal situation in my mind, but I like to think of the church as an orchestra which makes beautiful music together We have different sections and different musicians, but rather than presenting a musical piece to worship god we present our lives, our gifts, our witness, our service.
3. To present a performance of the Messiah, the orchestra spends long yours of practice together - so flow from instrument to another is smooth, to make a unified presentation.
4. Even that practice, however, is not the beginning of the preparation - for the conductor places certain demands on each musician. He (she) expects that each one has already mastered the skill and art of playing their particular instrument, that each has a love for the piece they are playing, that they have on own practiced the piece so that they are prepared to join the other musicians.
5. And so we need to prepare just as musicians do.
6. Are we ready to proclaim Christ, to make Him known? Are we ready to perform the concert? To answer these questions, we first have to examine ourselves on an individual basis.
7. Are you committed to the work of Jesus Christ? Are you fully committed to Him?
8. For us to be a strong and effective church, we need to be like a block wall that is strongly cemented together, but that wall will not be strong if the individual blocks are weak.
9. In Rom 12, Paul presents a portrait of the believer in relation to the world and to other believers - one that shows how we are to perform together, but before He does that, he gives us 2 verses that we first need to examine.
10. They first make us see if we are prepared individually for these relationships.
1. First 11 chapters of Romans talk about our sin and how thru faith we are accounted as righteous thru righteousness of Christ, but at the same time a life-long process begins - sanctification - this is the process that these verses are talking about.
2. Paul tells us to do 2 things as believers
3. First- to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
a. Not out of necessity - you better or else - but out of gratitude, in view of God’s mercy that Paul has been describing.
b. Does not simply mean that we are to deny our bodies in some type of self-mortification but rather that we are to offer all of our beings to God (not just body).
c. To live for Him as He would have it, rather than how we might have it.
d. We may see our relationship with God as another area to which we give part of ourselves, but God says that is not what he wants of us. He does not ask for part of us but rather all of us. - 100%
e. Only this is true worship. Colin Brown says we are to dedicate our whole person to God - our thinking, our emotions, our actions.
4. At this point I might ask if anyone here can say you feel you have attained pure, true worship by giving all of yourselves to God.
a. Richard Foster says that worship is the "total giving of ourselves".
b. Our failed attempts at this often lead to frustration and disappointment.
5. Paul guides us as how we are able to overcome this - by looking at what the real problem is.
6. Vs .2 "do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world".
a. We need to be different in our hearts and minds. Not to simply be against world but to rise above it.
7. How? Thru a complete renewing of the mind. We need a new way of thinking if we are to have a new way of living.
8. But how can our minds be renewed?
9. The answer is found in two words "BE TRANSFORMED"
a. Greek is word from which we get metamorphosis.
b. A change not only in appearance but in character.
c. A deep change from a self-centred life to a Christ-centred life
d. Somewhat like change Jesus went thru on Mt of Transfiguration - one in which we are filled with glory- character of God.
e. The leaving behind or dying of our old nature and the growing of our new nature which we received when we thru faith trusted in Christ - our new heart.
10. Three important things about verb BE TRANSFORMED.
a. A present, continuous verb - not a one-time action.