Summary: How can we be renewed day by day? (Many sources but inspiration came from Bob Millsaps at: https://folcc.org/how-you-can-be-renewed-day-by-day/) This sermon given after a Bible bowl presentation; personal testimony given by author about Bible bowl experiences
Mark Lowry says we are fighting the battle of the B’s: Baldness, bifocals, bridges, bulges, bowlegged knees and bunions.
Outwardly we are wasting away. We don’t like to hear that but it’s true. Saw Michael Jordan play basketball in the NBA when he was 40. Played for the Washington Wizards and I thought he did a great job- scored several points. However, the standings at the end of that season showed a losing record for his team. What was the difference? Several things but the main thing was that Michael Jordan was 40 years old. Reflexes slow down; the elasticity goes; eyesight isn’t as keen; memory fades. If our focus is on this life only, then the older we get, the more discouraged we will be, because no matter how well we try to eat, or how much we exercise or jog, we still get older. Eugene Christian wrote a book called How to Live to Be One Hundred- he died at the age of 69. Out of desperation people quit. They may not quit life, but they quit their jobs, they quit their marriages, they quit the straight life, they quit the church and they chase after some fantasy of youth. To paraphrase Paul says, “Let’s be honest; outwardly we’re wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. We don’t quit because our focus isn’t on this body, it’s on the spirit. Instead of developing the body, we develop the soul. The spirit inside is going to live forever, so we don’t lose heart.”
If you are a senior citizen, the younger Christians need you to set an example of a Christian spirit. Love the song, “It gets sweeter as the days go by.” As the outward body wastes away, set an example of what it is to be renewed inwardly day by day.
That’s nice but how did those sweet elderly Christians get that way. Must renew our spirits everyday. “Growing Old Ain’t For Wimps”- Best to start when we are young. When we are babies, we are feed by our parents. As we grow, we start to feed ourselves. Then we do not need help anymore, “I can do it by myself.” The same is true spiritually. When a babe in Christ, need help to feed my soul. Just starting to use the Bible and prayer and make many messes. However, through time and practice we are able to feed our souls without any help from others. Now, this talk is on an individual level, there is food for our souls in fellowshipping with other Christians and in corporate worship. But what if there is there is little help from others, corporate worship is not feeding us, how are we going to feed our souls? For so many this is true, “Our bodies are overfeed while our spirits are starving.” So many never pick up a Bible or really pray, have a time with the Lord throughout the week, and there spirits are starving and the sad part is they have no idea of how to feed themselves. They will die!
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22, NIV. Used to watch the show Survivor- cast complained that many of the contestants were so lethargic- why? Because they had nothing to eat. Problem with many Christians today.
Bible bowl helped me to be able to feed myself. “Bible bowl is a way of life”- wish more viewed it that way. Never really went that far in competitions- oh, had my moments of achievement, those awards are sitting on a shelf in a church basement. What remains- a well feed soul, a renewed soul.
Thesis: How can we be renewed day by day?
I. By a daily encounter with the Word of God
I believe in the Book of Books. This is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. It is not just a history book. It is not just a book of moral lessons. It is not just our text that we study so we can win a game. No, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12, NIV. And as we read this and the Word enters our mind, our minds become renewed. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2, NIV.
Our minds are constantly programmed by the world’s system. We need to have our minds renewed, transformed. We do that when we engage with the Word. Bible bowl helps with that