Summary: This message is centered on how the LORD wants to renew our minds - 1. Our thoughts dictate our lives 2. Our minds are Spiritual Battlefields 3. A Renewed Mind is the Key to a Transformed Life
Theme: Our Minds - It's Renewal Time!
This message is centered on how the LORD wants to renew our minds - 1. Our thoughts dictate our lives 2. Our minds are Spiritual Battlefields 3. A Renewed Mind is the Key to a Transformed Life
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus our Messiah, our King and God's Only Son who came to take away the sin of the world and infill us with His Holy Spirit!
Paul knew what it meant to be transformed by our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew what it meant to realize that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets. He knew what it meant to realize that Jesus was Israel's Messiah, God's Only Son and the Savior of the World. He knew what it meant to realize that on the Cross of Calvary King Jesus took all the sins of the world and defeated sin and all the powers of evil. He knew that Jesus' Resurrection was a visible sign post that the New Age, the Kingdom of God had started. He knew what it meant to begin to live out the life of a person who had been rescued from the enslavement of sin, redeemed by the blood of Jesus and was continually being restored into becoming a genuine image bearer of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.
That is what Paul has been writing about throughout the first 11 chapters of his letter to the congregations in and around Rome. He has been sharing with them the basic message of Jesus Christ. The basic message that tells the story that through King Jesus and the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit all of us can fulfill the vocation that the LORD desired for all humanity. That vocation of reflecting God's Divine Image, of worshipping the true God and of then serving Him in His Good world. That vocation of living out an abundant life as a genuine human being now and being prepared to live the glorious life that God has planned for His redeemed people on the New Heaven and Earth.
Beginning in our passage, the Apostle seeks to flesh out what a life in Christ infilled with His Holy Spirit will actually look like on an day to day basis here on earth. The Apostle is very cognizant about the life to come and is very much looking forward to one day living on the New Heaven and Earth. But right at the moment he is living here on our present earth. Right now, the Apostle is concerned how to live life as a new creation and as a redeemed image bearer of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is more concerned about how to be a witness who reflects a life of God's holiness and grace. And he is more concerned about how to help his readers live out that same life - a life of holiness and grace.
And so, beginning in chapter 12 we see Paul spelling out what could be called a New Testament Halakhic. Now, what in the world does that mean?
The word "Halakhic" comes from the word "Halakhah" and is usually translated as "Jewish law," although a more truer and appropriate translation would be "the path that one walks." The basic root word "Halek" means to go or to walk or to travel. How a person lived would therefore be fleshed out by the path or paths they traveled throughout their life here on earth. Walking a good path would mean that a person has chosen to live according to a holy and righteous "halakhic".
An "Halakhic" was designed to help increase the spirituality of an individual and a community. It was thought that when a person and/or a community dedicated themselves to seeing everything they do in light of their obedience to their walk of faith that over time they would understand more deeply just how connected they were to the LORD. For example, if one faithfully reads their Bible everyday and prays everyday over a period of time they will realize just how deeply connected they have become to God's Word and how much they enjoy being in the presence of the Lord each day. By merely following that path - that "halek" (reading God's Word and praying) they will discover more and more that they are being transformed to think like the LORD, desire the things of the LORD and love the things that the LORD loves. By walking the path of the Holy Spirit they find themselves growing deeper in their relationship with the LORD and with other human beings as well.
In the opening verses of chapter 12 this is what we see the Apostle Paul doing. He is setting out some needed guidelines for what it means to "walk according to the Holy Spirit". Paul believes that he has been "anointed" by the LORD to share this teaching and message. He believes that even as the LORD has called him to be an Apostle, the LORD has also called him to be an spiritual mentor teaching the new way of life that has been made possible through Jesus our Messiah and Lord.