Summary: The first order of business to bring change is to change your mind.
May 8, 2005
Text: Romans 12:1-2
Title: What Was I Thinking? ¡V Being Obligated to God
As we continue in our series on change I am reminded of the strategy of the Roman Catholic Church in establishing elementary schools all around the country. It became evident that if you could influence young minds to believe the Catholic Church is the only true church, it would be possible to have lifelong church members. And it has worked effectively. Why? Because the way we are taught to think as children sticks with us throughout the rest of our lives. If we are taught that hard work is the answer to all your problems, you are probably going to be a worker. If you are taught to rely on the government for your needs, you will probably remain on welfare. You see were I¡¦m going here? The things you were taught to believe as a child will influence you for the remainder of your lives. Are all of the things you were taught as a child right? Probably not! As a matter of fact it is quite likely that there are more things faulty than there are correct.
A little girl watched her mom prepare an Easter ham and noticed that her mom cut the end off the ham before she placed it in the oven. ¡§Mommy, why did you cut the end off?¡¨
¡§That¡¦s the way my mom always did it.¡¨
¡§I don¡¦t know but when we see Grandma today we¡¦ll ask her. I¡¦m sure it makes the ham taste better¡¨
¡§Grandma, why do you cut the end off the ham?¡¨
¡§Because that¡¦s what my mom always did. I¡¦m sure it makes the ham juicer. Let¡¦s ask Great Grandma.¡¨
¡§Great Grandma, why do you cut the end off the ham?¡¨
¡§Because when I was young and was first married the oven we had was so small that I couldn¡¦t get the ham in without cutting the end off.¡¨
It is time for our thinking to be changed. As I told you in the opening message of this series, being obligated to God refers to the mind. As we continue in our change series we want to look at how change in our thinking is paramount to change in the church. As we study I pray that you will be open to changing the way you think.
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I. COMMITTED TO GOD¡¦S WORD
A. God¡¦s Word is Truth. The concept of obligation or commitment requires one thing from you. You have to agree in your mind. We say that we know that God¡¦s word is truth. There is no confusion or contradiction. In verse 1 Paul appeals to our will. ¡§I beseech you¡K¡¨ Beseech means to invite. Paul is inviting Christians to make a choice in the way they live for God. You have a choice. You can be a ¡§fly by the seat of your pants¡¨ Christian and just react to things as they come by doing what feels right. You can be an ¡§I know the Word¡¨ Christian and respond to events in your life by what feels right. Or, you can be a Christian who is committed to the word of God, believing that it is true and acting on it, therefore taking a pro-active stand instead of a re-active stand. Abraham was committed to God¡¦s word as truth. Romans 4, ¡§19And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah¡¦s womb. 20He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22And therefore ¡§it was accounted to him for righteousness.¡¨„T
B. God¡¦s Word is Life. I have been amazed recently at the doubt that is placed in the validity of the word of God. Some preachers make up their own truth. Others believe in parts of the bible but not the whole. My heart is saddened when men and women of the gospel cast doubt on the one thing that I see as a constant; God¡¦s word. Hosea 4:6 says, ¡§My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.¡¨ Who is the one who destroys? It is the enemy of your soul. Once he can convince people that they can¡¦t be saved, can¡¦t be healed, can¡¦t be delivered, can¡¦t be empowered or can¡¦t be blessed, he has stolen life from you. If you aren¡¦t committed to the truth, then he has won the battle. Do you remember in the gospel of John how Jesus asked the disciples if they wanted to leave Him also? Their response? ¡§Master, where would we go? You alone have the words of life.¡¨ Where else can you go for eternal life? Good question!