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Rejoice, Pray & Give Thanks

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
January 9, 2023 5:47 am

Rejoice, Pray & Give Thanks

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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January 9, 2023 5:47 am

December 28, 2022 – Message from Cam McFarland and Ty Cockman

            Main Scripture Passage:  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Romans 12:1-2

            Topic: Prayer, Thankfulness, Sacrifice


            Download SCRIPTURE REFERENCE


Well, tonight we're going to do something a little bit special and different. I asked Cam and Ty, a couple of our interns, if they could preach tonight. And so they both said they'd be glad to do that. So Cam, he's always wanted to go first so that anything he preached, you know, he didn't want to go first because if Ty goes first, then he may preach something that he was wanting to preach on. So and then when I preach Sunday, he's like, you preached my sermon, Pastor Josh.

And I said, hey, I learned from the best I learned from you Cam. So no, but I'm proud of these guys. They have they've done a great job of being an example for our youth ministry, our teens and and and even even the adult ministries. And so we appreciate these guys. And so I'm asking him to come ahead and preach for us at this time. Make him feel welcome as he comes ahead and brings the word to us. Good.

Am I good back there? All right. If you would, we're going to be in First Thessalonians tonight, Chapter 5. So kind of like Pastor said, my first point is going to sound very familiar to what you heard on Sunday. He really hit on a lot of the things that I wanted to share. So but with it being on my heart, I didn't want to change my message.

I just figured that I would roll with it. A couple weeks ago, I was sitting here on Wednesday night, and I don't even know how we ended up in this passage, but I just saw it and was like, if I preach again, that's what I'm going to do. So when Pastor asked us, I was like, yes, and I have a message and dibs on first.

Ty's like, okay, here we go. So we're gonna be starting in First Thessalonians, Chapter 5, starting in verse 16 tonight. The Bible says, rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus concerning you. Let's pray. Dear Lord, we just thank you for tonight. We thank you for just the ability to come into your house on a Wednesday night and to hear the Word of God. Lord, I pray that you would hide me behind the cross and just let me let me share the message that you've laid on my heart. Pray for these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

This section that we're kind of looking at tonight is kind of his final charge just before he decides to close the letter. Paul tells the people at Thessalonica three things in this passage, and that's to always rejoice, to always pray, and to always be thankful for the will of God. So we're going to go ahead and jump right in with my first point, and that's rejoice evermore. The word rejoice means to have or express joy, and the word joy is a state of having great passion or feeling of an inner gladness. And this is not the only place in the Bible that we're told as Christians to constantly rejoice. Philippians 4 says, rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. According to Romans 14, 17, joy is a basic mark of a Christian, for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It's also, according to the Bible, part of the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5, 22 says, but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. As Christians, it is imperative that we live with joy in our hearts, because if we don't, no one in this world will.

Look at our world and the state of it right now. You see other people outside of the church living with joy, any type of joy. This is after Christmas. Yeah, the Christmas season, we put joy up, and we all celebrate for a week, two weeks, sometimes just a day, then we go back to real life. And just to clarify something, and like I said, this is something the pastor kind of already iterated on Sunday, and that's that joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness comes from the things that happen to you, and it's just an emotion that comes for a short while and then it fades away. Joy is a lasting state of peace, and true joy comes from Jesus. Jesus says in John 15, 11, these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. In simplest terms, happiness comes, like I said, from the things that happens to you, and joy comes from Jesus. People may say, well, that's kind of a stretch as far as the happiness part.

It's as simple as this. When something good happens, we're happy. When something bad happens, we're not happy.

Right? That's kind of the life of being a Browns fan a little bit. Do I have any Browns fans here? Let me give you some help.

Oh, I got a couple, right? So on Saturday, when the Buckeyes win, we're happy. And then Sunday, when the Browns play, we usually don't watch it. At least I don't anymore. And this is what's true about happiness. When your happiness is misidentified as your joy, and that's what you find your happiness or you quote-unquote find your joy in, that becomes your God, and it consumes you. You're seeking that. You're searching for it. Oh, I want that. I want that. I want that.

I want that. And if you play something either above God or on the same level as God, that's what the Bible calls idolatry. We look at the things that are currently controlling our world, the first thing being things like sex. We see it every day the way the world is not even just pushing it anymore. It's exalting the LGBTQ community on us.

Right? We see that in our own community with the things going on across the street or other things like fornication or adultery. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6, 9, know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Be not deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

And verse 10 goes on to say, nor thieves nor covetousness nor drunkards nor revilers nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. Drugs. In America today, over 20 million people suffer from substance abuse. Annually in America, there are over 70,000 overdose deaths. And in the year of 2020, that number jumped to over 90,000. We saw the world hide from COVID-19 when the drug epidemic just ran wild.

We didn't want to face that. 1 Peter 5, 8 says, be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. And the other thing that I listed here is money. People in the world are always seeking ways to make the most money or get the most stuff, the most possessions.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6, 10, for the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have eared from their faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Is money the issue? No. Is the love of money the issue?

Yes. The idols of this world do not fill the void in our hearts for Jesus. Our world is under so much pain and destruction and distress, and that can't be fixed by any of these things. Here are some statistics, like I said, some of what pastors shared, about suicide in America. In 2020, there was almost 46,000 suicides committed in America. There's approximately one suicide death every 11 minutes in America, and this is the one that absolutely blew my mind. For the age grades of 15 to 24-year-olds, so that's my age and a lot of the teens in here, suicide is the third leading cause of death.

Number two is homicide. We're killing each other and we're killing ourselves because we can't find that joy that we're looking for. In America, there are approximately 1.2 million suicide attempts each year.

Our world is hurting so bad, and people are looking for solutions anywhere that they can find it, right? There are over 23,000 books with the word happiness or joy in the title. Even if you just Google books about happiness, it'll say like eight keys to happiness, seven keys, six keys, like I don't know how many keys there really are. But I do know that the one book that really shows you how to find joy doesn't even have that in the title. And I don't share these things to scare you or to freak anybody out, but I share them because that's how important it is as Christians that we live with joy in our hearts because the world's not finding it.

They can't find it in sex, they can't find it in drugs, they can't find it in money, they can't find it in these books. Through joy comes from Jesus. And as Christians, we must live with joy in our hearts to show people who Jesus is.

I heard somebody say one time from this pulpit, you may be the only Bible that somebody ever reads. We have to live with joy in our hearts because other people may not see it anywhere else. 1 Peter 3.15 says, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man to ask you for the reason of the hope that lives within you with meekness and fear. And understand this too, our joy, the vertical joy that we have with Jesus, is not affected by who's in office, what the cost of gas is, who wins the game, but it is affected by how we view God and our vertical relationship with Him.

As Christians, we ought to live with joy knowing that we are children of God, created in His image and with knowledge and understanding that when things get tough, there is a Father in Heaven that we can come to. And this leads me to my second point tonight, and that's pray without ceasing. I know over the past few weeks and the past few months that pastor has spent a lot of time in prayer. And praise God we have a pastor who's willing to walk through that and to show us the importance of prayer and to show us how important that should be in our lives. I was reading a commentary this week, and it's talked about this verse, and this is what it said.

It said, the Greek word here, without ceasing, is used in secular literature to denote a man suffering from an intermittent cough, one that is not continuous but occurs at intervals. Just as the individual has a tendency to cough, although does not always do so audibly, so the believer ought to remain in the attitude of prayer, though not always praying audibly. The idea here is that we always have an open communication line with God. I believe there are times we should come to an altar, get on our knees, get on our face, pray to God. There are times where we may be able to bow our heads and pray to God. There's other times where we may not have the ability to do that.

One really good time for me to spend some alone time with God and kind of meditate and sometimes pray is in the car when I'm by myself. I don't close my eyes when I drive. I've seen the way some of you drive. I'm not sure if your eyes are open or not, but some of you all need some classes or something.

It's not great. And we see this concept of Jesus praying without ceasing in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew chapter 6. And if you would, turn there with me. That's Matthew chapter 26, and we're going to take a look at this. So Matthew 26 verse 36 says, Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder. For the second time, I'm going to go ahead and jump down to verse 42, where it says, He went away again the second time and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thou wilt be done. And then jumping down to verse 44, And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Jesus prayed continually without ceasing.

And this was his reaction to his coming death, was to go and pray for the Father. But what do we do when things come up in our lives? Good, bad, whatever it is, a bad co-worker, a bad boss, what do we do? Facebook. We got to post on Facebook, right? Because that fixes everything, right? That's the first thing everybody runs to. They either run to Facebook or they run to a friend. Oh, I'm just going to call so and so.

They're going to fix my issues. That's what we do, right? How many of you have done that?

You post something on Facebook like that or call somebody? First option without praying. See a couple hands. It's okay to put your hand up. We don't have to have the Baptist hand.

You can raise it. And it's okay to do that. It's okay to seek wise counsel on these things. Galatians 6, 2 says, Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of God. But we must seek God first. Matthew 6, 33 says, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

In Christian culture, we often hear about the mountaintops and the valleys. When we're on the mountaintop and things are good in life, we must remember that even in those places that we can do nothing without God and that we are totally dependent on him. John 15, 5 says, I am the vine, ye are the branches. Ye that abideth in me and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit.

For without me ye can do nothing. Philippians 4, 6 says, Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And on the flip side of the mountain, when we're in the valley, we must remember there's always something to be thankful for.

That's kind of a big key of this message. Philippians 4, 4 again says, Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. But what we don't hear a lot about in Christian culture is the slide down into the valley or the climb up to the mountaintop. And I think that is really where this verse comes to life. Every single day, we should take the time to pray, Lord, your will be done. Your will be done in this area of my life, in this area of my life, in this area of my life, in every area of our life. Give it unto him each and every single day. Not just when we're on the mountaintop, oh we have a lot to praise, or in the valley when we have a lot to ask for, but every single day on the plateaus of life in the slide to the valley and the climb up the mountain. And this kind of shifts me into my last point here, and that's to give thanks.

First Thessalonians 5, 18 says, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus concerning you. So at this point I'm going to share just some tidbits of my testimony just so you can see how this really comes to life for me, and that's why I wanted to share this message so bad. So coming out of high school, as some of you may know, I had plans to attend the United States Naval Academy. I went on a visit the summer going into my senior year, and I knew this is where I want to be, this is what I want to do. Personally, I put together a pretty good resume. I graduated at the top of my class, played sports, did extracurriculars, did all the things that they wanted me to do to be eligible to get in. If you're not really familiar with this process, it's a two-step process.

The first part, you have to get a nomination from a U.S. senator, congressperson, or the vice president, or the president of the United States. So I got that. I received two nominations, and so I was like, oh, I'm getting in for sure, I don't even have to worry about it, right?

Not so fast. Obviously, as I stand before you today, I did not receive an appointment to the Naval Academy. And at that time, I was kind of devastated. I wasn't mad at God. I had heard other people's testimonies, and I heard that that didn't really go too well, don't get mad at God, so I didn't do that. But I was kind of like, why did God send me down this path if it wasn't for me? Why did he do that? And it's because of a verse that I'm going to share here in a minute.

And it's John 14, 12, where it says, verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me the works that I shall do, shall I do, shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. After not getting into the Naval Academy, I planned to go to Sinclair, so I started applying, filling out paperwork, and I emailed my high school counselor for something for that. And she tells me, she's like, Cameron, why are you going to Sinclair? You have a full scholarship to Wright State. I'm like, oh, really? I guess I got to apply there. So I jumped on, applied there, started classes in the fall.

And I don't say those things to lift myself up, but just so you can see, I had no idea. But God had greater things for me than I ever thought I could ever have. Since not getting into the Naval Academy, the things that I have been able to be a part of as a Christian are unbelievable. The first summer after, I interned with Athletes in Action, which really springboarded me into wanting to be in ministry and working in ministry. It also allowed me to meet one of my best friends who's on the mission field in Prague. We meet and talk every week as brothers in Christ.

I have the opportunity to do that. I've had the opportunity to minister and to share devotions with various groups of high school athletes, college athletes, middle school athletes. I've had the ability to lead a high school Bible study for the past three years where I've been able to minister to over 100 public school kids. It allowed me to intern here at the church.

The pastor was able to ask me because I was still in the area. And since then, I went on a 10-day college camp ministering to over 100 college students from a dozen different schools. I got to lead two young men to Christ there. I went to a week-long high school camp where God allowed me to see dozens of kids give their life to Christ.

I got to work a three-day VBS. This is my second time preaching now. I get to teach life groups.

I get to make D-group videos. I get to meet a lot of people here at the church. And then this April, Lord willing, I'll be going on a revival trip to a prison in Tennessee.

All of those things would have never happened had I had my way and gotten into the Naval Academy. It's a good thing that God writes better stories than I do because he's been able to do all of this in my life. And looking back, like I said, I don't know why God didn't let me get in, but I know that it all worked out. Like I said, that John 14, 12 verse, I'm going to read just one more time. And this is a verse that I heard at junior high camp, and it really stuck with me. It's, barely, barely, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. And the part that the preacher, when I was here or at camp, point out here was greater works than these.

God has greater things for us than we could ever imagine or make up in our own minds. This is why we as Christians must like God be in control of our lives. We must let him be in the driver's seat of our lives. We can't be passenger seat drivers or backseat drivers. Oh, no, go this way.

Oh, no, go this way. We have to really let Jesus take the wheel and let God guide our lives. We have to let him open the doors he wants open, close the doors he wants closed. 1 Peter 4 2 says that he no longer should I live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lust of men, but to the will of God. If we live for the lust of men, we will get man's reward, which even at its absolute best is only temporary. Rather, we should live to see this verse in our life. Matthew 6 33. See this verse be true in our lives. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

We as Christians sometimes make it tough to trust God, and he makes it so easy. We're trying to plan out as much of our lives and the things we're going to do are we're going to do at this date, and this is how it's going to go, and this is where it's going to be, and all these details we don't even control tomorrow. James 4 14 and 15 says, Whereas ye know not what shall be on tomorrow, for what is your life?

It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanish away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. Oftentimes we trust God with the present and with the past. We praise him for the past, we pray for the things in the present, but we're kind of hesitant. Oh, I have to give God my future too.

That's what we're called to do. We ought to take the time to pray. Matthew 6 10, where the Bible says, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jeremiah 29 11 says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Praise God that his plans are better than ours. Praise God that he's a better author than us. And a really applicable way to think about this is how many of you have ever lost your keys, your phone, your wallet, and it delayed you from leaving the house? Just about all of us, right?

And we want to get so frustrated. Where did I put them? And every time, I forget who shared this with me, but every time I think about that, I think of, no, God just didn't want me on the road yet. Thank God I wasn't in that intersection a minute, 30 seconds sooner.

Thank God that light was red and not yellow and I didn't run it. You know, things like that. That's a way we can be thankful for God's will instead of our own and just small things. Our plans often lead down paths of destruction through a gauntlet of pain. Look at Jonah. He still ended up where God wanted him to be, but rather than going on a ship peacefully with love in his heart, he went out of disobedience in the complete opposite direction and had to travel in the belly of a whale, and he still ended up where God wanted him to. Like I said, thank God his plans are better than ours and he's a better author than us. So as we come to the end of another year, and we are closing this year, this chapter of 2022 on our lives, we need to decide for 2023, are we going to be in control of our lives and attempt to write our own stories, or are we going to let God have the pen and let God have the will and let him author our lives? When Pastor asked us to speak, his main point was just think about something to close the year and to start next year. And that's kind of the thing I just want everybody to think about. How can I see the will of God in my life this year?

That's all I got. Thank you. It's a good message and convicting. I know it's cool to see how the Lord has worked and just to see his will in my life and how everything's worked out.

It's a blessing to see and to know that God's plans are higher than ours and his ways are better than our ways. So like Cam said, pastors originally had said, as we go into this new year, if you could do something either to wrap up the old year or to move into the new year. So with this going into the new year, something that's very common is everyone makes New Year's resolutions.

I was talking about this before I was able to come up here with Braden. I actually forgot, I made a couple last year. One was to pay off my phone, to get good grades in school, to be more consistent in my Bible life.

And praise the Lord, I did two of the three. So I didn't think about that until just today. But many people make New Year's resolutions. Some are like maybe we'll eat healthier or we'll go to the gym more if you're a little bit more ambitious. Maybe your New Year's resolution is to learn a new skill or maybe read more books. And while it's all well and good to say that we'll stick to our New Year's resolutions, statistically speaking, most of us will forget them by January 19th, about three weeks. So the Chamber of Commerce says that about 80% of New Year's resolutions fail. The reason they say is most resolutions are failed because of forgetting, lack of willpower, or even just plain laziness. But in reality, we don't have to make promises to ourselves at the beginning of each year.

We don't have to make commitments to ourselves that only last a few short weeks. As Christians, we're supposed to be growing daily. We're supposed to be striving to be more like Christ every day. We're not supposed to be in the same place now as we were last year. I'm supposed to have a greater love for God now than I did last year.

I'm supposed to have a greater fear of the Lord than I did last year at this time. That's part of our sanctification, which is key in the Christian walk. Resolutions are obviously not something that have eternal benefit, but being more like Christ while we're on earth does have eternal benefits. Philippians 1 says, being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ. So once Christ has become our Lord and has become our Savior, he will continue to lead and direct you more toward his likeness. Thank God that he doesn't just leave us where he found us, right? Thank God he doesn't just leave us where we got saved.

I'm, praise the Lord, I'm no man that I used to be when I got saved. God leads us and allows us to grow in him by the leading of the Holy Spirit. So for us to become more like Christ, we must look into his word to see how we're supposed to go about that. Because without instructions, how are we expected to grow?

How are we supposed to build something if you don't know how it gets built together? Romans 12 is our text for the evening and it sheds some light on this purpose. So if you guys could turn to Romans 12, but when you get there, if you'll stand again since you're getting sleepy and getting comfortable, I'll have you stand up one more time. When you get there, we're going to read Romans 12, verses 1 and 2. It says, I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may be able to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Thank you and be seated. If you don't mind, I'm going to go ahead and pray as well. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day.

Lord, we thank you for Brother Camm as he presented that message. Lord, help us to remember to be joyful. Help us to remember to pray. God, as he said, help us always to be thankful for your will, Lord, and just to see how you work our lives. I pray all these things in Christ's name.

Amen. All right, so the modern Bible as we have it today is divided up into chapters and verses. But when it was originally written, it wasn't that way.

It was added later on for our convenience. So when it was first written, it was one continuous read. So we're starting in chapter 12, but really we're just starting at the later end of the letter. So Paul starts off this part of the letter by saying, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God.

How many people have said that in the last week? Right, that's not something we say, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God. So what we got to do is we got to look at that, break it down, what does it mean? So to beseech someone literally means just to beg. Paul's begging you by the mercies of God. But what does it mean to beg by the mercies of God? The mercies of God were just laid out through Romans 1 through 11. Paul reminded the Romans of all the good things that God has done for them. So what he's saying is, I beg you, brethren, because of the mercies of God that you'll do this thing.

That's how it starts off, to put it in modern day English. I beg you that you will do this thing because of the mercy God has shown you. But what is Paul asking? What is he lining up and reminding us of the mercies of God so that we'll listen to? Paul's admonition to the believers was that they would sacrifice themselves to the one who sacrificed himself for them. It says that he presents your bodies a living sacrifice. So under the Old Testament covenant with the Jews, God accepted sacrifices of animals.

That's no longer the case. The Lord isn't asking us to sacrifice ourselves on the altar like Abraham did with Isaac. One sacrifice took that practice of shedding of blood, and it was the sacrifice of our Savior.

Hebrews 9 shows this truth. It says in verse 11, But Christ, being come and high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, made not with the hands, that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and of calves, but by his own blood he entered into one place, the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. So praise the Lord that no longer we'd have to make sacrifices, and we don't have to go kill a goat or anything like that for our sins, but one sacrifice has filled that place for eternal redemption. Those are the sacrifices the Old required blood and death, but we're told to be a living sacrifice.

So what does that even look like? Well, since there's no benefit in blood, we have to be a living sacrifice. What that means is we must kill our flesh and live after the Spirit. The sacrifice that we're called to make is not one of flesh and blood, but one of our old flesh, our old man.

Like we see in Ephesians 4, 22 through 24, it says that you put off concerning the former conversation or lifestyle of the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lust, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man, which is after God, created in righteousness and true holiness. So we sacrifice our old flesh and that lust that comes with it. Christ calls us to sacrifice our flesh on a symbolic cross so that we can follow him in the way that he commands us to, and that's highlighted in Luke 9, 23. It says, And he said unto them, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Right? Christ commands us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and by taking that cross, we're representing the sacrifice of self in the pursuit of Christ, because that's what Christ did on the cross, right? He was the ultimate sacrifice, and that's a symbolic sacrifice that we're making for God.

So our text also gives us another look into what a living sacrifice is supposed to look like. It says to be holy, which is acceptable to God. That's not an uncommon requirement in the Bible, though. Leviticus 20, verse 7 says, Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy, for I am the Lord your God. Now, if you're like me, I like to always go, well, that's in Leviticus.

What does that have to do with us now? But that's not just a Levitical law. That's not something that's only for the Jews. It's repeated in 1 Peter 1, verse 15. It says, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manners of conversation. Our living sacrifice is how we live our lives daily.

It's how we put off our flesh to live after the Spirit. And holiness is key to look more like a Savior, because it's his key attribute. God is holy. In Isaiah, they didn't say loving, loving, loving, right? They said holy, holy, holy.

That's how they described God. So what is the practical application, though? Because I'm one of those, if you tell me how to do something, I can do it. Just give me the idea of it.

I might take a little bit longer. But verse 2 of our home text shows us what that practical application of a living sacrifice looks like. So Romans 12, verse 2 says, And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So we're looking at how to be transformed but not conformed. The first part of a living sacrifice is not being conformed to this world, not allowing ourselves to be conformed to the ideologies and the core values of this world. What's a really common core value? Everybody's saying if you're not this, you're a terrible person, right? If you don't support the LGBTQ, you're terrible. You're an immoral person.

If you don't support this movement, you're not good, right? They're trying to conform us to these ideologies and to these ways of thinking. But the Bible says don't be conformed to the world.

We are to be set apart for God's purposes, so why should we look like the world that has the opposite moral values of God? So the only time the term be not conformed is used in the Bible is here in one other place. But the place that it's used is actually very close to a verse we just looked at. We just looked at 1 Peter 1.15, but verse 14 in that text says, As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the form of lust and your ignorance, but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. So a verse we just looked at, the only other time that term be not conformed, the Greek term is used, is translated here as not fashioning yourselves according to the form of lust, right? So both times it's used, it clearly states to not be conformed to the worldly thinking. That's the only time this term is used in the Bible.

But I like how Peter puts it here. He says the lust that comes from former ignorance, right? Before we were saved, we were ignorant to sin.

We were ignorant to the severity of it. We were ignorant to the cost, but we're no longer ignorant. That veil has been removed from our eyes. We see what the consequences of our sin is. We see that our sin cost Christ his life and God his only son.

It cost our Savior more pain than anyone else has ever experienced in this world. So that ignorance is no longer there. But how do we transform ourselves instead of conforming to the world? The Bible says that the renewing of our minds is how we're transformed. This isn't the only place that we're told to renew our minds. It was also in Ephesians, right? It says to renew our mind is how we put off that old man like we saw in Ephesians 4 just a minute ago.

So that's a common phrase. To be the new man and not the old man, we have to renew our minds, change the way we think. We have to change the way we think from that ungodly old way of thinking into new godly ways of thinking. We have to sanctify our minds so that we no longer have that old way of thinking. But how do we do that? How do we go about that? In Jesus' prayer in John 17, which is a super rich passage of scripture, Jesus says that, right?

Like it's on the screen right now. It says in John 17, 17, sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth. So Jesus' prayer to the Lord for the church is that we would be sanctified through the word of God.

That's Jesus' specific prayer. So to be transformed from being conformed, we must be informed of the word of God, right? Three words that sound similar, but nothing else will renew our minds but the Holy Bible. The word of God and it alone is what will transform us. The latter part of Romans 12, 2 says that if we renew our mind, we can prove or test what is the perfect will of God, right?

Like Pam just talked about. What is that will of God? Well, the only way you know, according to the Bible, is the Bible. That's how we seek out the will of God. That's how we know what he has for us is through the Bible. But how are we supposed to know what the will of God is for us in this next year if we're not in our Bibles, like Cam just said?

He said we're seeking for our will in this upcoming year. Well, if we don't know what it is, shouldn't we go to the word of God to find it? That's what Jesus said. So by living in subjection to the word of God, we will become more holy and acceptable sacrifices to our Savior. That's the way that we will renew our minds, like we're called to do in Romans 12, 2, is by being in the word of God. That's how we transform our minds. That's how we stay away from being conformed. So as we reflect on this past year, were you the living sacrifice that you were called to be?

Or were you living according to the old lust of the flesh? Were you the sacrifice that Paul calls reasonable? That's not even asking a lot of us. This is your reasonable service. It's not like, oh, it's asking a lot of you to be a living sacrifice for the one that saved us. No, Paul says it's only reasonable.

This is what's expected. This is what you need to do because of the mercy that God has shown us. So were you that sacrifice this past year that we're supposed to be? Were you giving up the lust of the flesh for what God has for you?

Or were you fulfilling those lusts? It isn't asking so much of us to live for Christ since he died in our place. So as we kind of draw to a close, I don't know about you, but if the Lord's convicted you like he did me as I was studying this out, maybe this year, your New Year's resolution, since we're trying to not be just little short ones, maybe this New Year's resolution would be that we would have a more consistent reading schedule.

That was mine this past year, and praise the Lord, it's kind of fell in that way. Maybe your resolution would be that you want to be a better sacrifice to the Lord. You want to give up your lust of the flesh for the Lord. But whatever the case, you know what the Lord has laid on your heart.

So don't wait to handle business with him tonight. So if you don't mind a bow and prayer and as the music team comes, let's go ahead and pray real quick. Lord, we thank you for this evening. Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to go about your word. Just kind of look to see what your outline is for us. God, I know that your word has been spoke tonight. Lord, I pray that as we go into this evening and as this invitation starts, that you would be glorified, and I pray all this in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 06:37:24 / 2023-01-09 06:53:27 / 16

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