You know what's interesting what some people do with this verse?
They completely miss the point. Well, don't be conformed to this world. And people say, well, that means we're not supposed to dress like the world. Our music isn't supposed to sound like the music of the world.
How's that possible? You know, I'm not going to be conformed to this world, so I'm going to get dressed up to go to church. How is that not being conformed to this world?
Five days a week, bankers and lawyers and managers and CEOs and executives wear suits. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. When the Bible speaks of not being conformed to this world, it's less about what we wear and more about our heart. Find out more as David McGee continues in Romans 12 with his teaching, Living Sacrifice.
Here's David. Turn with me to Romans chapter 12. These first couple of verses are just, they're just life changing. If you can grab a hold of these, let me assure you as a young believer years ago, these verses changed me completely from the inside out. So with that, let's look at Romans chapter 12 verse one.
It says, I 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. Now, obviously, Paul in writing the book of Romans has taken a different turn here. Romans 9, 10, 11 was talking about Israel and Romans 12, these chapters 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 are going to deal a lot with practical Christian living. And it's important that, you know, as we study the Bible and obviously it's very important to us that it's not just an academic study that as we look into it, as we read it, as we learn it, that we're also applying it because to know and not to do is not really knowing, is it?
To learn and not to do it is not really learning. So what we want to do here as we study the Bible is go from learning to living because see the Bible has a lot to say about things that we can learn from it, but a lot of the content is trying to lead us into living out what we learn. So you read the Bible and then you learn how you are to live.
That's why some people don't like the Bible because it challenges us. In the New Living Translation, some of you may be reading it in that translation, it says, and so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will accept.
When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? When you think about what Jesus has done, when you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, you're entering into what I often refer to as the divine transaction. In other words, you're saying Jesus forgive me of my sins. Let's understand that act of redemption in the Hebrew goel means that someone paid a price for you to be redeemed.
The picture is somebody that's enslaved and bondage and chained and somebody purchased them to set them free. 1 Corinthians 6-20 says this, for God bought you with a high price, so you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 7-23 says, you were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men. 2 Peter, part of that verse says, even denying the Lord who bought them. So what is this present our bodies, a living sacrifice? Well, there's a lot of things that come under that and it's probably safe to say that there's something in this verse that will convict every one of us if we're listening. Because there's things that we do that, well, the Bible says we can do things, but not everything is good for us, beneficial. Obviously, one of the first things that probably come to mind is, of course, being sexually pure. And understand that our bodies want to lead us in a bad direction concerning that. And we can't just follow our bodies because if we followed our bodies, we'd get in the world of trouble, wouldn't we? I mean, we're being honest.
But what else comes on that? Well, this is called the temple, the temple of God. So the way that we treat our temple, offering our bodies to God, you know, if you don't take care of yourself, if you don't rest as you should, if you don't eat right, if you don't occasionally do something in the form of exercise other than click the remote, what's going to happen is your body is going to begin to perform less and less and less. Now, why should that be important? Who would want you dragging with no energy, the enemy of your soul?
Why? Because if you have energy, you're going to affect more for the kingdom. So, you know, this given our bodies living sacrifice, that's part of it. So just like, you know, in a sexual way, you know, you want to avoid, you know, certain websites, certain situations, stuff like that. You know, from a dietary standpoint, you want to be careful of certain foods because they'll weigh you down and hurt you. And, you know, if you do everything that your body wants to do, you're going to get in trouble.
It's just that simple. You are going to get in trouble. Now, whether, and everybody's got their different flavors of sin that can lead them down that path. Maybe, you know, I mentioned the sexual stuff. I mentioned food.
Maybe it's drugs, maybe it's alcohol. And what you have to do is you have to say to your body, no, no, my body belongs to the Lord now. It's not for me to do as I please with, I've been bought with a price. Somebody is going to be your God. Paul said, there's a group of people that their God literally is their belly. I don't want, as much as I enjoy food and as much as I enjoy cooking, I don't want my belly to be my God.
So we need to understand these things and, and, and not be driven by our physical wants and our physical desires. Most of you are familiar with my testimony. I used to play secular music and travel around and going to town to town. Going to town to town and doing what people that do that do.
And some people looking at go, wow, that'd be, that'd be really cool. It's no way to live. And friend, it certainly is no way to die, but following the Lord is incredible. And this reasonable service in the King James, this, the service Latria in the, in the Greek Avada in the Hebrew is actually service in the house of God.
So Paul saying, you know, after what God did, look, look to express yourself through service to God and the place of God, which is where, which is this place. You know, a lot of churches, you know, that I've attended over the years, you know, it's like stepping up to volunteer. You're like, well, I don't know if you want me to do anything.
And I don't know. I mean, you here, we encourage everybody to get involved. Anybody and everybody can get involved. We will, we will help you to find a place to get you involved. If you, pretty much if you're living and breathing, you're in. Okay.
So, I mean, if you want to work in children's ministry, there's background checks and stuff like that, but we want to find a place. Why? So you can express this first. So you can worship the Lord in that way. Reasonable that Logikos in the, in the Greek are logic.
It's a logical thing. After Jesus died for you, you should live for Him. When we talk about living sacrifice, there's two living sacrifices in the Bible. If you think about it from a human standpoint, Isaac and Jesus. Isaac, and I know, you know, if you grew up in church or went to Sunday school or whatever, you know, we had these little coloring books and stuff and, you know, they, they pictured Isaac as like a little, he looked usually like about eight years old, you know. He wasn't eight years old. As a matter of fact, that is a really weird story of Isaac was eight years old. Because Abraham took his little eight-year-old son and tied him up and was going to throw him on the fire.
That, that's weird. And actually the story, that story of Isaac going up on the hill to be sacrificed is in Genesis 22. Genesis 23 verse one tells us that Sarah lived 127 years, and these were the years of the life of Sarah.
That verse comes right after that chapter. I think it's reasonable to say that that was in that same timeframe. That would have made Isaac 37 years old. Sarah had him when she was 90. I believe it may have been seven years before that, or maybe four years before, but he certainly was an eight-year-old.
Why is that important? Isaac was a willing participant. And think about this. Why, why, why would an eight-year-old carry up all the wood up on the hill?
That doesn't make sense either. He had to have been an adult. He had to be a willing participant in what was going on to really give the picture that God was given to us.
What's that picture? That the father was offering his son and the son was a willing participant in the sacrifice. It speaks of the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus went willingly to the cross. He said over and over, no man takes my life from me.
I lay it down. Greater love has no man than this that a man give his life for his friends. A willing sacrifice. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. First, I want to tell you about a special booklet that would be the perfect gift for any man on your Christmas list this year. The booklet is entitled A Father's Blessing. And within its pages, David McGee discusses the power and responsibility a father has in caring for his family.
This booklet can help men who have had poor relationships with their own fathers, as well as bless those who are just beginning their adventure into fatherhood. When you call today with a gift of any amount to cross the bridge, we'll send you A Father's Blessing as a thank you for your support of the ministry. Call today at 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. Experience the joy of biblical fatherhood with David McGee's A Father's Blessing.
Contact us today for your copy. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Let's look at verse two. It says, 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. These are such great verses with so much stuff to apply to our lives. And nachinosis is the word here, do not be conformed, but be transformed as a metamorpho. This verse is pregnant with stuff, if you will. Now, in the Greek, it means a renovation, a completely remodeled inside. Inside, changing our mind. You know what's interesting what some people do with this verse? They completely miss the point.
Let me help you. If you've ever looked at this verse and said, Well, don't be conformed to this world. That means that, and people say, Well, that means we're not supposed to dress like the world. That means we're not, our music isn't supposed to sound like the music of the world.
How's that possible? I mean, seriously, usually people that are saying that say, Well, you know, I have suits and ties. I've got nothing against suits and ties. If you wear a suit and a tie to church, that's awesome.
I'm glad you're here. If you want to wear a suit, great, wear a suit. But people think, Well, I'm, you know, I'm not going to be conformed to this world, so I'm going to get dressed up to go to church.
How, help me here. How is that not being conformed to this world? I mean, every five days a week, bankers and lawyers and managers and CEOs and executives wear suits. So how do we get that if you're wearing a suit, you're not being conformed to this world? I've heard people do, they use this verse about music.
Say, We're not supposed to be conformed to this world. Shouldn't be any drums in the church. The Bible says to praise Him with the cymbals.
They're cymbals back there. Says we're supposed to praise Him with the strings. Guitars freak people out sometimes in church.
I'm obviously not one of them. It says to praise Him with the strings. So we need to, we need to focus on God. And see, this is, this is the really weird thing, and see, this is, this is the really weird thing is people take this verse and then what they do is they say, well, so let's focus on the outside. When the verse is saying exactly the opposite, no, let's be changed from the inside out. Because what you're aware, the music you listen to, isn't what's corrupting you. What corrupts you is from the inside out. I love worship music.
I love praise music. Yeah, I think music you need to be careful with and dress. Obviously you can go way overboard and become, you know, quite a distraction and you don't want to do that. But again, we're looking for the change from the inside out. And so we have to be in the balance of, of, okay, you know, don't act like you're something you're not. That's the definition of a hypocrite.
Hippocrates in the Greek is to be an actor that wears a mask. So if you're going through hard times, don't come in here and go, well, everything's rosy. Praise the Lord. I mean, be real. Say, man, I'm, I'm, I'm struggling. On that one side. Yeah.
Yeah. I'm struggling. But make sure you're not, you know, that you are struggling, that it's not, you just picking up your feet and sliding down the hill going, whee, I'm backsliding. That's just great.
No, no, no. You need to be, understand that if you're struggling, you need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit and you need to be an overcomer. The life lesson here, be real and be really changed, be real and be really changed. And this is what tickles me sometimes in the church is we, we act like, and we think like everybody else has the problem. What's wrong with the world today is these people that aren't following Jesus. Well, that's kind of convenient for us, isn't it?
I mean, if we say that we're following Jesus to say, everybody else is the problem. You know, what happens through that? We just got out. Well, that's close. We just got out.
Didn't we? Everybody else. It's not me. It's not my selfishness.
It's not my pride. The problem is, is with them. And then we get into that us them thing, which everybody loses and see God wants to bring us to this point where we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. God wants to change you from the inside out. God wants to change the way you think.
There was, let me tell you a couple of stories. There was a guy that I think was in New York city who was babbling. They saw, and so they thought, well, this guy, he's, he's obviously crazy. So, you know, we'll, we'll lock him up in the insane assault because he keeps yelling and babbling and, you know, we're just going to lock him and put him away. So they, they do that.
He's there like two or three days. And then somebody that was helping to clean the facility comes out and says, why is that man yelling in Hungarian? And it ended up that the man's wife was sick and he was trying to tell somebody and they locked him away for being insane. We certainly can't look to the world to help us change our mind. We need to understand we are under the influence of the world and we need to come up out of it. When you look at, and I've studied psychology and psychiatry, I think it's fascinating to study human behavior and stuff, but gang, they do not have the answers. They did not have the answers like 60 years ago when they were doing lobotomies, when they thought they could go in and damage your brain. If they damaged part of your brain, then you would act more normal, which led to people going around in vans around the country where they would pull your eyelids up and poke screwdrivers into your brain to help you act better. And then later on, they thought, well, maybe electro shock is the answer. And the lobotomy got to be more of a civilized thing.
They would do surgery and they would go in and they remove part of your brain. Guys, you need to understand that study, those people are the people who brought us antidepressants. I'm not going to get into that whole discussion if somebody should ever take those or anything like that. I think you need to be very careful. I think you need to be very careful in that realm. I'll leave it at that.
Here's the thing though. You can't look to psychology and psychiatry for the answers. The world does not have the answers. If the world had the answers gang, wouldn't the world look different? I mean, does it, when you look at society, when you look at civilization, does it seem like they have the answers and the way to live?
It doesn't to me. This book and Jesus seem to have the way to live. I'll give you another translation of this verse. It says, don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. Transformed, metamorpho in the Greek. There was a book years ago that came out and I read part of it and I just to be honest, I couldn't finish it. The name of it was, I'm okay, you're okay. And I got partway through the book and I was like, no, we're not.
This is not working. There's something wrong with me. And we go through life and we want to act like nothing's wrong with us. And then you have some places where everybody's acting like nothing's wrong with them and they gather together and have church. And the moment somebody that walks in that has a problem comes in, you know what they feel? I don't belong here. I don't belong here. That's how the church has got to the place where people think the church is for people who have it all figured out and don't have any problems and are just living a sinless perfect life.
Who would that be? The life lesson here, God needs to change the way I think. I need to change the way I think. God needs to change the way I think. I need to change the way I think. God is willing, according to these verses, to change the way we think. But you know, you can reject that process. You can sit here and say, no, I don't want to change.
I think God needs to change to be conformed to my image. That's what some people do. But is that what the Bible says we're supposed to do?
No, no, no, no, no, no. We are supposed to be conformed, transformed into His image. And we need to understand that as long as we're thinking the problem is with everybody else, we're overlooking the problem and we'll never get to the solution. See, because you can spend your energy, and a lot of people do, they spend their energy worrying about what everybody else is doing. Yeah, I've been a Christian a long time. You know, I've never carried a picket sign or a bullhorn.
I've never felt the need. I'm not saying people that do that aren't saved or anything remotely like that. What I'm saying is you need to be careful. If you get more concerned with the sins of other people than you are with your own personal sins, there's something wrong. Now, of course, when you are focused and you're putting your energy on what other people are doing wrong, what happens to you?
You feel better, don't you? Yeah, man, you won't get uplifted, just watch the news. Wow, the world's messed up. Can't believe how messed up the world is. That's a lot easier than trying to love your spouse or your kids or your parents, isn't it? I told you we were all going to get convicted.
These are convicting verses. Seeing that we're part of the problem is part of the solution. Because if we keep thinking everybody else is the problem and everybody is looking at us thinking we're the problem, guess what? The whole world's in a stalemate. Nothing's ever going to change. And we say things like, well, I'll change when you do. I'll change when you change.
Gridlock. There's that prayer. And I was going through a really tough time in my, well, she's not so literal anymore, but Ashley gave me that prayer. She said, God grant me the serenity of my life. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.
Such a great prayer. We should all do that. There are things in your life that you don't have control over. You need to learn to accept those things. There are a lot of things in your life that you do have control over. And you need to be working with the spirit of God, allowing him to change you and have the discernment to know the difference between things.
Why? Because friend, the way you think affects the way you live. And Paul is saying, you have got to change the way you think. I'm not saying that to a small group.
I'm saying that to everybody. Paul is saying that to everybody. Proverbs 23, seven says, for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Philippians chapter two, verse five says this, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
What does that mean? Look at things the way that Jesus would look at them. And when you're on two sides, we go, well, it's all up to God. So, you know, what I do and what I say doesn't really matter.
Well, yes, it does. You're an agent of free will. And then some people say, well, I'm totally an agent of free will. And God has no interchange, interference.
You know, that's wrong too. If you think about it, friend, the greatest decision in this life to accept Jesus, to ask him to forgive us of our sins, God leaves that up to you. You make the decision that will have an internal impact upon your life. And God does leave some of these other decisions to you.
And so we, we have to, we have to grab a hold of this, our accountability, our responsibility. Paul gives us a key in second Corinthians 10, four. He says, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments. And every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought in the captivity to the obedience of Christ, taking thoughts captive is part of the warfare.
As a young Christian, I was, I was horrified at some of the things I thought sometimes, you know, and then somebody was older and the Lord said, you know what? Your mind is a strange thing and you're going to think strange things and you're going to think bad things, but what you have to do is take those thoughts captive. Don't take them out and play with them because friend, if you, and we have these sayings, well, my mind ran away from me.
I've said that a lot of people said that. What does that mean? Does that mean you're like sitting there and all of a sudden your brain gets out of your ears and it's running, Oh, my mind, I forgot my mind. You know, no, what it means is your mind is now running you instead of you running your mind and friend, let me tell you, you have to take your thoughts captive or your thoughts will take you captive.
So you choose. Are you going to allow your thoughts to take you captive? How often have you started thinking about something and you're getting this little downward spiral and you're convinced somebody doesn't like you.
And what did they really mean by that email? And you're totally freaked out. You're freaked out for days.
And all of a sudden you talk to the person, everything's fine. Your thoughts had you captive. Paul tells us part of the solution in these verses, Philippians 4. Finally, brother, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there's any virtue, if there's any thing praise worthy, meditate on these things. Think about that. Think about good stuff. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe You died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe You were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. We pray you will join us next time as we cross the bridge. Amen.
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