Beliefs and Behaviors
OUTLINE: The Wills of God: 1. Will of Decree. (Daniel 4:35)
2. Will of Command. (Matt. 7:21, 1 Jn 2:7)
1. Continually Savor the Savior.
(1 Pet. 2:1-3, Ps. 34:8)
2. Consistently Submit to the Spirit and Word of God
(Ps. 119, 2 Cor. 10:3-5, 3:18, 4:4,6, John 15:7, Rom. 8:5-9, Gal. 5:25)
3. Completely Surrender to the Mission of Christ (2 Cor. 4:5, Matt. 28:19-20)
4. Consciously Transition to the Will of God
a. You are able in Christ to discern God’s Will (Heb. 5:14, Phil. 1:9-11)
b. You are able in Christ to display God’s Will (Eph 4: 23-24, 1 Thes 4: 1-3)
When you came to the church this morning, did you bring your MIND with you? Some of you are looking at me with a puzzled look: What kind of question is that? Of course I brought my mind with me! Sometimes people don’t realize that when you come to God and receive His forgiveness and NEW LIFE in Christ by FAITH, it INCLUDES not only a “heart-change”, but a change of mind. That’s what we looked at last week.
Read the setting for today's consideration, starting with Romans 11: 33-12:2:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways ! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
1 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Today we look at the second part of Romans 12:2 to understand the results of the transformation that occurs as your heart AND MIND “GROW UP and MATURE in Christ;
Here it is: Romans 12:2b: “So that you may prove (putting to the test, or DISCERN) what the will of God is, that which is good (fulfilling the duty demanded, that which is honorable and upright and excellent to God) and acceptable (not “border-line” but well-pleasing to God,) and perfect. (lacking nothing to completion)”
Two “Wills” of God
Our text includes the words, “so that you may PROVE what the will of God is.” I know that we looked at the two “Wills” of God earlier in Romans, but here is a short review of God’s two wills. First, we have God’s Will of Decree: One example is in Daniel 4:35: “He (God) does according to HIS WILL among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” God is Sovereign over all that comes to pass and WHATEVER God WILLS, comes to pass.
The Second is God’s Will of Command: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Some of God’s Commands we obey and some we fail to keep. The first, God’s Will of Decree will occur whether we believe it or not, and whether we obey it or not, but God’s will of Command does not always come true. Example: “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Do all abide forever? No. Some will and some will not. Those who do the will of God will abide forever, but those who do not will pass away along with the world.
So God’s Will of Decree is invincible no matter what, but God’s Will of Command is grievously disobeyed by mankind. In the context of our verse, which WILL of God would you think is intended? God’s Will of Command! God’s Will of Command is plain to us in what HE TELLS US TO DO; we HAVE the ability to obey or disregard those commands, but we should be willing and ready to be obedient, and God certainly gives us the power to obey by His Spirit. We are going to quickly look at four facets to live our lives in daily acceptable worship to Him and for His Glory.
Continually Savor the Savior
1. If you want to obey God and give your life as an acceptable and HOLY offering to Him, you should Continually Savor the Savior. You just HAVE TO be able to taste and enjoy Christ completely and continually.
You know what it is to “savor” something: You TASTE or smell something. You put it into your mouth. Sometimes if you are preparing food or maybe even THINK about something good to eat, your mouth can start watering. In our language, “savor” usually has a good and pleasing connotation.
1 Peter 2:1-3 says: “Putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted (savored) the kindness of the Lord.”
Psalm 34:8 says: “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”
In God’s Word, both Old and New, the idea of “TASTING” is associated with more than the physical senses: It has to do with your spiritual taste buds, your spiritual senses. That’s why Jesus said: “'If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.” If we do not want to taste death, what do we have to do? Keep His Word. Be attentive and watchful to God with everything we have in us. How can we better savor the Savior?
Consistently Submit to the Spirit and Word of God
2. We have to Consistently and compliantly Submit to the Spirit of God and to the Word of God. We looked at this passage in 2 Corinthians 3:18 last week: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” If we are receiving our transformed lives from the Spirit of the Lord, and we expect to be transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, how are we going to do that if we do not submit to that Spirit?
Titus 3:5: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth (or NEW birth) and renewal (same word we looked at last week, meaning “a complete renovation.”) by the Holy Spirit.”
If we have been born anew by the Spirit of God, we have an obligation to submit and walk according to that Spirit. How can we NOT consciously, consistently and intentionally submit to His Spirit when we are being transformed into His very likeness?
Romans 8:5-9 taught us: ”Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
This is a stern reminder to us, which is abbreviated in Galatians 5:25: “If we live by the Spirit,(if the Spirit has given us life) let us also walk by the Spirit.”
2 Cor. 10:3-5 instructs us: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
How different, how other-worldly is the precious Body of Christ! 2 Cor. 4:4, 6: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
When Christ is at the center of your thoughts, at the center of your mind, He will be in the forefront and center of your life. The Spirit and the Word transform us. When we study and memorize the Word of God, when we spend time in prayer before our God, we are submitting to the Spirit of God. John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain (to be held, kept, continually) in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” The spiritual so-called “secret” is continually holding “Jesus’ Words” in your heart and life.
Are you hiding God’s Word in your heart and MIND, or are you just dismissing that as an unnecessary item in your life? Are you trying to memorize scripture so that God’s Word is hid in your heart? Listen to a few verses from Psalm 119: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”(11) “I delight in your decrees; I will NOT neglect your word.” (16) “Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.” (17) “Preserve my life according to your word.” (25) “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (89)
Is God’s Word ALSO standing firm in your heart, or do you avoid it day after day? God’s warning for us as believers and followers of Christ is to be consistent, compliant, and conform to God’s Word and Spirit. Very basically, God is asking us: Does YOUR will coincide with MY WILL?
For the past two weeks during mid-week, we have been praying and examining the tremendous privilege and role of the Body of Christ, the Church, Christ’s Bride, represented in the local Body of Believers. The Body of Christ is collectively and universally the Church, but influentially it is on the LOCAL LEVEL. We have looked at dozens of COMMANDS to this local Body: Are you conforming and being obedient to that design for the Local Body, or do you say, that’s not for me. Remember, we don’t leave our minds at the door when we are saved: Consider these things seriously because TODAY is of the utmost importance to your future, to God, and to His Kingdom.
Completely Surrender to the Mission of Christ
3. Thirdly, Completely Surrender to the Mission of Christ. You certainly cannot surrender to His Mission if you don’t know what it is. Matthew 28:19-20 is the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His Followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”.
It’s rather difficult to teach others to obey what Jesus commanded if we aren’t obeying. Our beliefs and our behaviors have to be in line with each other. Knowing God’s Will and obeying and Doing God’s Will of Command MUST GO hand in hand. How do believers baptize unbelievers? And the answer is NOT “WATER”. We pour upon others what WE have stored up within our own hearts and lives about the truths of God’s Word, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!
Surrendering to the Mission means you first of all have to know and understand the Mission, and then be WILLING to obey and share what God has taught you about salvation and forgiveness by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” That verse makes it very simple: We preach, not what we have done, but what the Lord has done, and we demonstrate it in our servant-hood and discipleship to each other, to God, to the unsaved world.
Consciously Transition into the Will of God
4. So finally, we must Consciously Transition into the Will of God. Look again at the second part of Romans 12:2. What is the purpose and WILL OF God in saving you? “So that you may prove (putting to the test, approve, DISCERN) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable (“well-pleasing”) and perfect.”
I want you to notice something here: the three words used in verse 2, “GOOD, ACCEPTABLE, and PERFECT,” coincide perfectly with, NOT ONLY THE WORDS used in verse one to describe the TYPE of life or sacrifice you should be offering in your LIVING, (HOLY, ACCEPTABLE, and SERVICE OF WORSHIP), but also in your priestly role as a follower of the Lord Jesus.
The word, “Good” is more than morality: It is used in the NT to refer to GODLY excellence and in the OT to refer to the type of sacrifice which is made to God.
The word, “Acceptable” means ‘WELL-pleasing”: What is desirable or well-pleasing to God? The BEST you can give. The word, “perfect” (teleios), means “fulfilled, full grown, adult, of full age, mature.” Remember the root word for “renewing” last week, meaning, “grown up”? Here it is again. Are you growing your mind to full spiritual maturity?
Hebrews 5:14 says: “But solid food is for the mature, (the grown up) who because of practice (a habit whether of body or mind) have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Are you PRACTICING spiritual wellness? There are two things here: Are you exercising spiritually so that you will grow up spiritually and be able to discern the WILL of God?
Philippians 1:9-11: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and DEPTH of insight, 10 so that you may be able to DISCERN (or prove) what is BEST and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 FILLED with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.”
If you have been filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ, then you will also be able IN CHRIST to display the WILL of God. Do you want to know what you truly believe in your heart? Look at your own behavior. What you truly BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART will be displayed in the majority of your behavior! (REPEAT)
Let me close with these two references. Please listen carefully. In Ephesians 4: 23-24, we are instructed “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
1 Thessalonians 4: 1: “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and URGE YOU in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God's Will that you should be sanctified!”
We don’t leave our minds at the door when we come to Christ. We bring our whole lives to Christ. He gives us new hearts AND MINDS. We have to learn His Word, study His Word with our MINDS in order to be renewed IN our minds. We have to USE our bodies for Him in order to be serving Him and others. Believing and behaving, thinking and acting like the Christ of the Cross, living in the power of the resurrected Christ, and serving Him as Lord and King… and as the RETURNING King, are all part of savoring the Savior, of submitting to Him, of surrendering to His mission and transitioning into the Perfect Will of God.
True satisfaction in life and the ultimate Glory to God is Knowing and then DOING God’s Will. You WILL only have true satisfaction if Christ is in you and you have beheld His Glory.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’
May this be the prayer of your heart: “Lord, I need the Lord Jesus IN ME. Transform me from the inside, out. We are in the middle of a battle for our minds and hearts, Lord God. Help me to turn from my selfish ways, help me to repent, and to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus, and not in the things of this World. May nothing be lacking in my life as I present it to You as my lifetime offering of gratitude and spiritual worship. May I submit in every way to your Spirit, your mission, investing in your Word and in your Kingdom, savoring your great mercy and love to me every step of the way, to the Glory of your Holy Name. So Let it Be! Amen.