Monday, November 30, 2009

This week's sermon: Love God with all your mind

Colossians 3:1-17, Building on this new foundation of love

Last time we talked about having the right foundation for our lives- loving God with all of our souls. Today I want to move on to talk about what is standing on the top of that foundation. Today's section of the great commandment is: love the Lord your God with all of your mind. Our text this morning comes from Colossians chapter 3 verse 1 to verse17.
We must have a new mindset/way of thinking. We must put off the old. Paul says to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. We died to these things, and have put on Christ. You can not put the old house on the new foundation without change in the structure to realign the house. It can be a messy process with cracked and broken plaster, but a sound structure must be more important than the old comfortable ways of living.

We must put on the new. This putting on of the new is due to the fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit. What are the fruits of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; more than half of the fruits of the Spirit are here in verse 12. The Holy Spirit working in us produces the remodeling our lives need now that they stand on this new foundation of identity in Christ.

We must have a new understanding formed by Christ. Verse 10--Being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Our minds are skewed, but they did not start out that way. Paul says our minds need to be set right, back to the way they were before the fall. Romans 12:2--Being transformed by the renewing of your minds. The remodeling of our lives begins in the heart by giving it to Christ, continues in the soul as we identify ourselves with him, and goes further in the mind by transforming us from the inside out.

Part of that transformation on our part is to let God's word become a part of our daily lives. Verse 16--Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Paul does not say to let it come and go in your life, but to dwell, abide and make a home in you. Once that word is there, it begins to make changes in your thought patterns and the way you look at the world around you. It starts to renew your mind as the Holy Spirit remodels your life.

If you are not being renewed by these things, be assured that your mind is being revamped by other sources. Yeast is the Active ingredient in bread. Better said it is the Driving Force behind the action in the dough. Without a driving force there is no action. In our lives there can be more than one kind of driving force. We need to be careful, then what kind of Yeast we are allowing in our lives.

One of the drawbacks of yeast is that, although it is a very powerful catalyst, its results are not instant. We can not just put the yeast in and bake the bread expecting it to come out all fluffy. Many times it is impossible to tell if the yeast is working until the allotted time for rising has passed. So it may appear that the bad yeast, in this case bad thoughts, we added will not hinder us in our walk with Christ. Unfortunately, another characteristic of yeast is that it penetrates every part of the dough. So we can not just say, I am only going to add this yeast to this part of my life. It is either all or nothing.

This applies to both good and bad yeast. (Mt. 16:5-12) Jesus warns his disciples not to let the yeast of the Pharisees’ false teachings into their hearts because he knew that those teachings would slowly work their way through their entire lives. (I Co. 5:6-8) The bad attitudes and other sinful thoughts that we allow into our minds affect every part of our lives, not just certain areas. (Mt.13:33 & footnote in Study Bible) The good news is that Kingdom yeast will also fill and dominate our entire lives.

When our lives are being renewed, we find that we must have a new method of decision making. Verse 17--Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus. We start making decisions based on God's will, not ours. Romans 12:2--So that you may know God's will-good, pleasing and perfect--for your life. This decision making process is no longer being shaped by the warped foundation of the old self. Rather it is being restored to its proper alignment by the new foundation in Christ.

In Jesus Parable of Wise and Foolish Builders the only difference between the two houses was the foundation. What foundation are you building on, the warped, crumbling foundation of your human nature, or a fresh level foundation on the Solid Rock? Love God by giving him all of your mind today. Let his Holy Spirit come in and begin to remodel and rebuild the damaged insides warped by years of living off-level. Allow his word to become at home in your life and experience renewal in your thoughts, understanding, and decision making. Don't wait, this remodeling can begin at any time.

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