Romans 8 Part 2 (Logan and Adam)
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Romans 8: Set Your Mind on the Spirit and Equip Yo’Self!
November 12, 2013
Teachers: Logan & Adam
There are two spiritual mindsets: 1) Mindset of the flesh, which is set on sin and self, producing death. Then, there is 2) Mindset of the Spirit, which is viewing yourself how God views you, producing life and peace. We need to understand that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ despite the fact we are sinners. God loves us regardless of our flaws and gives us peace in heart because of our relationship with Him. His peace surpasses all comprehension, the Bible says. We are able to present ourselves alive from the dead with this new identity. This is how we can live our lives.
Last week, we mentioned how prayer is one of four practical aspects of walking by the Spirit. Prayer is communication with God, which feeds us spiritually. Now, we are going to talk about the Word of God and how that is one of the four Means of Growth.
Some might argue that the Bible isn’t “absolute truth” — they might even argue that absolute truth doesn’t exist. But the fact is that absolute truth does exist. Imagine you are driving on a highway at 95 miles an hour, yet you argue in your mind you are going 65 because it’s not absolute true that you are going 95 miles an hour. Then, a cop pulls you over and argues you were 30 miles over the speed limit, but you argue with him, “Well, officer, to me, I was going 65. There’s no absolute truth I was going 95.” That would never fly, though, because it is an outright lie!
The Bible claims to be absolute truth in John 17, saying that the Word is truth.
Another argument that comes up a lot is the one that the Bible is just a random compilation of interpretations from random guys throughout history. But that is not the case, either. Why? The Bible is all inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16 — 16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness;
All Scripture is God-breathed–inspired by God to these authors. Scripture says it multiple times. Additionally this wisdom in the Bible cannot be from man. Another argument might be that you are skeptical of the Bible’s validity, but that strays from the focus of this teaching.
So if the Bible is so important and priceless–it’s wisdom from God. Imagine you are just chilling at home, making coffee or doing homework and then all of a sudden, some ripped superhero like Thor thunders into your house before you with his hammer and a book, seemingly out of nowhere. He tells you, “I have been observing your species for a long time, and have a message to give to you and your people. Here,” and he hands you the book. “I am a demi-god of Asgard. Here is our wisdom for you and your peoples, and it unlocks the secret to life and love. Share it with all on earth.” As soon as you take the book, he zaps away.
Now, you can be damn sure you would probably want to read that book after that! Who wouldn’t want to know this demigod’s secret to life? And you would probably want to share it with other people, and that message from Thor would spread like wildfire on the Internet and social media.
That’s what the Bible is like–only the Bible is bigger and even more impacting than a message from a superhero! We are talking about a message to mankind from God, creator of the universe, which is absolutely priceless.
But why don’t we act like the Bible is priceless? Maybe it’s because we don’t take the time to think about how huge this is. We take it for granted and don’t understand that God spoke directly to us. The imperative is that we have to learn this and invest in the Word of God. It is something you have to think about, consistently investing time in it just like you do with friends or relationships. Think about your best friend: You would not be best friends if you never invested time in it. Same goes for the Bible: You will not be mind-blown by the Word if you don’t take the time to read it!
The second point here is that in addition to being absolute truth, God’s Word is very powerful. Human words might pack a punch at times, but compared to God, our words are not powerful. God’s words are extremely powerful–He created everything because of his words. God did not build the universe out of hammers or nails. He simply had to speak, “Let there be light.” That is power.
Isaiah 55:8-9 — “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
My ways are higher than your ways–my thoughts higher than your thoughts, says God. He is infinitely above us! Think of someone much smarter than you: A teacher, a family member, a discipler. Whoever it is, you probably learn some new things from him or her, and the difference between your intellect and his or hers is probably huge. And that is what it is like with God and all humans. He is infinitely smarter than any human on earth. The Bible should not just be whipped out on a Sunday morning for a church service–it should be whipped out consistently because God’s wisdom answers any big question we might have about life: How do relationships work? How does love work? How does life work? It’s all in there! People squirm trying to find answers to these questions, and often they will revert to failure and trying something different. Sure, humans can learn from mistakes, but otherwise, we are screwed without the Word of God. We end up in failure often and are ignorant about it. God gives us wisdom, though–a way out. Why don’t we access this?
Hebrews 4:12 — The Word of God is living and active, sharper than a double edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
We don’t know all our desires, even now. We don’t know what we want all the time, either. As college students, we can’t seem to decide what we want to major in or be when we grow up. We can’t make up our minds about what to do or what is right and wrong. But Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts are deceitful and sick, and that no man can understand it. Our hearts and desires might not be wrong 100 percent of the time, but usually, we are wrong. But God and his Word read our hearts, and God promises that he will give us our deepest desires if we follow him. He shows us who we can become.
Ephesians 6:17 — And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This is in the context of spiritual warfare. Did you know that the moment you declare that Jesus is your savior, you declare war against evil? We have an opponent, whether you want to believe it or not. Satan and evil opposes God. Why is it hard to believe this? Satan is not like Hollywood depicts him–he is beautiful and powerful, yet that’s what makes him deceptive. It’s a really scary thought to think about. And Satan and his army are constantly fighting to take Christians out! So if we do not know about this warfare or God’s Word, we have no defense!
Ephesians 6 tells us that the Bible is our weapon. In Matthew 4, Jesus goes out into the wilderness and Satan tempts him there. Each time Satan throws an attack his way, Jesus refutes it with Scripture. Jesus keeps telling Satan, “It is written … It is written … It is written …” Jesus was equipped with God’s Word. Too many Christians are unequipped, going to war against evil without even knowing God’s Word. Not knowing God’s Word and going to spiritual war makes no sense–it’s like if you were to go to war in Iraq in your underpants with no weapons or anything. You would be slaughtered. So arm yourself! Invest in God’s Word and see what it can do for you. If you learn to have spirutal vicotry, the rest of your life will be victorious. Without the Word of God, we are living our Christian lives in the dark.
So the Word might be confusing or boring, yet those thoughts are wrong. There are a ton of benefits to reading the Word, and here are three reasons why:
The Word is mind transforming.
Romans 12:2 — And do not be conformed to this [c]world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may [d]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and [e]acceptable and perfect.
Be transformed by God’s Word. Imagine you go to a gym and want to hire a trainer to help you work out. You probably want a trainer who is really strong and built, not someone who is simply doing the job to get a paycheck, but somebody who has serious expertise on working out. Same goes for with God’s Word–we want to have our minds transformed by someone with expertise, and fortunately, that’s something God has a lot of. God is an expert on life and he will bring us victory.
Why is this important? Because we need to understand the big picture of what life is all about.
1 John 2:17 — The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
The world is passing away and all of its lusts. That’s saying we should care less about shopping and sports and the temporary like the rest of the world and care more about relationships, which will last eternity.
It’s satisfying spiritual food.
Deuteronomy 8:3 — He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you [a]understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
It compares the Word of God to food. Without it, we are starved. Imagine you haven’t eaten for a week. You probably would feel tired, angry and depressed. A friend then takes you out to eat with the bill on him, after hearing you haven’t eaten in a week, but when you get to the restaurant, you tell the waitress, “Oh, I’m not hungry” even though your friend is paying and you haven’t eaten for a week. That would be absurd–no one would do that after not eating a whole week.
Yet when it comes to Christians and the Word of God, we might slip into something similar to that above scenario with getting into God’s Word. And it’s not funny when people are spiritually weak, not having read the Bible in over a month or something. And of course Christians will feel depressed if they don’t get into their Word consistently–it’s spiritual food.
Man does not live on bread alone. The Word satisfies our deepest longing and desire. Think about why people commit suicide for seemingly no reason: Their needs are all met, yet maybe they feel purposeless in life. Without a purpose, life becomes meaningless. The atheist might feel that all there is to life is graduating, working and then dying. But if that’s all there is to life, then why even live if it all dies? That is such a depressing picture! Some might argue, “Just follow your heart and it’s desires,” but that’s a problem. Read Ecclesiastes or Jeremiah 17:9 and you’ll understand that won’t solve the problem. Following your heart might make you feel giddy or good for a short while, but it ends up leaving you empty again.
The Bible teaches us that we have purpose: It’s satisfying spiritual food. When a man is satisfied by the Word, he knows his life is important. He knows he’s engaged in a significant life. He’s building his eternal life now–relationships, word of Christ, prayer. There is significance.
John 6:35 — Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Do not spend your entire life trying to get filled up by what the world has to offer. You will find yourself empty. But Christ is the bread of life, and he says you will not hunger if you feed on his word. Jesus challenges us to get into his word to renew us and transform us, so why not take Jesus up on this challenge? There’s not really anything to lose.
Reading the Word of God is Spiritually Arousing
Psalm 119 describes reading the Bible is like “honey to my mouth.” According to the author of this psalm, God’s Word is sweet. Can you relate to this? Have you ever read a passage and then later, a friend is struggling with that same thing you just read about? You can share insight with them, which is pretty pleasurable to be able to do.
1 Timothy 3:16 — By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was [a]vindicated [b]in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
God has mysteries laid throughout the bible. You might have no idea what a passage is about, but later, you totally understand it and see it in your life. You conquer the crap out of that passage.
Those are three benefits of reading the word. So what’s the point? The Bible is cool, but now what? For the believer (or people who have a relationship with Christ), learn the Word. Maybe you haven’t established a good time to get into the Word of God. If that’s the case, you’re missing out on mind transformation. We need to pray for help here–pray to find time for God to share insights with you.
Romans 8:5 — For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Getting into the Word consistently is tough because we set our minds on the flesh, but God tells us to set our minds on things of the Spirit. We need to go from what is easy (the flesh) to what is tough and uncomfortable (the Spirit and reading the Bible). Sure it’s hard at first, but it leads to life and pleasure and becomes a good habit that you will have a hard time breaking. If you still struggle finding time or praying about it, ask a roommate, a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend to help you out with it by reading with you, or listen to the Bible on audio while running, in the car or use an online Bible.
For new believers, try to invest in a cool Bible that includes notes or commentary to help you learn God’s Word.
Another tip is that the best way to learn God’s Word is to use it: Share the Word with one another after Bible study to answer people’s questions to real life problems. It really packs a punch.
For non-believers who are checking out Christianity, try to meet the Word and establish a regular time to read the Bible with your friend who brought you here. Meet the Word as in you need to meet Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and God’s Word are the same thing. John 1:1 says that the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and was God. Jesus is the center of every meaningful life.
In Buddhism, you have Buddha who shows you a path, but in Christianity, God is THE path and way. Atheism argues that you find truth, but in Christianity, God says he IS truth. Jesus desperately wants a relationship with you and has room for you. Romans 10 says that everyone who calls in the name of the Lord will be saved. It’s set up so easily for us, yet it’s not easy for Christ. He had to be beaten, mocked, stripped naked and carry a cross up a hill to be killed. You were bought with a price, and the price is the blood of Christ. The price was high, but not as high as God’s love for us.