Peninsula Community Church
October 6, 2013
Worship – the Transformed Life
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Let’s review what we have learned so far. We have learned that what we value we will worship and what we worship will control us. We have learned that God desires that we live as living sacrifices. We have learned that all of life is worship and all worship is about life. Therefore, we cannot and must not be duplicitous in regards to the sacred secular divide. We cannot put on and take off our spiritual worship as we would an old garment.
Last week, we talked about presenting ourselves as living sacrifices. In this regard, one of the things we must also recognize about the term “present” is that it carries with it the idea that we present ourselves but we must also continue to present ourselves as living sacrifices. In other words, we present ourselves to God as a one time event, but we must continue to present ourselves as living sacrifices on an ongoing basis. It is an ongoing act of surrender.
Because the act of presenting ourselves as living sacrifices is an ongoing act, to be effective we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The point to be made here is that presenting ourselves as living sacrifices is not a passive act. It does not happen by osmosis. It must be an active act of pursuing God’s will and His ways. Presenting ourselves is also a proactive act. The term proactive means to prepare for and to anticipate the issues and circumstances that will arise in our life’s. The fact is, we don’t sit and wait passively until an issue arises; but we are always in the process of renewal and transformation. We don’t wait until we are in a situation that we need God to be prepare ourselves. We prepare ourselves daily.
Let me illustrate this in this way. When our troops go overseas to fight on the front line they do not wait to get on the frontline to train and practice their warfare movements. They prepare and train on an ongoing basis. They would be foolish to wait until they are in a battle to learn how to fight and protect their buddies. As believers, too often we are ill equipped to fight the battles we face because we have not been proactive in our preparation for battle and for growth.
I know some of you are tired of my comments about football but an analogy fits here. So please bear with me. Before a game, the coach and his staff send the players through the drills that will prepare them to successfully compete against the other team. Once they are in the game, their opponent may throw plays at them that they have not seen before but if they are trained and developed they will be able to adjust to the situation on the fly. One of the things that I love about Coach Saban from the University of Alabama is the fact is that his team has been trained to adjust and meet every adversity they face. One of the things he does is to train his players to play to the end of the game. When you watch an University of Alabama game, you will find that Saban coaches to the end of the game and he expects his players to play to the end. God also expects us to be in the game and to play until the end. Too often we give up and give in because we are ill equipped to endure until the end.
Whether you are a soldier, a football player, or passionate follower of Christ we must be in the game. We must prepare ourselves for every battle. We must prepare ourselves to live life as living sacrifices. We must have our head and our heart in the game. As we preview this verse we find that Paul is making the conclusion that true worship requires a commitment of the head and the heart. It is the introduction of truth into the mind which finds its way into the heart that brings about a transformation of worldview and concepts about living life as a passionate follower of Christ. Everyone one of us have a worldview. A worldview is simply this. It is the beliefs, experiences, and ideals that shape the decisions we make and the focus of our life.
How does this work? Basically, what we allow into our minds affects our transformation. Let me ask you? “Do you spend more time in the word than in the newspaper?” “Do you spend more time speaking with others than with God?” “What are the thoughts that you entertain?” When you recognize evil thoughts what do you do with them?” “When you hear gossip and evil surmising, what is your response?” The answer to these questions will determine how you are being transformed.
How does this take place? It happens through the renewing of the mind which leads to a transformation of the heart. This word transformation is an interesting word. It is the Greek word “metamorphoo.” It means to change. It is from the same word we get the English word “metamorphous.” Metamorphous means a change of form. Like the caterpillar that is changed into a butterfly or the tadpole that is changed into a frog, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It is also noteworthy that the word “metamorphoo” is in fact made up of two words. The first is “mete” which means “being with.” The second word is “morphoo” and means “change in form.” When these two words are combined we understand the truth of the word. When are “with Christ,” we are “changed in form.” The change comes from the inside out and impacts who we are in reality. It is a decision to act differently. It is a decision to live in obedience to God’s will, His ways, and His Word.
Paul also speaks to a contrast between being conformed to the world’s image versus being transformed by the renewing of one’s mind. How are we transformed? It is by way of the truth that comes from God’s word. We need the truth that sets us free. It is also truth that leads us to faith. Truth alone in the sense of intellectual prowess falls short of God’s purpose and His plan for our lives. The key for truth to be effective is that it must find root in our hearts so that the truth received is applied in order to bring transformation to who we are and how we act.
The late Dallas Willard has stated that we all have been formed by the teaching, experiences, relationships, and emotions of our lives. But, God’s desire is to transform us into His image. We are to become more like Him in terms of the way we act, the we way we speak, and the we respond to life’s issues.
Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Let me illustrate this in this way. When you get angry what is the first reaction you have. Is it to curse? Is it to throw things? Is it to scream? Is it to clam up? In this case, how you respond is a result of the conditioning of your heart, your emotions, and your will. If you have presented yourselves as living sacrifices and your heart has been transformed, then your actions and reactions will be different than a person who has not been transformed. As we are transformed, how we respond will be an act of worship and an act of living as living sacrifices.
How are we transformed? We are transformed by the renewing of our minds but how do we do this? First, we study the word of God to understand God’s commands, His principles, and His ways that bring us success in the purest sense. Second, we need to recognize what God has done for us and is doing in us. Too often we fail to remember and respond to the mercies of God. Third, we must practice the presence of God. We must realize that God is with and that He wants to reveal Himself to us, in us, and through us. Fourth, we must live out the life of God in everything we do. It is for this reason that we cannot use the excuse, “that is just the way I am.” Why? Because we are we being changed and transformed.
So how are you doing? Are you being transformed? How is your life different today than it was last year, or last week? How about yesterday? Today is the day for change. Today is the moment we can be restored to God’s purposes and His will.