Be Transformed

Be Transformed

Pastor Don Carpenter

COLLIDE – Prepare for Impact (sermon central) / Romans 12:2

When you first met “J.E.”, you could tell he was a very angry man. In fact, at age 54 he’d been an angry person for many years. In a Bible study that night, many questions had been raised in his mind. Talking with the leader afterward, J.E. said, “I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was 9 years old. But nobody ever taught me about who I am in Christ, that I’m accepted by God or that Christ lives in me.”

“What were you taught?” the Bible study leader asked.” “Where I grew up, we heard all the time about how perfect Christ was and about how we should learn to live like Him – if we didn’t, God would judge us.” J.E. went on, “It didn’t take me long, I’d say in my teen years, to figure out that I was never going to cut it. So I gave up trying. I guess I’ve been living in guilt and running from God ever since. Off and on through the years I tried to go back to church, but I just got more guilt piled on top of me. I’ve sat under so many teachers who made me fearful that I was afraid to turn in any direction because God was going to get me. This is the first Bible study I’ve ever attended that gave me any hope” J.E. concluded.

At that point, J.E. was 54 years old. That means, even though he had been born again through trusting Jesus Christ at a young age, he had spent at least 35 years running away from God. Tragically, his experience isn’t that unusual. Thousands of people who sincerely responded to the gospel message they were taught spend years thrashing around trying to make it work, but without success. In fact, I believe the reason so many Christians struggle in living the Christian life is their lack of understanding their Identity in Christ.

(This illustration came from the book “Growing in Grace” by Bob George pages 59-60)

We will never be able to have a lasting impact for Christ on the world around us until we learn to embrace the change for which we have been predestinated.

Romans 8:29 KJV

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

We are continuing our series we started last week called, “Collide.” We kicked things off by looking into the biblical principle of standing firm in our faith. The world attempts to offer us a different set of values, one that includes things that are initially seductive, but ultimately inconsistent and difficult to stand on.

So how do we pursue the things of Christ? We allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. When we do, we will start to experience the abundant life Christ came to give us. But how do we keep that experience going day to day? I believe God desires three things from us as we move forward in life after we lay the foundation. The first one I want us to discuss today: being transformed.

Romans 12:2 KJV

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Within this one verse, I believe Paul gives us an equation. First, there is a subtraction, then an addition, and finally an outcome. I want us to break this down together to find the keys to transformation in our lives.

Reject Conformity to this World.

1 Peter 1:14 KJV

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

“Conformed” is sunsch?matiz? (????????????). Sch?matiz? (?????????) refers to the act of an individual assuming an outward expression that does not come from within him, nor is it representative of his inner heart life. The prefixed preposition sun (???) adds to the meaning of the verb the idea of assuming an expression that is patterned after some definite thing. The verb is present imperative with m? (??), the negative, which construction forbids the continuance of an action already going on. Paul exhorts the saints, “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is it representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God.” One could translate, “Stop masquerading in the habiliments of this world, its mannerisms, speech expressions, styles, habits.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

1 John 2:15–17 KJV

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The word “world” is ai?n (????), which Trench defines as follows: “All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale,—all this is included in the ai?n (????) (age), which is, as Bengel has expressed it, the subtle informing spirit of the kosmos (??????) or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God.” The Germans have a word for it, the zeitgeist or spirit of the age. This masquerade costume which saints sometimes put on, hides the Lord Jesus living in the heart of the Christian, and is an opaque covering through which the Holy Spirit cannot radiate the beauty of the Lord Jesus. The world says to that kind of a saint, “The modernism of your appearance nullifies the fundamentalism of your doctrine.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Embrace Transformation to Christ’s Image

Change from the Inside Out

Instead of masquerading in the habiliments of this age, Paul exhorts the saints to be transformed. The word is metamorphoomai (?????????????), which speaks of the act of a person changing his outward expression from that which he has to a different one, an expression which comes from and is representative of his inner being. The word is used in Matthew 17:2 where it is translated “transfigured.” The translation could read, “The manner of His outward expression was changed before them, and His face shone as the sun, and His clothing was white as the light.” The usual manner of our Lord’s outward expression during His humiliation was that of the Man Christ Jesus, a Man of sorrows and of grief, the itinerant preacher and teacher from Nazareth dressed in the homespun of a Galilean peasant. But here, our Lord allows the glory of the essence of His deity that came from His inner being as deity and was representative of Him as such, to shine through His human body. This radiance caused His face to shine and His garments to appear white as the sun.

Paul therefore says in effect to the saints, “Change your outward expression from that which you had before salvation, an expression which came from your totally depraved nature and was representative of it, to an expression which comes from your regenerated inner being and is representative of it.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

This Change Involves Constant Renewal of the Mind.

 Romans 12:2 (KJV)

 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Philippians 2:5 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The saint is to do this by the renewing of his mind. “Renewing” is anakain?sis (???????????), which Trench defines as “the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the divine image; and in all this so far from being passive, he must be a fellow-worker with God.” Thayer defines the word, “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.” That is, the change of outward expression is dependent upon the renovation, the complete change for the better of the believer’s mental process. This is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who when definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the mental processes of the believer. It is the prescription of the apostle. “Habitually be ordering your behavior within the sphere and by means of the Spirit, and you will positively not fulfil the desire of the flesh (evil nature)” (Gal. 5:16)

Galatians 5:16 KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Oil was discovered on some Oklahoma property belonging to an elderly Indian. All his life he had been poverty stricken, just eking out a living. But the discovery of oil had suddenly made him a very wealthy man. The first thing he bought was a very big Cadillac. He wanted the longest car in the county, so he added four spare tires on the trunk. He would dress up in his new clothes and everyday he would take his Cadillac into the hot dusty little town nearby. He wanted to see everyone and he wanted everyone to see him. He was a friendly old soul. so when he was riding through town he would turn in all directions to wave at all the people as he rolled by. Interesting enough, he never ran into anybody nor into anything. The reason for this was that directly in front of that big beautiful auto was two horses harnessed to it and pulling it. There was nothing wrong with the car’s engine. It was because the old Indian had never learned to drive it. He had never learned how to insert the key into the ignition switch and turn it on. Under the hood was 100 plus horsepower ready and willing and raring to go, but the old Indian was content to use the two horsepower hooked to the front of the car.

The devil gets really happy (or as happy as a devil can get) when he can keep the believer chugging along in their Christian life on a two horse power faith level. At that rate, the spiritual progress is slowed down to a crawl, and this is what the devil is after in his warfare with us.

We need to be constantly meditating, not on our condemned state or on fear of condemnation, but of who we are in Christ.

2 Peter 1:3–4 KJV

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Prove the Perfection of God’s Will

 Romans 12:2 (KJV)

 … that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

John 7:17 KJV

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

“Prove” is dokimaz? (????????), “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the thing tested meets the specifications laid down, to put one’s approval upon it.” As a result of the Spirit’s control of the mental processes of the saint, the latter is enabled to put his life to the test for the purpose of approving it, the specifications being that it conform to the Word of God, and thus, experiencing what obedience is to the Word, and finding out what it feels like to have the Word saturate and control the life, he sees that it really is the Word of God and puts his approval upon it. Our Lord Jesus was speaking of the same thing when He said, “If any man will to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). “Perfect” is teleios (???????), “brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader

As a Christian is transformed in his mind and is made more like Christ, he comes to approve and desire God’s will, not his own will for his life. Then he discovers that God’s will is what is good for him, and that it pleases God, and is complete in every way. It is all he needs. But only by being renewed spiritually can a believer ascertain, do, and enjoy the will of God.

Witmer, J. A. (1985). Romans. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 488). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

The world can easily press us into their mold of being discouraged, defeated and living in fear of a God we imagine hates us. If you have trusted Jesus as Savior, things are different. Do not be conformed into the selfish and fearful way of the world. Be transformed from the inside out. You are already a new creature and God is continuing that work in you every day. Renew your mind with that truth every day!

A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, TN. One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” But sure enough, the man did come over to their table.

“Where are you folks from?” he asked in a friendly voice.

“Oklahoma,” they answered.

“Great to have you here in Tennessee,” the stranger said. “What do you do for a living?”

“I teach at a seminary,” he replied.

“Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I’ve got a really great story for you.” And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with the couple .

The professor groaned and thought to himself, “Great … Just what I need … another preacher story!”

The man started, “See that mountain over there? (pointing out the restaurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up, because every place he went, he was always asked the same question, ’Hey boy, Who’s your daddy?’ Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students. He would avoid going in to stores because that question hurt him so bad.

“When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’ But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, Son, who’s your daddy?

The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

“This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to that scared little boy … “Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God. “

With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, “Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”

“With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked him, ’Who’s your Daddy?’ he’d just tell them, ’I’m a Child of God.’”

The distinguished! gentleman got up from the table and said, “Isn’t that a great story?”

The professor responded that it really was a great story!

As the man turned to leave, he said, “You know, if that new preacher hadn’t told me that I was one of God’s children, I probably never would have amounted to anything!” And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over & asked her, “Do you know who that man was who just left that was sitting at our table?”

The waitress grinned and said, “Of course. Everybody here knows him. That’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of Tennessee!”

Meditate on this truth and be transformed! 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:19 PM June 8, 2022.