Living the Set Apart Life

Living the Set Apart Life

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 7/16/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“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. 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.”

                                                                               Romans 12:1–2 (NASB95)

Now, more than ever, the world is seeking to conform the minds of people to a single point of view. If you do not fully agree with this point of view, you are dismissed, canceled, and called intolerant. Those who think for themselves are being singled out more and more, and if you are a Christ follower, well, the anger, bitterness, and wrath of the world are unloaded in an unending stream that gets more and more violent each passing day.

Life is difficult for everyone, no exceptions to that rule! But let’s face it, as Christ followers we have the added difficulty of seeing things through the lens of Scripture. Christ followers are called to be Living the Set Apart Life as an example to the world around us. This has become much more difficult the past several years. As Christ followers we are to have the Bible as our final and full authority, we are to live our lives according to the commandments of God and the example of Jesus Christ.

Paul urges the church at Rome to present their bodies as living and holy sacrifices. He warns them not to be conformed to this world, but to renew their minds and urges them to be Living the Set Apart Life, changing the way they think and act, allowing them to prove the will of God – that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As Christ followers, we are to offer our bodies as living and holy sacrifices. We are to be Living the Set Apart Life, changing our way of thinking and acting, through a mind that has been renewed, allowing us to discern what God calls good, acceptable, and perfect.

In this message, we seek to understand how the Christ follower is Living the Set Apart life.

The Christ follower is Living the Set Apart Life when they understand the will of God through a transformed mind, changing the way they think and act.

1). The Christ follower is Living the Set Apart Life as a living and holy sacrifice.

The entire body of the Christ follower is used in our spiritual service of worship.

By now most Christ followers know that, whenever they see a “therefore’ in the Scriptures, it is time to pay close attention. In our case, “therefore” finds its foundation in all that has been written before chapter 12 – chapters 1-11. Paul urges Christ followers to present their bodies as slaves to God (6:13), in obedience and righteousness (6:19), and Paul warns against self-centered use of the body, without the rule of a mind controlled by the Holy Spirit (1:24; 6:6 & 12; 7:24; 8:13). Now Paul shows how the Christ follower can choose in their minds to present their bodies for the service of the greater body – the body of Christ. When the Christ follower offers their body as a sacrifice, they are imitating Christ, whose death Paul has presented as a bloody sacrifice (3:25;5:9; 8:3).

Paul describes the sacrifice of the Christ follower as living, holy, and acceptable. The Old Testament sacrifices were made with inanimate objects, such as crops, or slain animals. In contrast, the Christ follower offers their body while living as they embrace the death of Christ while still living. The Christ followers sacrifice is holy, that is sacred and set apart to God. As Christ followers, we are set apart for God. Our sacrifice is to be acceptable, that is, “so as to please” God. The Christ follower is to make their sacrifice to please God alone. While the Old Testament sacrifices were made with physical objects, with the death of Christ, the Christ follower is no longer required to make a physical offering, our offerings are to be in the spiritual realm.

In John chapter 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well a time has now come when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The word Paul uses for spiritual means reasonable or rational. The sacrifice of the Christ follower is to be intelligent in contrast to those offerings made in ritual and through compulsion. This is the Christ followers divine service or divine worship. When we worship the Father in spirit and truth, we are offering Him divine worship.

Paul says we are to offer our bodies as the sacrifice. The word Paul uses indicates the entire body is included in this act of worship. That means, not only are we the hands and feet of Christ to those in the world, now we are to use our hands and feet in service to the Father in our sacrifice. Obviously, Paul also has the mind in view here as well. We must be intelligent in our worship of the Father, with minds fixed on Him and who He is and what He has done to be the only One worthy of our worship. Our minds must be properly prepared to focus on and worship the Father alone.

In addition, we keep our eyes fixed on the Father during our worship. We must not come into worship with eyes that wander, looking around the sanctuary or checking to see how others worship or if they are noticing how we worship. We must also guard against coming to worship with eyes that are drowsy or sleepy from lack of sleep or staying out too late the night before. Clear, well rested eyes can focus on the Father and what He has done for you the past week and where He is leading you in the week ahead.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Are you coming to worship with the full intent of giving your entire body as a sacrifice to the Father?

How often do you find your eyes wandering or feeling sleepy during worship? How can you correct this? How do you fight against this?

How are you preparing your mind for worship? If not, why?

The Christ follower is Living the Set Apart Life when they understand the will of God through a transformed mind, changing the way they think and act.

2). The Christ follower is Living the Set Apart Life because they are able to discern the will of God.

This can only happen through a mind that has been transformed.

Paul now switches from our divine worship of God to how we get to this divine worship we offer God. Paul first warns us about being conformed to this world and the worlds way of thinking and acting. The Greek word used for “conformed” means to assume a certain form; to fashion or shape one thing like another. This world is temporary, changeable, and unstable, as Christ followers, we are to be conformed to the mind of Christ, thus our minds are complete or durable, not merely a form or outline. The mind of Christ is stable, unchanging, and permanent. It never wavers for it is the mind of the Father.

When this happens, we are transformed, the Christ follower undergoes a complete change which will find expression in the character and conduct of the Christ follower. Here we begin to take on the genuine resemblance of Christ – we begin to become Christlike. This is not the superficial resemblance the world is seeking when we become conformed to the world, but a genuine resemblance, or likeness of Christ Jesus. What Paul is really saying here is, “Do not be squeezed into the mold of this world.” The renewing of our minds is the means to being transformed.

In chapter 1 verse 28, Paul tells us what will, and is, happening to those who reject God; “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…” The passage goes on to describe the rest of what happens, but we need to concentrate on verse 28, you can read the rest of the passage on your own. A depraved mind is one that is not standing to the test, it has been rejected. This is the mind that has fully rejected God and does not seek His will or to understand the will of God.

Paul tells us we must “renew” our minds. The Greek word used here means the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to align with the mind of God. The purpose of this “renewing” is to “prove” the will of God. The Greek word Paul used means to examine, to test. As Christ followers, we are to understand and agree with what God wants of us, with a view of putting it into practice. This can only happen if we “prove” the will of God – test it, examine it, to understand it and agree with it. Let’s face it, the enemy’s attack starts with the mind to influence, first our thinking and then our actions. We must use the weapons at our disposal to fight every attack sent by the enemy – beginning with the renewal of our minds.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is your mind “like the mind of Christ” right now? If not, why?

How is the enemy attacking your mind to “squeeze you into the mold of this world?” If he is not, what are you doing to combat this?

How are you “renewing” your mind daily? If you are not, what is stopping you?

The Christ follower is Living the Set Apart Life when they understand the will of God through a transformed mind, changing the way they think and act.

How do we “renew” our minds? We read and study the word of God. There are any number of good Bible reading formats to help you read your Bible more. There are also helpful word studies, topical studies, and book studies available to the Christ follower today. Use whatever fits your schedule and level of comfort, but by all means, find a way to get into the word more!

We learn to apply the word of God to our lives. Any good study you find will give you examples to help you apply the word in practical ways. Do not overthink what you are learning or trying to apply. Remember, as a Christ follower, you have the Holy Spirit to help you apply the word! We pray and ask God for strength, wisdom, and discernment. We meditate on the word and what we hear God saying to us. These last two points go hand in hand. When we pray, we should be listening carefully to what God is saying through His Spirit, then we must take time to meditate on what we are hearing. Meditating will allow us to discern if what we are truly hearing is from God or a false word from the enemy.

All of this is done to change wrong ideas that lead to wrong actions. As Christ followers, we are to transform – to adjust or change – the way we think about everything. This means we change our way of thinking in accordance with the newness of life we have been given in Christ. This is a lifelong journey, a lifelong process, by which our way of thinking and acting becomes more like God wants us to think and act – more like Christ.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next week: Philippians 2:14-16

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