Sunday Morning Sermon
July 16, 2017
Romans 12:1, 2
This is the third and final part of a three part series on Romans 12:1, 2 entitled, “The Pilgrimage to Beauty.”
12 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. (ESV)
Don’t Let the World Squeeze You In!
Anyone who has walked through a casino in Vegas understands peer pressure. In a thousand subtle (and not so subtle) ways they are pressuring you to gamble.
The world around us, Paul says, is also trying to squeeze us – and our families – into its mold.
Living Inside Out
So how can we resist? By being transformed – changed from the inside out. The word Paul used to describe this process is the same one we use to describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly: metamorphosis. It’s not a matter of looking the part. It means staring with our hearts and being transformed from the inside out.
Paul reminded Titus, the Holy Spirit renews our minds (Titus 3:5) and he told the Corinthians our vision of God transforms us (2 Corinthians 3:18).
A New Mind
A renewed mind requires the special work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) and it requires a vision of God (2 Corinthians 3:18) to put things into perspective.
You see the problem is, sin – especially repetitious sin – corrupts our vision (Romans 1:18 – 32). Here is an important principle: you are no greater than the god you worship, because our vision of God gives us a perspective on life. For example, if you worship money, or “success,” or power, or beauty – all of these “little g gods” – you will be ultimately disappointed.
Think about it with me for a moment. Your so-called god makes great promises and will require certain sacrifices for their worship. For example, what sacrifices are you required to offer on the altar of beauty? And even if you make those sacrifices, in the end you will only be left with a beautiful corpse.
What we need is a new mind, a new way of thinking, a new vision of God.
The Goal of Transformation
When we can see the world through God’s eyes, we become “discerning” (dokimazo). That is, we learn to make judgements based on our understanding of God’s standards.
A transformed Christian will be able to make judgements about:
- What is truly Good
- That which is Pleasing to God
- The Perfect, what meets the highest standard
Some Things to Think About
- What are some of the ways our culture tries to make us conform?
- How can we fight back?
- The Holy Spirit renews our mind (Titus 3:5), but we have a role to play too. How can we cultivate a new way of thinking?
- At the conclusion of Romans 12: 2, Paul says the result of renewing our mind is we will understand God’s will for us, then he describes God’s will for us with three attributes. What are they?
- What are some ways you can tell that a person is a conformist?
- What are some ways you can tell that a person is living from the inside out (transformational living)?
- Here are some frightening statistics concerning our children:
- The Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base reports that right around 30% if teens are offered drugs in middle school and high school.
- According to the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 74.3% of high school students have tried alcohol.
- 3.1 million teenagers smoke, according to the American Lung Association.
- The Kaiser Foundation reports that about 50% of teenagers feel pressured with regard to sex in relationships.
What suggestions would you give to a teenager on how to resist peer pressure?
25 Ways to Resist Negative Peer Pressure
- Walk away.
- Ignore the person.
- Pretend that the person must be joking. (“What a riot! You are so funny.”)
- Say no-calmly but firmly.
- Say no and give a reason. (“No. Cigarette smoke makes me sick.”)
- Say no and state a value or belief that’s important to you. (“No. I’ve decided not to have sex until I get married.”)
- Say no and warn about the possible consequences. (“No way! We could all get expelled.”)
- Say no and change the subject. (“No, I’m not interested. Say, what did you think of that stunt Clarisse pulled in math class today?”)
- Say no and offer a positive alternative. (“No thanks, I’ll pass. I’m going for a bike ride. Want to come?”)
- Say no and ask a question. (“No! Why would I want to do that?”)
- Say no and use humor. (“Forget it. I’d rather go play on the freeway; it’s safer.”)
- Say no and apply some pressure of your own. (“No. Say, I always thought you were smarter than that.”)
- Share your feelings. (“I don’t like being around people who are drinking.”)
- Use your parents as an excuse. (“My dad would kill me if I ever did that.”)
- Stick up for yourself. (“I’m not going to do that. It wouldn’t be good for me.”)
- Confront the person. (“I can’t believe you’d ask me to do that. I thought you were my friend.”)
- Call another friend to help you.
- Always have an out — a Plan B. (“Sorry I can’t come to the party. I promised my sister I’d take her to a movie.”)
- (“Gotta run. I told my mom I’d clean out the garage.’)
- Hang out with people who don’t pressure you to do risky things.
- Ask a peer mediator to help.
- Tell an adult.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.
- Avoid the person from then on.
from What Teens Need to Succeed by Peter Benson