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Sunday, January 18, 2015                            Perfection 2015 Index

 

GOING ON TO PERFECTION (3)
The Mind of a Christian
He set His Face Toward Jerusalem - Luke 9:51

 

Luke 9:51, In our text, we read, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” For a while, I have always been intrigued with the observation that Jesus “set His face to go toward Jerusalem.”  A cursory reading of the text tells us that he decided it was time to go to Jerusalem (for the final time).   But the expression actually has deeper meaning.   When you consider what Jesus knew was in store, it takes on a different perspective.  Rather than simply deciding to go there, Jesus made up him mind with resolve to do what needed to be done.   An examination of the gospels shows that when this occurred, He didn’t just go directly to that city.  He made His way TOWARD Jerusalem with much teaching, stopping and working to prepare and ground His apostles and disciples for what was going to happen, both to Him and to them.  It was not done with a feeble mind or flippantly.  Jesus had a mindset that is worthy of consideration and imitation. 

As we continue our study of going on to perfection and our need for determination, today we want to address the mindset of a Christian.   When we talk about attitudes, it is about the way we think and our mindset.

The mind of a Christian is of great concern.  The reason many fail to move forward has to do with our mindset.  I am convinced one reason there is so much religious division has to do with our mindset.  Our mediocrity, whether it be our attendance,

 And with that, today we will notice SOME passages that address the mind of a Christian.

 I.                    What is the Christian’s Mind?

a.        Mind, 1. (in a human or other conscious being) the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc.:  2. Psychology. the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities. 3. intellect or understanding, as distinguished from the faculties of feeling and willing; intelligence.  (www.dictionary.com, Random House Dictionary)

b.       In the New Testament, the word “mind” is associated with several Greek words.  Together they address the thought process and will.  Words associated with the mind of a Christian include: mind, thought, reason, will (& willingness, desire), mindset, remembrance, judgment, etc. 

c.        The will of a Christian.  When we speak of the mind of a Christian, it is his will to be what he ought to be.  It is akin to the spiritual heart.  Two years ago, we discussed, “Purer in heart.”  We identified the heart as our intellect, will, desire, feelings, conscience and emotions.  That which makes us who we are.   All these things are associated with the mind and the way we think. 

d.       What is a mindset?   We sometimes hear the word “mindset” today.  The word is defined as, “an attitude, disposition or mood.  2. An intention or inclination.” (www.dictionary.com. Random House Dictionary)

It is a word associated with one who thinks a certain way, usually based upon varying circumstances.  As Christians there is a certain mindset that needs to be present.   For example:
In Romans 12:16 we are told to “be of the same mind toward one another.”
Phil. 2:2, unity involves being of one mind (the same mindest).  The idea is that we think the same way on spiritual matters.
Phil 2:5, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  Jesus had a certain mindset, which we strive to imitate (1 Cor. 11:1).
Romans 8:27 says, “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  This speaks of the “mindset” of the Spirit.

e.       People respond differently to their environment.  We are affected by the influences of our society (i.e. political correctness, tolerance, unity-in-diversity, entertainment, our upbringing, etc.) as well as who we are (the basic questions of life – why am I here, etc.).  Our mindset affects how we approach our study of scripture, how we process instructions, how well we do what we do, how we deal with one another as brethren and how we deal with those who are not believers (just to name a few). 

f.         The mindset that we possess will determine what we make of ourselves and it will affect every aspect of our lives.  So it is important that we have an understanding of what the Bible says about the mind and that we have a godly mindset. 

 

 II.                  The Bible and the mind

a.        The Bible has a great deal to say about the mind of a Christian.  Let us consider in this lesson a few of those passages and how they apply to our lives.

b.       Matthew 22:37, what is the greatest commandment? To love God with all you heart, soul and mind.  We need to love (agape) Him with everything that have and are.  This includes our mindset.  This is the determination that I will not let ANYTHING stand in my way of serving Him.

c.        Philippians 2:3, associates the godly mind with lowliness (humility).  In this text we are called upon to with lowliness of mind, esteem others better than ourselves. 

d.       Philippians 2:5, let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.  We have already noted that this passage addresses the mindset of our Lord Jesus.  But it also calls upon us to strive to understand His mind and imitate it.  The better we understand someone or something, the better equipped we will be to learn about them.  In other words, we can be better disciples of Jesus by learning everything we can about Him.

e.       Romans 8:5-9,For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace…”  This text describes two different mindsets.  One focuses on the carnal, the other on things spiritual.  Things which come from God.    

f.         Colossians 3:1-2, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The idea of “set your mind” is to focus on or concentrate, to dwell on.
Where is your treasure? Matt. 6:19-21.  How badly do we want to go to heaven when this life is over?

g.        1 Peter 1:13, Gird up the loins of your mind.  The idea of girding means to tighten up.  In NT times, people would wear robes that when they traveled they would tighten them up around their waste with a belt so that they move swifter.  We are instructed in this text to “gird up” our mind.  The idea is that we make up our minds and ARE prepared so that we can serve our God with our all. 

h.       Rev. 2:23, a passage of warning to Thyatira in its corruption.  … and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” This text reminds us that God know everything, including our minds.. 

i.         THERE are also other words and passages associated with our mind. Consider these:

1.       2 Cor. 10:4-5,  -  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Prov. 23:7, we read, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”    
We need to control how we think.  While this seems to be impossible, our thoughts are much more controllable than we might care to admit.  This goes back to what you bring into your heart and mind.
Titus 1:15 tells us, “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

2.       Philippians 4:8, “Meditate on these things” or “think on these things” or “dwell on these things.” This verse gives us direction in how we purify our hearts, thinking and minds.  We must fill the heart with godly qualities.

3.       Heb. 4:12, the word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  We are told in this text, the word of God no only reveals truth but it also exposes “the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

4.       Psalm 26:2,Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” Its one thing to do what is right outwardly.  It is another to do it with purity of heart and mind.  Is our mind such that we honestly want God trying our mind and heart? 

5.       2 Corinthians 7:9, Acts 8:22 –repentance, repent (μετανοέω, metanoeō).  A word that means lit, “to perceive afterward” (Vine’s) or “to change one’s mind” (Thayer).  The noeō is a root in the word that deals with the mind or understanding.

 III.                Renewing the mind

a.        The idea of renewal is to revitalize or refresh.  It involves making something new and different, ultimately for the better. Vine’s describes this word as, “the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life.”   If we are going to change, it is going to require a proper mindset.  IF you find that you continue to fail, your mindset is probably not what it ought to be.    It is caught in a rut or at a place that is limiting you and keeping you from moving forward. 

b.       Rom. 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.    In this text Paul calls for us to be transformed WITH a mind that is renewed.  Interestingly, the word “renewing” here is a noun – thus describing a state that on is in!  CHANGE begins with the mind!

c.        2 Cor. 4:16,Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.   This is our goal, where day by day, we are progressing in our lives.

d.       Colossians 3:10 speaks of being renewed in knowledge, which draws us closer to God.

e.       Ephesians 4:23 (20-24),  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

 

And thus we can see that the mind of a Christian is important.  It is a part of who we are right now, and a part of what we will become.  It is emphasized in scripture in many ways.  Many of these things we will address in much greater detail as we continue our studies.  As we strive to go on to perfection, it will begin with a renewed mindset – a mind that is determined to draw closer to God no matter what.  So where is your mind?   Think about it!