Our thoughts and feelings take on certain patterns and tendencies that inevitably determine the kind of things we say and do. When we say or do something, we’re just letting out the thoughts and feelings that are on the inside.
People who do well at loving are simply the kind of people who have loving thoughts and loving feelings. Cranky people are simply people who tend to have bitter, resentment-producing thoughts and feelings.
Yet the apostle Paul makes this staggering statement, “But we have the mind of Christ.” Imagine what it would be like if your thoughts, feelings, desires, perceptions, and understandings were the same as if Jesus was in your place. That really can happen. And that’s what we’re talking about Sunday. Join us!Read More
Full Sermon Script:
Song 1: No Outsiders (Rend Collective)
Video: Power Down by Skit Guys.
Today, I’m very excited about what we’re going to do together. We’re going to weave learning from God with responding to God. We’re going to use music to impress in our body and in our heart, what we affirm in our mind.
So this message is broken up into 3 parts. The first two are kind of heavy given the nature of the passage we’re studying. But the last part is when I’m going to talk about how it really is possible to have a transformed mind. It’s possible for us to have the mind of Christ. So I hope you stick around to hear that.
Alright, this is what the apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3, starting at verse 1. >>>>>
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
> Paul begins by talking about two kinds of minds. You can have a mind set on earthly things or you can have a mind set on things above. 
Now, understand when Paul talks about the mind he’s not talking about your intelligence or just your thoughts. He’s talking about your whole inner life. You have a constant stream of feelings, and perceptions, and understandings, and thoughts, and intentions, and desires; and that stream is going on inside of you all the time. That stream of thoughts determines eventually what you do and what you say. 
Much of the time we’re hardly even aware of the feelings and thoughts and desires that are going on inside of us, but they’re always there. And to Paul, they’re vital. 
And Paul says very clearly that there are certain things we should NOT expose our minds to. Paul says, “Don’t let these things enter your mind.” He literally says, “Put them to death.” He lists five things in verse 5 and five more in verse 8. >>>>>
Colossians 3:5 he says,
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
> By earthly, he means that which is opposed to Christ – not just what’s physical and material – what’s opposed to Christ.
Paul uses very serious language here. >>>>>
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things…
> This is serious language. The wrath of God is coming because of these things. So Paul says eliminate it, die to it. 
And the decision we need to make today, and this will not be easy, but we need to consider ourselves dead to these things. >>>>>
Romans 6:11, Paul says:
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
> This is a new way to think about life.
If you have a car battery and the battery is dead, what happens to the car when you try to start it? I don’t know much about cars, but my best guess on this one is, the car doesn’t respond. The battery is dead. Dead means you are just not as responsive as you used to be. That’s part of what dead means. It means you are not responsive. That’s a pretty safe statement. 
Paul is saying, “I want you to begin to count yourself, think of yourself, as being dead to sin; that is, you’re simply not going to respond to it. You’re going to be as one who is dead.” 
When was the last time you were in a small group, and someone said, “I’m not going to sin anymore. I’m done with sin?” Probably never. We don’t say that sort of thing very often. It sounds too ambitious. But what’s the alternative? “I’m just going to keep on sinning.” 
Paul is saying, “I want you now to begin to think of yourself in a new way, as one who is dead to sin.” 
And we need to understand that when we make this decision we will fail. It’s something we will wrestle with our whole life. We will have to attack it one day at a time, and we will have to persist in it. And it will take the Spirit’s help. But the truth about us is, for many of us we’ve never come to the point where we’ve made the decision to die to sin. We’ve never said, “I’m drawing a line in the sand, and from here on, sin is no longer an option.” 
For very many followers of Jesus, there is in the back of their mind kind of this idea: “Sin is a bad thing, and I probably shouldn’t do it, but if I am in a real desperate situation, and cheating is the only thing that will get me out of it, or the only thing that will get me what I believe I need to have to survive, well, as a last resort it’s there.” 
Paul is saying, “I want you to close that door. Don’t open it again. Consider that it is no longer an option.” 
Have you made that decision?  
First, Paul lists sexual sins he want us to die to. He talks about sexual immorality – or fornication – and Paul is very blunt here. 
We sometimes try to rationalize things. I had a couple who was living together talk to me about this one time. She had been married previously, was now divorced, had a child by her previous marriage. They met with me and said, “We’re living together. We know the Bible says we shouldn’t commit adultery.” But she said, “I’m divorced now, so this is not adultery, right?”
I had to be very straightforward. It’s not adultery, but the word in the Bible is fornication. The writers of Scripture are very clear about this. 
Again, because human nature is to try to play games with this sort of thing, some people may think that because they’ve avoided fornication in some technical sense they’re off the hook.
Well, Paul goes on. He mentions sexual immorality and then he says, “impurity.” This involves a character that’s damaged by immoral behavior – impure habits, impure patterns, involvement in things like pornography would be included here. 
Then he says, “lust,” or it could be translated “passion.” Now, this doesn’t mean simply finding someone attractive. That’s part of being a human being. That’s a good thing. God created us to respond to beauty. 
This is choosing. There’s an element of choice here. It’s choosing to indulge in lustful fantasies, to reduce another person to a sexual object. 
Then Paul says, “evil desire.” That’s where I’m open to lust. That’s kind of the precondition to it. I look forward to it, I’m available for it, I haven’t closed the door to it. 
Then he talks about greed, and here it means simply unchecked hunger for physical pleasure – sexual, material or otherwise. 
So I want to ask you as clearly as I know how, have you died to sexual sin? 
In a church our size, I’m sure some of you listening will be in the midst of an affair; or you’ll be involved in a relationship that is clearly sexually disobedient to God’s will and God’s Word; or you’re walking down a road that’s very clearly heading that way. I want to ask you today, will you die to it? 
Some of you need to make a phone call today. You need to call someone and say, “It’s over. It’s done. We’re not doing this anymore.” Will you do that? Will you decide right now? 
Some of you wrestle with pornography or lust, and you’ve struggled maybe for a long time, but you’ve struggled in secret. You’ve never really done what you know you need to do, which is to get help for it. So I’m asking today – will you die to it? Will you say, “I will make a call. I will tell a friend. I’ll get help from a counselor. I’ll join a group. I’ll do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to put it to death. I’m through playing games with this.” 
There’s no way around this. Paul says, “Put it to death.” 
Video: covenant eyes advertisement with resources to help with porn addiction.
Song 2: Lauren Daigle “How can it be”
Alright, now we’re going to shift gears and look at Colossians 3, starting at verse 8. Paul goes through the same kind of thing in the category of anger. >>>>>
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices…
> Now, how are we going to do this? How are we going to die to this stuff? 
This is very important. Most people, when they hear these kinds of instructions, what they think is, “I must try really, really hard not to do these things.” They think, “I’ve got to try really hard not to lust. I’ve got to try really hard not to be angry.” 
Well, trying really hard is not going to do it. I’m sure you’ve had that experience a hundred times, and so have I. Because what’s inside me, what’s inside my mind and my heart will leak out of me. 
A family has a group of people over for dinner and the father of this family is an angry person. But, of course, he doesn’t want people to know that he’s an angry person. These are people from his church and he wants them to think of him as a spiritual person. So these people come over for dinner and this angry father, trying to look spiritual, asks his 5-year-old son to pray for dinner. And the son says, “I don’t know what to say.” The dad says, “Sure you do. Just pray what you’ve heard me say before.” So the son says, “Oh Lord, why did we have to have all these people over for dinner?”  It just leaks out. 
Some of you have been carrying grudges for months or years.  Will you die to them today? Will you say, “I’m going to make a call, I’m going to write a note, I’m going to say whatever words I need to say to launch me down the road towards forgiveness. I may need to say them over and over and over, it may take a long time, but I’m going to start the process today, and I’ll do whatever I need to do.” 
Some of you have been slandering another human being – maybe even someone in the church – talking bad about them on social media, or gossiping about them behind their back. Will you die to this? Will you go to that person and ask for their forgiveness?  
Paul also says, “Do not lie.” 
Some of you are married, and you have conflict with your spouse, unresolved anger, and your spouse approaches you. Your spouse wants to be physically intimate and you know that’s what your spouse wants, but you pretend not to know. You withdraw, you avoid, you withhold yourself, and you hope it hurts them a little bit. You convince yourself that it’s not a lie because you haven’t said a word, but it’s deceptive. You pretend not to know what you really know. It’s a lie. 
Will you die to it? It’s leading you to death. It’s not leading you to confrontation. It’s not leading you to love. It’s just leading you to death. 
There’s no way around this one. Sin does not die of natural causes. It’s got to be put to death. 
And willpower doesn’t do it alone, so you need to say one day at a time, “God, my intent is to close the door to this, to no longer consider it an option and to take whatever steps that I need to take to put it away.” 
Will you resolve to die to sin? 
I hope you will, because the alternative is to live according to your sinful nature, and it’s a life of misery.  
Alright, in the time we have left I want to talk about how it’s possible to have a transformed mind. 
Here’s a staggering statement that Paul writes –
1 Corinthians 2:16 – think about this. Paul says:
But we have the mind of Christ. 
Imagine what it would be like if your inner life – your thoughts, feelings, desires, perceptions, and understandings were the same as if Jesus were in your place. Imagine if what comes out of you, what you do and say were the things Jesus would do and say if he was in your place. 
*Imagine when someone hurts you that your immediate thoughts are not to inflict pain back on that person or to run and hide from that person, but to honestly and courageously seek authentic reconciliation. Imagine if your mind worked that way. 
*Imagine when someone else succeeds – instead of comparing yourself to them or feeling depressed because they’ve succeeded more – feeling authentic joy at what they’ve done. You just naturally feel the way you would feel if you yourself had succeeded. 
*Imagine when you sin that you didn’t respond by wanting to run and hide from it or trying to excuse it or spiraling down into this endless depression by beating yourself up over it. Imagine instead that when you sin, you respond by having an appropriate level of pain because you know it has grieved God and hurt another person. So you confess it openly and honestly to God, and you desire to do whatever it takes to set things right with whoever you may have hurt, and you learn from it. Then you move forward, confidently assured that God has forgiven you and he still loves you. 
*Imagine feeling confident instead of anxious, generous instead of selfish, rested instead of fatigued, patient instead of irritable, loved instead of lonely. Imagine what that would be like. 
Don’t you wish you had a mind that was fully set on things above? 
Paul puts it like this in Philippians 2, and there are many statements like this throughout the New Testament:
Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. 
This is a mind where God the Father is always present, and He just gradually crowds out foolish ideas and misguided intentions. 
So what does a mind that’s being transformed by God look like? Let’s talk about that for a moment. 
You will be able to recognize God’s transformation, because increasingly the moods that will dominate your life will be love instead of resentment, and peace instead of chronic anxiety, and joy and gratitude instead of continued unsatisfied desire. 
*You will face an emergency, and your first response will be to expect that God is going to be with you.
*You won’t struggle with the desire to be any smarter or more successful than you already are.
*You’ll actually experience peace inside.
*When someone speaks well of you, your first thought will be, “God is good! He helps me and blesses me!” And you’ll just have Joy.
*When someone opposes you or condemns you or criticizes you, you’ll remember that God loves you, so you don’t have to appease them. You don’t have to do something to get them to like you. You don’t have to criticize them back. You can just love them, because you’re living in love. 
You see, this kind of mind is the absolute key to spiritual transformation.
That’s why Paul says in
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
> Be transformed how? By the renewing of your what? Of your mind – a new inner life, and thoughts, and feelings, and so on.  
So how do we renew our minds? 
The renewal of the mind comes about when you enter into a life of training. 
This is why Jesus says there are no disciples above the master, but every disciple, when fully trained, will be like the master. 
It’s why Paul says, “Train yourself unto godliness,” because significant human things happen when people train for them, not when we try for them. 
You can’t sit at a piano and play no matter how hard you try in the moment, if you haven’t properly trained to play the piano. You can’t perform a surgery, or run a marathon, or play a sport simply by trying really, really hard if you have not trained for it. 
Training means you orient your life around certain activities that will enable you to do what you can’t do right now.
Training involves orienting your lives around certain activities that will enable you to do, gracefully and effortlessly, what right now you can’t do. 
And generally, for very significant things in life, you can’t simply try really hard to do them. You must enter into a life of training; and this is true in the spiritual life as well. 
Let me give you a few examples of spiritual practices that will train us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
A spiritual practice is something I do with my body. For instance, in solitude I remove my body from the world that tries to squeeze me into its mold – from all of the noise, from the pecking orders and the constant stimulation, so that I can be alone in stillness and listen to God. 
Reading and reflecting on Scripture is a practice. I bring the words of God before my eyes and they guide the thoughts in my mind. 
Worship is a practice. I bring my body into a space where I can lift my voice, where I can lift my hands, and worship God. Worship is a practice. It’s something I can do to take my mind off of my worries and self-interests, and instead, focus my attention on God. 
You see, a spiritual practice is something I do with my body that disrupts the normal flow of thoughts and feelings that otherwise just go on automatically without me even thinking about them or wanting them. And we’re going to do that right now.
Song3 : So will I
You see, the purpose of a practice like worship is I bring my body into a space where I can lift my voice to God, taking my mind off of my worries and self-interests, and focus my attention on God… so that my mind can be renewed and my life can be transformed. So that I begin to live as Jesus would live if he were in my place. 
Being transformed by the renewing of your mind is simply entering into training – wisely arranging your life around the appropriate kinds of practices, and relationships, and experiences that disrupt the automatic flow of thoughts and feelings so that your mind can be renewed and your life can be transformed. 
Let me give you a word of encouragement on this. 
In the olympics there are athletes who started out in their sport scared to death.
The first time you jump off a 10 meter platform into a swimming pool, it doesn’t matter how gifted you are, you’re terrified. 
I’m sure there’s a lot of fear associated with the balance beam when gymnasts start out doing back flips on it. I start to sweat just watching it. 
Here’s the deal. These athletes offer their bodies everyday in practice. They get up everyday to dive off 10 meter platforms and perform balance beam routines. Day after day, month after month, year after year, they practice and finally their minds get renewed and they are able to do effortlessly and gracefully what they could not do in the beginning. 
And here’s the deal about transforming your mind, and this is such good news. I hope you’re encouraged by this – you don’t have to be good at following Jesus to pursue a renewed mind. 
Some of you just feel burdened and weighed down because you feel like you’re not a good follower of Jesus. 
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, stumbled and moaned and moved slowly and fell down all the time. It doesn’t matter. It does not matter. Because God is at work. 
You just keep offering yourself – your life, your body – a living sacrifice. You keep following Jesus. You keep entering into the training as best you can.
The day is going to come when your mind is renewed and your life is transformed. It may take a long time. It doesn’t matter; it’s inevitable.
All who will say, “My ultimate goal is to follow Jesus and live with a renewed mind,” can rest assured that God is at work. It doesn’t make any difference how fast or how slow you go, whether you’re a good follower of Jesus or a bad one. You’ll be transformed if you offer your life, your body, a living sacrifice. It’s going to happen if you keep training. 
So I hope you get it – the call to follow Jesus, is not just a call to try very hard to avoid certain behaviors or sins. It is a call to enter into a life of wise training so that our minds, our inner lives, can be renewed and our lives can be transformed. And it will happen.  
Alright, let me close with this. What’s the most effective way to train in order to transform our minds and our hearts? 
And I want to say, the principle way I know to do this is to learn how to meditate. >>>>>
Paul says in
Whatever things are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy. Let your mind dwell on these things.
> Wouldn’t it be great to have a mind that has streams of thought like that running through it all the time? 
This is what I recommend we do – take one thought from Scripture early in the day and live with it throughout the day. 
Maybe it relates to something you struggle with like fear or anger or lust or a lack of peace. Take one thought from Scripture, and let it stay with you all day long. Let it linger with you. Just keep bringing it back to your mind. 
And what happens is you begin to memorize Scripture. I think memorizing Scripture is one of the most fundamental practices for spiritual transformation. 
It’s not about showing God how many verses I can remember. It’s about getting a renewed mind. 
Take a verse like
I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
You just meditate on those words and let them become part of you. 
Now I realize that for a lot of people, the word “meditate” is a scary word. People wonder, “Isn’t that kind of an Eastern thing? Don’t Buddhists meditate?” 
Dallas Willard says, “Yeah, they do. But they eat breakfast too. It’s still a good idea.” 
Meditating is just, in a sense, a form of positive worry. You just allow that thought to come back to your mind, and come back to your mind. That’s all meditating is. 
You begin to think, “I have set the Lord always before me. Now what would it look like if I were to wake up first thing in the morning and, instead of being overwhelmed by how much I have to do, or worried about something, I knew that God was right there with me. And as I greet people first thing in the day, God is right there. And as I work, maybe something bad happens – someone challenges me, or a project doesn’t go well, or I have financial challenges – but the Lord is at my right hand and, therefore, I’m not shaken.” 
And you picture yourself going through your day “not shaken.” God is there with hope, and love, and peace, and joy. 
And here’s what happens, over time, in your mind. You start to think, “I guess I really do want God. Not just because I’m supposed to try to do right things or believe right things, but I really do want God.” And His Word starts to move from your mind to your heart. And then it starts to move into your will, and you find yourself saying, “I’ve got to have this kind of life. God, whatever you need to do, help me to move toward this kind of life. Whatever I need to do to move toward it, I’ll do it.” And you start to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That really can happen. 
My suggestion is that you take words like these from Psalm 16 and write them down. Put it on a card on your desk. Or in your car. Put it somewhere so you’ll see it. Put it in your bathroom, and depending on how regular you are, you’ll spend a lot of time meditating on it.  Okay, that was bad, sorry.
Let’s learn together how to meditate on Scripture. 
Let’s not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but let’s be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Song 4: peace, my mind