The Transformed Life Testifies of God
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 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. (Rom 12:1-2)
It is not the mere commitment of our lives to be presented as a living sacrifice, that is sure to be true, for what else is it that can then present the body?
It is always first the state of the heart and mind that makes the commitment before the body follows, the steering of a car cannot be undertaken before the mind determines first to change direction.
So just as last week we considered this passage and determined with a great deal of confidence that we are to be committed in the presentation of our lives as a living sacrifice, we see here that more is implied in the text and that is respecting the presentation of our bodies as holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service.
There are two focal points in the passage and that is firstly our bodies and secondly the holiness of it.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In Luke 22:32 Jesus is speaking to Peter and he says to him;
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
We have here an understanding that there is to be in Peter an expected transformation, a change, a complete turning around of life, a conversion.
When we then read the accounts of his life and transformation in the book of Acts and his epistles, his letters in 1 & 2 Peter, it is impossible not to notice the change in Peter.
Peter had gone from “ready, fire, aim” to a clear spirit filled presentation of logic and understanding of the Gospel, completely led by the spirit of the Lord.
There was indeed a CONVERTED NATURE THAT GOVERENED HIS HEART.
So too it becomes for all people who have turned from unbelief to belief, there is a change that happens from within, a transformation of their lives that cannot but TESTIFY OF GOD.
It is the reason people will ask you of the hope that is in you, they see a transformed life and it is a TESTIMONY OF GOD, why? Because nothing else can completely change the NATURE of an individual other GOD.
Beloved, it’s not only the fact that some serious old habits are done away, but that actual change in attitude and character are made evident, both to you and to those around you.
People had testified through history that everything from alcoholism to anxiety is gone from them, but more than that, they become changed in speech, in care and concern; their priorities change, they go from lusting after money to careing for people.
In short, there is A CONVERTED NATURE THAT GOVERNS THE HEART.
Indeed, more than this, they now have HOPE.
There is now HOPE and joy in knowing that sin is forgiven and heaven is home!
The Bible actually declares you transformed from sinner to saint.
From HEATHEN to Holy.
From peasant to King
Turn to 1 Peter 2:9-10
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
What we see here is a transformed life and it is this transformation that now testifies of God. But I want you to also notice something, though this is actually and physically true of you, you are indeed DECLARED A HOLY NATION, this is the testimony that has been done within you, there is also an exhortation to work to the outside that which has been done on the inside;
1 Pet 2:11
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
So too it is with our passage in Romans
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
There is a definite change that has occurred within us, but as we will see there are those things from which we are to make effort to PRACTICALLY ABSTAIN FROM. Why?
That they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
In other words, that the Transformation of Your Life fully and completely testifies of God.
Beloved your life and manner of living is an open witness to the world of God. A life that continues to indulge the flesh is a life that blasphemes God, a life that is lived HOLY, glorifies God, both now as a witness to the world, and in the day of visitation.
Beloved we are to care for our bodies both physically and spiritually and I can promise you that if you will care for it spiritually the physical part will care for itself.
Turn to 1 Timothy 4:7-8
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
There are many things that prevent us keeping our vessels holy, acceptable unto God and the first is un-godliness.
Let’s consider just one area where a un-godliness actually sins against the body.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In this passage it is clear that sexual immorality, noted here specifically as ‘Fornication’, does both spiritual damage and even physical damage to the body.
Spiritual, because it is a great grief to the holy spirit that dwells within, but physical because the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Paul speaks of Fornication: The word Fornication is deleted from modern Bible versions today and it is removed because it has a specific meaning, and that is simply Sex outside of Marriage. But it can be considered more than this in this passage.
Jesus warned of adultery in the heart and each one of us could easily recognise the evil that takes the heart of over 90% of men and 70% of women, and that is Pornography.
Though this is not the sermon to deal with this issue at length, I want you to understand that the indulgent of Pornography is a form of fornication that “sinneth against his own body” Why? Because your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.
In this sin it is not just the looking, but the acting upon it that sins against the body, and it is an evil that we do to ourselves when we behold evil and are enticed.
My apologies for speaking to you by using an untranslated Greek word, if I am to bring some clarity its worth giving you the English translation of Pornography.
Pornea is the Greek word who’s direct translation into English is the word “evil”.
Graphy, is also the Greek word from where we get the English word Graphics.
Pornography simply means “Evil graphics”
We grieve when we indulge that which fails to present our bodies as a living sacrifice HOLY, because A CONVERTED NATURE NOW GOVERNS OUR HEART.
The transformation that has occurred within us, literally makes us grieve when we do not present our bodies Holy….and it has its manifold effect upon our lives o the point where that Testimony of God is the wrong testimony.
Beloved, present your BODIES HOLY, “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God”
A Conforming Power Presses Our Spirit
2 And be not conformed to this world
It is interesting to note that the Bible rarely gives a command that we already naturally follow. The things we do naturally, the Bible never gives a “thou shalt do”, the things we do not do naturally, we never seem to get any “thou shalt not”.
We only ever seem to get the ‘thou shalt do’s’ for this we don’t naturally do, and “thou shalt nots” for all the things we are bent toward doing.
Paul here tells the Christian to be not conformed to this world, in other words to not be moulded into its shape.
What seems evident is that Christians being shaped into the image of this world is not altogether unexpected, perhaps it is even common, at least common enough to receive a command to the contrary.
James speaks of this as being completely contrary to that which has been done within a Christian.
Turn to (James 3:8-12)
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:8-12)
The Bible plainly teaches that the Christian has indeed been miraculously transformed from within,
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Phil 1:6)
but there seems to be some effort on our part that needs to be made to have that change that has occurred within, to be performed on the outside.
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;… (Heb 12:1-2a)
There are indeed many such texts as this that make it plain to us that the Christian is certainly not without his struggle with sin even though he is saved, and Heaven bound.
Though there is certainly a transformation that has occurred within us, there is yet a pressure from outside to conform us into the image of this world.
There is A conforming power that presses our spirit
There is an effort made against every Christian to cause him to stumble and fall.
Part of that is already within him, as Christians we still have a flesh nature that has its own desires, but in our heart of hearts our desire is to NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, why? Because we have been transformed within.
We no longer have the desire for many of those things we use to desire, they now grieve us, nevertheless there is still an active effort within the world to have you conformed to it.
Turn to (Eph 2:1-5)
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:1-5)
(1 John 2:15-17) says;
15 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. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)
The good news is that while we are charged to make an effort not to be conformed to this world, it is God who has already destined that we WILL be conformed to the IMAGE OF Christ;
Turn to Romans 8:28
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 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 (Rom 8:28-29)
A Transforming Labour Renews Our Mind
: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind
Television wants to conform your mind to its mind. The actors and scripts within are evangelists of “another gospel” and it affects your mind. Every television series or reality tv show preaches “another gospel”, whether you believe it or not, changes occur in the mind and the programmers know it.
Music, has within it preachers that preach to you a message they truly want you to believe, and whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, your mind is being conformed to the ideas you are being preached, and its not ONLY the words, but the nature of the music also.
I used to go to the movies fairly often, there would rarely be a month or even a week that would go by that I did not desire to see a movie on the big screen.
Every single movie has a message within it that is feeding and conforming your minds toward the message the producer wants ingrained and believed, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not.
These words that I am telling you is the testimony of television programmers each and every time you see an advertisement.
It’s the testimony of musicians each time they take a microphone in hand.
It’s the testimony of producers each time they instruct the musical score to effect an emotion.
Friends your minds are being conformed every time you play a game on your “proffered console”
Through all these forms of media, the amusement of your mind is conforming your mind, not renewing it.
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind
Only one of those two efforts are working upon you each and every day, one of them takes no effort whatsoever, it occurs without you even realising it, the other takes effort.
The word A-Musement
Beta / Alpha waves explain again.
A Study on watching TV
A lot of research has been done around TV viewing and children, and Adam Lipson, a neurosurgeon with IGEA Brain & Spine, says
Studies involving adults have tied television watching to Type 2 diabetes, depression, and even crime,” he continues, “Many of the studies report adverse effects with television watching greater than one hour per day,” he says. “There have been EEG studies that demonstrate that television watching converts the brain from beta wave activity to alpha waves, which are associated with a daydreaming state, and a reduced use of critical thinking skills.”
Miles Everett, Ph.D., in his book, How Television Poisons Children’s Minds, points out that we don’t allow our child to talk to strangers, yet through television we allow strangers into the minds and souls of our children everyday. These “strangers”, whose motivations are often monetary, but increasingly moved to transform our ideology, are creating the standards for what is “good” or developmentally appropriate for the developing brains of our children.
More importantly, several investigators (Healy 1990, Pearce 1992, Buzzell 1998, Winn 1985) have drawn attention to the actual act of viewing television as even more insidious and potentially damaging to the brain of the developing child than the actual content of what’s on TV. So what are we doing to our children’s potential by allowing them to watch television? He asks
Beloved, in my own research I found it even worse respecting what bad Music does to the mind compared to “good music” you can look up the “Mozart Effect” online. But another study to consider is a fascinating 1988 work by Richard Lipkin, “Jarring Music Takes Toll on Mice,” Insight, vol. 4, no. 14, April 4, 1988, 58.
Mice with Mozart
Mice with Anthrax
Mice with silence
Turn to (Eph 4:17-24)
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:17-24)
The point is, all of these amusements degrade and damage the mind, but there is a call in the Bible to “renew it”, and the first manner of attending to it is to give up the one (be not conformed to this world) and to take up the other (but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind).
Whatever it is you realise affects your minds negatively, give it up.
Then, work to transform and renew it with….
Well, the best product in the world to transform the Mind is….can anyone guess? The Bible.
It was created by the mind of God to transform and renew the mind of man!
6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
There are indeed many more, Psalm 119 is filled with them.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
You can choose to believe it or not. I chose to believe it and this book transformed the mind of a year 10 drop-out who could not pass and English exam, has never completed a college course or a uni degree, to being permitted by God to preach his infinite Gospel.
Funnily, every time I read 1 Cor 1:27-28, I think of what is see a reflection;
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
A Transformed Life Testifies of God
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Here we have both a private and a public testimony of God through the transformed life.
When a body and life is presented as a living sacrifice to God, when it is found holy in action and deed and it becomes a Testimony of God to both yourself and those around you.
You prove the Bible true for yourself when you take action in each small thing you trust God for.
- Each time you read your bible; you see how your day is different to what it was when you didn’t.
- Each time you spend time with the Lord in Prayer, you witness to yourself that you are comforted by him and settled.
- Each time you abstain from fleshly lusts you prove yet again how the Lord blesses you through the days.
Beloved, I was already a Christian and certainly saved, but I can tell you will all confidence that while I was still walking in the flesh and living still will unrepentant of the “sin that doth so easily beset me” anything that could go wrong did go wrong, as I have said before, Murphys law was my law.
It’s been a long time since I told this story, so it’s worth telling again. This is just one example of daily things that use to go wrong in my life and it was so consistent then, but rarely ever happens today.
And I am sure some of you will relate your own stories.
But not only does your transformed life testify of God to you personally, but also to those around you.
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 5:1-20
I’d like to share with you a transformation in the scriptures that perfectly illustrates how a Transformed Life is A Testimony of God.
1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
There has long been testimonies of possessed people transformed and renewed to a right mind when coming to Christ.
But you don’t need have had such evil encounters to know that the transformation of your life will be evident to ALL THOSE CLOSE TO YOU.
We have witnesses in this Church that can testify to the transformation of life through Christ.
But we also have witnesses in this Church that have experienced their own need to actively “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.”
Let your bodies indeed be holy and acceptable unto God, and watch to see who it will prove the perfect will of God, both to yourself and to those around you.
THE TRANSFORMED LIFE TESTIFIES OF GOD