Thinking

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.03.17

Is our thinking shaped by Christ?

 

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

 

Paul corrects their misuse of freedoms

1. Paul is probably quoting their words of defense in vs 12-13 

They were using their freedom from OT dietary law as cover for temple feasts involving prostitutes

v13 implies they were also pointing out that since the body dies, how it is used is unimportant

2. Paul corrects the starting place of their defense

Yes, we have freedoms in Christ, but our rights are never our starting place

God, and how we honor him is always our starting place (v12 what is “helpful”)

When we begin with our freedoms, they will “dominate” us (this includes activities we use for escape)

Whatever doesn’t place God in his rightful place, is trying to take that place

 3. Paul then corrects their view of our physical body

It’s true this body is corrupt and will pass away; but that is only half the story

v14 God raised Jesus’ body and He will raise ours!  God values this body He created

Great Commandment living calls for God to be first in all that we are – all the time

 

Paul brings in the implications of our union with Christ (vs15-20)

He gives 3 you-should-know statements flowing out of our union with Christ

God is always our starting place in life, and Jesus is our starting place with God

 1. You should know that you have been joined to Christ (v15)

This is why the gospel is so powerful and our confidence in it is so great

If you’re a member (part) of Christ, think how obscene it is to take part of Christ into sin

When God is not our starting place, we minimize the great truths we have in the gospel

2. You should know that sex has a covenant purpose (vs16-17)

The world doesn’t start with God, so sex and its implications are only viewed physically. God gave sex to build a unique oneness in marriage. Its effects are more than physical

Just as we become one flesh in marriage, we are now one spirit with the Lord. This makes sexual immorality especially corrupting to us. It abuses what has a spiritual purpose

3. You should know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (vs19-20)

When you engage in sin, you take the Holy Spirit with you

When God is not our starting place, we think that our sin is a personal issue. God says no! 

v19 “you are not your own” – you are responsible for you, but you are not in charge of you

v20 you were bought with a price” – God became flesh, died, and took the wrath we deserved, our debt is great

 

What can we learn from the attitudes in this passage that seem culturally foreign to us?

1. Cultures change, but their foundational motivations don’t

Every culture exalts itself, rather than God; only the church is cross-centered

Keep in mind chapters 1-2, the world’s view of wisdom is upside down

All thinking, attitudes and opinions, no matter how culturally common, must be sifted by Scripture

2. Any defense of sin requires foolish self-deception

We can easily look with distain on the Corinthian’s behavior and defenses

Yet, every sin in your life is just as indefensible (this includes sins of omission)

Every argument you use to minimize your sin is contorted and foolish

3. Paul gives us two unchanging actions of godliness

#1  v19“Flee sexual immorality” (and any other form of sin)

Recognize that sin is dangerous . . we must go in the opposite direction . . with urgency!

#2  v20 “Glorify God in your body”

We don’t “flee” aimlessly!   We have a direction and it’s toward the person of Christ!

To glorify not a vague idea, it’s specific actions of making God far above all

This includes glorifying him “in our body”. So let’s “do” what shows God that he is far above all!

Thoughts About Thinking

 We think all the time.  Even when we use the excuse, “I wasn’t thinking;” the reality is that we were thinking – just not on the things we should have been.  The presence of dreams indicates we are actually thinking, even when we are asleep.  Now that is multi-tasking!

IF we are always thinking, THEN the question of what molds our thoughts is a huge question.  Consider that a large portion of our thoughts just come to us.  There are times throughout our day when we “put our mind” to something; meaning that we have specifically chosen the focus of our thoughts.  This can be concentration on a problem, participating in a conversation, or reading a book.  Yet even in these things, we regularly experience the almost out of body detachment of engaging in those things while we are also thinking about something else.  When I am in the act of preaching, I find that my mind is still engaged in other thoughts:  “Are they bored, they look bored?” . . My mouth is dry, I need a glass of water” . . “Wow, Debbie really looks cute today”  . . Did I just mispronounce that word” and on it goes!

So again we see the enormity of thinking about what makes us think. What drives our thoughts?  We should want to know what drives our concentrated thoughts; AND what is behind our wandering, what-fills-our-mind-while-we-are-singing-to-the-radio thoughts.

As people who are trying to be Well Rooted, we should want God to be both IN our thoughts and DRIVING our thoughts.  But let us be honest with ourselves.  Are we feeding on God or are we starved for God thought?   Do you feed on God’s Word every day?  Where in your day do you give yourself opportunity to process truths from God? 

If we cannot give a clear answer to these questions, we should not be surprised when the influences of the corrupt world around us is what gives birth to our thoughts.  The result will be a lot of thinking that has very little God in them.  This means how we think will not be godly – how could it be?  And neither will our actions be particularly God honoring.

Romans 12:2 has this to say about our thought process: “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.”

We see there is an important connection between not being “conformed” to this world (which is when our life fits into the ungodly actions of our world); and having our mind “renewed” (which is to start thinking by the perspective of God’s heart). 

If you want to make progress in how you think, then start giving your mind better thoughts to chew on.  In addition to reading your Bible EVERY day, start inserting God’s truth from other resources into your life: devotionals, good books, good music, good preaching, and good conversation with committed Christians.  If you feast on godly thoughts, your mental wanderings and your concentrated thinking will all be more in harmony with “the will of God (that) is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Let us fill our mind with good thinking today; thoughts that are inspired by God, and not oursleves.