Saturday, January 13, 2007


Ephesians 4:17, 18

A huge difference between the world and Christians is to be found in the way we think. Paul says the world lives according to the futility of their thinking. In other words, the way people think affects the way they live. Non-Christians live according to the emptiness and futility of their minds. If we return to Romans 12:2 we see what Paul wants from Christians, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” The thinking of the world is unable to discern the will of God. The Christian mind is renewed and able to recognize the will of God. If a person thinks like the world he will continue to act like the world. If a person thinks like a Christian, with the mind of God, then he will live like a Christian.

Paul says the thinking of the world is futile. The word also could be translated “empty.” In other words, the thinking of the world doesn’t really accomplish anything. How does the world think? In our day I think it could be called a “Do What You Want” philosophy. Tolerance of everything is the key. There is no right or wrong. There is no absolute truth. There is no right religion or wrong religion. One of the sure signs of the emptiness and futility of the human mind is the fact that he creates his own gods while denying the existence of his Creator. He knows he needs something but he does not know what that is. He chases after all kinds of things hoping to find peace and satisfaction. He thinks he knows what he needs but the one thing he does not know is that he needs a relationship with God! What does this lead to? Nothing! There is no meaning to life. There is no real significance to anything. There is no morality, no truth, no good or bad. This kind of thinking leads to emptiness.

But why is the thinking of the world futile? In verse 18 Paul says they “are darkened in their understanding.” How did this happen? It is the result of the fall and sin. Paul writes in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Then in 2 Corinthians 4:4 he says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” Without the light of God they cannot see truth even though they pretend to know so much and be so wise. They make broad statements about the existence of God but they do not know him. They laugh at people who believe God created the world but they do not know him. They do not understand truth; neither are they able to do so. They think they know so much but they are deceived, says Paul, because their understanding is darkened.

About ten years ago I visited Mount Rushmore with my family. We pulled into the campground at night and all night I was looking forward to seeing the famous sculpture. Of course I had seen many pictures of it and I had a perfect idea of it in my mind but I had never laid eyes on it in person. The morning came but it was very foggy. A heavy blanket of fog covered the valley beneath the monument. We drove up to the viewing area where there were many people waiting. I had no idea where to look. I squinted my eyes trying to pierce the fog. All the people around me were pointing in different directions and saying things like, “It’s that way!” “No! It’s over there!” “It’s higher than that!” It was no use. I couldn’t see Mt. Rushmore no matter how hard I tried. Finally, after a couple of hours, the fog burned off and there it was in all its glory!

Why couldn’t I see Mt. Rushmore? Was there something wrong with my eyes? Was I too stupid to see it? Was I doing something wrong? Didn’t I try hard enough? No! There was nothing I could do! There was a fog at the foot of the mountain and no matter what I did I could not see the monument! My vision was darkened by the fog. And so it is with the world. No matter how brilliant a person might be, he cannot see truth because his understanding is darkened! All of his ideas and thoughts are futile, not because he is stupid, but because his mind is darkened! The fog has to be lifted! There has to be new light! That is what God has done for us Christians. He has shined the light of the gospel on us, the light that drives away the fog that darkens our understanding. Paul said it in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

God has revealed himself to us. He has recreated us and given us new minds. He has given us faith. Through his Holy Spirit he has given us the ability to discern his plan and his purpose. Paul is telling us that our thinking is not to be empty, vain, and futile. We are to think like Christians! We are to have the mind of God. Paul says this same thing in Romans 8:5-8, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.” There it is! In order to think like a Christian we set our minds on what the Holy Spirit desires. When we have the mind of the Spirit then we will live the life of the Spirit!


At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the mysetry here. There is so much to explore spiritually!
What does a mind set on God think like? really? (Without getting legalistic or judg-ie)
"The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" points us to the face of Christ.
The face of Christ- the one and only face of Christ is only in one place- right now-the place where our eyes can't look but our souls can see.
That is how a mind set on Christ thinks- it thinks before the face of Christ. This moment- now- before His face.

Thanks for the sermon Honey! It was well-preached!

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

You're right, Anne. The question we must answer next is, "How do we go about thinking Christianly?" It's easy to make statements like these; it's harder to explain how one goes about doing it!

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne hit the nail on the head. Boy does it take discipline to hold every thought captive to Christ. That "d" word.


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