Community Group Study Notes
- Interact with this statement: A mind fixed on him is where the new self begins. Based on what you heard in Sunday’s message, what does this mean?
- What is the importance of meditating on the revelation of Scripture? What does this mean and what does it look like in your life?
- What is one action step you can take with what you heard in Sunday’s message?
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22, 24)
So through the course of my ministry time frame, I have been asked a lot of questions. It's part of what I do. Occasionally, I get stopped in the atrium, people send emails, all that kind of stuff. "Pastor, I've got a question." If I heard that phrase ... once I've heard it a million times, "Pastor, I've got a question." Well, some of the questions that people ask are a bit academic or theoretical. I'm semi-interested in some of those, but not so much interested in those. Those are more along the lines of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and those kinds of things, and I'm like, "I don't know. Who cares?"
So sometimes they're that way. They don't really have a whole lot in the way of personal connection and it seems that they don't matter that much. But it may be an interesting academic or theoretical exercise. But there's other questions that people ask that have some gravity to them. When they say, "Can I really know that when I die I'd go to heaven?" They're asking a question … gravity at that point. Or maybe they're asking questions like, "Are you sure like all my sins are forgiven? Like all of them?"
They're asking questions that there are some gravity to them. But if there's one of those types of questions that I think maybe that I have been asked more than any other question, maybe not phrased the exact same way every time, it would probably be something like this when it comes to a believer asking a question. How do I do this? How do I live this thing we call the Christian life? How do I go about this? I get that question more than probably any other question and it's coming from a variety of different angles, but fundamentally it's, "How do I do this?" It's almost this way. They're asking, "Is there a school for this? Is there a class for this? Is there a curriculum for this?"
Well, I suppose there is. Contrary to what you might think, I actually think that there probably is a school, a class, a curriculum. We'll see it shortly. But I want to call your attention to an article that I was reading. It's from the April 2016 edition of The Guardian. It was talking about a school that is in the Jiangsu Province in China, it's right at Shanghai area. Those of you who are Chinese friends here, you will know that geography and I may not have pronounced it awesomely. This school was talked about globally actually. It's a very well to do school. The parents that send them are people with some means and it's a foreign language school. They're in China and it's really well regarded.
But what happened at the school, the reason that it got so much attention is because over the course of a reasonably short period of time, about 500 or more, they said maybe upward to 600 students at that school, began falling ill and showing a variety of different symptoms; everything from skin rashes to skin peeling to nosebleeds to nausea to even lymphoma and leukemia. It was all happening in this school. So they were trying to figure out exactly what was going on and what was wrong. Here was the issue: the school was built on a toxic garbage dump. As a result, there were toxins in the soil and there were toxins in the air that were, in some cases, in some of the toxins … listen to this … 100,000 times above levels that are considered safe in some of those toxins. It was starting to affect all of the kids that were in the school because they were going to school on a toxic garbage dump.
In fact, when the story was brought up, the comparisons as you know were made to 1978 Love Canal here in our area because that was one of the most widely known environmental hazard types of stories in the United States for so many years. It's the standard of environmental hazard to which everything else has been compared. This was another one of those from a global perspective. They were saying it's like this. It's a high-end kind of environmental and personal disaster. What was troubling is that the kids that are just going to the school, they didn't realize that they were going to school on a toxic garbage dump and then all of these illnesses are happening to them and it's just an awful thing.
Now, if I'm a parent of any of these kids at this moment, here's what I'm doing. I am pulling their rear ends out of that school as fast as I can get them. I am taking them home. I'm taking every article of clothing that they have ever worn to that school. I am finding a place where I can pour gasoline on that and set it on fire and I am done. Like it is new school time and it is new clothes time. Any parent do the same thing as me?
All right, good. Some of you are going, "Nah." If you didn't raise your hand, I don't know what's going on, because maybe you're not a parent, so that's okay. I tell you that because when we're going to look at what Paul is saying to the church at Ephesus First, and then what he is saying to the church at Colossae Second, what we're going to find is that when Paul is talking to these new Ephesian believers, because that's really what they are, these believers in Christ in Ephesus that Paul is writing to are new believers. What he's trying to help them understand is that the school that they're coming from in their former way of life was built on a spiritually toxic garbage dump, that this is actually where they have come from and he's reminding them of that very fact, that the school from which they left in their old way of life, it was toxic.
In fact, he describes it this way. It's in Ephesians Chapter Number Four and here's what it says: "So I tell you this and I insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their …" what?
The futility of their thinking. Here's why. Because here's what the futility of their thinking gets them. They are darkened in their understanding. They're separated from the life of God because of the what?
"Ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts that came by way of the futility of their thinking. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they're full of greed." This isn't a good particular description of what life outside of Jesus Christ is all about. I mean it's an accurate description, but it's not a good one. He's basically saying that a spiritual life built outside of life in Jesus Christ is a toxic dump. That, in effect, is what he's saying, "This is the school that you came from." But then he says something unique right after that in sticking in that passage of scripture after we finish in verse number 19, looking in verse number 20 and 21.
It says this. Paul says, "That, however," young believer in Ephesus, "That is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus." In other words, here's what Paul is saying: you've left a toxic school and you are entering into a new school. This is a brand new education for you, how you're going to be taught here, this is all new. This is not what this was, this toxic garbage dump school that you came from. This is a brand new thing all together, but the school is really unique because the curriculum is unique.
What you don't do in this school is you don't just study a subject. You study a person. The person is the teacher. This is a unique school. It's different. When we go to school, we go to school and we study various subjects. But when you go to school now, this kind of new way of living in the school of Jesus, you are studying not just a subject in general, but you're studying a person. That person is the one who teaches at the school. Now you can see it even in the text itself right here. Watch. "That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught …" what? "In him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus."
You see, what we find out right away in this text is that Jesus himself is the content of the curriculum for the school, the person of Jesus. This isn't just a study in subjects of theology or the way the world works. This is actually about the person of Jesus. It is about being in him in Christ. What Paul reminds them of is that they've come from this toxic way of living and they are moving into this new school in terms of how they're supposed to live with the teacher Jesus whom they are studying, that he himself is the content for this new way of living, and then he gives them some practical instruction about what he has taught them already.
Here's what he says in verse number 22 as we keep following along in the text. He says, "You were taught," as new believers, "with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires." To put off your old self. Now, for us, we look at that passage of scripture and we say, "Okay, if we're talking about what it means to actually live the Christian life, this big question that gets asked all the time, 'How do I do this? How do I actually do this?'" I've left this old school that I was in built on a spiritual toxic dump, and now I'm in this new school of Jesus studying a brand new subject who is actually a person and the content of my curriculum is him.
So what I'm supposed to do now, Paul says, is that in regard to your former way of life, you are to put off your old self. What's he saying there? Well, I guess we have to ask the question is, "What is our old self?" That's what we're trying to work through. What are we talking about when we say our old self so that I know what I'm supposed to put off. Well, when Paul writes to Ephesus and when he writes to Colossae, they are, in many ways, compatible. There are some different subjects in both of those letters for sure, but there are many things in those letters that actually fuse together and you can read how Paul address Ephesus and you can sometimes see what he's saying when he's writing to Colossae, and you can go, "Oh, okay, I see what he's saying." Or he says this. He uses even more description here to talk about what he was talking about here to talk about what he was talking about here.
When he talks about this idea of the old self, listen to what he says in the Book of Colossians Chapter Three. Paul says, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature," sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of this, 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 your selves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices.
So what Paul is describing here when he talks about the idea of the old self in the Book of Ephesians, he gives us a little more clarity in the Book of Colossians, because he's basically talking about the attitudes, the habits, and the actions that we had when we were living in the toxic school that we came from. That's what he's saying. That's your old self. The attitudes, the actions and the habits of what you did by the way naturally growing up on a spiritual toxic garbage dump, that is your old self.
So what does he say that we're supposed to do with our old self? He says, "Put it off." That's what the text itself says, that we are to put off the old self. Now, do you know what the word put off, when you read it in the Greek language, here is the image that is conveying in the Greek language. When you hear that phrase "put off," it basically means changing clothes. That's the idea. That you are taking off these soiled, dirty, toxic garments and you are looking to get rid of them. Like I was saying earlier, I would have taken those off of my kid if he was in that particular school and I would have gone and found a place where I can burn those things. It's about being done with those old garments. We are finished with those and Paul says, "Put them off."
But here's the thing. That's not enough. You see, when we talk about how we live this Christian life, the idea of putting off our old self is actually not enough because where does that leave you? If you take off all your dirty and your gross stuff and you throw it away, you got no clothes on. That's not really … The end goal is not just to put off our old self, but it is the beginning part. Much the same as one commentator say, much the same as if you rescue a drowning woman. The reason, when you rescue the drowning woman, the reason that you are squeezing her lungs is not just to get the water out of the lungs. That's the first step. What you're trying to do is get air in them. That's really your goal. It's not just getting the water out. You have to do that. But you're trying to get air in them.
In the same way, when we are told to put off our old self, it's not just an end in itself because it leaves us naked. So, Paul tells us to do something in addition to that that we can see in verses 22 and 24. Notice what he says, Ephesians 4:22&24: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Now, here's what's going on. You're starting to figure this thing out. We're talking about what this actually look like, to live this Christian life. What does it actually look like to transfer schools from the toxic garbage dump that we were going to with all of the stuff associated with that, and to take off all of our clothes and leave all of that stuff behind and we go into this new school and this new way of living where Jesus is the curriculum. He is the content. He is the one that we are studying. He is the teacher.
You're starting to figure it out. Now, because Paul says, "Put off the old self and do …" what? Put on the new self. So for some of you, maybe here's what's happening in your head right now. You're thinking, "Hey, there's a light bulb going off. I'm getting it out, Jerry. I've got to put off so I can put on." I've got to put things off so I can put things on. Now listen, before you get ahead of yourself and you think that maybe you've got a light bulb coming on, I want to pause you there for just a moment because you're probably mostly right. But there, the portion that you might be wrong on will be the single portion that will make you the most frustrated in Christian living.
You say, "Wait a minute, Jerry. Isn't this what he's saying? Put it off so you can put it on. Put off the old self so you put on the new self." Yes, that's exactly right. You're saying, "Okay, I get that. I get it. I'm kind of mean. I've got to put that off and be more loving." Or, "I lie a little too much. I got to put that off and I got to tell the truth." Sure. I mean all of those things would be fair enough when we start working through these kinds of things. You could think of other examples. "I'm angry too much. I got to put that off and I got to put on patience." Yes, yes, to answer that question, but here's the problem. So many people in the Christian life, in trying to figure out how do I do this thing, actually end up in the wrong spot here, right here at this moment.
You've gotten this part right where Paul says put it off so you can put it on, and you say, "Okay, I'm kind of angry, so I need to be more patient. I'm kind of mean, so I need to be more loving." How do you endeavor to go about doing that? How's that worked out for you so far? You see, this is where the frustration comes in. Because in our minds, what we do is we mess this all up. Here's what we do. We get this part right. Here's the part we get right. I was on the toxic dump spiritually. My old way of living, all the things that I did, all of that stuff, but Jesus found me and he lifted me up. He took me from the mire and the muck and he set my feet upon a rock and he gave me a firm place to stand and he put a new song in my mouth. Jesus changed my life. He forgave my sin. He rescued me. He set me free. He delivered me and it thank God for that. I know he's done that in my heart.
So we're there. We get that part right. Then we think we have to do the rest all by ourselves. This is what he's done and now that I'm in the new school, I've got to put on all of these things now. Good luck with that. I'll tell you why that's impossible. Because of what we just read in the verse of scripture that we mentioned. I want to show it to you again. It's in verse number 24. "Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." So do you know what that phrase says to me? That the new self, listen to this, is created not by us but by God. The new self is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Can you do that yourself?
You can't do that. This is why you get so frustrated. This is why this Christian life that we talked about, this walk in this new school of Jesus, this is why we get so frustrated. Because we said, "Hey, we've been rescued, we've been freed, we've been all that stuff, and now I've got to put on the new self," and you're trying to construct it. You can't do that. It's created to be like God in true holiness and true righteousness. That is beyond your pay grade. Only God can do that. So we have to ask the question now, as we work through this we're asking the question to that, Listen, I'm just slowing down and teaching today, okay. I'm slowing you down and I am just trying to teach you some things that will help you and what it means to actually walk with Jesus and follow Jesus.
I'm going to get practical real soon, but I want us to understand what we're saying that's why I jumped up here a little earlier in the time that I normally did, because I wanted to slow myself down and slow you down, and I want us to learn what we're talking about here. We can't make the new self. So if Paul tells us that we are to put off the old self and we are to put on the new self, but the new self is not something we can make, it's something that God has created but he still asks us to put it on, then how do we do that? That's what you're asking. Isn't that what you're asking? Yeah. How do we do that?
Well, here's the key. The key is actually found … I read to you just a moment ago, Ephesians 4:22 and verse 24, and the key is found right in between them. Let's look at it as a whole. Verse 22, it says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires," here it is, "to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and then to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." To be made new in the attitude of your minds, this is the key. This is the key for how, when we come into the new school that we are in, that we now have the opportunity to take something that God has actually made for us this new self and we can put it on by being renewed in the attitude of our minds. You say, "Okay, Jerry, I'm following you. That sounds good, but I'm still not absolutely sure what you mean when you say that." Okay. I'm going to give you a phrase in just a moment that I'm going to … That maybe is easier for you to remember. But I want to remind you something kind of on of a technical nature in that verse that we just read where it talks about a mind that you're to be renewed.
That's actually in the Greek language. It's in the passive voice. Here's why that matters. Not that you care, but here's why that matters. It's in the passive voice because it's reminding us that we can't be made new ourselves. In other words, we're not doing this all by ourselves. This is in the passive voice. It is actually being done to us. That we are cooperating with God in the process of a renewal of our mind. We're not all by ourselves. We don't leave this school, come to this new school and say it's all on us. We can't do that. We can't put on a new self. God is the one who created it in true righteousness and holiness, created to be like God this new self. We can't do that. God does that.
But what we can be is we can be renewed in the attitude of our mind. Because it's in the passive voice, it reminds us this is something that God is doing to us and that we are yielding ourselves to him so that our mind becomes renewed, and in that moment, listen to this, in that moment God is putting the new self onto us as we are renewed in the attitude of our mind. So, here's exactly what Paul is not saying. When he talks about leaving and putting it off the old self and putting on the new self, let me tell you precisely what Paul is not saying. He's not saying this new school that you're in is a moral self-improvement course. He's explicitly not saying that. Because for so many people, they think the Christian life is nothing more than a moral, basically a moral self-improvement course.
You can get character training in a lot of places. They do it in businesses that don't really care about Jesus all the time. They tell you, you should have integrity. They tell you … of course, they're borrowing all these things from a Judeo-Christian background and things that God has already shown about himself and that Jesus has demonstrated in his life, but they don't need to be believers. They're talking about here's how you should live. These are morals. Well, that's no different than the rest of the world if we think that the Christian life is just a moral self-improvement course. Do you know what that is? Listen to this. That's called a legalistic way of trying to approach God and it doesn't work. It doesn't work.
You'll find yourself frustrated to no end. Why? Because you can't create those things. You can't … If you say, "You know what, man, I'm kind of mean. I need to be more loving." How do you suppose you're going to do that? Are you just going to go, "Ugh." You're just going to squeeze that love out of yourself. I just got to, "Ummm, if I could just give it out." You can't do that. You can't make it. God, listen to this, God is the manufacturer. You're just the distributor. God is the one who creates these things. You can't. You're not in the manufacturing business. You don't have that capacity. Only God can do that, but he'll do that in the renewal of our mind. He will take what he's created, this new self for us, and he will shower us in this new self through the renewal of the attitudes of our mind.
So let me tell you simply what I'm saying. A mind fixed on him is where the new self begins. I'm making this really simple for us. A mind fixed on him is where the new self begins. Now, the good news for us is that when we ask the question, like, "How do we do that? How do we fix our minds on Christ?" Because if we fix our minds on Christ, we can be promised that the renewal of our mind happens and the new self begins to form in us because we can't form it in ourselves, only God can do that. God is doing that to us. But we have to put ourselves in a position of cooperating with God by surrendering our self and intentionally, directionally placing our mind on him.
So how do we do that? Well, the good news is, is that Paul in Ephesians gives us all of this instruction, and then in Colossians talks to us more practically about how we do that. Here's the first thing that I would tell you. The first thing I would tell you is that you have to meditate on the revelation of scripture. This is the first way that we renew our minds. You meditate on the revelation of scripture. Look in Colossians Chapter Three. Here's what it says in verse number one: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God."
Now, let me pause you there for just a moment. You say, "Well, what does that have to do with meditating on scripture?" This: The only way you know how to actually fix your eyes and to ponder the things of Jesus is because the spirit of God has revealed them to us in his word. You see, sometimes people just throw out these random thoughts and they mean well and they just happen in our community. I'm not talking about the church, but just in the community. They'll just say, "Boy, you should just really think about God." That's really random. That's super generic. There's no specificity associated with that. So, what's that person supposed to think then about God?
If we tell them, "You should just think about God." What God are they thinking about? Are they thinking about the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ and all of the truths that's associated with that? Because the only way that they would be able to think about that is if they are meditating on the word of God that the Spirit of God has initiated so that we might have a revelation of who God is. You cannot think about God rightly unless you meditate on the revelation of scripture that the Holy Spirit has given to us. It is the only way to think about rightly.
So, if we're going to set our hearts on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, what's he doing at the right hand of God? Some of you are going, "I don't know, read the Bible. Read Hebrews. It'll tell you what he's doing." That he ever lives to intercede for those that are his; that he is presently ministering. Even in this context, seated at the right hand of the throne of God, that he is the center point of the universe and that in him and by him and for him and through him are all things and all things have been created and he is Lord over everything.
You start to understand all of that when you meditate on scripture, when you see the revelation of who he is. The only way we begin to have, listen to this, the only way we begin to have a mind that is renewed and therefore are putting on the new self is when we surrender ourselves to the leadership of the spirit through his word to us about the nature of who the God is that we're thinking about, the nature of the God that we're meditating on. It's the only way to be able to do that.
Let me give you a second idea here. We can make our minds new if we think on the eternal rather than the temporary. This is also a way for us to put on the new self, that when we yield ourselves and we meditate and think on the eternal rather than the temporary. Paul goes on to say in the next verse in Colossians 3:2&3, he says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." In other words, he's saying you left the old self on the toxic garbage dump, man. You've been transferred from this kingdom of toxicity to this kingdom of eternal fresh air where you now know Jesus.
So what I want you to do is I want you to set your minds on things above, things that are eternal because he says, "You died and your life," listen to this, "Your life is hidden in Christ, in God." God, Christ, eternal, our life is built for eternity. This is who we are. This is what we're built for. This is what we're designed for, eternal things. So he says, "I don't want you just focusing on earthly things. I want you to set your mind on things above on eternal things." Because when we set our mind on eternal things, it actually begins to change the way we live. The new self begins to fill who we are. Our minds are being made new because we are setting our minds on things above.
So I was reminded, there is this lady named Florence Chadwick. In the 1950s, she was a really decorate swimmer. Some of you may have heard of her. She was the first woman to swim across the English Channel. She was also the first woman to swim across the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to the Coast of California. When she was first endeavoring on her first trip to try and swim the Catalina Channel, the day that she was making an effort to do that was a very chilly day and a super foggy day, like super foggy. She's going to swim from Catalina to the coastline of California, 26 miles. I don't know if you've ever been swimming, I don't know if you've ever tried swimming any distance. Swimming a mile is forever, right?
Like you swim forever and you're like, "How far have I've gone?" "40 feet." "Okay, yeah, I'm going to drown. Not good." 26 miles? She's swimming the equivalent of running a marathon. That's ridiculous, but she's really good. So she gets in the water and she starts swimming. It's a super chilly day, super foggy day. She's got a boat out to the side that's tracking her progress a bit and she swims for, listen to this, 15 hours this woman is swimming. 15 hours. I'm trying to think of what I can do in 15 hours. Breathe. That's like my accomplishment. I breathed for 15 hours today. She can swim for 15 hours. Problem was everything was breaking down for her. Mentally she's exhausted. Her body is exhausted. They're screaming at her from the boat, "You can do it. You can do it."
She's looking up, all she sees is fog and she finally bails. She just has to get in the boat. When she gets in the boat, she finds out she is a half mile from the shore, a half mile from home. When they interviewed her afterwards, they asked her about that and she said, "You know what, if I could have just seen the shore, I could have pushed through and I could have gotten there. It was really foggy and I couldn't see. If I could have just seen the shore, I could have gotten there."
You see, folks, listen, Jesus is our shore. I realized that some days are hard and foggy and cold, but when we set our mind on things above, when we set our mind, our destination is Jesus himself, the teacher of this new school, the one that we love and study, the one who gives us our new mind and our new self, he is our destination and when we can see him, we can keep making decisions consistent with eternity and not just have to set our mind on the things that we see right around us.
You know what was interesting is that Florence Chadwick, she failed in her first attempt on the Catalina Channel. Second time she scheduled to go out, because you can't ever … You don't ever know the weather for sure and you have to schedule weeks and weeks in advance and prepare and train and all that stuff. The next time she tried it, same kind of day, foggy, chilly, but you know what, she was 15 hours into this thing and you know what she said? She said, "I held on to the mental image of the shore when our boat finally was able to see it the first time when I failed and I knew where I was headed. And I didn't stop because I knew where I was going."
You see, for us, if we can set our mind on Jesus, on things eternal rather than things temporary, it changes everything for us. I mean how would we live differently? Even though it's foggy sometimes in life, but how would it look differently if we were processing things from an eternal perspective? In other words, if we had an eternal perspective on our relationships, we would laugh and forgive and love and serve recklessly, fearlessly. If we had an eternal perspective on our stuff, on our money, we would get to a place where we would stop letting money be the boss of us. Did you hear that?
You know Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. You can't. You can't serve God and money. Here's what that means. You have no right to be passive with your stuff. You need to be active. Sometimes when I'm talking to young pastors who are asking questions about life and ministry and experience and all that stuff, I'll talk to him about this area of their life and I'll say to them this, "You better tell your money what to do or it will tell you what to do." You tell it what to do. Here's why. I am the boss of you. You serve me because I serve him. He is the master that I serve and we've got to take an eternal perspective that says, "Money, you serve me because I serve him. I don't serve you. I've got one master." You got to choose.
An eternal perspective will allow you to start making decisions consistent with eternity instead of consistent with just temporary. What if we had an eternal perspective on the idea of success, and instead of being consumed with upward mobility and with all that we can accumulate and with all that we can be recognized for, instead we would recognize that success only happens when things eternal happen in the lives of people and we would set ourselves to seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these other things will be added to us as well. This is about setting our minds on the eternal rather than the temporary.
But let me give you a last thing here, real practical. Our minds are only going to be made new if we meditate on the revelation of scripture, if we think on the eternal rather than the temporary and we believe that Jesus is our life. This is the only way we're going to actually be made new. We've got to believe that Jesus is our life. Listen to what Paul goes on to say in Colossians Chapter Three. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. When Christ who is your life … Here's the question, listen carefully. Do you really believe that? You don't have to answer out loud. I mean I'm talking about in the heart of hearts where you are, do you really believe that he is your life? Not just a part of your life, you know what, I need to make God a part of my life. He's not asking to be a part of your life. He is your life.
You don't have life outside of him. You live in a spiritual garbage dump outside of him. Everything is toxic outside of him. You don't even know what the oxygen of the Kingdom of God even breathes in like unless it's Jesus giving it to you. He is your life. You don't experience life outside of him. We've got to believe that with all that we are. Here's why. If you don't … Listen to this, if you're not concerned about the new self being put on, like for you, you are all about, man, you know what, I'm going to give my life to Jesus and for you it's like a fire insurance plan. I'm trying to stay out of hell. Listen to this, your life in Christ. It's up for debate. It's up for debate in your life as to whether you've really been transformed, really been made new if you're not interested in the new self being formed in you.
Because for you, listen to this, salvation for people like that is basically like winning a trip to Bora Bora. You're just concerned about the destination. You're not concerned about the type of person headed to the destination, and here's the problem. You're in a new school and the reason you're in that school is to graduate. That's why you're in it. You're not going there to just bounce around and do nothing. You're there to graduate. You are being prepared for what life in the Kingdom of God is going to be like forever. This is what the new self foes. This is why it matters so much to us.
So, the beautiful thing is, is that you know what graduation from this school looks like? Jesus. We become like him. We're made like him. We're ever being formed into his image and then there's going to come a time when Christ who is our life appears and we will appear with him, listen to this, in glory. We'll appear with him in glory. It will be the glory of God demonstrated over our lives that had been made new because of the risen Christ and all that he's done.
But I don't want to live toxic. I want to be made new in the now. Right now. So leave the old school, folks. Burn the clothes. Put it off and put it on, this new self that God has created, because a mind that is fixed on him is where the new self actually begins. Here's what I want us to do. I want you to close your eyes and I want you to set your mind on Jesus, right where you are, this room, East Worship Center, Lockport, Cheektowaga, everybody. Close your eyes and set your mind right now on things above where Christ is. Set your mind on what Jesus has done in bankrupting heaven to come to earth, to live and to die and to rise again so that you and I could be rescued from the toxic dump that was our old way of living.
As you set your mind on that, just thank him. Thank him for what he's done. Ask him even now in your heart to help you set your mind on him daily, hourly, so that through meditating on the revelation of scripture and thinking about things eternal, and recognizing that Jesus alone is our life, that your life would then be made new and you will start putting on the image of Jesus and you'll make decisions that are different than you thought about making because you're fixing your mind on him.