If your neglecting the Scriptures there is no excuse. We must seek to flood our minds with thoughts of Christ and ask the Lord to give us greater understanding of the Bible. Many times we are getting nothing when we are reading because we are not praying, remember James 4:2 “You do not have, because you do not ask.”
Brethren, the battle is in the mind, our thoughts have to be subject to Christ. Our thoughts have to be permeated by the Word of God.
Brethren, you know what Paul has been doing? Think with me! He’s been holding up the Gentile! To your thinking, to your analysis, he put’s it before your thoughts so that you can analyze this and you can look at it and you can say, “Okay, yes, the Gentile is futile.” And then you hear a message like was preached several weeks ago on the futility of the mind; and you begin to look at, “Wow, we were like that! We were futile. Everything we gave our life to, it was utter futility!” And so we begin to think that way. Anytime there is this temptation to go back to the world, go back to the temptations of all this stuff that ensnares, we can think, we can think logically. We can wake up in the morning and think, “I don’t want to waste my life. I need to put on the new man.” You see brethren, we begin to think. This is where the battle is won.
I can guarantee if there are any of you that are claiming to be Christians, and you are floundering around in life, you are not thinking right. You haven’t learned Christ right; you have not thought about Christ right; you have not learned Him right. Something is defective.
Brethren, when you are filling your mind with the Word of God all the time; Thy Word is truth, brethren, we will be sanctified by that truth. Because that truth permeates the mind, it effects the way we think. Look, that truth comes in, and it sets us free because it starts to grip us. And it constrains us, and it drives us in directions that are right, and that God approves of. Brethren, this is it. This is how you put the old off, you stop thinking like you used to think.
Actually, how is the old man driven? By corrupt desires; and rather than being driven by corrupt desires, you begin to be driven by truth. By a mind that really thinks. by a mind that sees things straight.
Brethren, when you begin to size up the fact; we talked about this before. Brethren, there’s a way people live; when they begin to realize, “Wow, my life is short. I only get one shot at this and everything I do here matters. And I am going to stand before Christ one day and be judged for it.” You start letting that truth control you day in and day out. One of the things was brethren, when we were lost, we tried NOT to think about that! We tried not to think about death! We tried not to think about judgment! We tried not to think about the consequences of sin. We tried not to think about hell. We didn’t want to think about it. Brethren, our minds have been enlightened now. We can take truth and we can think, “Wow, you know what, I never found that sin was ultimately gratifying when I was lost. I never found that it ultimately accomplished and gave me what it promised to give me. I never found that it really produced happiness in my life.” What are you going to do now? Are you going to stop thinking that? Are you going to stop thinking about the futility? You see Paul is laying this out so that you can examine this, and you can say, “Yes, that’s exactly how my life was! It was greedy with all its sensuality, and I was hard and I was calloused, and I was alienated from the life of God, and yes, I see it’s all true!” And now you start thinking, “Well, wait a second. Jesus came into this world, and they called His name Jesus because He was going to save me from my sins.” And you start thinking, He came into this world to deliver me from this present evil age. And you start thinking, there is an immeasurable greatness of power in me! And you start thinking, and you know what, if I don’t have holiness in my life, I read somewhere in 2 Timothy, that I am not a fit vessel for the Master’s use. And so if I really want my life to be profitable, there needs to be holiness here. I need to be striving. You begin thinking.
You know, the apostle John puts it this way: We don’t know what we are going to be, but we know this, we know that when we see Him we are going to be as He is. And he says that everybody that has this hope purifies himself. Well now, what is the logic of that? Well, the logic is this. Look, if I believe that He saved me to present me holy and blameness before Him; if I believe that He came into this world to break the power of sin in my life, and to free me up to be zealous of good works; if I believe that there is a day that I am going to have to stand before Him and give an account; if I believe that He is the very image of beauty; if I believe that the very pathway to usefulness in this life; and I am thinking this all the time. I am thinking! I am thinking! We have to think, think.
Brethren, think about what happens in the mind of someone who learns Christ, who hears Christ, who is taught of Christ, what happens? Well, he looks, he contemplates. He thinks, he thinks about what he has learned and he says, “This is really important. This is the most important thing I have ever heard, this is everything! This is truth.” Not just, yes, there are other things in this world that are true, but this is THE truth. I have found something that is the truth. I have found something that is beyond every other thing to be found. I’ll let everything else go rather than to let this go. I’ll sacrifice everything as long as I can have this One I have learned about. The message of Christ, it begins to grip him, it holds him, it captures him. It permeates his thinking.
Brethren, when you wake up in the morning and you think about how precious Christ is, when you think about how beautiful He is, when you think about how, “I want to draw close to Him. I want Him to speak to me today. I want to know of His presence manifestly in my life, I want to feel it, I want to know the joy of it. I want to know the burning of it.” But I realize this, there are things that I can do in my life that can hinder that, that can grieve the Spirit. You see you are thinking, “I don’t want that to happen. I am going to seek to live pure.” And all the time we are being driven from the inside. We are being driven by truth in the inner being. We are being driven by the way we think. Brethren, this is the heart of the matter. This is it. This is why the Scriptures are so absolutely critical to your life. Brethren, I’ll tell you this too. If it is the image of God after the likeness of God that we have been created, if this is true, you wake up and you realize, God saved me, I am a child of God. He begats me and puts His image in me. Can you even imagine what Peter said? We are possessors of the divine nature. That is one of the most staggering, that is staggering! We are possessor of the divine nature?!
Brethren, one of the things we need to permeate our thinking with; if indeed God Himself, if God-likeness, God’s image burned into me, and flowing out in holiness and righteousness, if that is really what the new man is about, then brethren, I need to be controlled by truth like that. I need to come to the Word of God and I need to see God in all of His righteousness, and I need to see God in all of His holiness. I need to see it. God is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.
Brethren, that will not capture your soul if you are not in this Book. And I mean prayerfully, and that makes a difference. You are in the Word, and you are praying it in. God, show me, God teach me, show me Yourself. You begin to let that fear of God rush in and grab hold of you; and God in all of His glory, and you see His holiness.
Brethren, holiness, I’ll tell you this. The theologians, try to explain it, God being holy, there no doubt it contains a reality of purity, of being separate, but you know, everybody struggles with it. And I think the closest way you come to understanding what holiness means, is simply to look at God. It is to take His revealed Word and it is to find out, and I’ll tell you the holiness of God shines probably as brightly as anywhere, right there at the Cross. I mean what in the world? It took God Himself to suffer under the indignation of God Himself. God suffering under God. The holiness of God in absolute utter hatred. He is of pure eyes, than to behold sin, and He cannot behold it, and it must be punished, and He will crush with His damning power where that is! And Christ becomes sin.
I’ll tell you first and foremost the Cross is not about us. It is about God’s holy name. It is about God vindicating His own self! Brethren, we begin to see that, and it jumps out at us, and we see. And how righteous He is; how absolutely perfect, how everything about God is upright, through and through. Everything He does is pristine perfection of righteousness.
And brethren, I wish I could just squeeze all of that out of here right now, but that is not the way it happens. It comes by a lifetime of being in this Word all the time, and studying, and meditating, and coming away, where brethren, if you come away from this Book, and you are not somehow swayed, impacted, influenced, or moved by the truth of it, you are not reading it right.
Brethren, if you are neglecting this book, there is simply no excuse. And I mean, pray it in brethren. It makes a big difference when you pray, when you seek God. Many times we have not because we ask not. One of the things, come to this Book and just plead. Remember, remember brethren, remember! What I emphasized to you about Paul’s prayer, There back in chapter 1, praying that we might have a revelation of Him, we need a revelation of God, we need a revelation of His truth to our soul.