If a decision you make is truly acceptable and God’s will, then it will not contradict what is in the Bible. You don’t have to violate God’s will in order to carry out His will.
Excerpt from the full sermon, “Romans 12:2: Renew Your Mind” preached on 2/03/2019. View here.
I want you to look back up at v. 1. Or no, look at v. 2, I’m sorry. (Romans 12:2) And he talks about the will of God. He says, “…renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is.” Isn’t it true especially when you’re younger: What’s the will of God? What’s the will of God? And you’re not sure and you end up doing something like this with your Bible and putting your finger there. You’ve done it. That’s why you’re laughing. So basically people aren’t really each day so much thinking about the will of God, but when they get to a certain situation where they really need an answer, that’s when they start treating this book almost as though it was magical. Put your finger there. Or looking for counsel. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s wise counsel. But here’s what I want you to see. In our text, if you are constantly renewing your mind in the Word of God; if you’re reading the Word of God from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation, what’s happening? This renewal of the mind is like you’re cultivating the mind of Christ. You are cultivating the mind of God. You are beginning to understand more and more, generally and generally, and then more and more specific who God is, what God desires, so that if you’re a person who is constantly renewing their mind in the Word of God, you are going to know God’s will in so many areas that at this moment it’s kind of blurry for you. I’ll give an example. I remember one of the first times I taught at a Bible school, a young man walked up to me and says, “I have a question, Brother Paul. I’m just confused. I don’t know what God’s will is.” I said, “Okay, what is it?” He goes, “Well, a church has called me to be a pastor.” “Really? Well, that could be wonderful.” I said, “How long have you been a Christian?” “Oh, about fourteen months.” “And what did the professors you talked to here tell you?” “Well, they told me they think I ought to take the church.” I said, “Go back to every one of those professors and tell them that I said – use my name, give them my phone number – that they need to leave this school and not give anybody counsel until they actually read the Bible.” He said, “How can you say that? How can you say that you know it’s not God’s will for me to be the pastor of this church?” I said, “Because in 1 Timothy 3 it says ‘not a new convert.’ You are a new convert. Let’s go down through the rest of these qualifications. Do you have the rest of these qualifications? You only have one: you aspire to be an overseer. That’s good. You lack all the other qualifications. So I can tell you with the authority of God’s Word, no, you should not be a pastor at this moment, and I can also tell those professors they are terribly wrong.” Do you see? I didn’t need something coming down from heaven because I already have a sure word that has come down from heaven. What should I do in the ministry? Well, actually He gives you a whole bunch of commands. If you just follow those, you won’t have time to be thinking about the other stuff. Do you see? The more we renew our mind in the Word of God, the more we will simply understand, find ourselves doing the will of God. Now, I want you to look at something about the will of God that is very important here. He says, “…renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is.” Then he goes on to describe the will of God. “That which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Okay, now “good” here. The word of course can be translated good. It also carries with it the idea of something that is healthy. Something that could be fruitful. Something that benefits, that has integrity, that instills health and strength and vitality. Okay? So, if we’re wondering, is this thing the will of God? Should I do it? Ask yourself the first question: Is it good? Will it contribute to my spiritual health? Will it contribute to spiritual vitality? Will it make me more like Christ? Will it give me strength? If not, you probably don’t need to do it. Next thing. Is it acceptable? And you surely learned this week, we shouldn’t ask ourselves is it acceptable to our culture? Because it’s acceptable to our culture to kill babies. I mean, just… if there’s one thing we know don’t worry about what’s acceptable to this twisted, dark culture. Your question is: is it acceptable to God? Because if it’s not acceptable to God, we don’t need to be doing it. And then, is it perfect? You say, well, there’s not a lot of perfect in this world, Brother Paul. The idea here is “complete.” Let me give you an example. One time, I actually saw almost a revival break out in Eastern Europe with about 70 pastors. They were just on their face, crying out to God, broken over their sin because I had shown them in the Scriptures that it is not biblical to offer up your wife and your children as a sacrifice to your ministry. That they had always been told that, you know, that’s the mark of a man of God. He neglects his wife. He neglects his children. He’s always out there doing the work of an evangelist and pastoring and everything. And I showed them painstakingly in Scripture. And God really moved and broke their hearts. But here’s one of the things that really got them. I said the will of God is perfect. And I said I have already shown you now that the will of God is for you to minister. We saw it in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus. It is the will of God for you to minister. Over here, in the book of Ephesians and Colossians and Deuteronomy 6, I have shown you it is the will of God for you to care for your wife and your children, instruct them in Scripture and be there for them. Now, in Romans 12:2, tells us the will of God is perfect. That means if in order to do this, I have to disobey this, it’s not the will of God. And so if you’re telling me I don’t have time to take care of my wife. I don’t have time for my children. Why? Because I’ve got to do the ministry. You are actually accusing God of having a will that is imperfect. Contradictory. Do you see that? It’s the same way. A young man sees a beautiful girl who is not a Christian, or a beautiful girl sees a young man who is not a Christian and becomes very interested in that young man. And what does she say? It is God’s will for me to evangelize him. Yes, it is God’s will for him to be evangelized. And therefore, I’m going to date him. No, it is not God’s will for you to date him. So you’re trying to carry out God’s will by violating God’s will. If it is truly God’s will, it will be non-contradictory. That’s what systematic theology actually is: teaching a young man how to think in a non- contradictory manner according to the Scriptures. So that’s the will of God. Does it prosper you spiritually? Is it acceptable to God as He has revealed it in His Scriptures? And is it in harmony with all the other commands?