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Lesson 11: Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts *

Introduction: "Garbage in garbage out," is what people say in the computing world. Is that statement also true when it comes to our minds? The entertainment world rates what is acceptable to come into our mind based on our age. The idea being that age makes a difference; older minds are less susceptible to bad influences. Is that true? Frankly, I think garbage in garbage out applies at any age because people of all ages are influenced by those around them. Ask yourself, do you use expressions that your friends use? I have an old friend who refers to a small detail as a "featurette." Because of him, my wife and I refer to "featurette" from time to time. Let's plunge into our study and find out what the Bible teaches about our minds!

  1. Temple Worship

    1. Read Romans 12:1-2. Do you recall that two weeks ago we learned ( 1 Corinthians 3:16)that our body is a temple in which the Holy Spirit lives? What does Romans 12 say about our body? (That it is a living sacrifice.)

      1. When I think of "sacrifice" I think of something being burned up or given up. What kind of body sacrifice do you think is meant here? (If I let someone else live in my home, I would say that I had sacrificed my home. The idea is that we give up our body to God.)

      2. Notice that this is called a "spiritual act of worship." How is this worship? (When we worship, we give glory to God. The idea is that by devoting our bodies to God we give glory to Him.)

      3. What specific part of the body is mentioned? (The mind.)

        1. Why is this part mentioned, and not others? (This is the temple idea that we discussed two weeks ago. Knowing God is to have His Holy Spirit live in our mind.)

      4. What is the goal of giving our minds to God? (Transformation. Giving God authority over our mind renews it so that we can be transformed from worldly thinking.)

        1. Is there an age limitation on this? (None are stated!)

      5. What will transformation of our minds do for us? (That we can accurately judge God's will for us.)

        1. What does this suggest about not having the Holy Spirit renew our minds? (That we cannot tell God's will.)

    2. Let's test this idea that the Holy Spirit brings a change in our mind which helps us to know God's will. When it comes to sin, are you sometimes uncertain? Do you have this internal debate over whether something is sinful, only a bad idea, or something that doesn't matter?

      1. Have you ever been in a church meeting, or studying the Bible, or somehow involved in something in which the Holy Spirit is likely present in power, and you suddenly have a firm conviction about your prior debate over sin?

        1. Does that firm conviction go away when you are back in the presence of the temptation?

      2. These questions reflect what happens to me. If you have the same experience, I think we can begin to see how important it is to offer our minds (our temple) to God so we can have this transformation to better know His will.

  2. The Offer

    1. That still leaves us with the question of how this offer to sacrifice our mind works as a practical matter. At a minimum, it seems that we regularly need to invite the Holy Spirit to lead our thinking so that we can make good judgments about sin. What else can it mean?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1. What does it mean that the people all were "under the cloud" and "passed through the sea?" (They all followed God's direction as to where to go, and they all benefitted from God's protection. They were part of a "God group.")

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 10:2. What does it mean to be "baptized into Moses?" (I think it means they were devoted to Moses. Moses led them through the sea (Exodus 14). He spoke with God in the cloud ( Exodus 34:29). He was the link between the people and God.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:3-4. How was their food and drink "spiritual?" (It was provided by God. Manna came supernaturally (Exodus 16), as did water out of a rock (Exodus 17).)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:5. What point is Paul making with "nevertheless?" (These experiences with God and His people did not bring them into harmony with God. They were not the "offer" of the mind.)

      1. What application of these verses would you make to your life? (Going along with God's people, having a Godly leader, eating and drinking the right things, are not the formula for pleasing God. They are not the offer.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 10:6. What is the formula for pleasing God? (Setting our hearts/minds on God and not setting them on evil things.)

      1. When Paul refers to this being an "example" what does he mean? (The lesson is for us!)

      2. Considering what we just read, what is and is not important when it comes to offering our "living sacrifice?" (You can cover yourself with externals - the church, your actions, your diet, but that is not what matters most to God. What matters to God is the focus of our hearts and minds.)

    7. Let's drill down a bit here, because we want to be sure that we get this right. Read 1 Corinthians 10:7. What is the first evil on which these people set their hearts? (Not trusting God. They created a golden calf and attributed God's power to it.(Exodus 32).)

      1. Earlier we noted that "following God's direction" was not one of the important things. How would you distinguish that from this? (The people followed the general direction of the cloud, as opposed to relying on God. If you really thought that the great God of Heaven was leading your path, why would you worship something you made?)

    8. Read 1 Corinthians 10:8. How does sexual immorality fit in the "sacrifice" list? (It doesn't seem to fit. Up to this point, we seemed to be distinguishing between our works and our faith.)

      1. Let's explore the underlying story. Read Numbers 25:1-3. What is at the heart of this sin? (Idolatry was the root of the problem.)

      2. However, we cannot ignore that Paul specifically mentions sexual sins. Are sexual sins in a special category? (Read 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Paul tells us that sexual sins are in a special category because they are an attack on the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.)

    9. Let's draw a finer line. Read Mark 7:20-23. How does Jesus explain the distinction between works and faith when it comes to offering our hearts/minds as a sacrifice to God? (Paul and Jesus make the same point. Following the cloud, having Moses for your leader, eating and drinking right are all external things. Our external works matter for one very important reason, they reflect what is going on in our mind.)

    10. Read 1 Corinthians 10:9-10. The reference to "snakes" is to Numbers 21 where the people "spoke against God." The problem here is grumbling and complaining about God. Is that attitude consistent with sacrificing our mind to God? (Yes and no. No, because Paul warns us of this attitude. But, complaining to God is still putting God on the throne as the One who is in charge and can change things. I think God considers complaining to Him superior to idolatry - where we ignore God. If you doubt this, think about the story of Job.)

  3. Practical Advice

    1. Let's skip down a few verses and read 1 Corinthians 10:18-20. What is the problem here? (Participating with demons.)

      1. We don't have demon sacrifices in my neighborhood. Is this still relevant advice?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:21. Can we have one foot in God's camp and one foot in the devil's camp? (No.)

      1. What would it mean to "drink the cup of demons" today? (Satan offers our minds many things so that we can participate with him. An important part of offering our minds to God is to avoid drinking from the cup of Satan. I think we drink from Satan's cup whenever we take into our minds his approach to life - regardless of our age.)

    3. Friend, are you offering your mind to Jesus? Or, are you drinking in the entertainment and philosophy of Satan? The battle is over the mind. Ask yourself if you spend more time drinking from the fountain of the Holy Spirit or the fountain of sin? Why not determine today to set your mind on what the Holy Spirit desires?

  4. Next week: Reformation: Healing Broken Relationships.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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