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Sermon #3304

Renewal of the Mind (1)

A Sermon on Romans 12:1-2


Romans 12:1-2 ESV KJV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may …

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Sermon Description

Tackling individual sin in the Christian life is typically how evangelicals think of growth or sanctification. They often believe that by approaching sin in piecemeal manner that they will have overall victory in their lives. The trouble, of course, is once they gain victory over an individual sin there is always another temptation lurking. As a result, the Christian falls right back into besetting sin. Rather than dealing with individual sin in this manner, the apostle Paul calls to something more profound. The doctrine of sanctification is much more comprehensive than this. In this sermon on Romans 12:1–2 titled “Renewal of the Mind (1),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds in this message that sanctification concerns the whole outlook on life. The Christian will view their entire lives differently. They will also think differently about themselves and the world and thus act differently in this world. Instead of adding a list of dos and don’ts, Paul commands believers to be wholly transformed by the renewal of the mind. Dr. Lloyd-Jones belabors this important point because this is essential to Christian teaching; it is the difference between legalism and Christianity. Legalism begins with lists of behavior and calls people to perform the list. Christianity begins with who the person is in Christ and then moves to right behavior. The difference is subtle but important for being conformed to the image of the Son and avoiding hypocrisy.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul gives a summary of Christian teaching on sanctification in Romans 12:1-2.
  2. Sanctification refers to how Christians should live. It only applies to Christians, not non-Christians.
  3. Paul first gives the motivation or inducement for sanctification - God's mercies. Then he gives practical exhortations.
  4. The first exhortation is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This is our reasonable service.
  5. The second exhortation is not to be conformed to this world. This means not to assume an outward expression that does not match our inner self.
  6. The positive exhortation is to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This means to change our outward expression to match our inner being.
  7. An example of "conformed" is Jesus taking on human form in the incarnation. An example of "transformed" is Jesus being transfigured and showing His divine nature.
  8. We are commanded to be transformed, even though we have already been changed by regeneration. We must become what we are.
  9. The secret of sanctification is renewing our mind. We must train our mind to think correctly in the new way.
  10. We must not start with particular problems or sins. We must start with the whole of the Christian life. We must get our thinking straight.
  11. Jesus demanded a transformation of character, not just a reformation of behavior. Christianity is concerned with character, not just conduct.
  12. The original problem of mankind was the Fall, which changed our mind and spirit. Regeneration gives us a new controlling principle.
  13. The appeal to Christians is not just to conform outwardly. It is to remember what we are inwardly. Christianity is from the inward to the outward.
  14. A Christian's conduct flows from what he is, not what he adds on. It expresses his inner being. Hypocrisy is outward without the inner reality.
  15. The difference between a Christian and a moral man is not just in degree but in essence. The Christian has a new mind, spirit and perspective.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.