A New Mind: “It’s not what you Think” Sermon

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Mon, 01/21/2019 - 8:45am

READING: 1Corinthians Chapter 2:1-9

Paul’s Message of Wisdom

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,

and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared

for those who love him.”

1Corinthians Chapter 2:10-16

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?

Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

“It’s not What You Think…” The Mind of Christ Sermon at Harbor Church, January 20, 2019

A Miracle at the Department of Motor Vehicles this week!

Carrie at the DMV; so used to her glasses, she didn’t even think about them.

Worldview and Rose-colored glasses.”

We see through a lens darkly…” 1 corinthians 13:12 the word for darkly is enigma same as the English word, just spelled a little differently. We view the world obscurely, not clearly, because of all the filters that we use to understand and interpret our human experience.

The lense of experience

Consider the way in which we think about our parents. Many of us have or had warm nurturing loving parents who cared for us deeply. When the Bible talks about God as our heavenly Father, the connotations are all good. But some of us had difficult childhoods. We may have had a father who drank to excess and beat us or abused us in other ways. Or had a parents who abandoned us when we were young, or was was harsh, or simply disinterested in us or detached from the family, physically distant or emotionally unavailable. Can you see how difficult the metaphor of God as Father is for them to understand and appreciate? How had it is to ‘view’ God as loving, and caring, and engaged in our lives?

The way that we make sense of our world is built upon countless similar cognitive constructs. As we go through life, as we grow through life, we build these understanding based on what we see and observe, and also on what we are told or learn from others. So we all see the world through rose-colored glasses that filter out certain lightwaves and only let others in... Or like going to the optometrist and getting the wrong prescription for our glasses. Or like trying to read the fourth line on the eye-chart without the correct glasses- we need a miracle, or, at the very least, we need the spirit of God to help us see more clearly.

 The lense of Culture

Now add to this all the cultural voices that we hear every day. Voices that tell us to be politically correct. Signs and advertising that tell women and young girls that they can’t be beautiful unless they are skinny. Fake news that appears to be real. The list goes on…

In part, this is what the apostle Paul was addressing in our reading today. In the first chapter of his letter, he takes pains to say that much of what the world tells is wise is foolishness in God’s sight, from God’s perspective.

Much of what we see in the Bible is almost a paradoxical approach to life: “The first shall be last…” The Meek shall inherit the earth” “ “You must become like a child to enter the kingdom of God” The Rich , the Powerful, The Prestigious are not necessarily great in God’s eyes.

“my thoughts are not your thoughts…” says the Lord in Isaiah 55

So, friends

It’s not what you think, or its not WHAT you think, but It’s HOW you think that can make all the difference! ” We are told that we have been given the ‘Mind of Christ’- A different way of thinking, a radical, countercultural perspective that sometimes flies in the face of ‘convention wisdom’ We need to sanctify our minds. Sanctification is A fancy theological term that simply means becoming more like God . We often consider sanctification in terms of being more like God in our morals and behaviors. But its also about trying to see things the way that God does.

Sanctifying our minds means striving to not only be more like God in what we say and do, but also in the way that we see things; its about trying to view life and the world around us the same way that God does. We will never do this perfectly (because we are NOT God) but we can attempt to perceive, interpret, discern and measure our lives from God’s eternal perspective.

THE WORLD VIEW “SCALES”

Let's consider our worldview as a set of scales, a device for weighing. Like the old balance scales.A world view is like a set of scales in that you use your world view to evaluate truth claims. You use your world view to weigh evidence. There is, however, one thing you cannot weigh in your scales, and that is the scales themselves. To validate the scales in which you weigh everything else, you need something more. You need to measure the scales which you use to measure everything else.

Here's what we mean by this: With balance scales You get the official Bureau of Standards to send you a set of authenticated weights with the official weight stamped on each unit. But what bureau do we go to for our Spiritual Standards? The U.S. Government? The Wall Street Journal? Scientific American?

In terms of our world view, do we have anything like that? Yes, we do. God gave each us a set of authenticated, official weights with the exact weight stamped on each unit when he gave us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the Mind of Christ.

Some of the best ‘thinkers” have Truncated Thinking…

A scientist who makes no allowance for the metaphysical limits his or her ability to interpret empirical  data, but consider the scientist who’s world view allows for this possibility:

FAITH IS NOT FOOLISH

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Human Genome Project.  His most recent book is “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.”

In his book this is what he says,

I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book.  As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives.  As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry.  But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients.  Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?”  “Why am I here?”  “Why does mathematics work, anyway?”  “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?”  “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?”  “Why do humans have a moral sense?”  “What happens after we die?”

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds.  My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible.  As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God.  Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind.  You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page.  Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ.  Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing.  After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

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This great thinker suggests that we need “Reason PLUS Revelation” – We need to allow our minds to be transformed and our thinking to be directly by God’s truth, and by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

When I was an Undergrad, I majored in Communications Sciences. I took a class in Mass Media. The media doesn’t tell you what to think, as much as it tells you what to think about= Selective attention. We need to constantly be evaluating where our focus is, and not allow others to tell us what we should be looking at, because what is important to them may not be important to us, and More importantly, it may be unimportant to God, or in the words of our scriptures, “foolishness” in God’s sight.

What’s worse than not thinking something through? Perhaps its not thinking at all, or doing things mindlessly, carelessly, without ever critically evaluating and assessing the convictions or presuppositions that are behind many of the choices that we make. Its not what you think but also what you think about-its about how we think-About intentionally deciding what cognitions inform our convictions and ultimately influence what we choose to do.

A template for thinking

I spoke with Jamie Rose this week about what she learned at an Ashram on a recent trip to India. She leaned that when you speak, before you open your mouth there are 3 things you should think about: they are, - Is is true? Is it Helpful? Is it Kind?

We Christians would do well to use the same type of mental filters for our thinking-

There is a helpful template for this in Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.” Or better yet, FILL your MIND with these things.

What are the lenses through which we see the world? Do we use both faith and reason? During the time that I served churches in the Methodist tradition, I learned a valuable insight into thinking and thought processes. It’s called

The Methodist Quadrilateral- 4 components of understanding Sound thinking comes from blending : Scripture+Reason+Experience+Tradition. This is A great formula for developing a spiritually-centered, rationally-based world view. Scripture provides the basis for interpreting our world, but our understanding of it is informed by our reason, in light of our experiences, and then held up to be tested in the light of tradition.

Conclusion:

Let’s strive to wear the glasses of faith, and to see with eyes of reason. To interpret our world with spiritual lenses that enable us to think more clearly, and more importantly to try to see things with a world view that comes from God’s view. If we attempt to do this consistently, This practice can ultimately lead us closer to the Mind of Christ.

So remember, Its not only what you think, but its how you think, And May the spirit of God give us all the Mind of Christ in increasing measure,  amen.

 

 

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Co 2). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.