NONCONFORMIST

Rom.12:1,2 – Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

One of the ways hippies were described in the 60’s was with the term “non-conformist”. The hippie culture prided itself in not fitting into the system or culture of the day. They actually became a counter culture. Actually the thing they were trying to avoid is what they became. Their nonconformity just became conformity to a new system and culture. In today’s passage Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world. In other words, don’t be molded into the shape of worldliness. He was actually describing a true worshipper. Worshipping God from the heart destroys the possibility of being molded into this world’s image. Here is how Barclay describes this verse.

“True worship is the offering to God of one’s body, and all that one does every day with it. Real worship is not the offering to God of a liturgy, however noble, and a ritual, however magnificent. Real worship is the offering of everyday life to him, not something transacted in a church, but something which sees the whole world as the temple of the living God….This, Paul goes on, demands a radical change. We must not be conformed to the world, but transformed from it…. The word he uses to be conformed to the world is suschematizesthai; its root is schema, which means the outward form that varies from year to year and from day to day. A man’s schema is not the same when he is seventeen as it is when he is seventy; it is not the same when he goes out to work as when he is dressed for dinner. It is continuously altering. So Paul says, “Don’t try to match your life to all the fashions of this world; don’t be like a chameleon which takes its color from its surroundings.”

There is only one way to avoid conformity and that is supernatural transformation. Being transformed is the work of the Holy Spirit. He actually begins to transform us into a different image, the image of Jesus Christ. How does this happen in our lives? It all boils down to yielding. Present your whole self to God, that is where the miracle will begin.

BEING DIVINELY PERSUADED

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS:

Ro 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”.

There is nothing like having the faith of God. F.F. Bruce says, ”Faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order”.

The Greek word here for faith is Pistis. Faith is like the strong man that comes to lift anything out of the equation that stands in your way. Even when we are faithless he is faithful, are you joyless? He gives the joy! Faith is a gift that comes from God when our faith runs empty. It is never something that we can produce on our own by any human effort or set of religious works. When we bask in his word daily it will prepare the soil of our hearts for the supernatural! Strong’s word studies calls it; “GODS DIVINE PERSUASION” and goes onto to say, “for the Lord continually births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers.” As a believer we learn to pray according to His will for Jesus never did anything outside of the Father’s will. Strongs continues with , “Faith is God’s warranty, certifying that the revelation He in-birthed in us will come to pass. The Lord offers to in-birth faith in each scene of life – so that each matters equally in eternity . . . no matter how insignificant they seem.” I love that!

My friend, do you find yourself discouraged? Praying the same old prayers and feeling like it is cast into the wind? You can be Divinely persuaded by God himself to “stand still and see the salvation of God over your circumstances. He is the one giving you the ability to pray those prayers even though you are tired and weary. They come from above and move men by the holy ghost to believe for the impossible. Is your heart filled with promises? Christ births those promises in our hearts over the years and seals it with his guarantee! Keep burning the midnight oil, keep your lamps trimmed and burning. Everyday he brings his Divine Persuasion into our lives to get up and keep it a going. Yield to him today!

YIELDED VESSELS

YIELDED VESSELS

Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

I will never forget taking my lunch breaks while working at B&C Egg Ranch in my first year as a Christian. I would get my sack lunch and rush to my car in time to hear Kathryn Kuhlman on the radio. “Have you been waiting for me?” That was the way she started every program. People all over the country would plan their day around Miss Kuhlman’s radio program. Each day would start with an interview of someone who had been healed in one of her services. Then Kathryn would minister from the Word and encourage her listeners to believe God. It was as if Jesus was right there in the car with me, I guess it seemed like that because He was. The Lord anointed Miss Kuhlman with a powerful miracle anointing. She loved Jesus and was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. When you heard her talk you just expected something wonderful to happen. Here is an often quoted example of Kathryn’s message.
“I made a consecration of my life that I had never made before, when I saw that it was absolutely possible for me to so yield my life, my body, as a living sacrifice – a sacrifice so consecrated to Him that the name of God Almighty may be glorified through the life of a sinner saved by the grace of God. It is through the Holy Spirit empowering Christ’s body of believers, His Church, with power for service that the Father is glorified again and again. The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels – those who will submit their will to the will of the Father. And the greatest human attainment in all the world is for a life to be so surrendered to Him that the name of God Almighty will be glorified through that life. As you read these words, I pray that this shall be the desire of your heart; and I know that the Father will hear your cry, and honor your prayer…and take your life, using it for His glory through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.” I love that, “The Heavenly Father does not ask for golden vessels. He does not ask for silver vessels. God asks for yielded vessels”.
All of us tend to focus on our talents or our resources, the Lord focuses on our yielded heart. The Lord worked through Kathryn Kuhlman because of yieldedness. That is all He asks for. The Lord hasn’t changed since Pentecost or even from the days of Miss Kuhlman’s ministry, He is still looking for yielded hearts. He wants to move in our world again, He wants to work through you. Maybe you feel like someone without talent or purpose, you don’t need either. The Lord has all the talent and purpose you will ever need. What can you do? Simply yield your heart. The Lord has a plan and it is more awesome than you can imagine.

CHANGED

CHANGED

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1,2

The first glimpse of these “mercies” we find in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to him that believes.” The gospel, the word of God, is the power of God. God’s words have the ability to change our lives. God’s word is filled with life. Drinking in God’s word will begin this beautiful work of transformation in you.

In the very next verse comes the scripture that birthed the Protestant Reformation, “the just shall live by faith”. This verse of scripture transformed Martin Luther from the natural, confused, monk into a spiritual man who effected his generation and every generation that followed him. By meditating on this scripture, he realized that the righteousness of God is ascribed to those who have faith in the work of Christ at the cross. He saw that his works could never produce righteousness in his life. He concluded that righteousness is a gift. It is received, not earned. Righteousness, or right standing with God, is given by grace through faith. This revelation is where life begins, this is where the transformation begins, and this is where you become the heavenly man.
As you reflect on Christ’s death for you at Calvary, the mercy of God becomes personal. This is the place where our faith comes alive, this is the beginning of that change into the Heavenly Man.

TRANSFORMED

Transformed

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1,2

Transformed is a powerful word. It is the Greek word “metamorphoo” and it means to change into another form. Paul is describing a spiritual transformation. We see the same word describing Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus changed into another form before the disiples eyes, He began to radiate with the Glory of God. He was transfigured by the manifestation of the cloud of God’s Presence. Paul uses the same terminology describing the transformation of a Christian. He says to be changed, or transformed, from the natural man to the spiritual man. This is the great need in our lives, to hunger after this change. An urgency, a hunger, a desire to become that spiritual man.

How does that change take place? Paul used another powerful word in this verse. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Renewal is the word “anakainosis”. This word means a complete change for the better. Again to be changed from the natural man to the heavenly man. How does this renewal take place? First it takes place as we begin to saturate in the truth clearly presented by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1-11. In light of what you have heard, let your mind be renewed that you might change. Today spend some time in God’s Word. As you do, that Heavenly Man begins to come alive, renewal is taking place. You are being conformed to the image of Christ.

THE HEAVENLY MAN

THE HEAVENLY MAN

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Many Christians today are bored, bored with life and definitely bored with spiritual things. There is a belief in the Bible and basic Christian tenets but an uninterested apathy when it comes to the things of God. Apathy is the opposite of what we hear coming from the pen of the apostle Paul. “I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters”. There is a passion, an urgency, and yes, a desperation in his cry. In view of the mercies of God, in light of what he had taught in the first eleven chapters of Romans, be transformed, be changed, into the heavenly man. That change can begin or continue in your life today. How can that happen? Simply offer yourself to the Lord. As Paul said, offer yourself as a living sacrifice. In this place of yielding, the transformation begins. Your change into the Heavenly man begins as you yield to the Lord. How does this yielding “look” ?
It appears as you simply spend time with Him. Time in His Presence is precious and priceless . Draw near today as you read His Word. Draw near as you spend time in prayer and worship. As you draw near to God, He draws near to you. This is the place of transformation.

The Heavenly Man – Heavenly Language

Paul urged us to be transformed, changed into a heavenly man in Romans 12.  He said in view of the mercies of God, offer your bodies to the Lord, this is our spiritual worship.  As we give ourselves to the Lord, renewal begins to take place.  Renewal is the supernatural work of God in us.  He uses the word of God and visitations of His Presence to change each of us from the natural man to the spiritual man.

Paul talked about one of the obvious changes we see in the heavenly man.  The heavenly man uses a new heavenly language, not just the prayer language, but a spiritual language in our mother tongue (English).  He describes this in 1 Cor. 2:12-16 (NASB)

12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

16For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

He says we have spiritual thoughts expressed in spiritual words.  Actually our inner man in renewed, changed completely.  The result of this change is the heavenly language that we begin to speak.

The first example that I want to share with you about this heavenly language is found in Ephesians 5:1-4

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Paul is showing the contrast between the natural and the heavenly.  The natural man speaks of natural things, course joking and worthless things, things that have no value. The heavenly man has a language characterized by Thanksgiving.  The heavenly man has been impacted deeply by God’s love.  The perception of God’s goodness, holiness, power and wisdom has impacted him to such a degree that his language has been affected.  He is now speaking the heavenly language.

How does this take place?  How am I possibly changed? It is not by human effort or will power but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul continues to describe this change in Ephesians 5:18-20

18And  do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

This change of language happens by the impact of the Holy Spirit on our lives.  As we sing, worship, and encourage ourselves and one another in the word, the Holy Spirit begins to express Himself through us.  We are becoming the heavenly man.

Sometimes our mother tongue (English) cannot truly express the powerful feelings our heart begins to experience.  There is an infinite ocean of emotion, God’s love and joy that begins to flood our souls.  This heavenly affection needs to be expressed through the supernatural prayer language.

Paul describes this in 1 Cor. 14:1, 2

1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

Paul said we utter mysteries or intimacies (The Message Bible).  Actually what he is describing is a private, daily, intimate communication with our Lord.  This is the place of total satisfaction.  This is the place out hungry hearts are longing for.  In this place of divine intimacy, transformation takes place, we are being changed from glory to glory into the heavenly man.

Another example of this heavenly language is seen in 1 Cor. 14:15

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Paul is describing singing in the spirit and singing in your natural tongue.  This is one of the great benefits we can enjoy as spirit filled Christians.

Many times singing in the spirit and singing in your natural language can turn into tongues and interpretation of tongues.  1 Cor. 14:13

For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.

This can be a powerful tool that brings not only personal edification, but in public meetings can bring a great blessing to the body of Christ.

As this heavenly language deepens in our lives, it not only builds us up, but begins to spill over into blessings for others.  Many times this heavenly language will be expressed in prophesy.  1 Cor. 14:3

But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

The Lord begins to give special words of encouragement in the form of prophecy to bring a blessing to the body of Christ.

My life was impacted powerfully in 1977 as a result of a word of prophecy given  to me by Dick Mills.  He gave me two scriptures:

Psalms  46:10

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

Exodus 14:13-14

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I was preparing to lead a team to Sacramento, California and the Lord used that word to cause me to reconsider.  After prayer, fasting, and council from my pastors, I was led to return to my home in New Orleans and begin the church that I currently pastor. Thank the Lord for His spiritual gifts.

In Acts 13:1-4, Paul receives a prophetic word from the elders of the church in Antioch. This was a word of confirmation, confirming things Paul was feeling in His heart.  The result of this prophetic word was the apostolic ministry of Paul.

Acts 13:1-4

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.

Another example of the heavenly language is seen in Ephesians 6:16-18.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Paul is describing putting on the armor of God or putting on Christ.  In this he begins to talk about a powerful aspect of our heavenly language.  He said to take up the sword of the spirit.  The amplified Bible says, “The sword that the spirit wields.”   In the next verse Paul says that this is praying in our prayer language.  When we pray in tongues, it is actually the Holy Spirit expressing Himself, His prayers in and though us.  These are God’s words.  Paul says these words are like a sword.  They are used to cut away the flesh, the natural. As the natural man is cut away, the spiritual man becomes more dominate.  Allow the Holy Spirit to pray using your tongue.  Offer your body, your tongue, to the Lord; this is your spiritual worship.  As you pray in other tongues you are being changed from glory to glory into that heavenly man.

Another example of the heavenly language is seen in the Act 2.  As the spirit was poured out upon the 120 gathered in the upper room, the spirit begin to give them “utterance” Acts 2:4.  This word utterance is apophtheggomai.  It describes elevated discourse or supernatural speech. This was of course being expressed through the 120in tongues.  Their joyful response to God’s outpouring brought an interested amazed crowd together.  Peter stood up to address the crowd.  As he began to speak he began to speak in their natural language but it was supernatural in its nature.  In Acts 2:14 the word “said” is the same Greek word as utterance in vs. 4. This is specifically speaking of supernatural speech.  There is an anointing to preach the Word of God.  Much of todays public preaching and teaching is sadly not characterized by the supernatural.  The supernatural has been replaced with a “relevant” slick presentation void of power.  These “relevant” presentations are just religious, natural talks, given in a contemporary way.  That can never change us into the heavenly man.

Finally in John 1:1 and 14, John describes Jesus as the Word of God.  Jesus is the Father’s expression of Himself.  If Jesus is the word of God, He Himself is that heavenly language.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Set your affections upon Jesus.  If you do, you will be flooded with His heavenly goodness.  This goodness has to be expressed, has to be expressed in our words.  When it is, we will be speaking the heavenly language only spoken by heavenly men and women.

John 1:1 and 14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Heavenly Man

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which isyour reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Many Christians today are bored, bored with life and definitely bored with spiritual things. There is a belief in the Bible and basic Christian tenets but an uninterested apathy when it comes to the things of God. Apathy is the opposite of what we hear coming from the pen of the apostle Paul. “I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters”. There is a passion, an urgency, and yes, a desperation in his cry. In view of the mercies of God, in light of what he had taught in the first eleven chapters, be transformed, be changed, into the heavenly man.

Transformed is a powerful word. It is the Greek word “metamorphoo” and it means to change into another form. Paul is describing a spiritual transformation. He says to be changed from the natural man to the spiritual man. That is the great need of the heart. An urgency, a hunger, a desire to become that spiritual man.

How does that change take place? Paul used another powerful word in this verse. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Renewal is the word “anakainosis”. This word means a complete change for the better. Again to be changed from the natural man to the heavenly man. How does this renewal take place? First it takes place as we begin to saturate in the truth clearly presented by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1-11. In light of what you have heard, let your mind be renewed that you might change.

Let us take a short look at some of this incredible truth in the book of Romans. Maybe today the transformation will begin. No longer will you be called the natural man but now you will be known as the heavenly man.

The first glimpse we find in Romans 1:16-“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God to him that believes.” The gospel, the word of God is the power of God. God’s word is filled with life. Drinking in God’s word will begin this beautiful work of transformation.

In the very next verse comes the scripture that birthed the Protestant Reformation, “the just shall live by faith”. This powerful word transformed Martin Luther from the natural, confused monk into a spiritual man who effected his generation and every generation that followed him. In this powerful verse he realized that the righteousness of God is ascribed to those who have faith in the work of Christ at the cross. This revelation is where life begins, this is where the transformation begins, and this is where you become the heavenly man.

Another great spiritual truth is presented in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This is crucial to the transformation of man. This truth, the sinfulness of man, the sinfulness of you, comes only by the revelation given by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts us of our sinful condition. He convinces us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. .  That is His great ministry, to convict our hearts of sinfulness. We not only commit sin, we are sinners. We need transformation. We are truly sinners in need of a savior. We must recognize our condition before the change can begin.

In Romans 3:25, Paul presents the solution for our sin. He introduces a word called propitiation. This is a very powerful and very important Bible word. Propitiation describes the joining together of the two diverse qualities found in our Lord, justice and mercy. Our God is a Holy and Just God. Sin cannot enter His presence and sin cannot go unpunished. At the same time the Lord is incredibly merciful. “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.” At the cross, sin was judged. Christ became the representative of the human race.  The Lord did not overlook sin, He judged it. man’s sin, my sin, was judged by God. Because of the judgment of sin at Calvary mercy becomes available. Because Christ suffered in my place, mercy has triumphed over judgment. Christ has forgiven me. I have been declared righteous. By faith I can now live.

In Romans 6 Paul talks about the death of our old life. He talks about us being crucified with Christ. He also says that if our old life is dead, consider ourselves as dead men. We no longer have to live as natural men, our old life is finished. If this is true, change is possible. The Lord not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. He crucified him. If you have been crucified with Christ, you are dead to sin. Consider yourselves dead.

In Romans 7, we see almost a conflict in Paul’s teaching. He talks about the struggle that he still experiences. He still deals with the natural man. As long as we are in this mortal body the struggle continues.

“For I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”(vs.21-23)

We should not be discouraged by the natural tendencies that still try to dominate our lives. Rather this struggle pushes us to the Lord. Transformation does not come from human will power, human wisdom or determination. Transformation to the heavenly man comes by the Spirit. Paul talks about this ability to overcome the natural man in Romans 8. In verse 12 and 13 he gives us some important revelation. “So then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (the natural man), to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Did you get that? We can put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit or by the anointing.

How can I do that? How do I put to death the natural man by the Spirit? Or course Paul is describing the Spirit filled life. He teaches that the anointing is available to us. We must drink of His presence all of the time. This would include worshipping daily in the Spirit (using your prayer language). It would also include worship, creating a spiritual atmosphere at home, in the car, and if possible, at work. Listening to worship music is one of the great blessings in my life. This is how I put to death the natural man.

Remember what Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brothers, in view of the mercies of God. Present your bodies as living sacrifice. Be transformed….he continues in Chapter 9. In this chapter Paul talks about the blessing and mystery of God’s sovereignty and His election of Sons and Daughters. Remember the words of Jesus, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Paul spoke about this in Romans 9:15,16. “For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” This teaching can bring great change unto our lives. He has a plan for my life. This plan is surpernatural and eternal. As I yield to God’s eternal plan, I am changed.

In Romans 10:14-17, Paul talks about the gospel and the calling to win lost souls. What an honor to be part of God’s plan of the ages, to be a tool to win others to Christ. Recognizing God’s plan to win the lost and recognizing your role in that great plan can be life changing. This is also part of the God transformation in you. As we step into His plan to win the lost, the transformation to become a supernatural man deepens.

In Romans 11, Paul seems to be overwhelmed with the goodness and greatness of God. “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” Vs33. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. Vs.36.

The heavenly man becomes a God centered man. Our interests in Him have gone far beyond what He can and will do for us in this life. We have been captured by His greatness. We have been stunned by His beauty. We have been humbled by His grace. We have been awed by His wisdom. Paul is describing the God centered life that flows from a God encounter. Have you experienced Christ for yourself? Are you experiencing Him in your life? I beseech you, I beg you, be transformed, become that heavenly man leaving behind earthly things. The Lord has a heavenly plan and I think you have a part to play in it.