Those who have allowed Christ to makeover their thinking are accused and opposed. New outlooks have been made in us about God, ourselves, believers and unbelievers, the past and the future. Many “experts” try to tell how to think and behave with loud voices calling us mad. But we are the ones who are right with Him and prepared for what is to come. (Romans 12:1-2; Acts 26)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Philippe Serradji
11:00 AM on 1/26/2020
Philippe Serradji –
Don’t worry. I won’t sing. That would be a big mistake. When I do an intro before the message, I always like
to think about the importance of the Word, why we hear and why we are about to hear. Romans
10:17, we are one week away from the Bible college starting. It will be great. If you’ve never
done Bible college before and you want to come and check it out, the first whole week of
classes is free. Come and sit and talk to us.
We’ll be happy to discuss it with you. I think it’s a verse we all know. This year I changed my devotional. I went back to one that I haven’t read in a long time, the one that we refer to as the green devotional from P. Stevens. If you don’t have it and haven’t started any yet, that’s a good one to start. It’s pretty awesome. These past few
days, he’s doing a series on the parable of the sower. You sow and you have four different
grounds but before that day, he spoke about the truth and the Spirit of truth.
There’s a few things about the Word that I found in there. None of the points are original. They’re all from
that devotional. They’re really, really strong. Vs. 16-17. It’s interesting because when we think
about faith, we don’t naturally think that it relates to the Word. We have this idea that I have to
produce my own faith. Almost like when I got born again, I had a new organ placed in my body
that produces some kind of faith so I can live in it. Like a self-effort.
I have to work through having enough faith. In Scripture, we see a very little amount of faith is enough. If you have a
mustard seed of faith, you can move mountains. We don’t need much. I don’t need to move
any mountains, really so I don’t need even that much faith as a mustard seed. I just need to put
my faith in the right place, in the right person. We see the correlation between the Word
produces faith, right? We receive the word and it allows us to live by faith.
This is what we see several times in the Scriptures that the righteous shall live by faith. When we live by faith and
we receive the Word and the faith, – the faith comes by hearing and the hearing by the Word of
God. It’s almost like when I hear a message like we are about to hear, the faith that is needed to
live in it comes with it. When the Word comes out, then the faith comes out with it. I don’t
have to take the Word and find in myself a way to obey it. I just have to believe it and God does
the rest; you know.
Throughout the devotional, he made a few points. I just wanted to point
them out. He said I can either obey or I can live in the Word. It sounds similar. If you live in the
Word, you obey the Word. But if you obey, this is an ends to a means. That’s my end. I just
want to obey. But obeying is meaningless if you don’t live in the Word. If you live in the Word,
you obey. It’s interesting because P. Stevens had this way of opposing words.
I think it was great for us to understand the depth of what he means, because if I say we need to live in the
Word, you can translate the idea I need to obey. But these are two different things. If I obey,
it’s an effort that I make. If I live in the Word, I obey it’s consequences. The other point that he
made that I think was very important was I can serve, or I can be submitted to the Word.
Serving is obeying.
It’s a consequence of obeying but if I live in the Word, then I am submitted
to the Word. We were discussing this morning in our Sunday morning meeting with our young
adults discussing the word in 2 Corinthians 5:14 that the love of God constrains us. So there is a
constraining in our life. I’m constrained to do something. So in a way, I’m forced to do
something, but the force behind it is love.
I can either serve and that’s one way to live or I can be submitted to the Word and then I’m constrained by love. The outward appearance seems to be the same. When I obey, I look like I’m living the Word. When I’m living in the Word, I do more than obeying. Obeying is a consequence of my living in the Word. Same thing here, the
service is something that happens when I’m submitted to the Word because I’m constrained by
love. Therefore, my service is easy because it’s motivated by love.
So there is a constrain. I don’t do whatever I want. We spoke many times when we think about freedom, in the world it means you are free to do whatever you want. That’s freedom. When you have a higher view of
freedom, is it also not doing what you want. You are free to not do what you want. Doing what
I want is easy. I think anybody here could live in freedom if we define freedom as I do what I
want because it’s pretty natural for me to do what I want.
That’s not real freedom. If I am constrained by love, there are things that I do and there are things that I do not do. I do not do them because of course I am constrained by love, so my freedom is higher than just being a
slave of my own desires. Then he says also something about I can keep the Word, or I can be
kept by the Word, which is not the same thing either. I’m taking the commandments and my
goal every morning is to obey the word.
I want to apply this in my life, but If I’m kept by the Word, I’m kept in the Word. The power of the keeping is not my will; the power of the keeping is the Word that is renewing my mind on a daily basis. We see in Romans 12:2, if I’m renewed I’m transformed. I do not become conformed to the world but become transformed by the
renewing of your mind. So if my mind is renewed, because I’m kept in the Word, then I’m
transformed, and I don’t have to keep the Word because I’m already in it.
It’s amazing to see how much in our life we think when we see those verses the righteous shall live by faith, we
think we have to do something about it. The thing we have to do is just sit and listen and
meditate on the Word because that will do the job for us. That will transform us. When I keep
the Word, I try to avoid sinning. I’m afraid of sin so I’m going to keep the Word, so I don’t fall
into it. But every time I try to avoid sinning, I’m very occupied by it.
Because it’s right here. I’m trying to avoid it so everything I do is to…I keep my healthy distance by pointing at it. This is not what I want. Every time I look at it, something that I don’t want, therefore I’m occupied with it
all the time. It’s funny how we try to be – when you think about the Pharisees in the Bible, one
of the reproach that Jesus made with them is not that they didn’t keep the Word, but when
they couldn’t they replaced the Word with their own traditions.
When I’m occupied with my sin and my sin is too attractive, I would have to change the law about my sin so I can actually develop a tradition that allows me to see my sin differently. Because there is no power in
keeping the Word; there is power in being kept in the Word. When I receive the Word, I receive
it by faith. I live in it, I’m submitted to the Word, and I’m kept in it. I don’t try to serve. I don’t
try to obey it. I keep the Word.
I’m just letting the faith that comes with the Word do the work
that needs to be done in my life. So when we come to services, that’s what we are doing right?
When we are listening to a message, we are hoping that we are receiving with this idea. The
Word that is preached comes with its own power to transform. I just have to when I’m hit by
the Word in a good way, just trust that God will finish the work that he has started, right? Let’s
P. Schaller – That was very good. Let’s review it before we go into our message. P. Philippe who
is the head of our Bible college, MBC&S, and our classes start in one week from Monday. Is that
right pastor? One week from Monday and he spoke about the Word and what the Word does.
Faith comes by hearing so as I’m hearing, there is faith that is coming, and that faith is a gift
from God. It’s connected with the Word.
The Word has an impartation. The Bible is Christ. When Christ is ministered the Word is ministered to us, the Spirit is speaking to us and we have faith when we hear it. We are also being equipped with faith. We are believing and we are changed. We are changed by what it is we are hearing. This is what I heard you say, pastor. Is
that correct? I think yours was better. Would you stand with me and check with your neighbor.
What did the pastor say?
Put it in your own words. What did you hear? Alright. You may be seated. Is Pastor Ben here this morning? Is he here this morning? He flew in last night. Maybe he was at the 9:00. I wanted to introduce him to you. He and I are old friends from 1975. We met in Finland. He’s Finnish but with a Jewish heritage. He and I worked for years in Finland for no pay, by faith. We preached in public schools and services and Bible college. We become very
close in our working together as people of faith.
He loved the finished work and responded to it and came into our ministry. He came to Lenox and found his wife and married Ramona. He has been a missionary in Austria. Also immigrated to Israel. He’s a Hebrew scholar. He is our guest this week here in Baltimore. Every morning at 11:00, he will be at classroom 2 and afternoon at
the lunch rap. Then in the evenings here in the auditorium every night this week. It’s free of
charge. Come and ask your obscure questions about the Old Testament like I do.
We have raps and learn things this coming week. Take the time and be with us. It will be a unique week. Pray for that. The Spirit has been teaching him and uses him to communicate to us from our precious Bible.
Wow! Man! That was so much fun saying that. That was so good. Last night I had this sore
throat and my son had the flu and it started with a sore throat. At 1:30 a.m. I texted P. Steve
and asked him to cover the services in the morning not knowing if I would wake up with a
But good news! He answered my prayer! No sore throat. Blood pressure, all the
vitals are operating and here we are vertical, standing before you today. What a joy. Thanks. P.
Bob Colban was ready to preach at this service, and then we have the face-to-face for Mildred
in the other room, the family center, after this one. Tonight, P. Ben will be where with us. I have
one thought I want to share from Acts 26.
We will be turning there but I want to write down the thought: a changed mind – your mind has been changed. A changed mind. You may not realize it, but God changes your mind. A changed mind. Then resisted. A changed mind resisted. God changes your mind in this world we are living in by the Holy Spirit. It happens little by little,
gradually. Sometimes right away and you try to understand it better and learn the Bible. As the
Bible come to you little by little, you realize truth.
By nature you don’t have the truth. You must be born again to have the truth. It must be given to us, a gift of grace. It must be the operation of God. It must be his will because he gave his Son we should be born again and in that new
birth have a changed mind. I don’t know about you, but my mind can go to Christ’s mind and
then go back to my fleshly mind. I could have an amazing understanding of myself in Christ and
then I could also go to the miry clay or the pit of despair or unbelief or discouragement.
God has given us a gift, Romans 12:1-2, where our mind is renewed. It’s not like your mind is changed and it’s frozen and the change stays the rest of your life. My mind is changed but I have a
continual capacity to believe in garbage or hurtful things or wounded or disappointments or
bad self-image, but then he renews my mind again. My mind is renewed again. I want to make
a short sketch of what I mean by that.
Here is a person with a changed mind. What is it that he changes in his mind? What are the things that he looks at that are different in his mind? How does he think differently? 1) One of them is God. I was afraid of God until Christ came into my life and then I started to love God. I realize God loved me. There was a time I was afraid. I
believed in God, but I didn’t want too much of him because I didn’t know who he was. I was
afraid of him. Then you start crying out, Abba, Father, by the Spirit of God. Daddy! Daddy!
Father! God! Jesus!
I was in PA at a truck stop and there was a truck driver covered with tattoos
and long hair and sitting at a table by himself. Big and mean guy. I went over with a tract to give
him a tract. He picked it up and said I’m saved. In my way I said are you saved? How did you get
saved? He said in prison I got saved. I’m still not satisfied. What is the one thing that marked
your change of life? He said peace. I got peace. I drive my truck and I say Jesus. I say the name
Jesus all day. Jesus. He’s given me peace.
Peace. What happened to him. God saved him and changed his mind about God. That God is my friend. God loves me. God is my Father. 2) We need to have a changed mind about ourselves, don’t we? He started to love himself. The truck driver in prison started to love himself. This is a problem for people. We are so disappointed
with ourselves because of the things we have done and how we have failed and how we
haven’t hit the mark and sometimes it’s so disappointing.
We begin to realize God loves me. He’s forgiven me and forgotten all my sin. He cannot remember them anymore. They are in the deepest sea as far as the east is from the west. They are behind his back. They cannot be found.
God doesn’t remember them. I sinned recently. I committed a sin recently. I wonder if any of
you can say that? Those are hard words to say. I didn’t tell you what the sin was. Halleluiah! I
don’t advise you to tell others what your sin was unless you’re in counseling with someone you
have total confidence in.
If you cannot say I have sinned, then I don’t know. It’s not a bad thing
to say it. I have sinned. The thought came to me, Lord when I die and go to heaven, are you
going to tell everyone what my sin is? What I did last Tuesday or Wednesday? Are you going to
tell them what a hypocrite I am? How empty I am, how I have failed you. How did I answer
myself? You can talk back to me.
I think you are all stunned. You don’t know what to do! Will he remember my sin in heaven? Why does it say in Mt. 11? We give an account of every word we say on the earth. Why did he say that which is covered will be made known. It will be brought out of the darkness. Why does he say that in the gospel of Matthew? Because to the
unbeliever, the books will be opened. The books of their works, the books of everything they
have ever done, and they will be judged out of those books. For the believer, what book is
open, but the book of Life and your name is there and there is no record of any sin. There is no
record of anything you have ever done. When your name is in the book, and there is another
book, the book of remembrance. When we gather together like we are doing this morning and
we fear God and we are listening to his Word then it is written in a book of remembrance and
that book is ours in heaven. God changes your mind about 3) your brothers and sisters in the
church. What do you think of your brothers and sisters in the church. Some Christians would
say I don’t go to church. It’s full of hypocrites. Really? How do you know it’s full of hypocrites?
Do you know everything about those people? How do you know it is full of hypocrites?
Whenever you hear those words like “all” and “every” you better check that out. Those are the
devil’s words. All people. Everybody. In the church, they’re all hypocrites. Really? How do you
know? You need to know everything to know that if you are serious about it or is it just a
slander. That’s the natural man.
The natural man does not love his brother. The natural man cannot discern the Body. The natural man doesn’t know the mystery of Christ in the Body of Christ. But when your mind is changed, you have another way of thinking about the church. My sisters and brothers are gifts to me. They will help me raise my kids. They will be a friend to me
at the end of my life. My sisters and brothers it is how we reach the world with the gospel. With
their failures also. Those are people given to us. I was glad when they said to me, let us go into
the house of God.
I am a companion of all them that fear your name. It’s a changed mind that
thinks like this. But there is another group. The group of unbelievers. What do you think of the
unbelievers. The neighbors. These are brothers, and these are neighbors. They are different
groups. What do you think of your neighbors. Do they need help? Do they need a word of
encouragement? Do they need a word of edification? Do they need our ministry.
What do you think of our neighbors? Some of them are evil people. Cain killed his brother Abel. We pray like
Paul said deliver me from wicked and unreasonable men for all men have not faith. On the
other hand, I’m not a judge of my neighbor. They need help. They need Christ. We are ministers
to them. There is another direction too. 4) God changes your mind about your personal past
and what you think of you past and then
5) your future. You start to think what about my past? I have a filter regarding my past. There may be painful and hurtful things in my past, but they will not define for me my life. Christ gave me his heart and mind. By the Spirit of God I can live my life into the future. My past will not define for me who I am. My past is part of my life but is
not the defining element in my life. We have a changed mind and start to meditate on the word
and what he says. What about our future? It’s as bright as the promises of God.
Our future is filled with divine purpose, eternal purpose. Our future is spiritual. Our mind we see
opportunities to help. Somebody in need or our country. What do I think about our future for
our country? What can I do to be helpful? Remember John Kennedy saying, “Ask not what your
country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.” It sounds like a spiritual
statement. Indeed, I think it is.
It’s a certain mindset. Not asking for what I can get but now I
can be like Christ in this world. What can I do for you? What can I do for it? How can I be helpful
with regards to our church, our country, our family, and our mission. This is point #1. I kind of
went a little long on that. We’ll do Acts 26. I just want to say this point. A changed mind is also
resisted. Who resists it? Who resists your changed mind? Who resists the way of thinking we
have adopted by the grace of God?
The Bible says we have the mind of Christ in 1 Corinthians 2:16.
Who is resisted the mind of Christ? Who is resisting this way of thinking? Who wants that truck
driver to be in a prison and be discouraged and negative and hateful and revengeful. Who is it
that is the murderer and the thief and the destroyer? The devil. Who wanted that truck driver
in that prison cell to find whole new way of thinking but Jesus Christ. When we have this way of
thinking there is a lot of joy. There is freedom. There is purity. There is righteousness. In Acts
26, the Apostle Paul is standing before a council. The council is organized by Jewish people,
leaders that have brought him to Caesarea – no, the Romans brought him to Caesarea to
protect him from his adversaries and now there is a council that has been arranged. They want
him to be silenced. They want him to stop his ministry. They want him to stop preaching about
Jesus. They want him to go back to his old ways.
They want to silence him. They want to stop it. Friday in Washington D.C. there was a march for life. Many of our people did go to that. There were thousands there and many young people marching for life. That we would have babies born. Abortion this whole issue would be seen a different way. Not controlling our population.
Not making decisions for young ladies that are in trouble. Not feeding into a promiscuous
lifestyle and saying it’s an answer for the promiscuous lifestyle that you are leading. We say
that child is a viable human being in the womb.
We think this way, but it is also resisted. To teach young boys and young girls how to live, how to behave, how to be loving, how to listen to their mother and father, how to live by the Ten Commandments. Very simply, thou shalt not
murder. Why would I have cartoons about murder? Or watch movies and video games about
murder and killing. It’s part of our culture today. What is your mind about it? What do you think
about it? Healthy minds. A changed mind. One that is excited about Jesus Christ. One that is
believing and sharing and loving.
Bringing our kids and our grandkids along with us. James Kirby
passed away to be with the Lord the other day this past week. He has such a precious family
and history with us in the ministry. He was the principal with us in our day school for a number
of years. When we visited him and he knew where he was going, he was at rest with it. He was
praying he would die in his sleep and that is what happened. God answered his prayer.
You know, when your mind is changed death as terrible as it is, is also a gateway to life. When we
leave our bodies, halleluiah, we’ll be in the presence of Christ. A changed mind. I don’t know if I
could go through this whole text. It’s so awesome though. I tried it on Wednesday night and
didn’t get too far. Let’s just stick to the text and I’ll make a couple points. Acts 26:1 did you
know that’s a gift given to us when you can speak for yourself.
Some people in the world are brought up not to speak for yourself but to speak for your family, your country, your ideology. But we are taught to speak for ourselves, what I believe, what I think. I can speak for myself.
How do you get it? You get it in God. God tells you what to think and what you believe in your
heart. I believe this in my heart, and I must stand one day before the bar of God. I speak for
myself on that day, but how do I know what I believe and what’s important to me? Must be
imparted to me. It must be given to me from God.
You get it little by little in the church. You get it little by little by reading your own Bible. Be very patient with your Bible reading but never stop it. Never stop reading your Bible. God will speak to your from the Bible with the right
attitude of course and prayerfully. But then you are able to speak for yourself. Vs. 2. You see
when you get a changed mind, someone is there ready to accuse you. What are the accusations
you might hear in a public school or a university campus or even a professor might say to you,
you are a born again evangelical.
I know your kind. You are narrow minded Creationists not believing in science and evolution. Narrow minded judgmental and so on. There is someone ready to accuse you. They resist it. I found they don’t know what they are talking about. I’m not narrow minded. They might say I am but I’m not and I’m permitted to answer for myself. I know if I hate my neighbor or don’t hate my neighbor. You know how we live before God with a
changed mind. Isn’t it true. Vs. 3. You’re an expert.
How about the people that are experts in the social issues of our day. Are there experts in drug addiction, homosexuality, transgenderism. Are there experts in globalism and nationalism and experts in religion and
different ideologies? Surely there are. But is there anybody an expert on what God is saying in
the Bible. Is anybody growing in this understanding that comes from God. The ratio is 1000 to 1
in Job 33. There is a 1000 but then there is 1 that speaks.
When Jesus Christ came, he was the only one. Then he had followers that followed him. Then there were 3,000 and 5,000. Vs. 6. I stand to be judged for the resurrection of the dead. Vs. 8. I love that verse. Why would it be
incredible that God would take a dead man and raise him? I think it’s more incredible that God
would take one egg cell from a woman, one sperm cell from a man and multiply it billions of
times even trillions and make a human being. Which is more incredible?
The birth of a baby or the resurrection of a dead man. I don’t know what Paul would say but I would say the birth of a
baby is more incredible, isn’t it? Vs. 9. I thought to do away with him, away with his name, away
with his followers and he explains that. I also, councilman, was against the name of Jesus. I was
with you in agreement that we could get rid of Jesus’ name. But at midday, vs. 13-15. Paul tells
the council the story. It’s an incredible story.
You may not believe it, but Paul believed it. Paul repeated it at least three times in Acts. He repeats it to his adversaries. It was very clear in his mind and heart this happened. O King Agrippa, this happened. No question about it. Festus, it happened. You can talk to me all day long, but you can’t change me back. I know what that was
back there, and I know what I am now. What I am now is a lot better than the way it used to be
with me. The way I used to be has changed by God’s grace because I believed in the one God
gave. It’s that simple.
Why do you resist this? Why do you resist the fruit in my life? Why do you resist the testimony that I have? You can’t help it because in this world, there are powers at work, ideas at work, pride at work and it will always be resisted. It will happen until Jesus returns. It will never stop. Get used to it. Grow in your faith. Get mature in your faith. I love
when we assembly together because I feel that God communicates to us from the Bible in our
church services and in our rap sessions and Bible school and in our training. We are being
trained to meet Christ.
That will be fun when that day comes. You’ll say I’ve been here before.
An angel will say you have never been in heaven before. No, I was on the earth in heaven.
Where you on earth in heaven? I was in the church. I was seated in heavenly places in Christ
Jesus while I lived in a mortal body. Of course the angels all know that, and they won’t have
that conversation. We will realize I’ve already been in training. I’m already learning how
different the mind of God is from the mind of man.
The mind of man. Yes. Vs. 22. I want to emphasize that phrase. Having obtained help of God I continue unto the year 2020 in January. How did you get so far? The help of God. How do you keep going. I have obtained help of God. I continue this day by the help of God. What do you mean the help of God? I mean the Spirit of
God is very jealous for us and wants our mind to be changed day by day and have the right way
of thinking about God, ourselves, each other, the world we live in and about our past and also
about our future.
Having obtained help of God we have continued to this day in a very difficult
day and age where we would rather be on our cell phone than in the Bible. By the way, that happens to me like everybody. You can be on you cell phone as much as you want. I don’t care.
That’s none of my business. But when I never get the Bible in me. When I never stop and quiet
down and get in God’s presence and appreciate him and learn how to be still and discern him
and his work, then there will be something missing in my heart and life. Vs. 24.
Festus said with a what? Loud voice. Why did he shout or yell out with a loud voice? I wonder. What did he say
to him. He said Paul you are beside yourself. You are insane. Much learning has made you mad.
Let’s do it with a loud voice. There is a bench there and Paul is answering for himself. Paul. I
can’t do it. How do you do it. Paul, you are beside yourself. Much learning has made you
insane. You’re nuts.
You’re too much in the library, too much of your face in the book. You are a
fanatic. A loud voice is intimidating. Ulla’s aunt was speaking Swedish to one of our American
guys in Sweden. Ulla said he doesn’t understand Swedish, so she just spoke Swedish louder!
Festus, Paul knows that you resist him, and you have a different opinion but when you shout it,
it isn’t more convincing to him that you are right, and he is wrong.
You can bark and shout and yell and stomp and curse and spit and do everything, but it’s not going to change that man. That man has something going on in his life for many years that is a lot different than what is
going on in your heart and mind. You can write these people off in a way. They just have a
different opinion, but they can be wrong. People can have their own opinion but can be dead
wrong about what they are saying, and we can be too.
But the good news is he is not wrong and by God’s grace, you and I, though not perfect, got this right. The tomb is empty. Christ is risen. He has affected our lives. Vs. 25. I can whisper them. They are convincing. I can speak
them to you in a Sunday school class. They are convincing. I can speak in a mild way. They are
convincing. My arguments are clear. My approach is solid. I believe and it’;s so reasonable to
believe in this. Who has an answer for the dead? Only Christ. Who has an answer for my sin?
Only Christ. Who has an answer for my future? Only Christ.
Who has an answer for my past? Only Christ. Who has an answer for my life? Only Christ. Agrippa listening to the whole thing said in vs. 28, almost you persuade me to be a Christian. Who is more persuasive? The guy
yelling or the guy reasonable, and sober and clear in his conviction. Who is more convincing.
Agrippa says Paul you almost persuade me by your speech, by your manner by your testimony.
Paul said I wish everybody listening to this today was just like me.
Let’s go back to this diagram. I wish God changed my mind about himself and myself and I wish everybody was like me. I don’t think the average person can say that. I don’t want you to be like me. I don’t want you to
be like me. I want you to be like me without this or that. I haven’t arrived. I don’t want you to
be like me. Not us. We have a spiritual life by God’s grace, and we say in our hearts, I wish you
were like me. It sounds proud and arrogant and some other thing but to us, it sounds right. We
do want people to be like us. It’s the grace of God that has made us the way we are. We are
who we are by the grace of God. It’s only him we boast in. He has made the difference for us
and continues to.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.