#17 The Renewed Mind

Ephesians 4:20-21
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Paul's referring to the previous passages of scripture where he described the other Gentiles, those that are unredeemed, the ones he spoke of previously that were in ancient days without the Christ, the covenants, and the promises of God; and specifically, he discusses their "walk," which literally describes a person's manner of life or how they conduct their business. Ultimately, the exhortation is don’t walk in darkness like those without the promises you have:

Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know...


Paul is addressing the church in Ephesus and saying, "You aren't like the other Gentiles who walk in a darkened state towards the truths of Messiah:
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him...
The word learned is specifically instruction. Paul's point is that the church of Ephesus was instructed in the truths of the Christ...if so be that ye have heard Him... One Greek scholar makes the point that this verse could have been translated, "If as is the case you were taught Him."
The prepositional phrase that we speak of often is utilized twice in these verses:
(1). ...have been taught by him... Is literally en autoi or "In Him.”
That's why I repeatedly draw the stick men on the board. I'm trying to ever keep in the forefront of your Christian mind that as a new creation in Christ, you've been translated into a new sphere, a new environment, a new kingdom, from darkness to light, you live in a new place, a new "house," a new "neighborhood," a place called "In Him."
In this new sphere in which you abide, there is abounding grace and instruction from the Holy Spirit for you to be taught the things of God. In this place, you learn Jesus. We aren't just talking about the historical figure named Jesus. Jesus' message is who He is.
What are you talking about? The other day Robert and I were in El Toro eating after we had been working, and we ran into someone Robert used to go to church with. At one point, he challenged me and said, "I asked my Pastor if he could tell me what the gospel was, and he couldn't," so can you tell me-- what is the gospel?
I responded, "Jesus is the gospel!"
"No, that’s what my pastor told me too, but the gospel includes things like repentance also," was his retort.
I would never want to be demeaning but your brain isn't firing on all cylinders sir. You think you've dug deep, but you're still just scratching the surface, because Jesus is the gospel:
He doesn't just preach on Jubilee or the kingdom of God. He is the jubilee and the kingdom
He is the Sabbath


He is the resurrection and the life.
He is repentance, because when one embraces Jesus, that person is turning from the world and turning to Jesus.


He doesn’t just preach deliverance. He is the deliverer.


He is the truth, the way, the life….
(2). ...the truth is in Jesus:
en Ieosus or "In Jesus."
Once again, we are faced with this prepositional phrase, describing a new place in which the believer resides, and in this place, the truth of God is found!
Ephesians 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;


The thought of putting off has the essence of a person removing a garment, a garment that is old, worn out, and outdated. The word conversation used here is an outdated old English used in the same fashion as walk, and once again, describes, the manner of lifestyle or one's behavior.
When the whole thought is considered together, the idea is that our lifestyle and behavior should no longer reflect the "old man's" lifestyle and behavior; instead, our life should reflect the new man that lives in Christ.


So who is the "old man?"

In a generic fashion, the "old man" is who we were born in Adam, when we were physically born under sin’s dominion. The pictograph of the stick man we commonly refer to teaches that in God's mind, the "old man" died in Christ at the cross, was buried with Him in the tomb, and resurrected with Him as a new creation in Christ (Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Specifically, regarding our "old man" today, how can we know when he attempts to come alive
Maybe the safest thing to do is for the preacher to use himself as an example. That way no one gets offended because he’s talking about himself-- not you.
So Matt's "old man" had multiple bondages and character flaws:
I was consumed with the party and whatever that entailed. I said it last week, but I will say it again, "Whatever made my flesh feel good I wanted a lot of it."
But anything that wasn't fun I ran from. Things like responsibility or work.
For instance, all I was concerned about was smoking pot and drinking, which killed my desire for work. Even after I was a Christian, my mindset was bent to the way it was before. I was the first to volunteer to go home early even though I now had a wife and kids. I thank God that over time, He has changed that about me drastically.
Another aspect about me was that I always had to have my way in relationships. It didn't matter at all what the other person wanted. I was going to get what I wanted no matter what or I wasn't going to play anymore. Over time, God began to convict me. I have a long way to go, but I constantly think about the other person's position and opinion. It doesn't mean that I always agree but I'm mindful of others.
When it came to spending money, if I wanted it, I went and got it. It didn't matter whether I had the money to pay for it. Purchase today pay tomorrow. I should be clear when I say this. People can do what they want with their own money they work for, but if we live outside of our means, then we have a root that needs to be dealt with. For me the root was that if I want it, I'm going to get it whether you like it or not. This went on until I got to the point where I didn't like it anymore, because it doesn't matter how much money you make, you can still live above your means.
I used to feel like I had to win every argument. God's still working on me, but when I realize that I'm acting like the "old man," I can shut up, and I can say I'm sorry when I'm wrong.
There are many other things that people continue in attempting to fix their problems. They continue to allow their "old man's" logic to fix their problems:
Men and women both still seek companionship in an attempt to fill a void in their lives that only Jesus can fill. They attempt through material possessions to fill voids, through drugs or alcohol, through a better job, through....
Men try to prove their manhood by dominating relationships and attempting to rule their spouse in fear, and some women allow themselves to be used as a vessel, like Eve did, for the serpent to once again usurp the position of the man’s spiritual leadership in the home, which throws everything in the house into chaos and disarray, and just as the fall left God’s children in a place of heartache and pain, the children of the family are left in disarray. And then she wonders why he won’t step up and lead? Oh please you wouldn’t let that man lead if he wanted to.

People attempt to fix their financial burdens by more financial burdens but they never let God deal with the over spending issues in their lives.
These are some specific issues that affect people's daily lives, but the commonality is that they represent "old man" behavior that was supposed to have died in Christ at the cross. However, if we don't understand how the Holy Spirit works in our lives through the finished work of Christ, then we continue to struggle.
So how does it work? God operates in sovereignty within our free will. If there is an area, He wants gone, but we want to cling to, He allows the wilderness wandering to ensue. He allows certain things to take place in our lives to bring us to the end of self in that area He wants to deal with. I can assure you that God has more patience than we do, and if we refuse to submit in a certain area, then He just waits and lets us have our way until finally one day we say, "No mas. No more God. I quit. I give up and defer to your will."
Lastly, about this verse is the phrase...according to the deceitful lusts...literally means a delusional craving for something that is forbidden. When my flesh desires something contrary to the will of God, and I'm moved in that direction instead of towards the Father's will, I'm being deceived by sin and operating according to the mindset of the "old man."
Ephesians 4:23-24
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.


The terminology here: "renewed in the spirit of your mind" is reminiscent of the terminology used in chapter one "...that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened."
Does the mind have a spirit? Does the understanding have eyes? The thought is that when the spiritual aspect of man is born again, that man's spirit is quickened or given life towards the things of God (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and a renewal of the mind ensues. In other words, the Spirit of God through the word of God begins to transform and renew the thought processes, better yet, the viewpoint in which this vapor called life is seen is transformed i.e. renewed by the Holy Spirit.
This process requires various factors to be in place. For example, the Holy Spirit must be living in the heart of the person, so they must be born again. Secondly, the word of God must be preached, taught or understood in such a way that the believer is made aware of how the renewed mind takes place.
The reason I emphasize this so much is because for so long I was taught that all I had to do was read the Bible and my mind was being renewed. While it is true that reading the word introduces me to the truths of God, if I don't spiritually understand the underlying meaning of the text, my mind will be tricked, with the help of unknowing preachers into believing that it's the simple act of reading pages in the Bible that's renewing my mind when the reality is that-- it's a spiritual understanding of God's word that changes the context of my worldview.
Titus 3:5-6
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

This scripture does a good job of explaining somewhat the process I'm speaking of. It's not through the works that we do that the renewed mind is received. Man cannot, through his feeble attempts at reading more Bible, praying more, or fasting more save himself. Man cannot do a regeneration miracle in his own heart through his own works of righteousness; rather, a regeneration miracle takes place in the heart of  a man when he is born again  as taught in Romans 6:3-5, Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Jeremiah 31:31. Human words can't properly describe what happens in the spiritual realm, but let it be known that when a person is born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit, they will never be the same.
The word regeneration describes the initial conversion. One Greek scholar likened it to a building permit, which allows the continued work to ensue. The renewed mind is a renovation project. When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in them and they now have a receiver.
Ezekiel 36:26-27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.


That which was previously born of Adam and dead to God has been born again and made alive to God. This event allows the renewing to ensue.
The word "renewing" in Titus and "renewed" in our Ephesians text come from the same root and mean exactly that: a process of renewal. So the renewed mind is transformed because the Holy Spirit, through salvation has awakened our spirit from the death of sin, and the process continues as the believer learns and submits to the Holy Spirit's renewal of the mind through the word.
One of the big problems we have is that much of our mindsets have been developed from the world; furthermore, we now live in the midst of a timeframe where the church has embraced much of the methodologies of the world, which further obscures the line between godliness and holiness; therefore, it becomes more difficult a process for the mind to be renewed. This same thing happened to Israel.

Hebrews 3:7-4:11
The revelation God gave me about this passage that connects to the renewed mind concept is the fact that God said, "They always erred because they didn't know His ways." paraphrase

As I began to ponder this concept, I asked the Lord, "But why Lord? Why didn't they know your ways? They were Israel, the nation you had created through the promises given to the one man named Abraham. You had delivered them from Egyptian bondage. They previously had known of your covenant through the sign of circumcision you had given Abraham-- why God?"
I firmly believe God's answer for me was the same problem that God's people deal with today. His answer was that they had been Egyptian slaves for 400 years, and even though they had been given the circumcision and the promises, as they lived in Egypt, a type of the world, they forgot the ways of God and became indoctrinated with the ways of the world.


Paul has a similar warning for the church.

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed
[to be molded from an outer source] to this world: but be ye transformed [metamorphosis the inside {Jesus from the new birth} comes out] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Essentially, these two scriptures explain the same concept as the one we just covered in Hebrews. Just as Egypt (world) had influenced the mindset of Israel's thinking, the world today wants to influence the thinking of God's people—the church. God doesn't want His people to err repeatedly because they don't understand His ways.
In this Romans passage, the exhortation reaches backwards to all the previous teaching that had come forth:
Ch 1-3: all men, both Jew and Gentile are guilty according to God's standard of righteousness which was the Law.
Ch 3:21-4 & 5: the righteousness of God apart from the Law has been revealed and His name is Jesus. Man is justified and the curse reversed through faith in the sacrifice of the righteous one.
Ch 6: upon faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, the old man dies and a new man is resurrected anew.
Ch 7: when the believer attempts to live daily for God through faith in works and Law, grace is frustrated and failure rather than victory is the result.
Ch 8: there are spiritual laws that are in effect. The only way to victory over sin is through the fact that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has set me free from the law of sin and death.
Ch 9-11: Israel is an example to the church. They attempted to establish their own righteousness and forsook the righteousness of God which was Jesus.
12: the believer is exhorted to live a life of sacrifice, where he becomes a walking worship service for God. Remember, the reader of this letter would have already read Romans chapter 6, where he would have been taught that the “old man’ was dead, and a “new man’ was resurrected; Therefore, when they read the words… be a living sacrifice…this was the exhortation.
The person who understands that the old is dead and the new is resurrected gains revelation that he is crucified to the world, he will not be conformed to their ways, and instead his mind is transformed as the new man begins to gain revelation about the wonderful plan of God, which created new creations in Christ. Ultimately, this is the renewed mind—a revelation that the believer is a new creation in Christ.