Recap: In this week’s final song for our Summer Playlist Series we listened to “Champion” by Bethel. “Champion” is a song that presses into some difficult Kingdom concepts. Concepts like carrying Christ’s victory, being seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and having His authority. Pastor Josh looked at where Christ is seated in Ephesians 1 and finally where we are seated in Ephesians 2. God, who is outside of time, doesn’t look at our lives chronologically, but our past, present and future simultaneously. He sees our kingdom identity as the standard for living our current life… as Champions.
Scripture: Ephesians 1 & 2; Revelation 4 & 5
Icebreaker: What food do you crave the most often?
- If God were to walk in your shoes this week, what would he have to face? How do you think He would handle what you face? Is there anything you think God could not handle?
- Everything in culture seems pretty chaotic right now, but read Psalm 29:10-11. How does that verse bring you peace with the current newsreels? Why is your answer easy to say, but hard to move to the heart and believe?
- Our soul seated with Christ is in a secure position founded on our salvation. What piece of armor in Eph. 6:17 is salvation and what does this piece of armor actually mean? How do you put on the helmet of salvation?
- Read Romans 12:2. Is the renewing of your mind a command? If so, why? Why can’t the unsaved do this? How do you renew your mind?
- What do you feel you’re a slave to right now? Thought cycle? Speed of life? Daily news feed? Fear? How can you apply Romans 6:14 over it and live out Galatians 5:1?
- This week, what is one area in your life where you will fight to renew your mind with the Word and be at rest, seated with Christ?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
I have a relative who was addicted to pornography for 14 years. He grew up hearing all the right sermons, believed in Jesus, read his Bible, has great parents and friends, and can make anyone in any situation laugh. I’ve asked him before why it was such a fierce battle to break free of this addiction. Sorrow covered his face as he went into depth of how he would say no and knew it was wrong, but felt like a slave to it. Like it dragged him down to a pit that he wanted out of so badly, but didn’t know how to break free of. He felt alone, living in a daily personal agony of shame… he was living in a hell only he knew about. Just hearing that he “needed more Jesus” or needed to pray more or harder were not working. He knew Jesus had saved him and could save him from this pit, but he didn’t know how to walk in that salvation or how to battle it. Satan had attacked one of his most vital armor pieces before he really knew how to put it on… his helmet of salvation. His identity. The enemy had worked hard at snuffing out his capability to see that he even had authority over sin by creating strongholds of lies in his head that kept him from viewing God and himself in the right way. Wounds had been inflicted and brick walls grew, creating a mental prison cell of darkness, loneliness, and shame. His soul was saved but his mind was enslaved to the law of sin.
How many of us would say that we feel enslaved to something? Some, like myself, can even say we feel slaves to our minds… our thought patterns. You don’t have to have a major title addiction to not walk in the salvation you have been given. It can be one of the hardest spiritual warfare areas of our lives as Christians. In Ephesians 4:17 and Romans 6:12 Paul had just finished summing up what Christ did and what it meant to be saved. He uses the word therefore, indicating that because of this then action needs to take place. Salvation isn’t a stationary tick mark on your life timeline; it is something you walk in and have to daily put on. He is saying that because you are now under the law of grace and not the law of sin, live this way and practice your authority against sin this way. The jostling point to make here, though, is that the following verses after therefore directly address the mind. Paul does not say, “Start acting this way or saying these things”. He says, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires,” and, “You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk in their futility of their thoughts” (Rom. 6:12 & Eph. 4:17). Salvation is a grace-filled freedom of the soul in the eternal spectrum, but it is freedom of the mind in the finite. We sit in this salvation with Christ in the heavenly realm, but we have to walk in it on Earth. And walking in it is the action of renewing our minds to be the minds of Christ. Satan cannot affect the destiny of our souls after we are in the palm of the Almighty, so he tries to tamper with the freedom we could be walking in through our salvation (he’s sneaky that way).
My relative has been sober for three years and now leads a small group of men toward their own victory in Christ. The emphasis he makes, though, when we talk about his victory, is that his literal renewing of his mind as Paul talks about in Romans 12:2 had to be in Christ. It could not be done by his own will because he alone did not have the authority to conquer that sin. He does not have the authority by himself to say no to pornography nor I to judgmental and prideful thinking. But what does that mean, to renew in Christ? The answer lies in John 1:1-5. Jesus is the Word. We renew our mind and conquer sin by the ultimate power of the ink on the pages of the Living Word. We need to cover our bathroom mirrors, sticky note our desks, mark up our kitchen white boards, fill our ears with sound bites of verses, and buy verse memorizing apps with the very Word that was written for this exact reason… to be the ultimate truth and power of this world. We are not the power; we are the tool through which the power of the Almighty can work.
So, how badly do you want to walk in freedom and the authority of your salvation? I ask because the enemy is constantly scheming to find our mental weaknesses, so we must be working just as hard to reinforce our helmets and knowledge of our identity in the salvation we have been given. Start by reading and really studying Romans 5-8 & 12. Memorize those truths and fight to take back your identity… your freedom. Galatians 5:1 (KJV) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” In the NLT translation it is stated this way, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”
If you are in need of some authentic Christ-followers to help you learn to walk in the freedom of your salvation, please consider joining Celebrate Recovery. We have a group that meets at Lakeland, and they would love to walk with you as you learn to renew your mind in Christ. If you do not live near the church building, Celebrate Recovery has groups that meet all over the world; there is probably a group near you.
The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
Conquer Series by Kingdom Works Studios