Series: Doers of the Word
Message – A Captive Mind
A Captive Mind
Out of the four heart types there is one unifying point and that is focus!
What you focus on is what you become.
You want a wayside heart? Set your focus on the natural – on what is immediately in front of you with little consideration for what is to you peripheral things.
You want a stoney/shallow heart? Set your focus on yourself? Only remain dedicated to those things which avoid danger or provide you with a sense of safety, satisfaction and protection.
Do you want a thorny heart? Then live a life that is predominantly preoccupied with your enjoyment, boredom mitigation, entertainment and/or pleasure?
Do you want a Good and godly heart? Set your focus on Jesus and co-partnership with the Holy Spirit Who reveals Him!
1Jn 4:7-11 (Paraphrase),
“God’s loved ones, let us habitually love one another with a divine and self-sacrificial love, because this sort of love springs forth from the very person of God alone;
I’m telling you….without exception… everyone whose habit of life is to love like this, also spring forth from the very person of God and are in fact His kids experiencing Him moment by moment resulting in really knowing Him intimately…it is our privilege and birthright!
Whoever does not habitually love in this manner has never come to truly know God, because this love is God’s very nature.
God clearly revealed His love for us by sending His unique and only Son into the world with the sole mission of causing us to truly live in intimate union with God through Him.
I’m telling you – THIS is love. Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the satisfaction for the sin, guilt and shame that served as a wall between us.
God’s loved ones, since it truly was in this manner and to this extent that the Father has loved us, we are at very least under moral obligation to be constantly loving one another in the same way!
The clear and un-obscured person of God no one has ever yet seen nor even had the capacity to fully see, but if we habitually love one another with His love – He is in very fact living in us and His love has been brought to its full measure in us.
You want to know how we can actually experience in reality this knowledge that we co-habitate with God? Then turn your attention to the Spirit Whom the Father gave to us as our permanent gift!
And as for us, our hearts have been focused Him and contemplated Him to the point of fully knowing and living in the reality that the Savior has come to us from the Father.
Whoever inwardly knows that Jesus is God’s Son to the point where their convictions leads them to cast aside every other hope in preference of Him – placing the whole of their trust fully and finally in Him – God has taken up residence in that heart and calls it His home and God is their home as well.
As for us, we have known Him in this way and live in that reality every moment.
What we focus on is everything! It IS our…
- ears to hear
- our “Good Heart”
- Our fertile soil for His Words which we treasure above all else
Today we see looking not at a metaphor (though some are used) but we are looking at the cold spiritual reality.
Even in the parable of the heart soils Jesus mentions the enemy. And while he is only mentioned as showing up in the first heart we all know that he visits all of the hearts trying to draw them away to other devotions so as to change their hearts soil from good to bad.
So James’s warning us about being drawn away still applies…and in short, what draws away captive is the flesh.
Rom. 7:23, “But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner (making me captive) to the law of sin in the parts of my body.”
1Pet. 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.”
Turn to 2Cor. 10:1-6,
2Cor. 10:1-6, “(1) Now I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ–I who am humble among you in person, but bold toward you when absent. (2) I beg you that when I am present I will not need to be bold with the confidence by which I plan to challenge certain people who think we are walking in a fleshly way. (3) For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, (4) since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments (5) and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (6) And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
You’ve heard the expression fighting fire with fire…yeah…well that doesn’t work with spiritual stuff!
We may walk in it – but we do NOT war with it! Meaning, we do not resort to fleshly means of fighting.
To do this we would have to turn our attention away from Christ towards our flesh.
You ever hear the poem, “Two Dead Boys?”
It is a poem composed of what is called “Nonsense verse”…
One bright day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and ran to shoot the two dead boys
If you don’t believe this lie is true
ask the blind man, he saw it, too.
Well style and attempts at wit aside – it contains the line – “back to back they faced each other”
THAT is the means of it – NEVER let the flesh be our focus or means or we will be made captive to it every time!
Our focus…Col 2:18-23,
“(18) Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) AND not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (20) Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— (21) “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” (22) which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Paul says, the reason why we do not wage our war according to the flesh is because “our weapons are not of the flesh – but are spiritual”
They are POWERFUL – THRU – GOD!
Eph 6:10-13, “(10) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.
This means it is by means of His words and strength.
(11) Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. (12) For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (13) This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.”
We see an example in Christ of this warfare…
“(3) Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (4) But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (5) Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, (6) and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you and, they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (7) Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.” (8) Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. (9) And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” (10) Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.” (11) Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.”
Ephesians 6 goes on to say (picking back up from verse 14) –
“(14) Stand, therefore, with
- truth like a belt around your waist
- righteousness like armor on your chest
- and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
- (16) In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- (17) Take the helmet of salvation,
- and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
(18) With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
19) Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. (20) For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.”
Most modern “Christians” are so childlike and carnal that…
Instead of girding themselves with the belt of truth, they support themselves through masks they wear – false representation of their true selfs. Appearance is everything and is more important than substance.
Instead of the breastplate of righteousness, we cover our hearts with selfish ambition, entanglements in the affairs of this life, preoccupations with natural things and the pursuit of safety in natural things.
Instead of the shoes of the gospel, we are shod with little more than “niceties” and hollow blessings cloaked in empty words. “Have a wonderful day!” “I’ll be praying for you!” “You know the Lord loves you.” “God is good!”
Instead of the shield of faith, we shield our faith. We protect ourselves and our beliefs. We shrink back from confrontation and unpleasant truths.
When is the last time you actually addressed sin you saw in a loved one – rather than passively ignoring it in preference of being “sweet” and loving.
Instead of the helmet of salvation, our minds are filled with methods, schemes, worries and anxieties concerning saving ourselves or worse – excusing ourselves and our continued caving in to sin patterns. With statements like, “Well God doesn’t love me any less!” As if that excuses a life lived in offense against Him.
But God’s weapons are powerful for the demolition of these strongholds. Through our union with Him and reliance upon His strength, we thwart all of satan’s attempts to take us captive.
You see we WILL be held captive by one thing or another.
We will either be captive to our fleshly cravings and desires or our minds will be held captive to Christ.
Through the spiritual weapons we have available to us in Christ, we demolish ALL OF THE ARGUMENTS and high-minded things that raise up against the knowledge of God,
Then we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!
We will pick up here next week…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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