Sermons of David Chadwell
THE MIND OF CHRIST
Click here to listen to this sermon read by Greg McAbee.
In all of us there is a deep desire to be understood. To be misunderstood is unpleasant for each of us.
To be misunderstood
continuously is a traumatic experience that can easily produce an enormous personal crisis. For
example, for a child to feel totally misunderstood by his or her parents can
create a crisis that significantly affects the rest of his or her life. Just the experience of being totally
misunderstood can convince the child, "I cannot communicate,"
"I am hopelessly different in terrible ways," or "I am inferior to everyone else." Such conclusions can
destroy the person's attitudes toward self and their confidence in
their ability to relate to others. Such attitudes can even lead to troubles in a future marriage: "He (she)
just does not understand me!" Such convictions can result in a
feeling of worthlessness, humiliation, and self-abasement.
Do you want to be understood? How do you know your understood? Someone does not have to
agree with me to understand me. I know I am understood when someone
else knows my thinking, relates to my feelings, and can accurately state my view without distortion. I
genuinely appreciate the person who grows in his or her ability to
What has to happen if a person is to truly understand me? He or she has to learn to think like I think
and see as I see. Is that not also true of you? Is it not when these
things occur that you know you are understood?
I am confident that God is more misunderstood than any of us ever have been. While we, at worst, can
be misunderstood for a lifetime, God has been misunderstood for
centuries. Even most who claim to be His followers fail to understand Him. Sadly, many people never
even try to understand Him. The more we misunderstand God, the
more assured we are that we will misunderstand the son He sent.
While it is not possible to totally understand God or Jesus Christ, it is possible to grow in knowledge
and appreciation of both of them. It is not necessary for Christians to
follow God blindly! Neither of them ask us to follow them blindly!
If we are to understand God better, what must happen? The same thing that must happen to
understand us better--we must learn to think like He thinks and to see like He
sees. How is that possible? By dedicating ourselves to having the mind of Christ.
- We must start by realizing God does not think or reason as we do.
Scripture acknowledges this fact often.
Isaiah 55:8,9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the
Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher
than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 40:13,14 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With
whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who
taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of
Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has
known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might
be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him
are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the
mind of Christ.
God in his thinking and reasoning is different in:
His purposes and objectives.
His perspectives and insights.
The Christian objective is to understand God's will and way by learning to think as He does.
If I am going to follow God instead of my own thinking, I must dedicate myself to understanding all I
can understand about God.
Blind, methodical obedience will not pursue that objective.
God has reasons for what He does.
God has purposes He seeks to accomplish.
Without an understanding of God's reasons and purposes, there are things God wants us to do that we
will not do.
Understanding is critical to daily life!
Which child functions best within the family: one who knows nothing of his parents' thinking, values, and
purposes, or the one who knows his parents' thinking, values, and
Which employee does the best job: the one who knows nothing about the "whys" of the job, or the one
who understands why the job must be done?
Who do you want to build your house: the carpenter who is great at reading blueprints, or the carpenter
who understands how the structure is supposed to work?
Who do you want to operate on you: the doctor who knows a textbook inside-out, or the doctor who
understands how your body is supposed to work?
There is much difference in acts of informed but blind slavishness and acts that arise from both
knowledge and understanding.
God has a will, a purpose that reaches to eternity.
God's purposes will be accomplished.
He wants to use us in His achievements.
If He is to use us, we need an understanding of what He is seeking to do.
If, as a serious Christian, I am dedicated to building a life with Christ as its foundation, I must
understand how God thinks and reasons.
How does a Christian do that?
The most common answer Christians give is, "Study the Bible!"
I fully agree!
However, that instruction to most people is a vague generality.
I would add: "Learn to reason as God does by developing Christ's mind."
The best way to learn how God thinks, reasons, and feels is to learn how Jesus thinks, reasons, and
feels (John 5:19; 5:30; 6:38; 8:28; etc.)
The better I understand Jesus, the better I understand God.
Jesus emphasized this truth.
On his betrayal night, he said he was going away, and Thomas responded they did not know the way to
wherever he was going.
Jesus replied that he was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Philip asked Jesus just to show them the Father and it would be enough.
Jesus replied in John 14:9,
"Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
In the same conversation Jesus said,
John 14:23,24 "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and
We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me
does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent
John 16:28 "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again
and going to the Father."
Jesus in human terms, in a physical life, showed us God's will, purposes, and attitudes.
The more fully I understand Jesus, the more fully I understand God.
I can understand the mind of Christ because Jesus was a man--that fact provides us insights we could
not have without his teachings and example as a human.
Being a Christian grows into much more than believing Jesus died and was raised to be our
Christ. It is bigger than blind obedience. The Christian desires to think like God
thinks, to feel as God feels, to understand from God's perspective, and to see as God sees.
- The specific instruction is for Christians to develop the mind of Christ.
This instruction is clear.
Paul to the Corinthian congregation: 1 Corinthians 2:16--For who has known the mind of the Lord, that
he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Paul to Christians at Philippi: Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ
Peter to Christians: 1 Peter 4:1,2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also
with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has
ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the
will of God.
The mind of Christ:
Considers all of physical life.
It stresses humility as we look at ourselves (Philippians 2:1-5).
It stresses reverence as we look at God (Matthew 6:1-18).
It stresses our attitude toward physical existence (Matthew 6:19-34).
It stresses our attitude toward other people (Matthew 5:43-48; 7:12; Romans 15:1-3).
It stresses compassion (Ephesians 4:32).
It stresses our resistance to the teachings and influence of God's enemies (Matthew 23).
If you wish to understand God's values and priorities, listen to Jesus.
- We do not follow Christ to learn a religion; we follow Christ to discover a life.
In Christ, we want to learn how to live, and that involves much more than going to church.
In Christ, we want to learn how to value what God values, and to devote our lives to those values.
In Christ, we seek a transformation of our lives as we seek to belong to God in mind and body.
This is not about some form of mysticism, or finding spiritual secrets, or being mentally deceived. It is a
matter of learning how to live and die by learning how to think as
God thinks through developing the mind of Christ.
Are you a Christian? Have you accepted a religion or have you found a life?
sermon posted 14 September 2006
Link to next sermon
Link to other Writings of David