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Thinking Clearly in a Messed-Up World

Stuart Briscoe

Every day, in every part of the world, we’re reminded that things aren’t how they’re supposed to be. Political, social, and spiritual division dominates the headline news, and stories of injustice and persecution are just as common. The path of peace and good will seems all but abandoned, and evil appears to be winning the day.

So how do we process these unnerving events? Does the Bible give any hope, help, or guidance?

Drawing from Romans 12, Stuart shows how you can respond with wisdom and courage to the day’s most distressing circumstances. For the Spirit of God is ever faithful—active in the renewing of your mind… and giving grace for thinking clearly in a messed-up world.

Messages From This Series:

Paul told the Roman believers, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within” (Rom. 12:2). But what did he mean by “the world” and how does it affect our minds and what should we do about it?

Scripture: Romans 12:1-12:2

The renewed mind thinks clearly about “the self.” This is important because, as John Stott points out, “Our ‘self’ is not a simple entity that is either wholly good or wholly evil, and therefore to be either totally valued or totally denied. Instead, our ‘self’ is a complex entity of good and evil, glory and shame, which on that account requires that we develop more subtle attitudes to ourselves.”

Scripture: Romans 12:3

Opinions differ concerning the church. Some see it as an irrelevant relic to be ignored, others regard it as a respectable institution to be tolerated, while some see it as a powerful enemy to be opposed. But the person with the renewed mind sees it is the body of Christ. But what does that mean?

Scripture: Romans 12:4-12:8

Modern culture places great emphasis on looking good and feeling good. Less concern is shown about doing good and being good. In fact “do good-ers” are often disliked and “being good” is sometimes dismissed as prudery. But Scripture says “Cling to what is good.” What is “the good” and how do we cling to it? 

Scripture: Romans 12:9-12:13

Richard Niebuhr said, “It is helpful to remember that the question of Christianity and civilization is by no means a new one, that Christian perplexity in this area has been perennial, and that the problem has been an enduring one through all the Christian centuries.” (Christ and Culture) That being the case, it is unlikely we will solve the problem but we can do some clear thinking about it.

Scripture: Romans 12:14-12:21

For generations Christians have found Jesus’ famous statement, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:21) a helpful basis for understanding the relationship of the Christian to the State. But how does it apply today?

Scripture: Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:1-13:7

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