Gift of God I: Sound Mind
A Sermon preached 2/2/97
Trinity Covenant Church
Dr. C. W. Powell
II Timothy 1:1-7
The book of 2 Timothy was written by the Apostle Paul, who was in prison at Rome, nearing the end of his life. Paul knew that he would be called to lay down his life very shortly for the Lord Jesus Christ. He had already appeared before the Emperor Nero, and all men had forsaken him, and he knew that the time was short.
He writes to Timothy as his own son in Christ, for Timothy had come to Christ by Paul's testimony (Acts. 16:1-3). Timothy was a giant in the church in the early days after the martyrdom of the Apostle. Paul exhorts Timothy to do the work that God had given him and to be faithful. Timothy ministered perhaps at Ephesus, and his job was the work of an evangelist.
Timothy no doubt had supernatural gifts, imparted by the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of the Apostle and the elders. But leaving aside the special gifts, which have now ceased, there are many things which are general and which apply to all believers. These things are before us today and will be a help and blessing to you.
I originally intended to bring only one message on this text, but the subject grew in my hands, and rather than try to cram so much good stuff into one message, I decided that I would make it into three. This week, the Soundness of Mind given to Christians; next week, the Power; the following week; Love. They go together, and belong to all the people of God in terms of their calling to the work of Christ.
I. The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Timothy had received the Holy Spirit. As is common in the epistles, the gift is taken for the author of the gift. We are given the Spirit; that is, the Spirit is manifested by his gifts. The Holy Spirit is God. As God He is everywhere present and does not go from one place to another, for He is the eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent Third Person of the Holy Trinity. So when it is said that the Spirit is given, it means that His gifts are manifested and given to us. In this way the Spirit reveals Himself to be present in essence with us.
The Purpose for the Gifts
But His gifts are not everywhere manifested, and His work is not revealed everywhere. Timothy was given a gift by which he could serve the church. Notice, "God has not given US". The work of the Spirit is common to all the saints: Ephesians 4:14-16. If you are a Christian, the power of the Spirit is working in you and has made you one with the body of Christ, the believers. That work in you is for the purpose of edifying and building up the body of Christ. It is not primarily given for your benefit alone, but so by your benefit you can do good to others in the body of Christ.
As Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:14-16: His profiting will benefit the whole church. You must first partake of the bread if you would teach others. Your profiting will appear to all. Your fellowship with Christ in your closet will be made manifest to all men, and your gift will be a blessing and profit to the church of Jesus Christ.
Paul paints in broad terms the nature of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the servants of Christ. If you profess to be led of the Spirit, here is the nature of the Spirit's work.
II. Soundness of Mind.
Soundness of mind means a "saved mind," a healthy mind, a mind free from disease, a mind doing what a mind ought to do. Just as a diseased hand or foot cannot do what they ought to do, so a mind is not able to do what a mind ought to do, if it is diseased or corrupted.
The work of the Spirit is to restore, or save man's mind.
A Diseased Mind
The Bible is very clear about the corruption of the mind of the natural man. You should examine the following:
This corruption is the result of the wrath and judgment of God: Romans 1:28. The mind of an unbeliever cannot do what a mind is supposed to do. It cannot rightly discern the difference between right and wrong, between the true God and idols.
Characteristics of a Diseased Mind
Belshazzar's mind was hardened in pride (Dan. 5:20). He committed frightful sacrilege and fell into the snare of the devil (1Tim. 3:6). The diseased mind is filled with doubt and worries over the things of the world (Luke 12:29). It is doubleminded and vacillates between serving God and serving the world and is therefore unstable in all its ways (James 1:8) and needs to be purified (James 4:8). A sound mind is one that serves the Lord willingly with a perfect heart (1Chron. 28:9).
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3). Paul contrasts a sound mind, which is peaceful and focussed on Christ, with one that is swept too and fro. The Spirit gives peace, not unrest and turmoil.
"But there minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ." (2Corinth. 3:14) Jesus is the light of the world, and even the Bible is hidden and dark to the blind mind until it is enlightened by Him. Because they did not seek Christ in the Scriptures, their minds were blind.
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2Corinth. 11:3) The Spirit has a simple story to tell: the story of Jesus. We are complete in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:10); we find God when we come to Christ (John 14:9-11); in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 1:19; 2:9). The Spirit of God does not promise us perfection or fullness or greater godliness beyond Christ: such a message is alien to Him.
"And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; thus saith the Lord; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them" (Ezek. 11:5). God knows all the thoughts of our hearts and all the words in our language (Ps. 139:4). He knows all the distinctions and relationships between ideas that are represented by our words, for He is the author of both the ideas and the words.
No Irrational Confusion.
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." (1Tim. 6:3-6) The Holy Spirit does not lead a man to be contentions and agitated, casting around in all directions, irrational, opposed to good sense.
"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." (Titus 1:15) This is why our minds must be purified and healed by the gift of God's Spirit.
"That [aged women] may teach the young women to be sober...." "Sober" means disciplined in mind: the mind healed from irrational and foolish behavior that so often afflicts the young.
Control of the Body
The mind is to control the body. A diseased mind cannot do that. There are diseases that disconnect the mind from the body, but why do it on purpose? Drugs can help connect the body to the mind and are a wonderful blessing to those afflicted with nervous or mental disorders. There are also drugs that do the opposite. "Be sober" means to be disciplined; be in control. Take control of your life; make the hard decisions that will bring you into control. When a person's mind loses control of the body, then he must be taken care of-- institutionalized or incarcerated for the protection of himself, and possibly of society.
We have an example of such a man in Mark 5. He was a poor demoniac, who had his body taken over by demons. He was no longer in control, and wandered in the tombs, and no man could restrain him. But when he met Jesus, the devils were cast out into a herd of swine, and when the disciples returned from the town they found him in his right mind, subdued, tamed, at peace, sitting at the feet of Jesus. (Mark 5:15). What a wonderful illustration of the work of the Spirit of God.
Love God with All Your Mind
We are required to love the Lord our God with all our mind (Matt. 12:7). This is what the law requires of you and me, and God has a right to this. The ultimate disease of the mind is to be alienated from God; to plan and scheme and dream dreams without Him, to live apart from Him, not to seek Him and not to long after Him.
III. Getting a Sound Mind
How do I get this mind? It is a gift. It is the gift of God and is the work of the Holy Ghost. "Stir up the gift that is in thee," Paul exhorts Timothy. If you are a Christian, the basic soundness of mind is there; but it needs to be stirred up. Please follow me in this:
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost is the gift of God, and He comes only by faith in Jesus Christ by the Gospel (Galatians 3:1). Those alienated from Christ cannot have soundness of mind. It is Christ who is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (I Cor. 1:30). There is no soundness of mind apart from Jesus Christ.
Putting On Christ
This means to put on Christ, to put off the old man, and put on the new man. The Christian is one who has the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:14-16). But we are to stir it up. We are to set our affections--put our mind and heart on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-16). This means putting off the love of the world, fleshly lusts, the worry about earthly things, fretting about things, reputation, position, and all the other things people fret about. It means letting the peace of God rule our hearts, being thankful, and letting the word of Christ dwell richly in us, and doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus with a thankful heart.
Presenting the Body
But having the mind of Christ is more than a mental exercise. "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 this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1,2)
As long as the body is out of control, the mind will be out of control. As long as the body rules the mind and the mind assents to be ruled by the desires of the body, the mind is poisoned and corrupt. The body must be given to Christ as a living sacrifice, for the mind to be renewed, so that it is possible to discern the will of God. An undisciplined body is the mark of an undisciplined mind.
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of god, should shine unto them.... For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2Cor. 4:4, 6). It is through the Gospel that the renewed mind comes. It does not come from the law, but from union with Jesus Christ. We are renewed as we give up ourselves to Jesus Christ, who is our light.
IV. The Mind of Christ.
The sound mind has been taught to think as Christ thinks. The law cannot do this. Those who trust in their works, bring forth pride and arrogance, to the despising of others. This is a sick mind, not the mind of Christ.
The mind of Christ is described in Philippians 2. Things are not to be done through strive and vain-glory, but we are to esteem others better than ourselves (vs. 3) We are not to mind our own things, but to look out for others (vs. 4). We are not to look out for ourselves first, but trust ourselves to God and look out for others.
The Humbling of God? (vs. 5-8)
Christ certainly knew who He was: the Second Person of the Trinity. He never denied it for a moment, for if He did, He knew He would be a liar like we are (John 8:54-56). But even though He knew who He is, He humbled Himself.
Think of it. God humbled Himself to make and take care of this glorious universe, for the glorious light of a hundred million galaxies of stars is nothing compared to Him. Yet He cares for this world. Not only that, but He carefully watches over men (Ps. 8). He sees the sparrow fall and numbers the hairs of our head. He humbles himself to behold the earth. He even stoops into the dunghill to lift the needy to set with princes (Ps. 113:5-9). God will never call you or me to stoop so low that we could ever compare our stooping with His.
The Greatest Mystery
Here is the greatest mystery of all. Although Christ was truly God, yet He humbled Himself to become a true man. And then as a man, He humbled himself to die the cursed death of the cross. If God could give Himself to serve us; then we can give ourselves to serve one another. God never commands you to do anything that He Himself has not already done.
If the Son of God could do that for you, shouldn't you give yourself to Him. Isn't this exactly what you need to heal your poor, diseased, troubled and tormented mind? No wonder He could say to sinners everywhere, those with diseased and alienated minds:
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant Church
6050 Del Paz Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918