Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Choose to Change #1: Attitude

Romans 12:1,2

INTRODUCTION

William James said, "Perhaps the greatest discovery of this century is that if you can change your attitude, you can change your life."

That is the basis of Christianity.

A life that is changed. Paul said, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature..."

There has been a great change in the life of one whom has placed their faith in Christ.

  • Positional = Justification
  • Progressive = Sanctification
  • Permanent = Glorification

I. THE POSITIONAL CHANGE OCCURS THE MOMENT WE TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST

(1 JOHN 3:14) "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

A. The technical term is 'Justification'.

1. This speaks of our standing before God.

2. That change is completed the moment we trust Christ.

B. There is also a permanent change that awaits every believer.

(1 Cor 15:50-52) "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. {51} behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

1. This speaks of the time when we will exchange our old bodies for new bodies.

2. This is a future event and will be our glorification.

C. Between these two is where we live right now.

1. We call it sanctification.

2. It is the progressive growth of each believer as they become more like Christ.

3. It begins when we are saved and continues until we die or are raptured.

(Rom 8:29) "For Whom He Did Foreknow, He Also Did Predestinate to Be Conformed to the Image of His Son, That He Might Be the Firstborn among Many Brethren."

a. We are not robots, God has given us a free will to choose to love and serve Him.

b. It is our choice as to whether we will cooperate with God in His process of sanctification.

D. The determining factor is ATTITUDE.

1. Attitude is our mental and emotional responses to the circumstances of life.

2. Often we cannot change our circumstances, but we can change our attitudes.

II. BASIC PRINCIPLES ABOUT ATTITUDES

A. Our attitudes are chosen.

1. We can choose to look at any situation positively or negatively.

2. Illustration of the two farmers. One was a pessimist and the other was an optimist:

When the sun was shining, the optimist would say, "Wonderful sunshine," but the pessimist would respond, "Yeah, but I'm afraid it's going to scorch the crops." When it rained, the optimist would say, "Fine rain," but the pessimist would respond, "Yeah, but I'm afraid we're going to have a flood." One day the optimist said to the pessimist, "Have you seen my new bird dog? He's the best money can buy." The pessimist said, "You mean that little mutt I saw penned up behind your house? He don't look like much to me." The optimist said, "Well, how about going hunting with me tomorrow?" The pessimist agreed. They went and shot some ducks. The ducks landed in the pond. The optimist ordered his dog to go get the ducks. The dog obediently responded, but instead of swimming in the water, the dog walked on top of the water, retrieved the ducks, and then walked back on top of the water. The optimist now turned confidently to his pessimist friend, hoping that this would have impressed him. The determined pessimist replied, "Hmmmm... can't swim, can he?"

3. Some people are confirmed pessimists!

4. Everyone of us makes a choice when it comes to our attitude, we can choose not to live God's principles and enjoy His blessings or we can choose not to do so and we will not have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

B. Our attitudes are influenced by input and shaped by external influences

1. What we read.

3. What we see.

4. Who we listen to.

5. what we think about.

(Phil 4:8) "Finally, Brethren, Whatsoever Things Are True, Whatsoever Things Are Honest, Whatsoever Things Are Just, Whatsoever Things Are Pure, Whatsoever Things Are Lovely, Whatsoever Things Are of Good Report; If There Be Any Virtue, and If There Be Any Praise, Think on These Things."

C. Our Attitudes are influenced also by our friends.

(Psa 1:1 2) "Blessed Is the Man That Walketh Not in the Counsel of the Ungodly, Nor Standeth in the Way of Sinners, Nor Sitteth in the Seat of the Scornful. {2} but His Delight Is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law Doth He Meditate Day and Night."

D. Our attitudes affect our relationships.

1. All of us are involved in relationships that could stand improvement.

2. Relationships with our spouses, our children, our friends, our work associates, or our fellow church members.

3. The Bible teaches that a wrong attitude is the major source of relationship conflicts?

(James 4:1) "From Whence Come Wars and Fightings among You? Come They Not Hence, Even of Your Lusts That War in Your Members?"

4. The major source of conflicts is a selfish attitude.

a. Whenever two or more people get together who are determined to get their way, you are going to have conflict, whether it is in the home, at work, or in the church.

b. The solution to such conflict is again, found in our attitude.

(Phil 2:4-7) "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

E. Our attitudes are both the cause and the result of right behavior.

1. It is easy to see how right thinking produces right behavior.

(Prov 23:7a) "For as He Thinketh in His Heart, So Is He..."

2. But it is also true that right actions also produce right attitudes.

a. Remember the story of Cain and Abel?

b. Cain was despondent because his brother, Abel, had offered an acceptable sacrifice to God, whereas Cain's gift had been rejected.

c. God said that if Cain would do right, he would start to feel right.

3. Right actions produce right attitudes.

4. We live in a feeling oriented society: "If it feels good, do it" (and the corollary, "If it doesn't feel good, don't do it!").

a. A husband or wife seeks a divorce because he or she "doesn't feel anything any longer."

b. People quit their jobs because they "don't feel fulfilled."

c. Christians quit going to church because they "don't feel the Spirit" in the services.

d. Yet, God's word to Cain was that the key to right feelings is right actions.

F. Our attitude determines our eternal destiny.

1. The most convincing argument for right attitudes is the effect they have on our eternity.

2. Remember the definition of an attitude"our mental or emotional response to the circumstances of life."

3. While we all experience many varied circumstances in life, there is one common circumstance we all encounter: sin.

a. Sin is our failure to please God.

b. And the Bible says all of us are guilty of it.

4. What is our attitude toward that failure in our life?

5. Our attitude will affect where we spend eternity.

CONCLUSION

There is only one attitude that pleases God: an attitude of repentance. That means agreeing with God that you have failed, and turning to Him for forgiveness.

(1 John 1:9) "If We Confess Our Sins, He Is Faithful and Just to Forgive Us Our Sins, and to Cleanse Us from All Unrighteousness."