I. OUR DECISIVE COMMITMENT: “Present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice” (12:1)
A. The Basis of the Commitment – “…by the mercies of God”
B. The Nature of the Commitment – total, acceptable, and rightful
C. The Outcome of this Commitment: “…the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

II. OUR WATCHFUL RESISTANCE: “Do not be conformed to this world…” (12:2)
A. Why the warning? Aren’t we supposed to enjoy the world God has made?
“C.J. Mahaney and his gang, as always, are in the business of applying the gospel. What does it look like when the blood of Christ governs the television and the Internet and the iPod and the checkbook and the neckline? Most people have never even asked the question, let alone answered it… This band of gospel-lovers is also in touch with the real challenges we face in music and movies and media and material possessions and modesty. They are writing as fellow strugglers in the world… They are eager for the church to ‘Enjoy the world…Engage the world…Evangelize the world.’ But they know that we will never be useful to the world if we are being deeply shaped by the world. And we will be shaped by the world without intentional efforts not to be.” (John Piper in the “Foreword” to Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, ed. by C.J. Mahaney.)

“Worldliness, then, is a love for this fallen world. It’s loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God’s rule and replaces it with our own… It exalts our opinions above God’s truth. It elevates our sinful desires for the things of this fallen world above God’s commands and promises.” (C.J. Mahaney, Worldliness, p.27)

B. What does one need to do to “be conformed”?

III. OUR PERSISTENT PURSUIT: “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (12:2b)
“These two value systems (this world and God’s will) are incompatible, even in direct collision with one another. Whether we are thinking about the purpose of life or the meaning of life, about how to measure greatness or how to respond to evil, about ambition, sex, honesty, money, community, religion or anything else, the two sets of standards diverge so completely that there is no possibility of compromise.” (John Stott, Romans, pp.323-24)

A. How do we obey a “passive imperative”?
B. The process and the power of this transformation:
• Transformed into what? Conformity to Christ!
• How? From the inside out.
• How does “the renewal of our minds” happen?

C. Some simple examples of this “renewing” and “transforming” process:
Personal Bible reading 2 Chron 14-16 Am I relying on human solutions…or on my omnipotent Heavenly Father?
Preaching & CG Gal 6:7-8 Am I sowing for eternity . . . or just for retirement?
Devotional books Psalm 51 Am I experiencing the daily joy of all my sins forgiven!?

“The Bible is not designed to give me a series of instant fixes. It is God’s instrument to shape and mold my mind and character into the likeness of Christ. And that takes time. I need to listen to the Bible passage being preached today, and to turn my heart to God in submission and trust today, not only because I may need that passage today, but because I may need that passage tomorrow. And tomorrow may be too late to learn it. And this takes repetition and reminder.
“So we need, not a random series of sermon fixes, but to sit together regularly, week by week, under the systematically preached word of God. And as we are taken through the teaching of the Bible by patient exposition, gradually Christlikeness is worked into our character, our affections, our desires, our decisions, and our lives.” —Christopher Ash

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)