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How to Change Your Mind

By Pastor Matt Black

Bible Text: Psalm 1:1-3

Preached on: Sunday, April 27, 2008, 6pm[1]


Tabernacle Baptist Church

7020 Barrington Road

Hanover Park, Illinois 60133



Introduction:  The Puritans used to talk about “Practicing the Presence of God”.  This is what the Bible refers to when it records that “Enoch walked with God” and that “Abraham was a friend of God.”  The Scripture says David was a “man after God’s own heart.” 

HOW CAN WE CHANGE OUR MIND?  The person who is saved has God's presence with him.   Did not Jesus say, “I am with you ALWAYS” (Matthew 28:20).  We can depend on the promised presence of God.  This is the putting on of the new man that we talked about this morning.  It is the walking in the Spirit. 

Psalm 1, “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. 3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    4 ¶  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”.


Psalm 1 is the introduction to the book of Psalms.  It is a very important psalm.  The Psalms were the Hebrew hymnal.


The Psalm begins with the promise: “Blessed is the man…”  The person who has God in his life is truly blessed.  This world literally means “happy, completely satisfied, or blissful.”  We could read it: “O the blessedness of the man” or “graced is the man” (Spurgeon).   You cannot even imagine the overflowing blessedness of the man! 

If you are saved you have God living inside you.  That ought to make you thankful in all things!  God is the source of all joy and gratitude.  If you don’t know God, you are truly a joyless person.  I am not saying you never experience temporary happiness.  What I am saying is only in the Lord can you know lasting and full joy.

Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”



Genesis 28:15 says, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places wither thou goest.”  God is with us!! His very name is Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23)! 

Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Moses said, in Exodus 33:15, “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”

The Bible says that if we realize that GOD IS WITH US it will radically change our lives.  We will have the peace that the world does not have.  Tonight we are going to briefly look at three things that will keep us living in the presence of God. 

I.          First, we must CUT OFF sinful ways of thinking (verse 1).  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…nor standeth…nor sitteth…” with the ungodly.  “O the blessedness” of a person who puts off the old life.  The Spirit of God is putting forth the same “put off” principle as we find in Ephesians. 

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:22, “That  ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts."

Matthew 5:29-30 says, “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell”. 


Before I give you some practical ways to put off the old man, let me show you the progression of ungodly influences on the life.

Blessed is the man        who walketh not in the ungodly’s counsel

                                 Nor standeth in the way of sinners

                                 Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful

The holier and the deeper the life, the happier you will be!  How do we obtain the blessedness of the holy life?

A.   First of all we must be careful not to Listen to the counsel of the ungodly.  Here’s a practical “put off” principle!  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly”.  This means cutting off the means of communication of the world to your heart.  Be careful what you allow access to your eye gates and your ear gates (i.e. movies, ungodly TV, wrong music, etc.).


Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

Fill your heart and life with good things.  Vain curiosity can lead you into a world of things you don’t want in your mind.  Be careful what you watch when you travel.  Close the newspaper, turn off the news and turn on the good news! 

As Paul said in Philippians 4:8, “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.”


Application: It is important to know what is happening in the world, but some of professing Christians know so much about news event or sports teams than they do the Bible.  We must be careful. 

We must not listen to the counsel of the ungodly.  Put off ungodly counsel!  Be careful who you get counsel from.  The only counsel that matters is in the Bible!  Be careful little ears what you hear.

B.   We must Leave the way of sinners.  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners”.  We have to choose our friends carefully.  The way of sinners is referring to the lifestyle of sin.  As Christians we have left the life of sin.  We have put off the old man with his deeds. 

2 Corinthians 6:14-16, “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”

This means you will probably loose friends, and sometimes even your own family may reject you, but Jesus promised to give you a hundred fold in this life and in the life to come.  I remember when I got saved I stopped living the way my friends lived.  That does not mean I broke off all contact with sinners.  In order to do that I would have to go to heaven!! No I would not participate in their way of life.  As believers, we cannot continue in any kind of sin no matter how small we think it is, or else we will break our fellowship with God!  Indeed those who are true and genuine Christians cannot continue in a practice of sin.  The apostles Paul and John are clear that people who continue in the practice of sin will not enter heaven.  Because of the holy life I began to live when I was saved, I lost about all of my friends, but I saw some of them come to know the Lord! 


C.   We not Linger in the seat of scorners. Verse 1, “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” 

A scorner is one who has completely rejected God’s Word.  As a born again child of God, you will not scoff in any way at the Word of God.  Scorners flock together.  To scorn means to count something as worthless or view it with disdain.  A truly genuine Christian is deeply offended by those who make light of holy things.  With Jesus who turned over the tables of the money changers, we can say “the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”! (John 2:17).  We have a jealous zeal that the Word of God and the Lord Himself always be respected. 

Scorners sit in a seat—a professor’s chair.  They teach others how to mock God.  They are constantly discipling people in damnation.  A scoffer by definition knows much about holy things, but he treats them as common.   Beware of scoffers.  They are hypocrites.  Stay far away from them.  As Paul says “from such turn away” (1 Timothy 3). 


Illustration:  We must depart from sin!  You know sometimes we think we can get real close to the water and not get wet.  Several years ago, when Jill and I were at Camp Joy, we decided to go canoeing to “The Island.”  Usually we got a break after supper before the big chapel time in the evening.  Well, chapel started at 7pm and it was only about 6:00 so I thought we had plenty of time to go canoeing!   So we began to paddle.  Of course I wanted to be the navigator, so I had to sit in the back.  The farther we paddled the farther the island seemed to be away from us.  Before too long we had to turn back, because it was getting time for chapel.  I told Jill we had to row as fast as we could to get back.  Well the faster we rowed the wetter we got.  Do you know how miserable it is to sit through a service with your feet soak and wet? 

All I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want to get wet, don’t get close to the water.  And if you don’t want to fall into Satan’s trap, DON’T GET CLOSE TO SIN!!

Transition:  Now we have seen the negative side of the presence of God, we MUST DEPART FROM SIN.  Put off the old man with his deeds!  Now let’s see the POSITIVE SIDE.  Put on the new man!  How do we do that? 

II.       Next, we Conform our minds to Christ. Verse 2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

A.   God is our Passion.  This is the first “put on” principle.  Put on a passion and a zeal for Christ!   What we delight in is our passion.  There are those who more than anything love sports, or love music, or something else.  It doesn't matter what it is.  Our first love should be the Lord.  Our life should revolve around Him.  All the pleasures of this life are means to glorifying God.  If you cannot glorify God with something, don’t do it. 

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”   We are to love God in and through all the good gifts He gives us.  But we are to count ALL things but dung “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ” (Philippians 3:8). 

Our passion should be the same as Paul’s in Phillipians 3:10 “That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”

We ought to put down the TV guide and pick up our Bible!


What you love will show in your life eventually.  And if you love sin, “be sure your sin will find you out”. 

Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

B.   God is our Point of Focus.  Verse 2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

Establish fountains of godliness all around you and you will flourish.  Put on the Word of God. 

The world knows this principle.  That is why the Television, the radio, and the newspaper are so interesting.  The world wants you to concentrate on it.  Every time we turn around the world wants our attention.  Just go down the road and you will see a billboard!  We must put the word of God constantly before us.  We must concentrate on it.

But the Bible says right here that we should “meditate on the law of the Lord day and night.”  Now if you cannot meditate on the Word of God while you are doing something put it off.  Everything we do should be a way to practice the principles of the Word of God.  Practicing God’s presence should be our focus at work, at recreation, and in everything we do.  We need to meditate on God while we shop, while we are in a basketball game, while you are watching the TV.

Application:  Now let me say, most people go to the TV to be amused.  To be amused means to “not think”.  Muse-Think, A-not.  You are never allowed not to think in the Christian life.  Put off amusement and put on meditation on the Word of God!

C.   God is our ProviderVerse 3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Rivers of Water!  You have everything you need in God!

If we are living in God's presence, He becomes our nourishment, the source of our power.  Jesus said, I am the bread of life."  He is the vine, we are the branches.  He will see us through NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES!  Why? 

III.           Finally, we Apply God’s Word to our Life (verse 3).  “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  If we are living in God’s presence, we will depart from sin, delight in God, and you know what? We will be doing what God wants us to do.  You know what else?  It’s what we’ll want to do too!


Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”


A.          We are Planted in God's will. 

This is God's work.  You did not save yourself.  We are saved by grace, not works!  We are elected by God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).  And since God planted us is His will, we can never be removed from the presence of God.  This was God’s idea.  He chose us before the foundation of the world.  We were elected before we selected Him!  He drew us to Him and loved us before we ever loved him! 

And now listen to John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perich, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

Explanation:  We understand that we selected because God elected.  And yet God forces nothing upon us.  We are made truly free.  Spurgeon once said that sovereign election and human responsibility do not need to be reconciled because they are friends, and you do not reconcile friends.  We will never turn away from preaching the glory of God’s grace in election.   And we will never stop calling on all men everywhere to repent!


B.          We are Productive in God's will, “that bringeth forth his fruit in his season".  


When you enter God's presence, you do not leave empty handed.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new."  When God comes into your life you cannot be the same person.  You are new in Christ.  We cannot do it.  We must let God produce the fruit in our lives through prayer and Bible study. 


Illustration: We think of men like Hudson Taylor, and see 50 million Christians today in China.  But you see it was not him who was productive, it was God.  You see, Taylor said, “The sun has not risen all the years I have been in China, without me being on my knees in prayer.”  Oh that we could say that and be productive in the presence of God!

C.          We are Prosperous in God's will. Verse 3, “His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  This is the true prosperity Gospel.  Psalm 16 says in God’s presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand there are “pleasures forevermore”!  This is the accomplishing of God’s will on this earth—His will being done in and through you on earth as it is in Heaven. 

A good NT synopsis of Psalm 1:1-3 is Philippians 2:12-13, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

God plants you, and you work, you do, but it is God who works in and through you to will and do of His good pleasure. 

Conclusion: God is in us.  We are united to Him.  Psalm 1:1-3 present from the Old Testament the essential truths of Ephesians 4—put off the old man and put on the new and you will prosper in Christ!  So go and die to this world and live for Christ!


[1] Also preached before on 28 August 2005 and 19 November 2006 under the title “Living the Life of a Pilgrim” and April 27, 2008 “Practicing the Presence of Christ”.

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