Speaking with passion and energy, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter implored OBU students to renew their minds in Jesus Christ during a chapel message Monday, April 22, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
Dr. Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La., delivered the message titled "The Importance of Having a Renewed Mind" based on Philippians 2:5-8. He told the OBU community that he believes in victorious living -- not only being saved from hell in the future, but in abundantly living for Jesus Christ now.
"There is not a moment in the life of the believer when our mind is not being tempted by the devil," Luter said. "That's why Peter admonishes us to be vigilant."
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He quoted 1 Peter 5:8 which says, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (NIV). Luter said each Christian believer, by the end of every day, can find oneself "seduced, enticed, bamboozled" and even "punked" by the enemy, Satan.
"None of us are exempt from the attacks and schemes of the enemy," Luter said, noting the devil will attack every person, regardless of one's marital status, position in the church, age, race, education or vocation.
He provided examples from throughout the Bible of individuals who were close to God and yet fell to the temptations of the devil, including Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Noah, Jacob and David, among others.
"All of us understand and realize, if we're honest with ourselves and we take off the masks and take off the halos, sitting right here in this chapel … are men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, singles and seniors, teenagers and teachers, members and guests, pastors, preachers, professors and students whose minds have been attacked by the enemy," Luter said. "Therefore my brothers and sisters, the question of the hour is: How can we as believers stand in the midst of the enemy's attacks? How can we win against the seductions of the enemy? We must have a renewed mind."
Luter said a renewed mind should help a Christian think about Christ. He quoted Philippians 2:5-6, which says, "Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage." Luter said Jesus Christ humbled himself, and everything he did was to benefit others.
"Even though he was fully God, Jesus became fully man, and gave his life for you and for me," Luter said.
A renewed mind also should help Christian believers think about every choice and decision, Luter said. Just as Jesus lived according to the choices he made to please his heavenly Father, Christians should live in a way that pleases God.
"It's all about choices," Luter said. "Every choice you make in life leads to a consequence, and that consequence can either be a blessing or a burden."
Luter said he wonders if Adam and Eve would have made the same choice regarding disobeying God if they knew the consequences of their actions in advance. He asked the same question about other biblical figures -- Noah, David and Judas -- as well as famous actors, athletes and other people in the media. He asked the Raley Chapel audience to consider their own choices.
"What about some of the choices and decisions we have made?" Luter asked. "Do you think you would have made those same choices if you had known the consequences to your decision?"
A renewed mind should also help Christian believers think about the cross, Luter said. A person with a renewed mind can focus on what Jesus Christ agonizingly endured for humanity and his victory over death and the grave.
"Our minds should be renewed so we can walk right, so we can talk right, so we can live right, so we can pray right, so we can sing right and so we can witness right," he said. "I beg you, I plead with you … let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
Luter closed the service with an a cappella verse of the hymn, "At the Cross":
|"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,|
|And the burden of my heart rolled away,|
|It was there by faith I received my sight,|
|And now I am happy all the day!"|