Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Transforming Power of Christ - continued

John 9:1, 6-11,13-15,18-21,24-25

Point of these: "Jesus changed my life!" Millions of Christians throughout time will testify to this fact. The change is NOT always instantaneous, but progressive.

Last week we discussed Christian transformation is: change, for the better, beyond the surface (not only external), attributed to Christ, and according to Scripture

We noted that transformation is a process, synonymous with growth, and is never completed (in this life).

This Week:
I. What's He changing us into?
Answer: "His likeness" - 2 Cor. 3:18 Rom. 8:29 (a) - talking about character
Point being: change into what we should be, called to be, created to be.

On one hand, Christian transformation is not primarily about what you do but who you are.
Because, when you change who you are (inside), it'll change what you do (outside).

On the other hand, this doesn't mean wait until transformed inside. DO what's right (outside) regardless of feelings (inside). This is responsible Christian human behavior.
II. What's the process look like? Always upwards with many ups and downs.
A. progress
B. of a sinner
C. toward perfection

2 Pet. 1:3-4 - He's already given us all we need
2 Cor. 4:7 (a) - contained in a sinful, tainted body

III. Key Ingredients of Christian Transformation
(necessary if going to change for the better!)

#1. God's grace.
which is readily available to you! God is gracious!
Your part - recognize the grace, accept the grace and forgiveness, employ the wisdom, extend this grace to others.

#2. A new birth. It begins here. John 3:1-7 John 1:11-13 The surrender to Christ is vital.

#3. The knowledge of his will. You can't do your part until you know what your part is!!
Rom. 12:2 - your part is exposure and study of His revelation of His will. ie: the Bible

#4. Submission to that will. It makes no difference if you know His will if you don't submit to it.
On one hand, there is a great need for more knowledge.
On the other hand, what could be done IF ACTED ON WHAT ALREADY know???

#5. Surrender to the Holy Spirit. This is similar to #4, but Scripture attributes these traits to the Holy Spirit: conviction, persuasion, guidance, direction, remembrance, discernment, enlightenment, understanding, wisdom, comfort, strength, power, etc. Gal. 5:22-23 (a)
Your Part equals surrender........, invitation and welcome.....

#6. A concentrated effort. 2 Pet. 1:3-8 Verses 5 - 7 - make every effort.

#7. A continual effort. This doesn't mean you never have a break. It does mean you never give up!!!
Faithlessness is staying down and giving up.
Faithfulness is getting back up and continuing on.

Phil. 1:6 - God will not give up on you!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Transforming Power of Christ

Rom. 7:15, 18-19, 21-24

Last week - the Christian struggle, how to reconcile the high calling with, many times, low conduct? My position and my practice??

BUT..... we stopped 1 verse short - Rom. 7:25 (a)
The point is: in, through, by Christ there is hope of personal transformation - in this life and the next.

It is a fundamental belief that Jesus Christ can and does transform lives.

On one hand, not all who encounter Christ claim Christianity or are transformed. But, many are!!

So...... The transforming power of Christ. (for you, for individuals)

A definition or description is difficult because there are so many applications or scenarios.
BUT, generally speaking, Christian transformation includes:

#1. Change - no change, no transformation

#2. Change for the better (which we know when we see)

#3. Change beyond the surface. It's more than moral conduct. It equals character! - Head, heart, hands.

#4. Change that affects others. We're to be salt and light to: spouse, family, neighbors, community, culture

#5. Change attributed to Christ. Christian transformation.

More specifically, transformation toward:
1. what I ought to be.
2. what I was created to be.
3. as modeled by Christ, and,
4. as defined in Scripture

#1. Transformation is part of God's will for us. Rom. 12:2

#2. Transformation (in Scripture) is a process, not an event. 2 Cor. 3:18 - the new birth equals a new beginning, NOT a new product.

#3. Transformation (in Scripture) is synonymous with growth. 1 Pet. 2:2 - if you want to change - GROW!!! If you change with out growing, will go right back.

#4. Transformation is never complete in this life. Example: Phil. 3:12 - question is not have you arrived? But, have you grown???

Key Ingredients in transformation - to be addressed next week.

Some transformation is available apart from Christ, but true transformation is a result of:
A. Christ within your heart, and
B. Christ upon the throne of your heart.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear

Eph. 4:1 The general Christian calling is a call to the Christian lifestyle.
1. what I'm to DO
2. what I'm to BE
The problem being - we fall short - Rom. 7:15-24

So, how to reconcile my high calling with my low lifestyle?
how to reconcile my saintly position with my sinful practice?
how to reconcile my apparent ability with my poor performance?
How to live the Christian life amidst constant sin and moral failure?
How to "make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?"

I. Recognize (realize, know, understand...)
II. DO (response, action based on that knowledge)

I. Recognize:
1. You are a sinner - Rom. 3:23 1 John 1:8, 10

2. that doesn't end at salvation in the practical sense (difference between position and practice)

3. all of God's people experience this tension (even the best) - examples: Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, etc.

4. God doesn't lower His standard to match our performance
Perfection is not required, but it is requested

5. Christ's forgiveness covers all your sins.
1 John 1:9 Luke 5:30-32 Luke 19:10 John 3:17

6. You are not condemned or disowned due to poor performance Jude 1, 24
But, certainly our poor performance disappoints the Father and affects our relationship with Him.

7. God's not finished with you yet. Phil. 1:6

So, based on these truths, what to do?


1. Admit your sin - general sinfulness, AND on occasion, specific sins

2. admit your need - ie. for help, assistance. You can't fix yourself.

3. Ask forgiveness - initially for salvation, repeatedly - as a Christian

4. Accept forgiveness - 1 John 1:9 This is the right, proper, responsible thing to do!! It has nothing to do with feelings or if deserve it.

5. Get up and go on. Being faithful doesn't mean you never fall - it means you never stop!!!
(sin will lead you astray repeatedly)
Rom. 6:12-14 (a) - who (what) is Lord???? Endurance is not base on the number of falls, but on the number of times you get up and keep going.

6. Don't lower the bar. It is set by God, not us.
"a rose by any other name is still a rose". we have a tendency to say, "I don't thing that's really wrong." Thus, lowering God's standards to suit self.

7. Therefore, don't be surprised when you can't get over it. (more implicitly, don't get devastated, or defeated) He will continue to love you and receive you.

You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. BUT, A. you can make a very good purse! (practical, useful, etc.)
The point being: God's got a purpose and place for you until perfection comes.

You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear....
BUT, God can (and will) Rom. 8:28-31

Monday, October 4, 2010

Examining the Christian Call

1 Cor. 1:1-3

I. Definition and scripture - An invitation/a summons

It's an invitation because it is an appeal - a pull, tug, drawing, wooing! by God which means it's an offer that appeals to the heart as well as the mind.

However, it is also a summons because it is a call with authority behind it. There is no threat, penalty,retaliation if ignored.
BUT, there are consequences if you don't respond. (God will not violate your free will, but there will be consequences of ignoring the appeal.)

Therefore, it's an offer or request with authority, but without coercion.

Some scripture definitions:
Rom. 8:28
Eph. 1:18
Eph. 4:4
1 Thess. 5:24
1 Tim. 6:12
Heb. 9:15 (a)
2 Pet. 1:3
Jude 1

II. The nature of the call (what does it look like, sound like, feel like?

A. The internal (subjective) call - measured internally
It is perceived by the individual without the 5 senses and is unobservable.
Acts 16:9-10 Primary means is by the Holy Spirit
Acts 13:2 - it's not known how many or who heard this call

Problem with this type of call:
1. hard to measure
2. easy to misinterpret
3. easy to fake
4. easy to abuse

B. The external (objective) call.
perceived by the 5 senses, observable (perceptible to all)
examples: calling the disciples, appointing the apostles
Primary means is by the Holy Scripture

Internal calls should be measured by external measure. 1 John 4:1 (a)
For example: what if a person thinks they are called to.... drug dealer/hit man/prostitute/called to edit Scripture, abandon Scripture, avoid Christians.
Test the spirits - not all are from God.

III. Types of calling(s)

A. The call to salvation (initial call)
This is a personal summons... from God for you to come....
Acts 2:37-39
2 Thess. 2:13-14
On one hand, you needn't wait for a subjective call, BUT, can anyone come without it?? John 6:44 and John 6:65

B. The Call to Christian Life (style) Eph. 4:1
Called to_______?? Luke 5:32 1 Cor. 1:9
Col. 3:15 1 Thess. 4:7 1 Pet. 3:9 1 Pet. 2:20-21 etc, etc.
There is no need ofr subjective call here. It is adequately outlined int he New Testament.
It doesn't matter what you feel you are obviously called to do these things.

C. The Vocational call - to a task, job, duty, ministry, office, position, pursuit, profession....
CAN be a call to vocational (full-time or otherwise) ministry.
BUT, can also be a call to use your gifts, abilities, talents, resources, etc. to further the gospel, serve Christ, minister to people, etc.

The elements of a vocational call? Ability - Desire - Opportunity

D. The Miscellaneous call - a summons to a particular (specific) response, behavior, activity, etc.
Examples: repent of _____ / confess ____/ forgive ______ / share _____ / bear with _____/ befriend ______

REPEAT: The internal call is legitimate, impelling, powerful, moving (passion)
BUT: 1. it's not always necessary
2. must be measured...

He has called you - to repentance, discipleship, etc.

He is calling you - no over yet.

He will continue to call you.

But the call(ing) is of no advantage unless or until you respond to it..

Whatever else, He is calling you to: come, accept, follow, promote. Rom. 1:6 (called to belong)