A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"

 

 

January 28, 2023                                                 

CHOOSE TO CHANGE

Sermon Series

 

“Change or Not”

John 5:1-9 (NIV)

 

It truly hurts my heart, as a Pastor, when I hear Christians say, “I don’t need to change anything in my life.  God loves me just the way I am.”  That’s true, he does.  But, as Max Lucado has said, “God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.  He wants you to be like Jesus.”  odayToday, we finish our short sermon series centered on CHANGE.

 

In week one, we saw how God calls everyone to repentance; that is, we all need to CHANGE the direction of our life.

 

In week two, we looked a teaching Jesus gave to his disciples - requiring in them a change of attitude concerning the Kingdom of Heaven (childlike dependance and trust in God our heavenly Father).

 

Last week, we looked at this question . . . What should be changing and how do we affect our transformation . . . as we strive to change and become like Christ?

 

Today, let’s look at the bottom line reason as to Why Change Does Not Happen.

 

Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion says that an object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted on by an outside force.  Don’t we all recognize within ourselves the need for change?  But, we also recognize that the change we need is often only prevented by ourselves!

 

John 5:1-7 (NIV)

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.  2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralyzed - and they waited for the moving of the waters.  4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters.  The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.  While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

 

According to John, Jesus has traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem in order to celebrate a feast or festival.  We don’t know for sure which one, but it may have been the feast of Pentecost . . . commemorating the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.  When he was in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda, also known as Bethsaida, where “a great multitude of sick people gathered” (KJV).  Interestingly, the name Bethesda means “house of mercy.”

The attraction of the pool given in verse four is omitted from some translations, because it is thought by some scholars to be a later addition to scripture.  At any rate, it was said that an angel of the Lord would at certain times come down to the pool and “stir up” the surface of the water, and the first person to enter the pool thereafter was cured of any illness.  Now, whether or not this had ever in fact happened, that was what these people believed.  In this big group of people who had gathered, there was man to whom Jesus was drawn.

 

It's interesting to consider that out of all these people Jesus chose to heal one man.  One thing we do know from this scripture is that it was not because the man sought Jesus’ help.  In fact, he apparently did not even know who Jesus was!  Jesus encountered him, and from this encounter note with me some things that we should learn from this passage concerning CHANGE . . .

 

1. We Must Choose To Change (v. 6)

 

John 5:6 (NIV)

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 

 

Doesn’t this seem like a strange question to ask a man who has been sick and an invalid for nearly forty years?  Do you want to get well?"  But Jesus never asked a foolish question in his life, so, it was obviously an important for this man to answer - at least to himself.  The question, again, “Do I really want to be changed.”  Jesus was asking a very serious question . . . because it was entirely possible that the man “really” did not want to be changed.

 

I mean, for the past 38 years this man has been a beggar who lived by the pity of others; if he is healed he would lose all of this - all of his livelihood.

 

This man, by being healed, would be venturing out into the unknown.  He would lose all his present securities, and he would have to be responsible for himself.  To be healed meant to enter into a completely new life, one with wonderful possibilities, but also with certain amount of risk.  The fact is that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid unwelcome changes in their lives.

 

We see this man in many people today.  Their lives are sick.  They are paralyzed in heart and mind.  Their lives are dysfunctional, but they choose not to consider that God might have something for them.

 

However, they have learned to live like this.  They don’t know, and don’t want to know, that there is something more to life.  They have become satisfied with just existing.  They are not seeking God or calling out to him.  It is as though they are sick and are not aware of it . . . or if they are aware of it, it seems normal to them.

 

We see this even within the life of the Church.  There are people who attend church and have this attitude.  They are respectful and seemingly excited about what they are hearing.  They listen to the Gospel, but, they never come to the conclusion that they need to change.  They are not saved.

 

Even after we are saved, we continue to be confronted by issues in our lives that need to be changed.  Issues like bitterness, unresolved conflicts and things that have been “hidden within us” for years.  The question is, “Do we really want to change?”  So, the question that Jesus asked the paralyzed man, that seemed unnecessary, or even ridiculous, was relevant for him and for us!

 

We Must Choose To Change, AND . . .

 

2. We Must Choose To Avoid Excuses (v. 7)

 

John 5:7 (NASB)

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

Did you notice that he did not answer Jesus’ question?!  He does not say that he wants to be well.  He just gives the rationale as to why he has not been healed:  he had no one to place him in the pool when the water was disturbed.  In today’s language we would say that he sees himself as a victim.  There are reasons outside his control which prevent him from reaching the healing waters.

 

Do YOU recognize this mentality?  Most of us have probably seen it at one time or another . . . there’s always a reason not to follow God.

 

Luke 9:59-62 (NASB)

59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.”  But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”  61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”  62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

Matthew 10:37 (NASB)

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

- Jesus -

The Parable of the Dinner . . . 

Luke 14:16-24 (NIV)

16 Jesus replied:  “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  18 But they all alike began to make excuses.  The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it.  Please excuse me.’  19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out.  Please excuse me.’  20 Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’  21 The servant came back and reported this to his master.  Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’  22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’  23 Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.  24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

 

Here, Jesus was speaking of the Jews (God’s chosen people) NOT accepting his message proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven . . . and, WE need to note that at some point the invitation IS withdrawn.

 

Some truths we are accountable for:

 

1) We make more excuses than we’d like to admit.

 

2) It is possible to break the habit of making excuses.

 

3) Change is never possible until we admit we need to change.

 

(You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge)

 

We Must Choose To Change,

 

We Must Choose To Avoid Excuses, AND . . .

 

3. We Must Choose To Act (vs. 8-9)

 

John 5:8-9 (NASB)

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.  The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

 

Jesus did not discuss the pool or its alleged abilities to provide a cure.  He simply told the man to get up, take up his bed and walk.  The man was healed, but he was not healed by the water.

 

Jesus said to him:  “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  Obviously, the man now had a choice.  He could listen and ignore; he could listen and wish; or he could listen and obey.  Don’t we all have that choice?

 

In his words, “pick up your mat,” Jesus is telling this man - AND ALL OF US who SAY THAT WE want to change - something that is very important:  choose to change your way of life and begin a new walk with God.

 

This was the message of Peter to a crowd, as recorded in Acts 2, when they asked, “What shall we do?”  Peter’s answer, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins.”  Repent (choose to act) and change the course of your life (walk your talk).

 

So, are you ready to be changed?  You can be, if you truly want to be.

 

•  You Must Choose To Change

 

•  You Must Choose To Avoid Excuses

 

•  You Must Choose To Act

 

January 21, 2023                                                 

CHOOSE TO CHANGE

Sermon Series

 

“Change And Become Like Christ”

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NLV)

 

Today, we continue our sermon series on Choosing to Change.  No doubt, you have noticed lots of talk about “change” in the media, these early days of 2023.  Change is happening all around us!  In every aspect of our lives change is happening!  We must remember that:  Change is inevitable . . . but, our growth in life is optional. 

 

In our first message, we saw how God calls everyone to repentance; that is, to CHANGE the direction of our lives.

 

In the second message, we looked at Jesus teaching his disciples and requiring in them a CHANGE of attitude (becoming like a child in our Trust and Dependence ) concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

In the message today, we will look into what we should be CHANGING and how to affect our transformation . . . as we strive to change and become like Jesus.

 

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.  14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed (changed) into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

In this passage of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul addresses a key concept in the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant.

 

Paul states that because of the promises of the new covenant - he speaks with all boldness and confidence the gospel of Jesus.  Paul holds nothing back!  Unlike the time of Moses, who had to veil his face from the children of Israel (thus separating them from the full glory of God, even though it was fading from his face), there is no such separation for those in Christ now. 

 

Paul tells us the literal veil of Moses became a metaphorical veil over the hearts of the Israelites and any others who do not turn to the gospel of Christ.  Paul states that when we turn to Jesus the veil is removed and we gaze upon the full glory of God in the “mirror” of his Word.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

 

By turning to Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord is within us and we have freedom from the veil, freedom from the law, freedom from spiritual death. 

 

By this freedom we become changed!

 

1. We Are Being Transformed

 

18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed (changed) into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

James 1:22-25 (NIV)

  1.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it - not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it - they will be blessed in what they do.

 

The “mirror” is a symbol of the Word of God.

 

As we look into God’s Word and see God’s Son, the Spirit transforms us into the very image of the Lord.

 

The word translated transformed  is the same word translated transfigured in the accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration, as found in 2 of the Gospels - Matthew chapter 17 and Mark chapter 9.  It describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside.  The English word metamorphosis is a transliteration of this Greek word.

 

Metamorphosis describes the process that changes an insect from a larva into a pupa and then into a mature butterfly.  The changes come from within.

 

2. This change begins when we turn to the Lord

 

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  

 

But, it is not a one-time event . . . it is a process that begins at salvation.

 

This is what Paul wrote regarding his salvation in his letter to the Philippians:

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)

12 Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  13 Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul also wrote of this in his letter to the Romans:

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  (changed) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

In these verses, Paul gives us the keys to our part in our transformation (change) into the likeness of Jesus Christ . . .

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

 

Before we trusted Christ, we used our body for sinful pleasures and purposes.  But now that we belong to Jesus, we want to use our body for his glory!  The Holy Spirit of God is within a Christian, and a Christian’s body is God’s temple . . .

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?  You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body.

 

Remember, it is our privilege to glorify, honor and lift up Christ in our body.

 

Philippians 1:20c -22 (NLV)

20 . . . I hope to honor Christ with my body if it be by my life or by my death.  I want to honor Him without fear, now and always.  21 To me, living means having Christ.  To die means that I would have more of Him.  22 If I keep on living here in this body, it means that I can lead more people to Christ.  I do not know which is better.

Just as Jesus Christ had to take on a body himself, in order to accomplish God’s will on earth, so we must yield our bodies to Jesus so that he can continue God’s work through us. 

 

We must yield the members of our body, as “instruments of righteousness” . . .

 

Romans 6:13 (NIV)

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

 

Colossians 3:5-11 (CEV)

5 Don't be controlled by your body.  Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex.  Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts.  Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.  6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.  7 And this is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.  8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.  9 And stop lying to each other.  You have given up your old way of life with its habits.  10  Each of you is now a new person.  You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.  11 It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not.  You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person.  Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

 

The Old Testament sacrifices were dead sacrifices, but we are to be living sacrifices . . .

 

Romans 12:1 (NASB)

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

 

B. Give God your mind

 

Romans 12:2 (NASB)

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  (changed) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

The world wants to control your mind . . . but God wants to transform your mind!

 

Ephesians 4:17-24 (NIV)

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer; if God controls your thinking, you are a transformer.

 

Colossians 3:1-2 (NASB)

1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

 

Philippians 4:6-8 (NASB)

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

 

God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded, by living according to his Word.  Spend time meditating on God’s Word, memorizing it, and making it a part of your inner-being.  God will gradually make your mind more and more spiritual.

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

 

B. Give God your mind

 

C.  Give God your will

 

Just as your mind controls your body, your will controls your mind.  Many people think they can control their will by “willpower” . . . but they usually fail.  Even Saint Paul experience this . . .

 

Romans 7:15-21 (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.  20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  21 So I find this law at work:  Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

 

It is only when we yield our will to God that his power can take over and give us the willpower (and the won’t power!) that we need to live as faithful AND victorious-over-sin Christians!

 

Surrender your will to God.  Pray, as our Lord did, Not my will, but Thy will be done.”

January 21, 2023

                                                 

 

Bottom of Form.

CHOOSE TO CHANGE

Sermon Series

 

“Change And Become Like Christ”

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NLV)

 

Today, we continue our sermon series on Choosing to Change.  No doubt, you have noticed lots of talk about “change” in the media, these early days of 2023.  Change is happening all around us!  In every aspect of our lives change is happening!  We must remember that:  Change is inevitable . . . but, our growth in life is optional. 

 

In our first message, we saw how God calls everyone to repentance; that is, to CHANGE the direction of our lives.

 

In the second message, we looked at Jesus teaching his disciples and requiring in them a CHANGE of attitude (becoming like a child in our Trust and Dependence ) concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

In the message today, we will look into what we should be CHANGING and how to affect our transformation . . . as we strive to change and become like Jesus.

 

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.  14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed (changed) into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

In this passage of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul addresses a key concept in the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant.

 

Paul states that because of the promises of the new covenant - he speaks with all boldness and confidence the gospel of Jesus.  Paul holds nothing back!  Unlike the time of Moses, who had to veil his face from the children of Israel (thus separating them from the full glory of God, even though it was fading from his face), there is no such separation for those in Christ now. 

 

Paul tells us the literal veil of Moses became a metaphorical veil over the hearts of the Israelites and any others who do not turn to the gospel of Christ.  Paul states that when we turn to Jesus the veil is removed and we gaze upon the full glory of God in the “mirror” of his Word.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

 

By turning to Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord is within us and we have freedom from the veil, freedom from the law, freedom from spiritual death. 

 

By this freedom we become changed!

 

1. We Are Being Transformed

 

18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed (changed) into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

James 1:22-25 (NIV)

  1.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it - not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it - they will be blessed in what they do.

 

The “mirror” is a symbol of the Word of God.

 

As we look into God’s Word and see God’s Son, the Spirit transforms us into the very image of the Lord.

 

The word translated transformed  is the same word translated transfigured in the accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration, as found in 2 of the Gospels - Matthew chapter 17 and Mark chapter 9.  It describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside.  The English word metamorphosis is a transliteration of this Greek word.

 

Metamorphosis describes the process that changes an insect from a larva into a pupa and then into a mature butterfly.  The changes come from within.

 

2. This change begins when we turn to the Lord

 

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  

 

But, it is not a one-time event . . . it is a process that begins at salvation.

 

This is what Paul wrote regarding his salvation in his letter to the Philippians:

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)

12 Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus.  13 Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul also wrote of this in his letter to the Romans:

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  (changed) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

In these verses, Paul gives us the keys to our part in our transformation (change) into the likeness of Jesus Christ . . .

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

 

Before we trusted Christ, we used our body for sinful pleasures and purposes.  But now that we belong to Jesus, we want to use our body for his glory!  The Holy Spirit of God is within a Christian, and a Christian’s body is God’s temple . . .

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?  You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body.

 

Remember, it is our privilege to glorify, honor and lift up Christ in our body.

 

Philippians 1:20c -22 (NLV)

20 . . . I hope to honor Christ with my body if it be by my life or by my death.  I want to honor Him without fear, now and always.  21 To me, living means having Christ.  To die means that I would have more of Him.  22 If I keep on living here in this body, it means that I can lead more people to Christ.  I do not know which is better.

Just as Jesus Christ had to take on a body himself, in order to accomplish God’s will on earth, so we must yield our bodies to Jesus so that he can continue God’s work through us. 

 

We must yield the members of our body, as “instruments of righteousness” . . .

 

Romans 6:13 (NIV)

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

 

Colossians 3:5-11 (CEV)

5 Don't be controlled by your body.  Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex.  Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts.  Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.  6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.  7 And this is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.  8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.  9 And stop lying to each other.  You have given up your old way of life with its habits.  10  Each of you is now a new person.  You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.  11 It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not.  You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person.  Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

 

The Old Testament sacrifices were dead sacrifices, but we are to be living sacrifices . . .

 

Romans 12:1 (NASB)

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

 

B. Give God your mind

 

Romans 12:2 (NASB)

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  (changed) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

The world wants to control your mind . . . but God wants to transform your mind!

 

Ephesians 4:17-24 (NIV)

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer; if God controls your thinking, you are a transformer.

 

Colossians 3:1-2 (NASB)

1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

 

Philippians 4:6-8 (NASB)

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

 

God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded, by living according to his Word.  Spend time meditating on God’s Word, memorizing it, and making it a part of your inner-being.  God will gradually make your mind more and more spiritual.

 

3. Keys to Transformation

 

A. Give God your body

 

B. Give God your mind

 

C.  Give God your will

 

Just as your mind controls your body, your will controls your mind.  Many people think they can control their will by “willpower” . . . but they usually fail.  Even Saint Paul experience this . . .

 

Romans 7:15-21 (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.  20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  21 So I find this law at work:  Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

 

It is only when we yield our will to God that his power can take over and give us the willpower (and the won’t power!) that we need to live as faithful AND victorious-over-sin Christians!

 

Surrender your will to God.  Pray, as our Lord did, Not my will, but Thy will be done.”

 

 

January 14, 2023                                               

CHOOSE TO CHANGE

Sermon Series

 

“Change And Become Like Children”

 

Matthew 18:1-3 (NIV)

 

Today, we continue our short sermon series focused on change.  You’ve probably noticed quite a bit of talk about change in the media these days.  Change is taking place all around us.  In every aspect of our lives it seems there is change happening.  Politics, economy, climate . . . we are told that everything is changing and that we must change accordingly.  According to Whom is the real question!

 

Last week, we looked at how God calls everyone to repentance; that is, to change the direction of our lives.

 

Today, we’ll look at teaching Jesus gave his disciples requiring in them a change of attitude . . . concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

This lesson form Jesus is one that I’m sure many of us recognize and can appreciate . . . the need to have our priorities in proper order.

 

Matthew 18:1-3 (NIV)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  3 And he said:  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

The word “converted” means turned, changed, or recovered.  The disciples were going in the complete wrong direction, and unless they made a complete about-turn, they would keep going away from the Kingdom of heaven and not towards it.

 

Their opinions and feelings about the kingdom of the Messiah had to be changed.  They thought he would a worldly and secular prince.  They expected he would reign as other kings did.

 

They supposed he would have his great officers of state, as other monarchs had, and they were ambitiously inquiring who should hold the highest offices.  Jesus told them that they were wrong in their views and wrong in their expectations.  No such things would take place.  They must be turned / changed / converted from these expectations and desires, or they could have no part in his Kingdom.  These ideas did not fit at all the nature of God’s Kingdom.

 

As long as we consider our own self as the most important thing in the world, our back is turned to the Kingdom of God.  If we want to reach the Kingdom of God, we must turn around and face in the opposite direction.

 

Jesus requires that his disciples turn, that is, change from our worldly ambition and selfishness, and develop the characteristics of a child . . . specifically, humility.

 

1. Humble as a Child

 

3 And he said:  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

This is the main emphasis of the whole passage!

 

A child, until they become self-aware and self-important, does not wish to push themself forward into a position of prominence.

 

It’s only as the child grows up and gets involved in the competitive world that his / her “instinctive humility” is left behind.

 

A follower of Jesus Christ must learn to humble themselves, as a child, giving up the pretense of prominence or preeminence within the Kingdom.

 

Mark 9:33-35 (NIV)

33 They came to Capernaum.  When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”  34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

 

2. Humble as a Servant

 

Romans 12:3a (NASB)

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;

 

True humility means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and being yourself (your best self), to the glory of God.  True humility means avoiding two extremes:  1) Thinking less of yourself than you ought to (Moses telling God he couldn’t do as God asked him . . . because he stu

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