Summary: LEARNING FROM OUR PAST
A ROADMAP FOR CHANGE
When was the last time you have asked yourself the question of why you come to church? Have you really articulated this lately? Some of you were invited here today, you’re visiting with us, you’ve thought about that today: “What am I doing here? Why am I going?” But when was the last time you’ve really thought through, why do you come? Free coffee? You like crowds? You’re still waiting for us to bust out the Nintendo and do the world’s largest Nintendo deal? Some of you feel like, if you check in with God every once in a while then at the end of time you’ll love familiar and He’ll let you in.
I think one of the things is we come here with some needs. I think we come with the need to be different, with the need to grow, with the need to change. That’s one of the things all of us have in common, it’s the need to change.
I had an interesting conversation with my wife this week as we were talking through this message. She said, “Maybe it’s not a universal need. Maybe it’s just your need. You’re kind of a go-go-go, driven, do-a-lot-of-stuff person. Maybe you feel like it’s a need for you, but I’m not wired like you. I don’t have your personality. I don’t know if that really is a need.”
That set me back for a second. The more I thought about it – it is a need. I’m not right very often very often in my marriage so I went for it right there. I said, “Let me ask you a question. Do you ever feel like you wish you could be more patient with the kids?” Yes, I need some more patience. “Do you ever wish you would worry less about some of the circumstances in our life?” I need to change some of my worry patterns. I do need help there “Wouldn’t you like to get a better control of the lust that you have for me?” She said she wasn’t really struggling in that area.
But the more we talked we saw that it’s not really a personality thing. It’s a need thing. We have the need to change. And in this series we’ve been doing, we’ve been talking about some of the deepest needs that we have and how God meets those needs. One of the ways we’ve been showing how God meets these needs is by looking at some of the names of God in the Bible. He gives Himself a name that responds to the needs that we have. What a God!
This week we’re looking at the name Jehovah-M’Kiddish – Í am the God who sanctifies you.” “ Sanctify” or “sanctification” means “to change”.
This weekend we’ll have over 12,000 people coming through the doors so as I think about a message I think you’ve got people’s spiritual journey all over the place. You’ve got people who are genuine, sincere seekers who are checking out this God-thing and you’ve got people who have been walking with the Lord for fifty-plus years that have a genuine, deep relationship with Him and everybody else in between. It doesn’t matter where you are today because this term still applies to you. God wants to change you. If you’re already a Christian, God is changing you. God is at work. That’s the good news – that He’s not done with you yet. And if you’re not a Christian – if you’re checking this whole thing out – here’s the good news for you: You don’t have to change and get your act together before God begins to change you.
A lot of people think they’re not good enough to be a Christian. None of us are. You don’t have to get your act together first. You come to God just like you are and He begins the change process. The promise is in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” Circle “old life” and “new life”. This old life is gone. The old life is referring to life without relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s our old spiritual nature. This new life has begun, this new nature. It’s a new life, a new supernatural relationship with God. It’s when we go from God’s creation to God’s child. It’s when you might go from being a seeker to somebody who is now saved – a new life has begun. In this new life we are in the process of being sanctified, in the process of being changed.
The Apostle Paul summarizes this very well. Listen to what he says about this process of change. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! [If he hadn’t arrived, that’s beautiful news for us.] But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”