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Summary: A look at Romans 12:1-2 and how God uses Hot Water situations to draw out the flavor of our hearts.

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Sermon Title: The Image of Christ:

Subject: The Concept of Biblical Change

By: Pastor Tony Rivers

Date Presented: June 8, 2003

Biblical Text: Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore,

brethren,

by the mercies of God,

(that) you

present your bodies

a living sacrifice,

holy,

acceptable to God,

which is your reasonable service.

(And)

do not be conformed to this world,

(but)

be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (that)

you may prove what is

that good and

acceptable and

perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

Introduction:

Perhaps I have sparked your interest with the box of Lipton Tea bags that have been sitting here on the podium since before the service. Allow me the opportunity to give each of you one of these Tea Bags. While I am doing so, turn to Romans 12:1 in your Bible.

(Pass a tea bag to each member present)

Today, we are going to be talking about change. Now I know that 50% of you will automatically turn me off when I say the word ‘change,’ because it conjures up all sorts of images. So, to put you at ease, I am not talking about putting the piano at the back of the church, or changing the choir robes to purple instead of blue. I am not talking about a change in the way we do church. Instead, I am talking about a personal change. This is a change that takes place in each of us individually.

Perhaps you have found yourself discontent with your life.

Maybe you have had feelings of doubt or feelings of inadequacy.

Do you ever ask yourself if maybe you are missing God’s best for your life?

Do you wish that you were a better person and a better Christian?

Perhaps you have found yourself asking questions like,

“Why am I going through so many trials and temptations?”

Maybe you are feeling defeated in your Spiritual walk.

Has God given you a command that you absolutely could not obey?

Are you experiencing trials that just don’t make sense?

We are going to look at these questions Biblically, today and in the next few Sundays to follow. But first, we need to understand the Biblical Concept and Necessity of Change.

What does God mean by change?

Why do we need change?

What does God expect of us?

And what can we expect of God?

Let’s look at Romans 12:1-2 and see what the Bible has to say about change.

(Read Text)

Our text suggests that the Process of change is progressive and on-going and it tells us why we need to change as well as what our responsibility is in the change process. Today, we are going to look at the Process of change (or Progressive Sanctification), the Purpose of change (The why-ness of sanctification) and the Persons of change (man’s responsibilities and God’s responsibilities in the process).

First Statement:

The Process of Change is a progressive process initiated at the new birth and completed after our physical death.

We will begin by looking at the Process of change. Hopefully, all of us are Born-Again Christians and we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At the moment that we believed that He died for our sins and we confessed Him as Lord, there was an immediate change that happened in each of us. We died to the Old Self (the flesh) and we became a New Creation. This change was instantaneous. We believed by faith, and the Holy Spirit did the work of recreating us into a living spiritual being that was justified before God because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. But that was the beginning of a lifetime effort to become increasingly more like Christ.

We find ourselves now in a unique situation. The flesh is still present and it is constantly battering its head against the new spiritual being that we have become. So for the remainder of our lives here on earth, we are continually seeking to become more like Christ, while engaged in a battle against our flesh.

Look at this tea bag that you are holding in your hand. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the process, what you do is open the outer wrapper of the tea bag to expose the actual tea bag itself. Next, you put the teabag into a cup and you add hot water. As the teabag sits in the hot water, the flavor of the tea seeps into the water. The longer the bag sits in the water, the more of the flavor that will be drawn out and exposed into the water. If you taste the Tea and you don’t like the flavor, you don’t change the type of water. If you want a different flavored tea, then you must use a different teabag. The hot water is merely the catalyst for drawing out the flavor of the teabag. The contents of the teabag determine the flavor of the tea.

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