Summary: Character counts and it impacts. God is concerned with our character, more than our comfort and competence.
RECAP last week's sermon – Matt 7:15-23 – the false prophets were IN the circle but OUT of salvation.
• Right believing leads to RIGHT LIVING. It starts on the INSIDE. It is a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ.
• Draw close to Him every day and you’ll see your life changing.
It is not religion that changes you. It is not the Christian way of life that changes you. It is Jesus Christ.
• May we all grow to KNOW Him, not just KNOWING ABOUT Him, because knowing about Him will not change us; it fills our mind with knowledge.
• When we draw near to Him, in worship, in our devotion, in prayer, He touches our heart.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Our lives have been marred by sin. God’s plan is to restore us back to His original intent.
• He made man to have fellowship with Him in the Garden of Eden. The first man and woman walks with God in perfect communion, until sin came in between and destroyed that relationship.
• This image, which is perfect, has now been damaged and distorted by sin.
God did not discard this marred creation. He is going to rid sin and restore that beauty and glory. What would it look like then, for our lives to be restored back?
If Genesis 1:26-27 tells us God made us in His own image:
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
• In all of God’s creation, only human beings are made “in His image”. We are treasures to God!
To restore us back to perfection, it will mean bring us back to “His image” pre-Fall.
• What is this image? If we put flesh onto this “God’s image”, what do we get?
• JESUS. Col 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Heb 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”
That’s God’s purpose. We are to be like Christ.
• Eph 4:22-24 “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; 23to 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.”
• We are not called to become god – to rule and take charge of our lives – BUT to be LIKE Him. Many prefer to be god – they are not seeking to be LIKE God, they wanted to BE GOD.
• They want to take control of their circumstances and future. They want to run life independent of God. And then find themselves, at the end of the day, making a mess of it.
God’s design is for us to live UNDER Him and grow to be LIKE Him, in true righteousness and holiness.
• His ultimate concern is our CHARACTER. Not our comfort and not our competence.
God’s concern is NOT COMFORT. We have heard many messages about the blessings of God for our lives - for our health and wealth, and for our happiness and success.
• God is good. He is the source of all our blessings in life, including health, wealth, happiness and success. But these are not the sum total of God’s will for us.
• It does not make sense. Why God pours out all these blessings upon us only to see us leave them all behind one day, at death? Why would our comfort on earth be His goal?
Will God heal us? Yes. Will God grant us success at work? Yes. Will God bless us with happiness? Yes. Is these all to life? No!
• But will God ALWAYS heal us? No. Will God ALWAYS grant us success? No. WHY NOT?
• His ultimate concern is your CHARACTER. If you need to go through a difficult time to learn patience, He will allow it. If a trial is the only way you will learn to be forgiving, then He will grant it.