Summary: Christians are given a new spirit and a new heart which results in a new desire to change in order to please God.
CHRISTIANS CHANGE TO CHRISTLIKENESS
SERMON SERIES: A CHRISTIAN IS
THESIS: Christians are given a new spirit and a new heart which results in a new desire to change in order to please God.
Today’s passage serves as a transition to the practical part of Paul’s letter. One’s belief must be put into practice. Orthodoxy – good doctrine, must be translated into good practice (orthopraxy). In 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle states that nothing matters without a life of love, a prime indicator of change.
Today we will focus on three things:
1. Why do Christian change or what makes Christians change?
2. What do we change?
3. How to Change?
WHY DO CHRISTIANS CHANGE?
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)
The phrase “since, then” in the NIV or the “therefore” from the NASB points us back to the first two chapters, the theology, where Paul laid out what God has done through Christ. God’s awesome work through Christ demands a response to those who receive it.
First, we change because of what Jesus has done for us. Paul describes the child of God in a similar fashion to that of Jesus who died and rose again. The Christians has also died with Christ (Colossians 2:20) and has been raised with Christ (3:1). This speaks of the new life that you receive when you turn your life over to Jesus. You have been raised to NEW LIFE!
God is saying, “because your have been raised with Christ, your lives are to be different. You no longer have a life of your own, since their life is the life of Christ.” So their interests must be his interests.
Interesting in another passage, Romans 6:2-4, the command to change is grounded on their past death with Jesus.
Second, we change because of what Jesus is doing now. What is Jesus doing now? In the world, Jesus is advancing his kingdom to call and invite people to enter his rule. Every Christian has a very important part in this work. In the church, Jesus is building, transforming and renewing his people. His mission is a “stain-free bride”, a “teleios” people. Again we have an important role in this process. We must include here the current work of Jesus as head and Lord of the church. His exaltation is the primary reason we want to change. We want to honor God and Jesus by committing ourselves to change.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Third, we change because of what Jesus said He will do. Paul says, our life is hidden with Christ now.” The point is that there is a future aspect to our lives. The clause, ‘when Christ appears” clearly points to the second coming of Jesus. Jesus was exalted at the right hand of His Father, but one day He is going to come to rule, to bring justice to the world, and to correct every wrong in his creation. So we want to change to prepare for His coming – to be the spotless, wrinkle free, Christlike brdie!
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.  Only let us live up to what we have already attained. PHILIPPIANS 3:12-16 (NIV)
ii. WHAT DO WE NEED TO CHANGE?
So what do we need to change? Some Christians I know are quite passionate about this area: they want that Christians would stop doing certain things outright. You can’t smoke, swear, lie, drink alcohol, can’t join the public dance, can’t watch movies. Some even go beyond that: they want unconverted people to start changing.