Summary: "Change" is often coerced and impermanent. How do we discover not just "change," but transformation?
You can listen to the audio of the sermon on my podcast here:
Q: How can I change?
Read: Ezekiel 37:1–11 NLT
• We’re dried out.
• But we can change. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t complicated.
o believe the promise of change.
o receive the power of change.
o accept the challenge to change.
Believe the promise of change:
Ezekiel 36:26–28 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
• Prophetic promise pointing to Jesus. His sacrifice frees us to his spirit can deploy us.
• God can bring life to our dry bones. We simply have to confess our need:
1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Receive the power to change:
• It feels impossible to change. Our impulses are too strong.
• Our culture is saturated with seduction.
How can we overcome these obstacles to transformation?
• God’s love overcomes our internal impulses.
• we receive a new heart and new spirit because of God’s love.
• What happens when we love someone? We become like them.
• When we experience the power of God’s acceptance, it alters our interests.
• Our Christian community overcomes our culture.
• We are made to be social. It’s an instinct.
• Good and bad (jr. high). We fall into self-destructive behaviors because of our peer group.
• But it can be good, too. commitment to family, team, community causes us to conform to the values of those we value.
• Part of no longer conforming to the world’s values is to be in a transformational relationship with other Christians.
• God’s spirit overcomes the demons against us.
1 John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
• You have the spirit inside you as an advocate.
Accept the Challenge to Change
• We all know that there are parts of our lives that we have not submitted to Christ.
• Addictions, tongue, Pride, etc.
• Pick just one out of your life to choose to change.
• Change isn’t easy. Transformational change is tough, but we have everything we need.
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
• Conform = scheme, schematic. Don’t use the world’s cultural schematics to guide your life:
o materialism, entertainment, individualism, sensuality.
o We are always pulled toward these schemes, plans for life.
• How do we no longer conform? We cooperate with the Spirit by:
o Reading Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
o Listening and singing Music
Ephesians 5:18–19 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
o Serving one another.
1 Peter 4:10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
o Being in active Fellowship
1 Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
• Transform = morph from one state to something completely different.
• This is radical change.
• It requires non-conformity.
• This kind of change means making practical, permanent changes:
Colossians 3:1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
• It’s remove and replace.
Colossians 3:5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.