Summary: It is the Holy Spirit of God who is God's agent for changing us into the image of His Son.
God’s Change Agent
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:17,18
INTRODUCTION: Our passage reminds us that God is in the changing business. Israel refused to change. Their attitude severely limited God. (Psa 78:41) "Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." God doesn’t expect us to change based on our own power or will, but has given us His Holy Spirit as His “Change Agent” in our lives.
1. THE REASON WE NEED A CHANGE AGENT
A. THE PROBLEMS OF OUR SINFUL NATURE. Ro. 3:10-23; Eph. 2:1-3
1) Man in his natural state is isolated from God. (2 Cor. 2:14)
> We are spiritually dead. (Eph. 2:1)
> Even our “good works” are called “dead works” by God. (Heb. 6:1)
2) Because we are spiritually “dead”, our best attempts to make any spiritually significant changes in our lives is impossible.
B. THE PRESSURES OF OUR SINFUL ENVIRONMENT
1) Our attitudes are molded by our “atmosphere” or environment.
2) We tend to hold the pattern of our early mold.
“Unless we have within us that which is above us, we soon shall yield to the pressures around us.”
C. THE BEST MAN CAN DO WITHOUT GOD’S SPIRIT IS REFORMATION.
WITH GOD’S SPIRIT WE CAN EXPERIENCE TRANSFORMATION!
2. THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF GOD’S CHANGE AGENT
A. CONVICTION (John 16:8) "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:"
B. INSTRUCTION: (John 14:26) "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
C. CONSOLATION: (Acts 9:31) "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
NOTE: 4 times in John He is called the “Comforter”
3. THE RESOURCES OF GOD’S CHANGE AGENT
A. THE WORD OF GOD (This is the “Glass” in our passage)
1) The Bible is called “The Sword of the Spirit” Heb. 4:12
2) It is also referred to as a mirror in James 1:22-25
> THE HOLY SPIRIT USES GOD’S WORD TO: (2 Tim. 3:16)
1) Reveal God and His standard. “Doctrine”
2) Reveal our true condition. “Reproof”
3) Reconcile us to God and His ways. “Correction”
A small factory had to cease operations when a vital piece of machinery broke down. The firm's own mechanics couldn't get a thing working again so an outside expert was called in. He looked the situation over for a couple of minutes and then took a hammer and tapped the machine in a certain spot and it started running beautifully. When he submitted a bill for $100 the plant owner figuratively hit the ceiling and demanded an itemized bill, which subsequently was forthcoming as follows: $1.00 for hitting machine; $99.00 for knowing where to hit. God uses His word to "hit" us where we need fixing. (Hebrews 4:12)
4) Renew our thinking. “Instruction in righteousness”
> Only as we complete this cycle is any change lasting.
1) Many fail to allow God to renew their thinking and so end up in failure as their old “patterns” reassert themselves.
> God challenges us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Ro. 12:2
> This involves replacing our thoughts and ideas with the truths of God’s word. ( 2 Cor. 10:3-5)
B. PRAYER. (Rom 8:26-27) "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
> CHANGE IS A PROCESS: “From Glory to Glory.: 2 Cor. 3:18
Personal Change comes when:
1) I hurt enough I have to Change.
2) I learn enough I am able to Change.
3) I Love enough that I am willing to change.
> CHANGE IS A PARTNERSHIP: “We are laborers together with God.” (1 Cor. 3:9)
1) The Spirit’s part is to Convict, instruct, console.
2) Our part is to conform. (Renew our mind) with God’s word.
A rabbi was asked a question by a pupil, referring to Deuteronomy 6:6-- "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." "How can I get God’s word in my heart?" the pupil asked. The rabbi answered that it is not within man's power to place the divine teachings directly in his heart. "All that we can do is place them in our mind which is like the surface of the heart so that when the heart breaks they will drop in."