Summary: Premise of entire message: “If you’re a believer then you’ve been forever changed, you’re in the process of being transformed by the power of God so that your inner, spiritual life becomes evident in your external behavior.”
I’m Forever Changed 7-8-07
Series: The New Me Pt. 1 Rom. 12:1-2
Intro. This past Wednesday one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the summer season finally premiered. As you can tell from the graphic it’s called Transformers. It’s all about a galactic war between 2 different kinds of robots – the Autobots and the Decepticons. Now the peculiar thing about these robots is the fact that they can transform themselves into different shapes and sizes. This makes the movie interesting because it means you’re never really sure who’s who and what’s what until it’s too late.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our culture loves the idea of transformation. Who here hasn’t wished that you could change something about yourself? If we were truthful most of us would admit that we’d like to transform the way we look or the way we act or even the way we feel. But the problem with the kind of transformation our culture usually settles for is the fact that it’s only skin deep. It’s nothing more than an extreme makeover, a nip and tuck here and there, an external transformation. But what if there was a kind of transformation that changed you from the inside out? How cool would it be if we could be internally transformed so that it made a difference in the way we looked, acted and felt? Well, guess what? That’s exactly what the bible says happens to those of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Cor. 5:17 (NLT), “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” Then in Eph.4 we’re told. “Since you have heard all about God and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true.” (Eph 4:21-24 NLT) Now that’s what I call TRANSFORMATION! God says our relationship with him produces a new person, a new life, a new nature, and in reality a whole New Me. Over the next 4 weeks we’re going to look at what it means to be a new creation in Christ, to be a brand new person because of our relationship with God. This morning we’re going to concentrate on one particular aspect of our relationship with God. Theologians often identify this as our conversion, but I like the term “transformation”. That’s what the bible calls it in Rom. 12:1-2. Let’s read that passage and see what’s so important about transformation.
Here’s the premise of my entire message; “If you’re a believer then you’ve been forever changed, you’re in the process of being transformed by the power of God so that your inner, spiritual life becomes evident in your external behavior.”
I’ve only got one point for today’s sermon.
I. Spiritual transformation is part of every believer’s life.
Now there’s a necessary and frightening corollary to that simple point. If you’re NOT being transformed then that means you have good reason to doubt the validity of your spiritual life. You see in our religious culture today we’ve been told that conversion is what happens when you join the church. Or maybe I can claim that I’ve been forever changed because I’ve been baptized or I go to Life Group or I give a few dollars to the church. While those things are good and important…they are not always true indicators of a real spiritual transformation. What Paul is talking about in v.2 goes much deeper than the church we attend or how much money we give.
When the bible says “let God transform you into a new person” it’s not talking about having a make over. This transformation is much more radical than any of us can truly conceive. God wants to literally change your physical life so that it matches what’s happened in your spiritual life. There’s a perfect illustration of this truth found in the life of Jesus. Towards the end of His earthly ministry Jesus takes 3 of his most trusted disciples and they head up to the top of a mountain. While they were all together the bible says, “There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matt. 17:2 NIV) That word “transfigured” is the same word we see rendered here in Rom. 12:2 as “transform”. Now what happened to Jesus while he was standing on that mountain? Apparently, Jesus let his disciples get a glimpse of his divine glory…for a moment in time these 3 men got to see the inner glory displayed in outward form. Maybe we can say it this way – what was on the inside of Jesus became evident to all those around him.