Summary: Many call themselves Believers but are they living a transformed Life
Living a Transformed Life
2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NLT “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
I want to begin with a brief excerpt from a book by Mark Buchanan called, “Your Church is Too Safe.” This appeared in the March 2012 issue of Christianity Today.
Historian Daniel Boorstin documents a momentous shift that occurred in North America in the nineteenth century: we stopped calling people who went on trips travelers and started calling them tourists.
Traveler literally means “one who travails.” He labors, suffers, endures…To get there, he immerses himself in a culture, learns the language and customs, lives with the locals, imitates the dress, eats what’s set before him.
He takes risks, some enormous, and makes sacrifices, some extravagant. He has tight scrapes and narrow escapes. He is gone a long time. If ever he returns, he returns forever altered ….
A tourist, not so. Tourist means, literally, “one who goes in circles.” He’s just taking an exotic detour home. He’s only passing through, sampling wares, acquiring souvenirs… He retreats each night to what’s safe and familiar. He picks up a word here, a phrase there, but the language, and the world it’s embedded in, remains opaque and cryptic, and vaguely menacing.
He spectates and consumes. He returns to where he’s come from with an album of photos, a few mementos, and a cheap hat. He’s happy to be back. He declares there’s no place like home.
We’ve made a similar shift in the church. At some point we stopped calling Christians disciples and started calling them believers. A disciple is one who follows and imitates Jesus. He loses his life in order to find it. He dives into the language and culture of Christ until His Word and His world reshape his, redefines him, change inside out how he sees and thinks and dreams and, finally, lives ….
A believer, not so. He holds certain beliefs, but how deep down these go depends on the weather or his mood. He can get defensive, sometimes intensely so, about his beliefs, but in his honest moments he wonders why they’ve made such little difference ….
You can’t be a disciple without being a believer. But—here’s the rub—you can be a believer and not a disciple.
You can say all the right things, think all the right things, believe all the right things, do all the right things, and still not follow and imitate Jesus.
The kingdom of God is made up of travailers, but our churches are largely populated with tourists. The kingdom is full of disciples, but our churches are filled with believers.
At New Life City Church we value life transformation, not just information -- our learning must lead to Christ-like living.
Romans 12:1-2 says NLT, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
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.
The word “transformed or transformation” means to change into something different and implies a major reformation in form, nature or function.
It also suggests something abrupt or startling. We get the word “metamorphosis” from this Greek word, like when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
There are two different ways the word is used in the New Testament.
• Be transformed. This is in the active voice, meaning I am responsible to make it happen.
• Are being transformed. This is in the passive voice, meaning that transformation is being done within me.
We’re responsible to change on the one hand but without the Spirit changing us, we’ll never be transformed. Spiritual transformation is both intentional on our part and the result of the work of the Spirit.
Let’s break this down a little…
1. We must take responsibility for our transformation. This is the command to “be transformed.” It’s an active expectation. This is similar to 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Now we go back once again to Romans 12:1-2: “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.”