Summary: The gospel is the power of God to change lives.
May 14, 1995
Power to Change
There are a lot of things that happen through ministry that I really enjoy, healings, supernatural occurrences, prophetic words, awesome worship, and others to name a few. For me though by far the most exciting thing about ministry is when a life is truly and forever changed.
Lately, in the church, we seem to have adopted some worldly terminology that sort of implies that people don’t really change.
We say things like; “Oh he’s a controller.” Or “She’s a pleaser.” How about; “They are co-dependant”, “they are abuser and abused”, “one does and the other allows”, and let’s not forget; “we’re a dysfunctional family”.
I am not saying that these are not legitimate conditions, they definitely do exist; I’m just saying that we have been treating them like un-scaleable walls that the gospel has no power over. We have been using them as excuses to tolerate situations that need to change.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
It is the power! What kind of power?
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Divine power for everything we need for life and godliness!
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Jesus said he was anointed to preach and that preaching would have an effect – lives caught in hopeless situations would be changed.
The gospel is the power of God to make changes!
You hold that power and so do I, so then why are so many church going believers living unchanged lives?
1. Some do not recognize the need 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.
Being transformed takes time, a lifetime in fact. We need to be constantly growing through relationship with God advancing on our knees, here a little, there a little; line upon line.
I am talking about honest relationship here, not rhyming off dead repetition.
This is not about becoming more and more worthy, as though by our efforts we win God’s favor.
It is not about becoming more and more righteous, or about comparing ourselves to others. It is about getting as close to Jesus as I can and having that closeness rub off on me.
Change is inevitable but growth is optional.
Are you one of those people who refuse to see the need for change?
Are you critical of every new idea?
Are you negative about everything, about how the world, or the church or the leadership is going?
Do you see yourself as a victim?
You need to wake up to the need for change because God has empowered you to do it!
Once you see the need to change THEN:
2. You REALLY have to want to change.
I mean REALLY want it!
The simple reason is that it is way easier not to change. You are the way you are because it’s the easiest way for you to be.
The fallen nature of man resists positive change of any kind. If you don’t believe me just try suggesting a change in the order of service at our next congregational meeting. Be prepared to run for cover!
Have you ever prayed half-heartedly for something? I was going through one of my old prayer journals the other day and found a place where I had asked God for a Nissan Pathfinder. I didn’t really want it, in fact I had completely forgotten about why it was even on the page.
Those half hearted prayers do not result in change.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
What is an effective prayer? A pray that is in line with God’s will, a prayer that is offered in faith.
I want you to notice the fervent part. It speaks of urgency doesn’t it? It speaks of desire, of really wanting this thing done.