Summary: This sermon is about improving our personal relationships with Christ.

“The Evolution of Man” by Rev. A.LaMar Torrence, Pastor of the Cross of Life Lutheran Church,

John 15:1-17, Psalm 23, and John 10:11

In the mid-19th century Charles Robert Darwin rocked the world with his controversial theories regarding the evolution of humanity. Darwin questioned the current belief of divine creation of each species. After years of studying and correlating the voluminous notes he had made as naturalist he presented his evidence for the descent of all life from a common ancestral origin. He concluded that humanity evolved from a lower form of primate, the ape. And it was our struggle for survival that pushed our genetic coding to become these complex and intellectual beings. Well, my purpose this morning is not to argue for or against that notion. But it is my purpose to point out the similarities to the spiritual evolution that God is stirring in our lives. God is taking his people through a spiritual evolution. As the sheep of his flock, the people of his church, he is taking us from faith to faith and glory to glory; from being sheep to being branches to becoming his friends. We are steady and ever evolving. We are becoming more like him. And I don’t know about you but I am decreasing so that he may increase. I am in him, so that he can be in me. I am evolving. It does not yet appear what I shall be, but I know that when Jesus appears, I shall be like him for I shall see him as he is.

And the more I go through life, the more I become like him. The More that life throws at me, the more he shapes me into his likeness. His mind shall become my mind. His thoughts shall become my thoughts. His will shall be my will. Everyday this old nature, this earthly vessel is becoming a new creation, the old is passing away and the new is becoming a reality. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that I should be but I am more than what I was. I have not yet apprehended all that it is to be Christ like; but I have a greater knowledge of his nature. I can discern right from wrong; divinity from devil ness; sanctity from the satanic. I have greater sense of who Christ is and what I am not. The more I follow Christ. The more I learn who God really is and what I’m really not. And that’s good news. It’s good for me to know his reality and my identity. Because I don’t know about you, but I live in a world where I am always misunderstood and mis-labeled. I live in a socio-political environment that has a tendency to stereotype me based on misperceptions. I am misunderstood. Because I’m black, I’m often labeled as lazy, angry, undereducated, and lower class. Because I am a male, I often misunderstood as an oversexed, arrogant, macho, chauvinistic pig. Because I am single, I often misread as a skirt chasing, womanizing bachelor or an impotent closeted homosexual. Because I am educated and somewhat corporately established, I am often mistaken as a bourgeoisie ‘wanna-be’ socialite. Because of the misperceptions of others, I am often stereotyped because of who people think I am. So it’s good for my soul to know a God who knows the real me. It’s comforting to my mind that the ‘All-knowing’ knows the real me. Tell somebody, “he knows the real me.” He knows what I am not and what I really am. I don’t have to impress him because he knows the real me. I don’t have to live up to his expectations because he really knows me. I don’t have to seek his approval or affirmation, because he knew all I have ever done before. He chose me. I didn’t choose him but he says, ‘I chose you’. He appointed me. I didn’t appoint myself. He knows the real me. I am acceptable without exceptions in his sight. What he saw is what he got- the real me: my faults and my failures; the monkey on my back and the skeletons buried in my closet. He knows the real me: my desires and my demons; my passions and my pain; my struggles and my successes. God knows the real me.

Thus the challenge before me is to get to know him. I am invited to get to know him a little better. My God wants me to know him. Not what I heard about him but the real him. Not the god preached from various prominent pulpits but the real him. Not the god indoctrinated in the local church but the real him. He wants me to abide in him so that I can get to know him a little better. But to abide with him and in him is a process. I’m not just immediately connected to him. I must learn of him and how to get closer to him. It’s a process. It’s a spiritual evolution. It is a divine process where my relationship goes from membership to discipleship to friendship.

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