Summary: Graduation is not an end but a new beginning. The same holds true for each step of your Christian walk.
May 25, 2014
Text: 2 Corinthians 3:17 – 4:12
Subject: Graduation/Memorial Day
Title: The Next Phase of Life
We have two reasons to celebrate today. 1) We recognize our veterans and all those who have given their lives in order for you to have the freedoms that you have. Men and women in our armed forces have willingly placed themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation free and we are thankful for their sacrifice. I also like to think of the Christians throughout history who have laid aside their personal wishes in order to further the kingdom of God. 2) We celebrate the graduation of one of our students. One of the things I love about being a dad and a grandpa and even a pastor is to watch our young ones grow up. With our own children we marked every new phase of their lives as an opportunity to rejoice. From going to school for the first time to making it through sixth grade and playing ball and making friends… Then junior high with the 8th grade dance and high school graduation. In the middle of all that our daughters experienced a different type of graduation. It was during their teen years that each of them were born again and graduated to a new type of life – a life in Christ. Then it was on to college and weddings and their own children and the cycle continues.
My point is this… your life is a series of graduations. From school to work to retirement… it is never intended to be a time where you just stop being. Even those of you who have been around in the battles of life and who have been Christians for a long time The phase of life that you are in is intended to be a graduation to a new level from where you were.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
I believe this is God’s word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
And I appropriate it to my life today…
I. A Graduated State… If you are a Christian then God has ordained you to be in a continual state of change. I know that the word “change” strikes fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned of Christian warriors. Question: Do you or do you not have the Spirit of the Living God living inside of you? 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The word translated “liberty” means “freedom” and it comes from the root word that means, “unrestrained” or, “exempt”. What are believers exempt or at liberty from? Paul had written this in the context of a comparison of faith versus the Law. And in this case the Law represents the tradition that bound the Jews and kept them from becoming what God wanted them to be. So you are set free from tradition that says everything has to be the same way all the time. As a matter of fact God wants you to be graduate students of His Grace and His Word and His purpose for your lives. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. The word glory means “recognition”. We are intended to be the reflection of God’s glory to others. When they look at us they see God. Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One lady's opinion was that is was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. "But Sir" she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh, yes, madam," replied the silversmith; "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured. "The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; "the very hairs of your head are all numbered." As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way that he knows when the process of purifying is complete when he sees his own image reflected in the silver.... You are being changed into His image… from glory to glory…