Summary: A message to motivate Christians to display their changed life for the world.
The Power of a Changed Life
March 17, 2002
[Live testimony of a changed life]
A changed life…
• Authenticates the ministry of a church. (vv. 1-2)
o Authentic Christian ministry does not require letters of recommendation or words of support from “celebrities.” However, when God gets ahold of a so called celebrity, it’s fully evident.
[Illustration: GOD’S TIME
There is a new pastor in Atlanta named Mason Betha. He recently celebrated his one year anniversary pasturing a church of about 100. But Reverend Mason hasn’t always been a pastor.
He was formerly known as the rapper Ma$e, “the flashiest and most pleasure driven performer on… the Bad Boy record label.” His transition from bad to good was rather abrupt. He didn’t switch to gospel music or gospel rap—he left the music industry. He broke with friends and associates and gave away lots of the possessions that shaped his persona: a Range Rover, a BMW, a Mercedes convertible, and a diamond encrusted Rolex worth more than most American homes. He also left a huge contract with Bad Boy Entertainment and Arista Records.
There was no great “emotional experience.”
Mason says of his turn around: “I was just sitting in a hotel and decided I can’t do this no more. People be looking for this big explanation. But when it’s God’s time, it’s God’s time.”
Are you looking for some rock bottom experience or emotional high before you make your turn around. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95:8). When it’s God’s time, it’s God’s time.
Source: SermonCentral staff. Citation: Leland, John. “A Bad Boy of Hip-Hop Turns the Other Cheek.” The New York Times, February 3, 2002. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/03/fashion/03MASE.html?pagewanted=1
o Authentic Christian ministry leaves a trail of changed lives wherever it goes.
1 Cor 9:2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
o Authentic Christian ministry is fully evident in a community.
“known and read by all men.” Is your life open to examination? If people read your life, what story would it tell?
• Is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. (v. 3)
o Spirit led work is servant work. (i.e., where you see the Holy Spirit at work you will see people serving others.)
1 Thess 2:8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
Mark 10:45"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
o The Holy Spirit is the change agent in the Christian life.
Rom 8:11-13 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh -- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
[ Illustration: A lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century was quite wealthy but also quite frugal. The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home. Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said. “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?” “Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.”
She’s tapped into the power but doesn’t use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Don’t we make the same mistake? We, too-with our souls saved but our hearts unchanged – are connected but not altered. Trusting Christ for salvation but resisting transformation. We occasionally flip the switch, but most of the time we settle for shadows. (“Just Like Jesus”; Max Lucado)
o The Holy Spirit changes from the inside out.
• Is God-centered instead of self-centered. (vv. 4-6)
o Our confidence comes through Christ and flows to God.
Phil 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,