Summary: This message deals with being open to being changed by the power of Christ by submitting ourselves to the will of God daily.

The Power Of Christ To Change

9/7/08 2 Chronicles 33:1-20 Philippians 3:1-16

How many of you remember the story in which a lady with wings and a beautiful dress waved her magic wand and mice became horses and a pumpkin became a golden carriage. A servant girl in rags became a princess with glass slippers. Wouldn’t it be nice if all that we needed in life was for someone to wave a wand over us our pour some oil on our heads and instantly we would be changed. Well there are no mice who have become horses, no pumpkins that have turned into golden carriages, no servants who have instantly become princesses and no outpouring of oil that will change us.

But there is a power available to make a difference in your life. How many of you are willing to admit, you need to make some changes in your life, because you’re not what you know you ought to be and you know you’re not what you could be, and you recognize you’ve still got a ways to go to get to where God wants you to be. As Christians, we say we want to be more like Jesus, but we act as though we intend to do it by having Jesus change to become more like us. No—we are the ones who are to change.

Let me tell you the story of two guys from our Scripture reading. One guy, Manassah, we’ll call him Manny for short” had a father who was a king who had loved the Lord, and did his best in trying to get the people to follow after the Lord. When the king died, Manny was just 12 years old when he became king and had a 55 year reign. Manny started out partying as a king, He got involved with wine, women, and song very early, and Manny threw God right out of his life and the life of the nation.

He wouldn’t listen to anybody including the prophets of God. Some think Manny had the prophet Isaiah sawn in half. He was just a wicked man and led a nation astray into worshiping false gods. God begged him and pleaded with him to change, but he wouldn’t. God said enough is enough. Finally God sent the Assyrian army against Manny and not only did they defeat Manny’s army, they captured him, put a ring through his nose, bound him in chains, and led him away as a prisoner of war.

This former mighty king is now in rags, in chains, in prison, and in need of a change. He had but one hope, and it was in none of the things he had trusted in when he supposedly had it all. The bible tells us, that in his distress, Manny sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

Manny knew he needed a change on the inside before expecting God to do something on the outside. When Manassah prayed to God, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his prayer. God worked this thing out and took Manny back out of prison, sent him home and put him back on the throne. The remaining years of his life was spent trying to enter into a right relationship with God to make a difference in the lives of others. He found a power in God to change.

The other guy was one of the great prosecutors of his time. His name was Saul, and he bitterly opposed anyone he did not agree with his theological position. He arrested Jews who had the audacity to believe in Jesus Christ. He threw men and women in prison, not caring a thing about who would take care of their children. He tried to build cases against them so that he could go after the death penalty.

When given the opportunity he would cast the deciding vote against them in death penalty cases. He was not happy just going after those in his own jurisdiction, he got permission to arrest those outside his jurisdiction and bring them back to try them in court. He had become a twisted evil prosecutor at best and a murderer at worse. There was no sense of compassion about him all. If you named the name of Jesus Christ in his face, there’s no telling what might have happened to you.

Then one day when he was angry there were no Christians he could get his hands on in Jerusalem, so he got permission to go find some in Damascus and bring them to Jerusalem to try them and throw them into prison. His hatred for the name of Jesus Christ was tremendous. He took some men with him, and headed for Damascus to satisfy his vengeance for the blood of Christians.

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