Summary: The ways we are transformed into God's image.
“The Transformation – Part 2”
October 24, 2010
Ephesians 4:17- 24: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Last week we talked a little bit about being transformed into God’s image. The Bible tells us that God created us in His imagine, we fell and became twisted and depraved, and when we come back to God He begins to recreate us, once again, into His image. We are to become more and more like Jesus as we grow and mature.
Let’s do a little test. Pick out the true Christian. (Picture of a man smoking and one not, woman screaming, one smiling, guy drinking beer, one drinking water.)
The truth of the matter is WE can’t tell who the real Christian is. God sees what is in the heart. So we can’t go around judging who the Christian is and who isn’t – only God can do that. But we CAN tell if a person (or ourselves) is living according to God’s Word and doing His will. God reveals that in the Scripture. He even tells us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith and if Jesus is truly in our hearts (2 Cor. 5). So on the one hand, we can’t know what a person’s thoughts and intent is – but we can and should be able to know what God’s desire is for a Christian. He has given us this marvelous Book where He reveals His will to us. There are three areas in particular God wants us to work on - the Body, the Soul (or intellect), and the Spirit. Paul writes,
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
I want you to notice that it is God, Himself, who desires this and does it – as we offer each one of these areas up to Him in a sacrifice of love. HE will do it – as WE allow Him to. But it is up to us to allow Him to work in these areas. Paul says,
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
“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.” Romans 12:1
One of the reason’s we can’t tell who the real Christian is – is because the ‘acts’ of the Christian; the works of the Christian, the fruit which a Christian produces, can be imitated. There are a lot of phonies and hypocrites out there. There are a lot of people led astray by false doctrine and false teachers. Many are merely immature and in time will be transformed into the image of Jesus. Their acts may be off by their hearts are pure. But for you and me and the one who truly loves Jesus; for the one who seeks to be everything God wants him to be, there are three areas we need to work on.
I think the way God made us, He made us as a sort of trinity. If you draw three circles, kind of like a target, the outer ring is the body, then the second ring represents the soul (which is the mind and intellect) and the bulls eye is the spirit. When God works in us, as we grow in maturity, the major focus is the body or fleshly sins. After making headway there, we move on to the soul – which is harder to overcome, and then we grow in the spirit which is even harder. It is more difficult because the body and soul affects the spirit. You need to overcome the flesh and the intellect before you can more on to the spiritual areas in any significant way. So in the maturing process, we work on the fleshly works first, then the intellect, then the spirit.