Summary: Teaches how Christ wants to transform us through discipleship today
“The Transforming Power of Christ”
September 8, 2012
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son...”
A couple of weeks ago I preached a sermon on Jesus calling His disciples. It was called “Follow Me”. Jesus walked the dusty streets and the sandy beaches looking for 12 willing men who would follow Him. He found them. 12 men willing to be discipled by Jesus dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus.
Jesus said, at one time, that many are called but few are chosen. I wonder if that was the case as He gathered His little band of followers together. He mentioned a couple of times when He invited people to follow – but they were not willing for one reason or another. Let’s look at those times.
“He said to a man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62
There was an incident in Jesus’ life where a wealthy young leader came to Him asking about eternal life. He said he kept the commandments. Jesus didn’t argue with him. He simply said,
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22
Two had a different priority than immediately following Jesus. They procrastinated. One had a greater love than Jesus and went away sad.
Each of us has heard the call of Jesus to follow Him. It was in different ways. Some of you responded to an alter call or to a friend who shared the Gospel, or like me, you read it in the Bible and responded in your own home. Some of you many not have recognized it was Jesus calling you – but it was - in the form of the Holy Spirit. In our Scripture it said “the Spirit is the Lord and the Lord is the Spirit”. And whatever means Jesus used - it was still Him offering that invitation. Some didn’t hear the call. Some put off the invitation for a better time; a more convenient time. Some may have bluntly refused. But you didn’t. You are here and that indicates that you said yes.
But I am concerned. Most Christians are in the half-hearted group. They want to follow but procrastinate. Some have greater loves – loves other than Jesus. And if you would ask them they would passionately say they are Christians and Jesus is number one in their lives – but their actions refute their words. They are not following Jesus. They are not obeying Him. They are not passionate about Him. Going to church once in awhile; reading the Bible occasionally; throwing a few coins in the offering plate is about all they can muster up. That is not what Jesus had in mind. What Jesus had in mind is that we be conformed to His image. Jesus wants us to be in a state of growing more like Him. He is our example. He is our goal. And He wants to mentor us.
You say, “How can that be? Jesus is ascended to heaven. He is not here.” Yes, He is. Remember when He told the disciples this?
“But the fact of the matter is that it is best for you that I go away, for if I don’t, the Comforter won’t come. If I do, he will—for I will send him to you.”
John 16:7 (TLB)
Jesus said it would be better for us if He left and the Holy Spirit came. That seems unbelievable. How often we have wished we could walk and talk with Jesus. And we can – through the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus wants to talk to you today. He wants to disciple you. He wants to teach you His ways. He is willing to do that – if you are willing to follow. ARE you willing to follow?
We believe that the Holy Spirit lives in willing hearts today. We believe that He gives us power to live as He asks us to live. We believe that He will lead us and speak to us today. In fact, I think He is speaking all the time. That is not the problem. Our problem is that we aren’t listening. If we do hear His voice – we aren’t doing as He asks. But when Christians DO listen to His voice, believe and obey – then His power is made flesh in us. The Word actually becomes flesh again. When Christians hear His invitation to get out of the boat or stand up and walk or preach to the multitudes - and they obey in faith –then the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what otherwise we would not be able to do.