Summary: This is the concluding sermon in the Extreme Makeover Series.
A. I heard a story about 3 co-workers, who were out of town for a convention and they were sharing a suite at a hotel. Their room was on the 75th floor.
1. So, you can imagine their discouragement when, after a long day of meetings, they returned to the hotel and found that the elevators were not working.
2. To get to their room, they were going to have to climb 75 flights.
3. To try to pass the time, they decided to have the first man tell jokes for the first 25 stores.
4. Then the second man would sing songs for the next 25 flights.
5. And finally the third man would tell sad stories for the last 25 flights.
6. It was all going according to plan – the first told his jokes for 25 stories, the second sang songs for 25 stories, but when it was time for the man to begin telling his sad stories he hesitated.
7. He said, “I think I will begin with my saddest story of all. I’m afraid I left our room key in the car.”
B. This story illustrates the reason why many people who are pursing life-change get discouraged.
1. Often, when we are trying to make progress, we take “three steps forward and two back.”
2. Have you ever had that experience? I know I have!
C. Today, as we finish our Extreme Makeover Series I want to say that I really appreciate all the feedback you have given me.
1. Obviously, these messages have been touching a need, and I pray that God will continue to minister to all of us through His Word and the teaching that all of us do from the Word.
2. I pray that all of us can continue to experience significant and lasting life-change.
D. As we start our long journey to freedom, there are two obstacles that we are going to have to overcome.
1. First, as I have said in many of these sermons, we must not travel alone.
2. And second, we must not let discouragement stop us along the way.
3. There are no easy shortcuts to life transformation that is lasting.
4. A makeover of our lives takes time.
E. In the end, we must realize that real life-change is a process not an event.
1. As we make progress in our journey toward Christ-likeness, there will be many stumbles along the way.
2. While we find ourselves sinning less and less, we will never be sinless in this life.
3. One reason that is true is because there are spiritual forces about us that will not cease their attempts to derail our journey to freedom.
4. In Ephesians 6, Paul warns us about these forces and tells us to put on the full armor of God and to be strong in the Lord.
5. Just because we make some progress in overcoming in some areas of spiritual bondage, doesn’t mean that the evil forces will leave us alone; actually, it may mean that they step up their attacks to try to derail our spiritual progress.
6. But, not only do we have to battle against the forces outside of us, we also have to battle the forces within us.
7. We have to win the battle against our own wrong thinking and the evil desires that are within.
8. As long as we live in this world, we will have to battle with the flesh and the mind.
9. We are not going to win this battle randomly or accidentally.
10. We must intentionally subject the flesh and the mind, and we must undertake an intentional strategy for reaching our spiritual goals.
F. With our time remaining today, I want us to consider four principles that will help us to keep the process of spiritual life-change alive in our lives.
I. Principle #1 – Lay Claim to the Promises
A. Our first step in life-change is not doing something, but believing something.
1. I’m really not thinking of any specific promise; rather, I’m suggesting that we need faith in God and His promises.
2. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
3. And so, we must know and trust God, believing that He exists and that He rewards.
4. We must believe that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
5. We must believe that through Christ’s death and resurrection, and our participation in it through baptism, our old self was crucified and that we have been freed from sin (Rom. 6:6-7).
6. We must believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13).