Summary: After responding to the call to follow Jesus we are transformed by Him. This sermon shares part of the process
“Transformed by Love”
September 15, 2013
”Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ...”
A few weeks ago I spoke on how Jesus called His disciples to follow Him- and they did. They left everything and followed Him. And for three years they were with Him being discipled. He taught them many things. In fact, He was often called “Teacher” by them. He was their example on everything from paying taxes to praying. A disciple is ‘discipled’ and I suggested that Jesus still is calling people to follow Him today and desiring them to be discipled today. I think the weakness in the Church in our day is because we have lost or neglected the need to be discipled by Jesus.
Paul, after his conversion on the road to Damascus spent three years in the desert being discipled by Christ through the Spirit (Gal. 1:18). I believe Jesus wants to do the same with us today. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts Jesus will lead us, guide us, and teach us how to be the men and women He wants us to be.
Ultimately, He wants us to be ‘seekers’. Too many people put there faith in a pastor or a church or a doctrine. And no matter how right on that doctrine or church is – it is not to be the object of our greatest affection. Many Christians and churches tell, or infer, to new converts (or Disciples of Christ) that “Believing on Christ” is all that is necessary. It’s not, no more than a wedding is all that is necessary for marriage. Believing and receiving Christ into your heart is just the first step on an eternal journey and an eternal relationship. After the new birth must come discipleship. Since that is not happening – most Churches are filled with immature, carnal, spiritually shallow Christians. There is back-biting and hypocrisy. Rather than the fruits of the Spirit being displayed – the fruits of the carnal nature is evident and too often manifested. And the world is turned off by the Church and by Christians. I remember when I said, as a new Christian, “If that’s the way Christians are – I don’t want to be one!” Thankfully, Jesus spoke to me and guided me into the truth – but I was almost lost because of a carnal Christian.
It is Jesus, Himself, that needs to be our heart’s desire. We need to fall in love with Him. We need to seek Him, the Awesome Creator of the universe. We need to get to know Him personally. We need to develop a personal relationship with Him. He needs to be our Life, our heart and soul. He needs to be the greatest attraction and affection in our hearts. And when He is – then we will spend time with Him and experience His love. We will learn to distinguish His voice from all the other voices going on in our heart. And when we do, Jesus, Himself, will disciple us into Christlikeness. That is His purpose. That is His goal for us. He will help us trim away the world and develop the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. And it will be an awesome journey.
Let me caution you that God will not take you out of the world. For sure, when you become a Christian, your life will be so much happier; so full of joy and love and purpose and all that kind of good, godly stuff. To experience forgiveness and love from God is an experience like no other. Life will be so much better as a Christian - but we are still here on this fallen planet, living among fallen people with a fallen nature. We will still encounter problems and trials and bad stuff. Bad things DO happen to good people. But the difference is that we will face it with Jesus. He will be our strength when we are weak. He will guide us when we are lost. He will comfort us in our loneliness. He will hold our hand in our pain. He will speak to us when the voices in our heads are clamoring for attention. And He will use every negative thing for good – if we will hear and listen.