Summary: God can transform us and then transform the world through us. This sermon explores the "how" of transformation.
A. The story is told of a woman who testified to the transformation in her life that had resulted from becoming a Christian.
1. She declared, “I’m so glad I became a Christian. I have an uncle I used to hate so much I vowed I’d never go to his funeral. But now that I’m a Christian, why, I’d be happy to go his funeral any time.”
2. All weekend the participants of the youth rally have been talking about transformation.
3. Hopefully our spiritual transformation is a little more complete and consequential than that of the lady in the story I just told.
B. The youth rally theme has been based on the incredibly successful series of Transformer movies.
1. As you may know, so far there have been three movies in the series and together they have grossed almost 3 billion dollars.
2. The fourth movie is supposed to be released in 2014.
3. Now I won’t attempt to explain the story line, but in many ways it is the classic good versus evil type plot.
4. The pictures you see before you include the leader on the good side – Bumble Bee, and the leader on the bad side – Megatron.
5. Each of the transformers has kind of a regular mode in which they exist in a normal type form, like a car or a truck, and then they have a battle mode when they take on some kind of fighting form.
C. Unlike the characters in the Transformer movies, the spiritual transformation that is taking place in our lives and needs to take place in our lives is not something that is hidden, or only comes out on special occasions, when it is necessary.
1. We need to be transformed through and through.
2. And our transformation needs to be apparent and permanent for all to see.
3. Let’s spend a few minutes considering several important truths about spiritual transformation.
I. First of all, I would encourage us to remember that spiritual transformation is POSSIBLE.
A. The truth of the matter is: God can transform us and then God can transform the world through us.
1. One of the greatest examples of God’s ability to transform people is the apostles.
2. For three years the twelve followed Jesus around. They watched him and they listened to him.
a. But in many ways they struggled to get it.
b. One of the twelve betrayed Him. Another denied to even knowing Him three times.
c. When Jesus was arrested they all ran and hid.
d. When Jesus was crucified only one of the 12 stood near the cross with Him.
3. But then the resurrection happened and the 11 saw the resurrected Jesus and their faith grew.
4. 10 days after Jesus ascended back to heaven the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were never the same.
5. That sorry group of disciples turned the world upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
6. You talk about transformation!
B. Perhaps the greatest example of transformation is the story of the apostle Paul.
1. Before he became the apostle Paul, he was known as Saul of Tarsus.
a. He was a leading Jewish Pharisee and he was a persecutor of the church.
b. He led the way in having Christians arrested, imprisoned and executed.
2. If you had asked the Christian community if they thought that Saul would ever become Christian, they probably would have laughed and said, “No way! Never!”
3. Saul of Tarsus was such a menace for the early church that I’m sure many prayers were prayed about him.
a. Some of those prayers may have been for Paul’s demise.
b. But I’m sure that many of those prayers were for Saul’s conversion.
4. As you know, one day as Saul was making his way to a city called Damascus on a mission to arrest more Christians, Jesus made a personal appearance to Saul.
a. That encounter shattered Saul’s world.
b. In an instant he went from being a doubter and persecutor to being a believer and eventually a proponent and advocate of Christianity.
c. Saul of Tarsus was transformed into Paul the apostle.
5. God transformed Paul and then transformed the world through him.
a. Paul is responsible for the greatest expansion of Christianity in history.
b. And Paul is responsible for at least 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
6. Wow! You talk about transformation!
C. What God did in and through the apostles, He can do in us and through us as well.
1. God is still in the business of spiritual transformation.
2. Paul declared: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)