Summary: This message looks at what is necessary for our lives as believers in order to grow and transform, while at the same time being aware of those forces evident that, when permitted and ignored will hinder our growingin Christ
TRANSFORMED IN THE SHADOW OF OPPOSITION
I OUR TRANSFORMATION INTO A BELIEVER
1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
A The Word Of God Has The Inherent Power To Transform Our Lives
1 Effective transformation requires exposure to the Word of God
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
a We became a believe because we were exposed to the Word of God
b No one can become a believer apart from the Word of God
c We cannot stop rejection through denial, but we can stop rejection through ignorance
2 Effective Transformation Requires Reception Of The Word Of God
a Exposure is not enough we must have reception
b Kind of like a virus – being exposed to a virus does not make us ill, but getting the virus will make us ill
c If we never get the Word of God out no one can ever receive it!
3 Effective Transformation Requires Integration Of The Word Of God
a The evidence of integration is a changed life
b Just like the evidence of illness is seen in the symptoms, so the evidence of transformation is visible
c Lack of visible evidence is cause for concern
WE NEED TO REALIZE, …
• God ordained the mission to reach the world
• God ordained the way to reach the world
• It takes people to communicate the Word of God
• You and I cannot communicate what we do not affirm!
II OUR OPPOSITION AS A BELIEVER
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
A The Closer The Relationship The More Dangerous The Opposition
1 We can shrug off opposition to someone we do not know
2 We have a problem doing the same to those we are close to
B Opposition Is Withstood Through The Example Of Others
1 Strong believers produce strong believers
2 Strong believers produce strong churches, not the other way around
a We err when we think that if we go to the right church we will walk the right way
b We think that if we go to the right church we will be able to resist the devil
c We think that if we go to the right church we will be able to be more like Christ
HERE IS THE ERROR OF THIS – WE ARE MAKING OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR WALK!
CHURCHES ARE STRONG BECAUSE BELIEVERS ARE STRONG AND OUR MUTUAL STRENGTH BENEFITS THE WHOLE BODY
C We Are Not The Focus Of Opposition
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
1 The really focus of opposition is Jesus
2 We cannot be in opposition to Christ and pleasing to God at the same time
3 Christ is the factor of opposition
a We are not persecuted for living a life of adultery
b We are not persecuted for living a life of immorality
c We are not persecuted for living a life of gratification
d We are persecuted for living a life of integrity
D The Direction Of Opposition Is Always Against The Message Of The Gospel
1 Do you understand the implications of revival?
The Welsh Revival (in the country of Wales) began in the year 1904. It was nationwide in scope. The nation had drifted far from God. Church attendance was poor. Iniquity and sin abounded on every hand. But one day, suddenly the Spirit of God swept over the country of Wales with a mighty revival (in answer to the prayers of God’s people) - Once again the churches were crowded. Sunday meetings often lasted for many hours. Terrible sins were confessed. Old debts were paid up. People began living a new kind of life. Church historians say that even the mules in the coal mines refused to work, because mules were not accustomed to being treated with kindness and gentleness. People were converted. It gave them a different outlook on life. It affected even the way they treated their animals. And the mules (accustomed to hardness, cruelty, and blasphemy) could not understand the language of kindness - and they wouldn’t move!