Summary: This sermon looks at three catalysts that God uses to transform us. I. God Uses PEOPLE To Transform Us. II. God Uses CIRCUMSTANCES To Transform Us. III. God Uses SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES To Transform Us. (Sermon 2 in this series)
Transformed Into The Image Of Christ
Let me tell you right up front - the title of this sermon may be misleading to many of you. When I use the word “Transformed” – many of you think that being tranformed into the image of Christ is something that happens to you without any effort or input on your part at all. This is far from the case. Even a caterpillar has to build its cocoon in order to be transformed into a butterfly. If you are a child of God – if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior – if you plan to become a disciple – a follower of Jesus Christ – you must make an effort to be transformed into the image of Christ. What you do in the growth process – the efforts you make – makes a difference – your efforts MATTER. You are called – commanded – to be involved in that process of becoming like Jesus. Paul tells us in Romans chapter twelve and verse two:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NASV)
Notice that in this verse Paul instructs us – “not to be conformed to this world.” – But “to be transformed in our minds”. Notice also that God is not only concerned about our actions – He is also concerned about our thought process. He is concerned about the way we think about things. Why? Because all of us – every little inch of us – He wants to change into the image of His son – Jesus Christ.
If you were with us last week you will recall that God’s purpose for each of us – is to be transformed into the image of Christ. God is in the life change business – that is what He does – He takes people – just as they are – and renews them. He fixes them. He changes people – and He wants each and every one of us to live a godly life – to be made into the image of His son. Follow along with me as I read from First John chapter three verses two and three:
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I John 3:2-3 (NASV)
Go ahead and circle the word “we will be like Him”. This is God’s goal for your life. He wants you to be like Jesus. Every Christian needs to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. We need to put on Christ-likeness. This is the purpose of Discipleship. This is God’s goal you and it should be your goal too. You are to be involved in the transformation process.
If you will recall – last week I used an illustration of a river and a row boat to picture your involvement in the transformation process - allow me to use it again.
Let’s say there is a river that runs right by your house. It is wide and the water flows slow and steady. All the water is flowing to the ocean. It has a definite course and a definite destination in mind. There is a little rowboat on the bank of the river and you decide to get in the rowboat and paddle out into the middle of the river. Now once you get there you can do one of three things. Do you remember what those three things are – you can:
1. Paddle against the current.
2. Sit in the rowboat and go with the flow.
3. Paddle with the current.
If it is God’s purpose for me to be made into the image of Christ I can do three things. I can fight against it. I can sit back and just hope it will happen. Or I can work with God in the process of my transformation. In other words I can be involved in my Christian growth process. I can “grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” I can clothe myself in “Christ-likeness”. I can “put on the full armor of God.” I can study to “show myself approved”. I can “work out my salvation with fear and trembling”. I can “submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit”. I can work with God to help Him – help me – become more like Jesus. Isn’t that an amazing thought? God is changing me – and He has asked me to be involved in the process. He has asked you – to be involved in your transformation as well.