INTRODUCTION – QUESTIONS FOR THE CHILDREN: 1. Have any of you ever disobeyed your parents? Have any of you ever done this a number of times, and knew deep down what you were doing was wrong, and wished you could change?
2. Have any of you ever hurt your brother or sister? If you are a big sister or a big brother, have you ever done things or said things to your little brother or little sister that you know were wrong and that made them sad? Have you ever wished you could be more loving and kind and unselfish towards them; and wondered why you sometimes are so mean and selfish?
QUESTIONS FOR THE YOUTH: 1. Have any of you ever secretly watched things on T.V. or looked at things on the internet that you know were not appropriate to watch or look at?
2. Have any of you ever lied to your parents? How about this one – “Randy have you finished your homework? “Yes Mother.”
3. Have any of you ever gossiped about or made fun of a person at school that perhaps is not as cool as you and your friends?
QUESTIONS FOR THE ADULTS: 1. Have you ever held on to thoughts of unforgiveness and bitterness towards someone that has mistreated you – – even though you know Christ would have you forgive them?
2. Have you ever found yourself – when you’re with your non Christian friends, co-workers, or relatives – – kind of watering down the gospel? Maybe not mentioning the Lord altogether? Sometimes joining in conversation that you know does not honor and please the Lord?
3. Do you have an area of life or habit that you know is not healthy or honoring to the Lord, but you just can’t seem to break it?
I want to talk to you this morning about the relationship the resurrection of Christ has with our desperate need for true internal change, and ……… butterflies.
Often on a Sunday morning in years past when Easter rolled around, we looked at the evidence or proof of the resurrection of Christ; or we looked at how the resurrection of Christ resulted in great expansion of the church in the first century.
But this morning I want to talk to you about how the resurrection of Jesus Christ affects our prospects or capacity for true internal change. One of the great tragedies of our day is that there are more religions on our planet than ever before; but the great majority of people adhering to these religions are stuck in certain attitudes, habits and lifestyles without any hope of changing. Some do not realize they need to change; many others know they need to, but can’t; and have given up hope that they ever will.
Tolstoy said of change, “Everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.” Perhaps part of the reason for that is we’ve given up hope of ever really changing attitudes or habits that have just dogged us for years.
If Easter means anything, It brings with it hope of true internal change.
No one can encounter and follow the Risen Christ and escape the transforming power of His presence.
Does anyone know who the apostle Peter was? He followed Jesus for the three and a half years or so that He ministered on the earth.
His life before the resurrection; impulsive, arrogant, opioniated, cowardly Life afterwards: humble, courageous,
Listen to what he said to a crowd of Jews who were very religious, but also very stuck in the empty formality of Judaism, and very possibly hopeless of ever really getting unstuck. “For you first, God raised up His servant & sent Him to bless you (how??) by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” Acts 3:26 For those of us who have walked in a daily relationship with Jesus Christ for 20, 30 or 40 years, we can testify that the turning never ends.
Does anyone know who the Jewish zealot Saul who lived in the New Testament era was?
Life before? Full of rage towards Christians; full of zeal for the mosaic law; callous about unjust killings
Life after he met the resurrected Christ? Dramatic turn around – – God delivered him of his anger and rage and callousness and violence; and caused him to have a shepherd’s heart for people and a willingness to endure great suffering to see the name of Christ proclaimed.
Because of Paul’s encounter and journey with the Risen Christ, he was delivered and set free from all of the anger and violent hatred that so characterized his life before he met Jesus Christ. Listen to Paul’s words as he spoke to a congregation of Jews gathered in a synagogue in Antioch. Acts 13:36-39 (turn to it)
Purpose of the law: Many people believe Jesus Christ came and gave a bunch of teachings and rules, and then died a tragic death; and now – being a Christian is following all those laws.
How many here today began your journey of being a Christian that way? The purpose of the law is to help us see how fallen we are and how much we need a massive overhaul internally. The law cannot and was never meant to change us; it merely helps us see how much we need change. But how does this process of change kick in? How does it work? Well it is all caught up in the greek word – “Metamorphoomai” (have the kids say it)
Metamorphoomai is the greek word that we get the English word metamorphosis from, which is the action or process of changing in form or substance. What animal or insect out there goes through the process of metamorphosis? The butterfly!!!
How many of you would agree that butterflies are beautiful creatures? How many of you know they certainly don’t start out that way? Let’s watch it. (Pete show video clip)
The mystery of transformation. The mystery of godliness (I Tim. 3:16) So where is this greek word used in the Bible? Well actually only four places.
Matt. 17:1,2 and Mark 9:2,3 speak of Jesus being transfigured bodily. Jesus had no need to be transformed internally, because He knew no sin. We on the other hand, because we are born in sin – – we are born with a sinful nature – – desperately need internal transformation.
The next passage in the greek New Testament that has the word “metamorphoomai” in it is Romans 12:2 (read it) “And 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.”
1. It is a command to not be conformed to the world.
2. It is a command instead to be transformed or metamorphoomaied!
3. Everyone on the earth at every moment is either being conformed to the world (its attitudes, thought patterns and world view & the actions and behaviors that result from that) or they are being transformed by the Hand of God. There is no middle ground. There is no other existence on this earth.
4. The method or means by which we are metmorphoomaied is by the renewing of our minds.
Illustration: My early years as a Christian – very aware of everyone else’s faults. Mom to me, “You are too critical.” I Often put down others to build up my self.
Charley Brown to Lucy: “I want to change the world.” “How would you start?” “I would start with you!”
Over time, as I learned to cultivate the daily habit of meditating on the word of God – the Bible – I began to notice teachings or passages like, “ Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matt. 7:3 or Paul’s exhortation to the Christians in Rome, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Rom. 14:4
Sometimes God used the example of some of the great men and women in Biblical history. David’s brokenness over his own sin and the importance of this quality of brokenness. I think one of the reasons David was called a man after God’s own heart was because he never lost sight of his own brokenness and need for internal transformation.
Great men and women in contemporary history. David Brainerd’s example of crying out to God for his own holiness and change.
April 6. – “I walked out this morning; had an affecting sense of my own vileness; and cried to God to cleanse me, to give me repentance and pardon. I then began to find it sweet to pray; and could think of undergoing the greatest sufferings in the cause of Christ, with pleasure; and found myself willing, if God should so order it, to suffer banishment from my native land, among the heathen, that I might do something for their salvation, in distress and deaths of any kind. Then God gave me to wrestle earnestly for others, for the kingdom of Christ in the world, and for dear Christian friends.
April 28. – “In the evening my heart seemed to melt, and I trust was really humbled for indwelling corruption, and I “mourned like a dove.” I felt that all my unhappiness arose from my being a sinner. With resignation, I could bid welcome to all other trials; but sin hung heavy upon me; for God discovered to me the corruption of my heart. I went to bed with a heavy heart, because I was a sinner; though I did not in the least doubt of God’s love. Oh! that God would “purge away my dross, and take away my sin,” and make me ten times refined!
More than anything, the more I studied the life and ministry of Christ and the more I drew near to Him as my Savior and Lord…. The more I wanted to be like Him, and please Him. And that leads me to the
Last passage where we see the word “Metamophoomai” used.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” II Cor. 3:18
As we gaze on Him, we become like Him. As we gaze on Him, we realize what attitudes or habits or thought patterns in our lives are not pleasing to Him, and we gladly by His power and His enabling turn from them. As we gaze upon Him, we see ever more clearly – Who He is and what He is like – and our greatest desire becomes being like Him in every way.
Story of Joe Eszterhas – Master Media
Gospel Invitation – Hopefully you haven’t wasted the last 57 years of your life lampooning the one who made you. But even if you have, it is not too late for you to turn from your foolishness ,and allow Him to invade your life and clean you up from the inside out. God created you in His image; and He is committed to seeing you and I walk out that image.
BENEDICTION: “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.” Hebrews 13:20, 21