|Series Theme: "Faith Sermons"|
Title: 26. God of Transformation (3)
3. God's Underlying Objectives
previously - Psalm 113 where God is seen to transform lives
then we considered things that hinder transformation and the mechanics of transformation: the will of God, the word of God, and our obedience to that word.
B. Consider the Example of Abram – Gen 12:1-3
Note the following transformations:
1. A Change of Land
2. To place of blessing
We have also suggested along the way that ‘transformation' is seen throughout the Bible.
C. God's Design: The Need for Transformation restated
We need to restate the basics of what has happened to the world
God made a perfect world, and that included giving us free will.
Adam and Eve chose to exercise that free will by disobeying God
From that moment on ‘Sin' was observed in the human race and has ‘tainted' every life ever since.
i.e. our thinking is skewed and we place self at the centre of our lives instead of God – we think we know better and that affects what we do.
God was going to change Abram's thinking
i.e. our ‘ doing' produces behaviour that is contrary to that designed by God for us to enable us to live lives full of self-worth and self-fulfilment.
Abram's behaviour would become God motivated.
We think these two ‘self' things - self-worth and self-fulfilment.- can be achieved by self-effort but in fact they can ONLY be achieved when we are
D. The Reason for God's Activity
God is thus, constantly at work
Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work” (Jn 5:17 )
God is seeking to:
draw us back into relationship with Him, and
to give us guidance as to how to live in conformity with His design for us.
Why? Because of His character : “the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger , abounding in love and faithfulness , maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” ( Ex 34:6,7 )
This is seen in the NT expressed by John : “God is love” ( 1 Jn 4:8,16 )
Paul's ‘fruit of the Spirit' are also expressions of the outworking of God's character: “love, kindness, goodness” ( Gal 5:22 ,23 )
Because this is how God is, He wants:
to reveal Himself and His love to the whole world and
bring us back to a place where we are able to live in conformity with His design.
E. God's Activity in the Old Testament
‘Testament' is another word for ‘covenant'
The Old Covenant was simply God's agreement with Israel on how He would make them a ‘light to the Gentiles' ( Isa 42:6 )
In the OT we see God
calling Abram into relationship with Him
saving Israel from Egypt and making them a nation
giving them the Law to guide their individual lives and national life, and to give them a way of restoring their relationship with Him when they sinned.
It is all about relationship which transforms them into a people who reveal Him and His goodness.
E. God's Activity in the New Testament
In direct continuation of His previous work, He brought His Son to the earth, to:
reveal His love , kindness and goodness
die as a sacrifice for our sins.
Both of those things have the ultimate goal of:
restoring us to Him and guiding us into the sort of lives He designed for us, and empowering and leading and changing us
to bring that about as an ongoing activity (which will continue until we go to heaven)
F. Looking at How that Works
The NT is full of guidance of how God wants us to live
e.g. 1 Mt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit ” - blessing comes from realising our poverty of spirit without God – the Beatitudes lay down such principles of how we receive God and His design for our lives.
e.g. 2 Mt 7:1 “ Do not judge ” meaning do not condemn others – for we fail to realise what we're like
thus Jesus taught many similar things.
e.g. 3 1 Thess 4:14 “Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” - how to create a blessed, fulfilled and caring community – God's community according to His design.
EXCEPT we find we are still incapable of doing these things on our own. We still fail; we need help. This is where the ongoing relationship with the Lord comes in. He is there and will
as we turn to Him
That's what relationship with God is all about – being transformed into His design for us.
Eph 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Christians are those who have been remade or reborn – God's workmanship
The good works are just how we live – doing good, being kind, loving, following God's leading
This is simply in conformity with His original design and so He is there seeking to lead us into this.
G. Our Part
God is thus, constantly at work seeking to: