Monday, January 18, 2010

This week's message: Transformation

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
"14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

The gospel—Good News—we preach is that God is at work transforming us to be like his son. In the beginning, God created man and woman in his image. When we sinned, that image was badly marred—sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable. But in Christ, God has made a way for us to be restored, reborn. He has made a way for us to once more bear his image in all that we say and do. He has recreated us, and we are being recreated at this very moment, if we will allow his Holy Spirit to work in us.

When I think of transformation, I think of the butterfly. This is a picture and image I want us to keep with us this week. No creature in nature undergoes the striking transformation that the caterpillar does. It begins as a worm-like creature, crawls on it’s belly on the ground. The closest it gets to the heavens is if it finds a particularly high plant and inches it’s way to the top. The caterpillar was not created to stay on the ground, it was made to fly. But no one would ever believe its destination seeing it in its beginning stages of life.

Then something happens, some cue of chemistry that the caterpillar makes a cocoon or chrysalis and disappears. We don’t know what is happening in that shell. We may not understand all of the processes involved, but this is the moment of transformation. Just like the scriptures today tell us we have been made a new creation. Sometimes we can’t see it. What we know of ourselves is what we were before we entered into salvation, before we were wrapped in that cocoon. But something begins to happen in us and slowly we see changes. Sometimes those changes are on the inside, hidden for the most part from the outside world like the newly forming butterfly is hidden away in the cocoon.

Then, all at once something changes again. The chrysalis rocks back and forth, we see a small opening. There are legs where once there were none. There are antennae where once there was a smooth head. Then out pops a creature totally unrecognizable to it’s former self. It is a butterfly. Now it can reach its potential, now it can touch the sky. This is the transformation God wants to produce in the life of everyone you know.

If you have accepted Christ as your savior and you are allowing his Holy Spirit to work in your life, this transformation—believe it or not—is already taking place in your life. God wants to do the same in the lives of every person in the whole world. This is why it is so important that we are God’s ambassadors to the world crying out, “Be reconciled to God.” No matter what condition their life is in, God sent his son to die for them so that they could be restored and reborn and refashioned into the thing he has always planned for them to be.

God did not create us to crawl the earth, miserable and never getting off the ground. He made us to fly and to touch the heavens even as we live out our lives on the earth. So let him transform you. Let him remake you through the renewing of your mind. Let him purify your heart and your motives. Let him do the work in you that he is longing to complete. If you have accepted Christ, the process has begun, let him finish it so that you can soar on beautiful wings and touch the lives of others.

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