Thursday, May 1, 2014

Becoming More Like Christ: What Does That Look Like?


If we are called to turn from sin and become more like Christ, what does that look like?

Galatians 5
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
·        Our freedom in Christ is not a license to sin. Nor does it give us permission to take control of our lives, return to the way we used to live, and live the way “we” choose apart from His perfect and Holy plan
·        “Called to be free”: God didn’t save us so that we could live lazy, comfortable lives doing only the things that bring us the most satisfaction.
·         Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
·        He looked beyond our faults, saw our needs, and that is exactly what He calls us to do for the people around us
1 John 4:16-17,19-21
            16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
·        We rely on God’s love. We cannot love apart from Him.
Personal Reflection! ↓
     I don't know about you, but I RELY on my phone and my car more than almost any other man made thing. Daily, my phone tells me exactly who I need to communicate with, allows for that communication, and then shows me the exact time and place as to where I need to meet with that person. All day, every day, I rely on my phone. My car gets me where I need to go. Rain or shine, I rely on it for transportation. I treat them both with care because I KNOW how vital they are to my everyday plans.
     If I chose not to carry my phone on any given day, I would miss many phone calls and many text messages from people I work for, daily keep up with, and love. I might miss a call from someone whom I have never met, and once I got back home to my phone with the chance to respond, the opportunity to meet that person may have be gone. If I chose not to put gas in my tank or change my oil, my car would simply not run. I wouldn't make it to work, school, or any other place that may accompany my plans.
     My point is this: In a way much more profound and eternal than the way I rely on my phone or my car, I rely on The One True God. He created me, sustains me, and there is nothing I can do apart from His knowing.
      He created you, sustains you, and there is nothing you can do apart from His knowing.  
What are some ways in which we can rely on God and know Him more?
PRAY. Talk to Him anytime, all the time, anywhere, about everything.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Read HIS WORD. Anytime, all the time, anywhere, in search of anything.
Joshua 1:8
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
·         Our love may be the only “Jesus” people ever see. We love with HIS love because we want others to come to know Him
·        The Holy Spirit loves through us. We are His hands and feet
Galatians 5
 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
·        When we are walking towards Holiness, walking towards Christ, He IS going to have His way with us. Oh, what a beautiful sight!
·        We must submit to being transformed into the son/daughter God wants us to be
Galatians 5
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
·        This is who we are apart from Christ. We are wretched people who love our sin
·        Thank God He makes us a new creation when we choose His grace and mercy over our own sinful desires
·         2 Corinthians 5
13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 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, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 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 people’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[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
o   If people think we are crazy (“out of our mind”) by the way we love, we are doing exactly what we are called to do. We are being exactly who Christ calls us to be
o   If people think we are “in our right mind”, looking just as they do, than we are completely missing the calling God has for our lives.
o   The gospel IS the reason we love
o   He looked beyond our faults and saw our needs
o   The old is only gone because HE, in His strength, cast it away. He made us new with His grace and His mercy
o   Now our ministry is reconciliation. We have a calling on our life
o    Reconcile: 1) To reestablish a close relationship between 2) To settle or resolve.  3) To bring (oneself) to accept
o   Our entire life’s goal is to point others towards Christ in everything we say and do
o   Developing a Christ like character is contagious
Galatians 5
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
·        These things do not come from good morals, or simply being a good, disciplined person
·        The fruits of the spirit come only when the Holy Spirit dwells inside a believer’s heart. They are tools from the Holy Spirit to bring glory to God the Father
·        1 Timothy 1:8-17 (In reference to the Law in Galatians 5:23)
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
·        Romans 7:5-6
     5For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
·        Christ changed who we are for eternity. We MUST live for Him!
Philippians 1:12-13
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

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