Not Conformed, But Transformed, Part 2

Intro:  Do you like “new things”. What about a new person. I saw one on Thursday. (show Lila’s picture) She is beautiful. So  small, innocent and clean. That will all change won’t it. Today we will talk about power of change and the beauty of newness.

 

I.  A New Creation:  Notice the apostle’s description in 2 Corinthians 5:1717 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  The idea of “newness” is an important element of the gospel message. It fact, that is the practical “good news” that God brings. We can be redone and we can start anew.

note: the “newness” that God provides implies that we have a need to be “fixed” or “recreated“. Everybody needs to change – transform. Do you believe this? Are we good enough for us. Are our neighbors good enough?

 

A.  A Complete Makeover: The nature of the change that God makes in us is described in the most comprehensive terms in the Bible.

1.  A new birth: Jesus spoke privately a well educated religious leader and focused on the necessity of a complete change in his life. John 3:3 – 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2.  A resurrection:  Later Paul said in  Eph 2:1 – And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.Rom 6:4 – Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

3.  A transformation:  2 Cor 3:18  – 8 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.  How is our salvation a transformation?  Do you see any evidence of this transformation in the lives of Christians today?

a.  Christian marriages fail, just as others; Christians fail  in their the lives of their children; they speak like the world; aspire to the goals of the world. Where is the change?  How can we claim that Jesus will make a difference in the lives of others if He makes no difference in our?

 

II.  “Be Transformed”  Romans 12:2 – 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.   As a continuing study we look at  the 2nd part of Paul’s admonition. We are not to be conformed to the world, but rather be transformed.  The positive command, “be transformed” is  not disconnected from the negative prohibition, “be not conformed”. In fact, we cannot hope to escape being conformed unless we are inwardly transformed in our thinking. What does the before and after picture of our mind look like?  Has the Spirit of God transformed your thinking?

A.  The Greek verb for be transformed is (metamorphoo) describes a change of place or condition… To transform, transfigure, change one’s form. (Word Study Dictionary)

1.  It is the term from which we get the English metamorphosis. What do you think of when you see this English word? I think of science class and the Monarch butterfly. The butterfly didn’t start out as a butterfly. It was morphed (changed) over a period of time.

a.  First there is the egg laid on the milkweed plant. Next there  is the caterpillar (does not resemble a butterfly at all). Then there is a cocoon, called a chrysalis. Inside this outer shell the caterpillar is disappearing and the butterfly is emerging. Finally the transformation (metamorphosis) is complete, and the full grown butterfly flies away. There has been a transformation. This is a complete change (obviously), and it does not happen in a day (2 weeks).  So too spiritually we are changed, but not in a day.

2.  Like the preceding verb, “be not conformed“, this is also a passive imperative. We are commanded to not allow ourselves to be conformed, but rather to allow ourselves to be transformed. This indicates that the power to transform is from God (as the power to conform us is from the world).  2 Corinthians 3:18 – 18 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.  Although we are to aspire to this outward change, it can be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit working in us.  Ephesians 5:18 –   18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

B.  To get a better picture of this transformation, consider the Greek noun, morph, from which this verb comes. It refers to a unique form or nature of something. In Philippians 2:6-7, Paul speaks of Christ ,  “who, being in the form(morph) of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form (morph) of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

1.  Jesus’ inherent “form” was divine, but he took on the “form” of a slave in becoming flesh and living as an obedient servant. Jesus “morphed” from one form to another. (He did this without giving up His divinity, but Jesus’ previous “form” was completely different from His “form” while on the earth. He “emptied” Himself so as to make this change.

2.  So we are called upon to change completely. We must empty ourselves of the world in order to be transformed into the image of Christ. God does not provide or approve of coveralls. We must take off the old clothes to put on the new.

 

III. By the Renewing of Your Mind:  Paul indicates this necessity of putting off the old as a part of our transformation in Ephesians 4:22 -24  “..that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,  23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

A.  Notice here, as in Romans 12, that the part of us that God is interested in transforming is our minds. Earlier in Eph. 4 he described those who were alienated from God as being darkended in their understanding, ignorant and blind in their hearts. This lack of knowledge and faith led them to practice those things that characterized that corrupt “old man” who could never please God. If they could renew their minds they could “transform” their conduct.

B.  How is the mind renewed? How does one change the way he thinks? As in our initial salvation, this is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. God is the true change agent. Without His power we could not change ourselves The Spirit’s means of transforming our minds is the Word of God.  

1.  David testified, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps 119:11).

2.  Paul repeatedly emphasized the importance of the spirit-revealed word in the process of change. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 –  15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  The transformation of your mind can only be accomplished through your constant association with the word of God. Paul told the Ephesians if they read what he wrote them they could understand his knowledge in the mystery of God. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13-16 3 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

C. What does a Renewed or transformed mind look like? (it most certainly does not resemble the mind of the world.

1.  The transformed and renewed mind is saturated with and controlled by the Word of God. (“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”Col. 3:16) It is the mind that spends less time with the things of the world (even the “necessary things”) and more time with the things of God. It is the mind that is set “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col 3:2).

2.  It is the mind that responds to the events of life (reflexively) with the words of God. Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations by hurling Scripture back into His adversary’s face (Matt 4:4,7,10). this is our living sacrifice; our spiritual service.

3.  The transformed mind is seeking to transform others through the word of God. 2 Cor 10:5 – Paul was attempting to “cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,  Saved people strive to save others. If you never think about sharing your faith with others, your thinking needs to be transformed. If we are out of the world we want others to escape it as well.

4.  Most clearly, the spiritually transformed mind looks like ChristColossians 3:9-10Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,    Earlier in Colossians Paul said, 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Col. 1:28)

a.  Romans 8:29 – 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

b.  Another verse where the Greek word “morph” is used is Galatians 4:19 – 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,  Has Christ formed in you? Do others see the mind of Christ in your decisions and attitudes? Do they hear the words of Christ in your speech?

 

IV.  “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”   The word for “prove” here was often used to mean “ascertain or investigate” (as the precious metals were investigated with a testing of fire to “prove” their worth.)

A.  The transformed mind is able to properly investigate the will of God in his life. Having a disposition to obey him, the mind will be prepared to understand his precepts.

1.  There is a difference between knowledge and will. I may know something, but have no will to do it.

2.  The Greek construction makes “that you may prove” a purpose/ result phrase.  As a believer’s mind is transformed he is able to properly assess everything, and to accept only what conforms to the will of God. Our lives can prove what the will of God is only by doing those things that are good and acceptable and perfect to Him.

3.  Thus, as the mind is transformed, the will is changed. The Christians’ will becomes conformed to the will of God. God’s people want what God wants; They want to do what God wants them to do.  As they are transformed in mind they come to realize that God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect.

  • good – that which promotes what is best for man and God. Do you think monogamous marriage for a lifetime is good? Honesty, humility, compassion for others, love? By obeying God I will be able to apply these principles to the events of my own life.
  • acceptable – That which is approved of God. That which has His blessing and will bring His blessings. Do you know in your own mind what please you? If you develop the mind of Christ would you know what pleases Him?
  • perfect – That which has all its parts – complete. God’s will is consistent and complete. I see how it all fits together.
  • Albert Barnes says.. A transformed mind produces a transformed will, by which we become eager and able, with the Spirit’s help, to lay aside our own plans and to trustingly accept God’s, no matter what the cost. This continued yielding involves the strong desire to know God better and to comprehend and follow His purpose for our lives.

 

V.  The Spiritual Metamorphosis Described in the Bible: God changes us, but not in an instant. It is continuing work of the Holy Spirit.

A. There is a birth –  

  • John 3:3-7  3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
  • Romans 6:3-4  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

B.  There is a process of spiritual growth to maturity – 

  • Philippians 1:66 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.   We have responsibility to grow spiritually and mature. This is by definition a change that is noticeable and advantageous.  If we fail we will fall. ex. –  Riding a bicycle – once you take your feet off the ground you better start pedaling. If you are not moving you are going to fall.
  •  Colossians 2:6-76 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

 

Conclusion: Have you been transformed?