Called To Be Like Jesus – Called To Be Everchanging – 7-24-16

Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling. God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes.

Matthew 7:24-25
“Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock.

Folks here is a fact: God is in the life change business. PTL, He takes a crooked life and straightens it out. He takes a shattered life and puts it back together. He takes a life that is dirty, filthy, and cleans it up. He takes a life that is broken and fixes it. That is what God does. PTL

The most beautiful words that someone can say is, “Jesus changed my life.” I can say it, can you? He took my life and turned it around. He pulled me out of the world and its trappings. He pulled me out of sin, cleaned me up and set me on solid ground. Has He done the same for you? God is in the life change business, have you allowed Him to change your life?

But that is not the end of the story called my life. The job of God changing my life will be never ending. If I think I am done, I might drift away, I might become stale, people may not see Jesus in me, other people might not want what I have in my love for Jesus. Do you feel the same way? I hope so. But the thing is that if we dwell on that, we might find that the joy leaves. Growing to become like Christ and all He is, is meant to be a joyous walk.

How does Jesus change your life? How does He help you “carry out your salvation”? Does He do surgery? Does He brain-wash you? Does He zap you with something and all of a sudden you’re changed? Some people say, “Just wait on the Lord.” This is the “passive approach.” Other people say, “It’s up to me, to be more like Christ, therefore I will work at it.” This is the “activist viewpoint”. What am I supposed to do in order to grow? Is it all me or is it all up to God? Paul’s scripture says it is a combination of the two.

When it comes to your spiritual growth, the fact is God has a part and you have a part. Paul uses two phrases to explain this cooperation: The first phrase is: “Carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” “carry out” or some translations say “work out.” This is your part. Just like working out at a gym, it takes effort and dedication. It takes efforts to maintain a healthy life style, this is true physically as well as spiritually.

The Second phrase is: “God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes.” God enables you, God works IN you to make you more like Jesus. This is God’s part. There are two more important words. In verse 12 it says “your” and in verse 13 it says “you.” Your salvation is personal, it is about you and it is your salvation. It does not belong to anyone else but you. You have not inherited your salvation. It is not your parent’s salvation.
It has not been handed down to you. It is yours and yours alone. You can not blame anyone else, for your salvation. It is your responsibility. You must accept your salvation from Jesus Christ. You and you alone must come to Jesus and accept the sacrifice that He made for you on the cross. It is simply you. Just because you live in America does not make you a Christian. Jesus must be accepted into your heart, by you. You must be “born again”.

He is interested in you as a person. There is but one hope and one salvation, but how that salvation is expressed in your life, is as unique as you are. You will have your own trials and temptations. God knows that, that is why Paul said, “Carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” God doesn’t want a bunch of spiritual clones walking around, everyone copying each other. What He does want is for you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

When Paul is talking about carrying out your salvation “with fear and trembling”, he is not talking about walking around with a fear that you can loose your salvation at any moment. What Paul is saying is that you need to take your salvation seriously. Your life has eternal implications. Your life is a matter of eternal life or eternal death. You should take it serious. Nothing should be more important in life than your salvation.

There are three tools I believe God uses to work in to your life to help change you.
1. God uses CIRCUMSTANCES. We will have problems, that’s life. Troubles, problems, pressures, headaches, difficulties and stress, welcome to the human race. But for those who are in Christ, God is there to bring good out of bad. Look at what Romans chapter eight says: “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Quote from book – “Nothing in the past is useless once we decide to give ourselves fully to our Lord and to set our minds completely on becoming what God wants us to be.”

In everything God is big enough to have it work to your good. Again not everything that comes in you’re your life is good, but God is able to make bad stuff turn out to your good. God can make your bad choices turn out to your good. God can use all things in your life to, make you more like Jesus. Jesus has been there too. There were times when Jesus was lonely, Jesus was tempted, and there were times when Jesus was tempted to get depressed. Jesus went through those things.

Do you think He’s going to spare you from those things? God is more concerned about your character than your comfort. God is more concerned with your holiness than He is with your happiness. The Hebrews writer was right when he said “Jesus learned obedience through suffering.” Hebrews also says “Jesus was made perfect through suffering.” How do you think you’re going to be made perfect?

2. God uses the BIBLE. The Bible itself tells us how God uses the scripture to change us: “Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.” Many know this scripture but we might not like the showing mistakes part, the correcting part and the training character part.

As we read, study and listen to the Bible, we encounter new thoughts and ideas. We hear God’s voice speaking to us and as we listen, we are changed. That is why we are too meditate on scripture. If you want to get serious about change then you need to get into the Bible. Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and live it, for a life change. Web page Bible or back table

3. God changes us through the HOLY SPIRIT. God Himself has a residence inside of you, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. God, through His power in the Holy Spirit, wants to change you. Romans chapter eight verse eleven says: If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you. (Came from Saturday Bible in Year)

God’s number one purpose in your life is not to make you happy, it is to make you holy, just as Christ was holy. He is transforming you into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to change you into the image of Jesus. But you have a part in changing your life too.

1. You can choose what you THINK about. Change is a matter of choice and I can choose what I think about.

Philippians 4:8 tells us: From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Your life is directed by your thoughts. Change begins with new thinking. The Bible word for change is the word “repentance”. In Greek “repentance” means “to change your mind” or change direction. When I repent I change my outlook. God wants us to change the way we think about things into the way He thinks about things. God wants your mind transformed. Change your mind and your behavior changes.

2. You can choose to DEPEND on God. A branch is totally dependant upon the vine. Cut off from that vine, it won’t survive, it won’t bear fruit. A branch has to be connected. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.

You can’t do anything unless you are connected, you totally depend on Him. Do you depend on God? Do you keep control of your life or have you really placed it under God’s control? Here is an easy test: Whatever you pray about you’re depending on God for. Whatever you don’t pray about you’re not depending on God for. Your decisions, your feelings, your relationships, your deadlines, your purchases, your priorities, God is concerned about all of them. Are you dependent on God for them?

3. I can choose how I respond to CIRCUMSTANCES. How we respond to both good and bad circumstances matter, it is up to you. Read the word and apply it, listen to the Holy Spirit and depend on it, then choose to rightly respond to your circumstances. All of your trials. All of your testing. All of your circumstances and situations serve a purpose. They are to help you become more like Christ.

After accepting Christ and throughout your life and you are called, you’ve got to grow, develop, work out the salvation you’ve been given. You are not working “for” your salvation because that was accomplished on the cross. You are to work out your salvation in your own life. You are called too develop it, develop Christian character. You help by becoming more patient, by becoming more kind, more loving, more forgiving, more merciful. The more you use your muscles the more you develop your muscles. That’s God’s goal for you to have more of Christ like character in your life.

You don’t know what will happen to you next week, next month, next year. But you can choose how you’re going to respond, how you’re going to react. Are you going to respond in a way that is pleasing to God? Are you going to become bitter or better? You have a choice of response. Romans 5:3-4: We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

God is more concerned with your character than comfort. Christ like character is the bottom line. It is the ultimate goal. Both you and God are in the life change business, together! If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you have been saved, this is a true fact, but it is also true that the Bible pictures salvation as a process. Salvation involves your past, your present, and your future. Something was changed and God says today and tomorrow let something be changed. We are called to be in partnership.

God has a plan and a purpose for you in mind. He has a destination that He wants to take you too. He wants to change you into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. You have a choice. You can fight against the process, you can sit back and do nothing, or you can work together with Him in the process of becoming more Godly, of becoming more like Jesus. What will you do?

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