"Catepillar to Butterfly"
Transformation is both instant (God saving us) and continual (our actions coming to be in line with what God has done). Transformation seeks for us to grow in Christ.
Caterpillar to Butterfly
A. 1 Cor. 15 is an exciting chapter. It is here that Paul outlines for us the change from the corruptible body to the incorruptible, from the mortal to immortality. It is something that everyone who believes in the resurrection looks forward to. We know we will be raised up in the new creation as something far greater than what this earthly tent can be. Even our body groans for something better than this human form.
B. I believe with all my heart that our new bodies will be far superior this one we walk around in now. Most Christians I know understand and believe what I have just said.
C. That is called transformation, when one form changes into another form. The Greek word for transformation is what we have transliterated into English “metamorphosis.” It is a complete change from one from into another as when a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. That huge of a change is what God can do in our lives. Brethren, we are a part of the transformed. As a child of God you are empowered by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead raised you up in Christ a new creation. Listen to what Paul says in Rom. 8:9-14. Those are powerful words. We who are led by the Spirit of God live under obligation to the Spirit. We are transformed people. The growth of spiritual maturity starts by recognizing the Holy Spirit and what He desires to do within us.
D. The motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now we can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in the midst of a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line and electricity. We can go camping and never have to go outside. We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surrounding, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we’ve only carried along our old setting.
E. Is it any different for Christians who does not change?
I. Two Types of Transformation
A. Over the past couple of weeks I have talked about the need for us to be transformed. Last week we look at the story of the lame man who was healed and saw how Peter and John turned it into a teaching time about spiritual change.
B. I believe there are two types of spiritual transformation. First, God does an instant change in us when we are saved. Salvation is not something you grow into. It is something that happens when the Holy Spirit comes into us as we respond to God through faith, repentance, confession and baptism. There is a point in time in which I am lost, and a point in time in which I am saved. That moment is spiritual transformation when God causes us to be born again of the water and the Spirit. But that is only the beginning.
C. What tends to take place is that people are excited about their faith and they love the forgiveness that comes through God’s grace and welcome the Spirit into their life. But then, the newness of that relationship wears off and what began in that person was never brought about to completion. They simply were born again, but they didn’t grow.
D. The Bible makes judgment calls on Christians. The Hebrew writer flat out tells his original readers that by this time in their Christian life they ought to be teachers, but they still need someone to teach them the elementary teachings. Jesus tells a parable of the sower and the seed and how some seed never really takes root, other takes root but is choked, and some take root and produce a harvest of multi-fold. But the point is there are people who don’t spiritually mature, they simply spiritually exist. God wants more for us than simply existing. He want us to live.
E. The second type of transformation is when we as Christians reshape our conduct in accordance with the spiritual transformation that God has already done in us. That is our part working with God. It was what Paul said we do when we “put to death the misdeeds of the body.” Just as it takes time for the transformation to happen from the caterpillar to the butterfly, it takes time and effort to grow in the Spirit of God. But that is what we desire when we want to be “wholehearted devoted to Him.”
II. The Text
A. Paul knew that the impartation of knowledge would make people more like Christ unless they allowed that knowledge to change the way they see life. If you can’t see the transformed you, then how do you ever think you will become the transformed you?
B. Walk through the first couple of verses of Rom. 12. “In view of God’s mercy.” God’s mercy is found in your salvation. Doesn’t it feel good to wake up in the morning knowing you are saved by the mercy of God and can live the day pleasing Him? So when you consider what God has done for you, glory in that! Praise God you are saved. Let the world know that you are not the person you used to be, but now you belong to God. One of the songs I like to listen to shouts, “I belong to Jesus, I belong to him. I belong to Jesus free from sin.” In light of God mercy, I put myself on God’s alter and devote myself to him.
C. How is that done? I have to quit acting like the world, and start renewing my mind. I have to see me differently and see the result that God desires. If I don’t know my goal, I will never reach it.
D. I must be Spirit-led. Paul wrote, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
E. Transformation has an expectation of maturity and change. Paul would write letters to churches to help them to see how they can grow up in Christ and start living in the Spirit. It didn’t mean they weren’t saved, it meant they weren’t transformed fully. The calling today is for you and me to be willing to grow.
A. In what areas do you still need to spiritually be transformed? What are you proactively doing to keep in step with the Spirit of God to help you reach God’s goal for your life?
B. Don’t be like a motor home that simply takes your old self and places it in a new environment. Get rid of the old self and live in the power of God. John Newton gave us the great hymn “Amazing Grace.” His life was transformed. At 82, John Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.” Amen!