© 2021 Fall Series
You Can Change!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Lesson 7, Part 2
Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change
Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 6 (pp. 138-144)
Sacrifice Brings Change – When Jesus explained to his disciples how important the sacrificial life is, He said: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (cf. John 15:13, NLT). Jesus made it clear to the disciples that, “You are my friends if you [continue in] my commandments.” The sacrificial life of Jesus was an example for each of us to follow. If we are to attain the best possible in life, we must be willing to sacrifice some part of ourselves. Change in the Christian faith becomes evident with the altering of behavior, attitude, and outlook on life. An indication of a Christian’s change and maturity is how we treat others (cf. John 15:12-13, NLT). If we mistreat others, we also are doing harm to ourselves. In the insightful devotional, Yes! You Really CAN Change, pastor and author Chip Ingram observes: “We know we are maturing spiritually when we see evidence in ourselves of the supernatural love Jesus modeled for us.” Paul told the Christians in Rome to be genuine in their love and affection for each other (cf. Romans 12:9, NLT). Change will help us abhor any wrong or unjust act done, while loving the person. This example I beautifully illustrated in the response of Joseph over 13 years after his brothers sold him into slavery. Now elevated to a trusted and prosperous status in Egypt, Joseph forgave his brothers, and had his family immigrate to Egypt and settle there. Joseph’s maturity, and radical change, gave him the wisdom of God’s greater plan through the horrendous encounters that brought him to Egypt (cf. Genesis 45:4-5; 8, NLT). It’s interesting that Joseph never complained about the amount of time it took for him to gain freedom and a status in Egypt. Joseph is more at peace that God used his trials for a greater purpose. In bringing his family to Egypt, Joseph believed that purpose was fulfilled. It is one thing to be angry over some mistreatment or injustice. But bitterness can destroy a person’s spirit. Job was probably angry with his friends for attacking him when he was Suffering and most vulnerable. Job refrained from remaining bitter, and he prayed for his friends. After Job prayed, restoration and his fortunes changed exponentially (cf. Job 42:10-12a, NLT). It was more than the material prosperity that was evident in Job’s change. It was what Job believed that brought him in a deeper relationship with God. He said, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” Well said!
Evidence of A Changed Life - The changes we experience are evidence of having attained a different level of maturity. Our emergence into a Christ-like character, involves changes that come at different times and places along our journey. The reality that a Christian’s growth pattern is not always the same. Pastor Ingram offers this advice: “This [spiritual growth] is not a pass-fail proposition. It’s a growth process, often incremental, with steps forward, backward, sideways, and forward again. That’s okay. As long as you are moving in the right direction, you are on the right track.” Job is one good example of this incremental process. He was a person of integrity and spiritual maturity, but he lost patience with his friends. Job was unforgiving in his disdain for the treatment his friends gave him when he was down. However, Job prayed for his friends, forgave them, and God brought him to a new level of inner peace and outward prosperity (cf. Job 2:10-12a, NLT). In the New Testament, Zacchaeus was an unscrupulous tax collector. He cheated people and over-taxed them. After Zacchaeus met Jesus, he encountered a radical change. The people were generously restituted for their mistreatment, and the life of Zacchaeus was transformed (cf. Luke 19:6-10, NLT). Jesus taught, our relationship with God grows and changes further when we reconcile ourselves to others (cf. Matthew 5:23-24, NLT). Jesus emphasized that certain steps are to help, rather than hinder, maturity and change, Pastor Ingram comments: “…The measures of spiritual maturity are never meant…to produce guilt and shame. And they are never a basis for comparing ourselves with others. They are offered as a light to help follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He works within us to make us into the people we long to become and were designed to be.” Paul’s admonition to “be careful how you live,” further encourages us to be “filled with [led by] the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 5:15-18, NLT). Pastor Ingram says, “Occasionally check to see if you are exhibiting inward growth and not just outward appearance, but then turn outward again.” Change is incremental. It is God’s grace that sustains us at every aspect of our process. We’re sustained through progress and in failures. The scripture reads, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked (Proverbs 24:16, NLT). A failure shouldn’t be a fatality!
What We Believe!
Evidence of change, comes through sacrifice.
1. The sacrificial life leads to spiritual change.
2. Giving of ourselves, brings transformation.
3. We attain God’s best as we give our best.
John 15:12-13, NLT
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Romans 12:9, NLT
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Genesis 45:4-5; 8, NLT
“Please, come closer.” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again. “I am Joseph your brother, whom you have sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset and don't be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And He is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh – the manager of his entire place and the governor of Egypt.”
Job 42:10-12a, NLT
“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before. Then all his brothers,sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than the beginning…”
Luke 19:6-10, NLT
“Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile,Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half of my wealth to the poor. Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Matthew 5:23-24, NLT “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:15-18, NLT“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but live like those who are wise. Make the most of very opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”