© 2021 Fall Series
You Can Change!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 9 November 2021
Lesson 7, Part 1
Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change
Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 6 (pp. 127-138)
Growth Brings Change – Change is both the cause and the effect of growth. Human life development and Christian spiritual formation involve growth and change. They share a commonality, although each has a different goal. In human growth we mature physically and mentally through sequential stages of development. Each stage has a new identity, and brings about a different set of interests and priorities. In Christian growth, our formation is to make us more like Jesus Christ. A new spiritual identity emerges, and our interests and priorities change. The Apostle Paul describes the change that occurs as a result of our deepening relationship with God, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul told the Christians in Ephesus, the “maturity and new identity” they had through spiritual growth, was necessary in identifying false teachings. The change their spiritual growth brought, would prevent them from being influenced by deceptive information (cf. Ephesians 4:14-15, NLT). Similarly, the truth of the Resurrection was being subverted by persons who taught it was a hoax. Paul said that coalescing with such people could adversely affect them. He quoted Meander, an ancient poet whose words the Corinthians were familiar, to argue his point (cf. I Cor. 15: 33-34, NLT). The Apostle Peter, reminded early Christians of the position they had with God as a result of their spiritual change (cf. I Peter 2:9, NLT). He essentially told them through their faith they had journeyed to a place of respect, integrity, and spiritual knowledge. In his helpful devotional, Yes! You Really CAN Change, pastor Chip Ingram observes when we come into Christ, growth and change follows a process. He says, “It’s like entering a new culture, and it takes time to understand its values, expectations, and ways. Life as a new creation is a new experience…” Peter says change is a continual experience. He warned Christians to be watchful and observant of false teachings, to avoid losing their “secure footing.” Christians were further reminded that change and growth is an evolving process (cf. 2 Peter 3:17-18, NLT). Pastor Chip Ingram says true change, however it occurs, helps us “become” like Jesus. Our life-view as Christians has its meaning in the Scripture. These teachings inform our faith, and form our core values. Ingram says, “The goal of being a new creation is to be transformed from inside out. Being a Christian isn’t to act like one, but it’s to be one.”
Changing, Inside and Outside – Spiritual change occurs from the inside out. Jesus admonished the disciples that our faith is not merely the exercise of behavioral rituals. A genuine faith experience involves the heart, and a person’s inner being. Jesus said, “But I warn you – unless your righteousness is better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 5:20, NLT). The Pharisees forced people to live a certain way by subjecting them to external behavior, such as conforming to rituals. The disciples were taught that faith in Jesus Christ would cause them to live righteously, rather than by controlled behavior. Jesus said the influence of a Christian is the result of what happens to them within (inside of) themselves (cf. Matthew 5:14-16, NLT). Paul told the Christians at Philippi, the change in a Christian’s life affects their ability to influence others (cf. Philippians 2:15b, NLT). As Christians we aren’t under any obligation to participate in the behavior and lifestyles of others, which are contrary to the core values of our faith. We must live our Christian identity (cf. Ephesians 5:7-8, NLT). Paul says we must follow God and Christ’s example in “everything we do.” We will know there’s a change in our outlook on life when we take time to discern whether, how we live pleases God (cf. Ephesians 5:1-2; 10, NLT). Change helps us understand the goal of life, and the means we use to achieve that purpose. Chip Ingram explains: “Remember reading the Scripture is not the goal. It is a means to the goal – cultivating your relationship with Jesus. The more you immerse yourself in it, the easier it becomes. And the more you receive it by faith, the more it stimulates your growth and spiritual maturity.” God provides us with the means to become motivated for change. When we engage in fellowship with Him, through His Son, we will experience clarity in our understating of why we believe what we believe. Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Philippi was that they experience an ever-increasing love for Christ. Such love would facilitate their need to “continue growing in knowledge and understanding” of the faith and God’s will (cf. Philippians 1:9-10, NLT). There can be no effective change without growth! Our faith in Jesus Christ gives us a new nature and identity. With this newness comes a deeper knowledge of God (cf. Colossians 3:10, NLT). To know Him, is to become like Him!
What We Believe!
Change is a process of learning what’s true, what’s right, and what is God’s best for me/us.
1. True change begins within us, and is evident as we live.
2. Change comes through knowing ourselves and knowing God.
3. God loves us enough, to change us into what we can become.
Ephesians 4:14-15, NLT
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so cleaver they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church.”
I Cor. 15:33-34, NLT
“Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame some of you don’t know God at all.”
I Peter 2:9, NLT
“…For you are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.”
2 Peter 3:17-18, NLT
“I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of [false teachers] and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 5:14-16, NLT
“You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Philippians 2:15b, NLT
“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining as bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
Ephesians 5:7-8, NLT “Don’t participate in the things [sinful] people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people [who are of the light]. For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”
Ephesians 5:1-2; 10, NLT
“Imitate God, therefore in everything you do because you are His dear children. Live a life, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God… Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.”
Philippians 1:9-10, NLT
“I pray that your love will over- flow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.”
Colossians 3:10, NLT
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.”