© 2021 Fall Series
You Can Change!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 12 October 2021, Lesson 4, Part 2
Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change
Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 3, pp. 73-86)
Transitions Involves Changing Some of What We Value – Any significant change, God permits to happen in our lives involves relinquishing something that was previously important to us. Often, change doesn’t occur because a person is not willing to be transparent about their deepest needs. Some habits must be discarded. Aspects of personality in conflict with a mature Christian life, must be given up. Such change can’t be accomplished by us alone In his helpful study devotional, Yes! You Really CAN Change, pastor Chip Ingram reminds us as Christians, that we have been born into “a new culture, a new purpose in our hearts and minds.” This means, we must live according to “fundamental [Biblical] values;” adapting them to our lives. We must be willing to engage in an examination of our attitudes, behavior, speech, and outlook on life. The Apostle Paul warned the Christians in Rome not to embellish their sense of who they were. A person should undertake a self-examination, to identify their own faults and failures (cf. Romans 12:3, NLT). In the Greek translation, we are to take a “sober look” at ourselves! The standards we should live by are those which God approves, and aren’t always consistent with what others expect of us. What we value in the flesh, could be detrimental to our maturity and change. The Psalmist urges the reader to quickly move away from influences that could harm us. We can turn to God, who helps us in our quest to change our ways (cf. Psalm 34;14-15, NLT). God has created us to and for change. As we engage in deeper fellowship with Christ through prayer and the Word, we will experience less of a desire to sin habitually. John told believers that the character a Christian has, should encourage him or her to move away from behavior and habits, which are sinful. A new character has emerged within us, and is evolving (cf. I John 3:9, NLT). A changed life also, is further evident in our conversation. When our words are mature, compassionate, and truthful, they will satisfy and encourage others (cf. Proverbs 18:20, NLT). The changes that occur in our lives are always lived out in community. For Christians, this means the good that comes to us will inevitably benefit others. We can all initiate change in our environments. God has equipped each us with an ability to share something with others (cf. Ephesians 4:7, NLT; Also, I Corinthians 12:7, NLT).
Transitioning Deeper – The immature and bad habits of others should be a disincentive to follow their example. This was evident in the late first century Christian Church when the Apostle John addressed the congregation. He warned them of immature Christians in the fellowship who were inhospitable to guests. He had heard bad reports concerning one member, Diotrephes, whose behavior was offensive and injurious to the fellowship. John said, “Don’t let his bad example influence you. Follow what is good… (cf. 3 John 9-11a, NLT).” On the other hand, John approved of the behavior of another member, Demetrius. He said, “Everyone speaks highly of [him]… (cf. 3 John 11- 12, NLT).” When we grow into a deeper relationship with Christ, the maturity and transformation occurring in our lives will be observable. We will, at the appropriate time, experience the special blessings God intends for us to have (cf. I Peter 5:6-11, NLT). God’s grace will sustain us, despite any opposition we may encounter. We have a caring God who gives us strength to withstand the enemy. We are also sustained by the prayers of other Christians throughout the world! Paul emphasizes that in the “right time” (kario), our harvest (change) will come. We must use out time within the process of change, to treat others well (cf. Galatians 6: 8b-10, NLT). Change is not merely how much of God we’re getting, but how much of us God is receiving. Pastor Chip Ingram says, “It’s not about getting more of Him, but about Him getting more of us.” The covenant relationship we have with God often is reciprocal. God does His part, and we must do our part. We cannot do everything completely by ourselves, or of our own will, without submitting our lives and expectations to God. Ingram says it this way: “We [must] learn to strike that balance between God’s work and our own. We do make an effort and persist in what we are called to be and do, but we have to trust that God is there and blows wind within our sails…We don’t transform ourselves, and He doesn’t do it for us without our partnership. We participate in the process He has empowered and laid out before us.” The climate for change must be created within us. This is accomplished by internalizing values we find in the Word. Humility helps us understand our self-worth as God does. We will not think we’re superior to others, but others value to us as much as we value to ourselves. The scriptures teach us for example, when we’re humble our lives will take on a stronger, resilient, more compassionate character. We’ll serve more!
What We Believe!
To value change, we must change some of what we value.
1. God’s Word will reveal to us the true value of life and change.
2. The Spirit of God within us will transform us.
Romans 12:3, NLT
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me,I give each of you this warning:Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of your-selves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
Psalm 34:14-15, NLT
“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help.”
I John 3:9, NLT“Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God.”
Proverbs 18:20, NLT“Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.”
Ephesians 4:7, NLT
“However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.”
I Corinthians 12:7, NLT
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
John 11-12, NLT
“Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil will prove that they do not honor God. Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.”
I Peter 5:6-11 NLT
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, at the right time He will lift you up to honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about us. Stay alert!Watch out for your great enemy, the devil! He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember our Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In His kindness God called you in His eternal glory by means of Christ. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore,support, and strengthen you,and He will place you on a firm foundation. All power to Him forever! Amen.”
Galatians 6:8b-10, NLT
“Those who live only to satisfy their sinful nature will harvest death and decay… But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.”