Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Transformed Christian

In his "Transformed by Faith" series, Pastor Miles McPherson at The Rock church shared with us three characteristics of a "transformed, ready Christian." These are important points to remember when sharing our faith with others.

The transformed Christian is always prepared for every ministry opportunity he or she faces.

1. The transformed Christian stays focused on ministering to the needs of others. (See Mark 8:1-3).

Making oneself more and more useful to God in ministry is key. We are to focus on the needs of others. We can become more discerning of other people. Doing so in a compassionate way is a method that 'gets us down' to where the person is 'living', so to speak, and allows us to 'feel their pain' with them.

Christine's comments: I see this more as empathy than sympathy for them. Sometimes, sympathy for a person can be misconstrued. They may see the Christian believer as someone who thinks of themselves as "holier than thou." This is a common misconception of non-believers. Christians are reminded in God's Word of the fact that, "for such were some of you" so, the reality is very clear. It is ONLY because of Jesus Christ that we are washed, sanctified and justified in the sight of God the Father. No room for a "holier than thou" attitude with that fact!

1Cr 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I also think that a believer who has been transformed and saved from a certain kind of sin can often (but, of course, not only) be the one chosen to help rescue others who are wallowing from the deception of that same type of sin. Ministries that are geared to help others out of the sins of porn addiction, or alcoholism, or adultery etc. are often led by people who suffered such addictions in the past; but are now set free by Jesus.

2. The transformed Christian honors God with their resources. (See Mark 8:5-9).

By the term "resources" we don't only mean money, but also knowledge, gifts, talent and time. We are to make it available to Him. Realize that even our very lives belong to Him!

Christine's comments: You might be thinking, how can anybody meet this great need? The answer is to let God make up the gap. We are to do what we can with all we have as often as we can with those the Lord places in our path each day.

A devout Christian friend of mine once told me, "Chris, the one person you may have influenced and led to the Lord is just as important as when Billy Graham holds a crusade to reach thousands." She said this to me when I was wondering if my posting on atheist/agnostic message boards was worthwhile. At the time, I was sharing with our Bible study group (that was meeting in my home) that an internet acquaintance who used to mock me about my faith three years ago has now accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. But that was only one person out of hundreds that probably read my posts. He re-connected with me 3 years later to tell me of his transformation. He is now a brother in Christ! You can read more about it at this blogpost.

What this tells me is that we never know what "seeds have been planted" by what we share on message boards or in the blogosphere. The saving is up to God, of course, but we are to follow Jesus' command to go into all the world and share the Good News of the Gospel.

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Look at the attitude of the Apostles:

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Remember Saul's reaction when Jesus appeared before him on the road to Damascus:

Acts 22:10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

And, remember "where he came from." He was a persecutor of Christians!

Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.

Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.

Read the entire chapter in Acts 8 to see the transformation of Saul, to Paul.

In my current Bible study, we were discussing the significance of names in the Old Testament. In the ancient Near East a person's name was intertwined with the essence of his or her being and personality. In the Bible, name-giving has great importance. A change of name (e.g. Abram to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah) is an event of major significance, symbolizing a new character and destiny.

We see such significance regarding the name change of Saul to Paul here in the New Testament as well.

In addition, notice that each of the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - received his name from God himself. These names, as well as those of the great biblical heroes like Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, are unique, not given to any other person in the Bible.

If you are a frequent reader here, you may recall a previous post about the significance of names given in Genesis.

3. The transformed Christian commits all of their works to the Lord.

When God tells you to do something, it is not always comfortable! Can anyone say Amen to that? Realize that you will have opposition. Comes with the territory! We are to work through it!

The Rock church is going through opposition and persecution during the recent efforts to purchase and build at a bigger site. I have heard of this same scenario time and time again!

Personally, I can't think of hearing about any church that has NOT been opposed by some politician or community when it is proposed. But the great news is this...they get built anyway. That is what trust in the Lord is showing us.

Pastor Miles stated the obvious when he said, "you know you are transformed when you are scared, but you do it anyway."

He concluded by saying we are to pray and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! Don't spread you're (or anyone else's) doubt; even when the naysayers are babbling, "it can't be done" or when obstacles might be thrown in your way.

The best revenge is success!


Susan Smith said...

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (see ROM 12:2). Thoughts and words are powerful. Every word produced is a word that ministers or destroys. Words are seeds we plant in our daily lives.

Are you ministering life or death? When my words are negative, they are usually ministering death and God is not pleased. I am usually unhappy when I speak negative words of others or even when my thoughts dwell on negative events in the world. God will keep us in peace peace when our minds are stayed on Him, because we trust Him (See ISA 26:3).

I am thankful for this life-giving Christian blog that ministers life to others. God bless you, Christine and much love from East Talpiot in the Holy Land. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hi Susan,

With all of the turmoil going on in the world, sometimes it is hard not to speak negative words about who or what is causing it.

I agree when you stated that you are "unhappy when thoughts dwell on negative events in the world." When you said, "God will keep us in [perfect]peace peace when our minds are stayed on Him, because we trust Him (See ISA 26:3)" I think you meant to say "perfect peace" so I added it in there.

Yes. Focusing on God's Word, Jesus Christ, prayer and that which ministers and uplifts is the ONLY way to perfect peace. I am convinced of that!


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So much fun...