Continuous Conversion – The Facts!
Living in the Spirit is a life of discipline and begins with listening to the voice of God!
The entire time that Jesus lived and walked the Earth He did not have a Bible, nor did He have a copy of the Torah! The first Bible was not printed until 1611 at the order of King James of England! At that point 50 scholars were chosen to translate the words from the Greek and Hebrew. Keep in mind: During Jesus time on earth there were NO Bibles or Torah’s in individuals’ homes!
At 30 years old when Jesus stepped into His ministry, He did not carry written material with Him. Nor did He have handouts for the individuals He spoke to! Plus, individuals did not have pencils and paper to take notes! Therefore, when Jesus spoke to the disciples and others – when He taught, they - LISTENED!
The early church spoken of in the book of Acts in the Bible – did not have Bibles! Or pencils and note paper! The Holy Spirit TALKED to them and the people - LISTENED and LEARNED!
I must stress something regarding this teaching! Within the churches today, this teaching and the importance of the scripture below - is not often heard! Looking back as I was growing up, I do not remember ever hearing a sermon on the transformation process. Nor over my adult years and even to this day I do not remember hearing pastors stressing the importance of the transformation process! I have heard it mentioned but not explained! However, I have heard the saying of a Sinner’s prayer stressed - repeatedly! The following Scripture is taken from the book of Romans written by the Apostle Paul:
“I exhort you, therefore, brothers in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please Him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the world! Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your MINDS so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what He wants is good, satisfying, and able to succeed. For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God had given each of you, namely trust!” Romans 12:1-3 (CJB)
NOW, the giving of our life to God is more than important! However, there is more to it than just saying a simple prayer! Most people today who have said a Sinner’s prayer and have been baptized are told - they are saved. Thus, giving the individual the impression that it is a – done deal! Leaving the individual believing they NOW have a Free Pass to the streets of GOLD! Because of this thinking ,the implication is this: “Now that I said a Sinner’s prayer and have been baptized, the rest is up to God – I am free to go on with my life!”
If we want to walk the streets of GOLD for eternity: WE HAVE TO WORK OUT OUR SALVATION! Jesus set the example for us to know how to do just that! PLUS - WE MUST follow HIS example! JESUS has shown us what it will take on OUR PART to accomplish being “BORN-AGAIN! Here is why:
“The morning after saying a Sinner’s Prayer you will NOT wake up a COMPLETE other person – you will NOT wake up no longer selfish, inappropriately angry, mean, or etc.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)
Jesus’ Born-Again process began in Heaven when God asked Him to come to earth as a human being in order to show all of US how we must live and walk in the manner God wants and – truly be Saved!
“Let Christ Jesus be your EXAMPLE as to what your attitude should be, who existing in the form of God, He did not look upon equality with God as above all things to be clung to – but emptied Himself and took upon Himself the nature of a BONDSERVANT and became like human beings and lived obediently to the extreme of death – going so far as to actually die a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 (The Word)
“He took NOT on Himself the nature of angels; He became a man in fact a descendant of Abraham. It was imperative that He should be like us so He might prove Himself to be a compassionate and faithful High Priest in things relating to God - to atone for the sins of the people. He Himself felt the pain of temptation and trial therefore He is able to help those who are exposed to temptation.” Hebrews 2:16-18 (The Word)
It can be seen all around us that everyone wants everything to be just the way they want it! Keep this in mind: Everything within us that is not like Jesus – must be emptied and - change must be seen!
We must “work out our Salvation!” I want to make things noticeably clear at this point. When Jesus was walking this earth and He was choosing His disciples – never once did He stop and say, “Let’s say a sinner’s prayer.” He looked at the individual and said, “Follow ME!” There it is! There is the key! Following JESUS DEMANDS OBEDIENCE!
However, there is a huge problem here on Earth: Many people today want to be saved but they do not want to have to do ANYTHING! They want to be saved - BUT - they want and insist that Christ do all the work and - do all the dying to self for us!” They simply want Jesus to do everything they want Him to do – all the while going about their day going here and there without consulting God regarding what He wants them to do that day! Never mind realizing they said a prayer GIVING THEIR LIFE TO GOD! Reader, when that prayer is spoken – you are now a servant of God! Therefore, we need to be getting direction from Him regarding what to do and when to do it EACH DAY OF OUR LIFE!
If you choose to say a “sinner’s” prayer that is fine. But be sure your heart attitude is pure, and you really mean what you are saying to God! God takes this moment in your life extremely serious! Keep in mind He can read your mind and the attitude of your heart! God knows if you are serious about what you are saying. And please do not think that saying a sinner’s prayer is a “Free Pass” to Heaven! People in today’s world think that all that is required of them regarding being saved is to just “Believe”! NOT TRUE! That is only the first step! You see Satan and his demons “believe” there is a God – in fact, Satan visits the throne room of God frequently (see Job 1:6-12). Satan and his angels know who God is and what Heaven looks like. They lived there once! Be incredibly careful in thinking that after saying a Sinner’s prayer you are now guaranteed and home free you are going to walk the streets of gold!
After asking God into your life – please understand you are going to have to CHANGE. If you want to please God, the changing process we are talking about is a lifetime process! It is all about “transforming you into whom God created you to be! The Transformation process is your BORN-AGAIN PROCESS!
BLUNTLY PUT: THE TRANSFORMATON PROCESS is the WORKING OUT OF YOUR SALVATION, and it is the BEING BORN AGAIN PROCESS all rolled into ONE! SO, take it very seriously!
A FEW EXAMPLES:
The following are only a portion of examples showing what Jesus did for US to show us what it takes to prepare ourselves for the streets of Gold! He had to walk through and overcome all kinds of obstacles that came at Him – just like the ones we must face!
Example: JESUS PREPARATION FOR MINISTRY
Before Jesus started His ministry at 30 years old, His Father God lead Him in the process of becoming who He wanted Him to be! All during the years before starting His Ministry – Jesus spent time listening and learning from HIS Father God in preparation of what was to come against Him!
Example: JESUS BAPTISM
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. That moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I AM well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NIV)
Example: JESUS WAS TESTED
After His Baptism Jesus went into the Wilderness, He was there for forty days and ate nothing! On the fortieth and last day, Satan attempted to get Jesus to - commit Suicide! “Then he (Satan) took Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” When the devil had finished all this tempting – he left Him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:9-13 (NIV)
Example: JESUS LEARNED OBEDIENCE
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he LEARNED OBEDIENCE from what he suffered and ONCE MADE PERFECT, he became the source of eternal salvation for all WHO OBEY HIM and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10 (NIV)
Example: JESUS DID AND STILL DOES NOTHING ON HIS OWN!
“Jesus gave them the answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19 (NIV)
“I have so much to say about you, so many judgments to render; but if you hear one thing, hear that the one who sent ME is true, and all the things I have heard from Him I speak into the world.” The people had not understood that Jesus was teaching about His Father. Jesus said: “Whenever the day comes and you lift up the son of Man, then you will know that I am He. It will be clear then that I am not acting alone, but that I am speaking the things I have learned directly from the Father.” John 8:26-28 (Voice)
Example: JESUS SPEAKS ONLY WHAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO
“I do not speak on my accord, but the Father who sent me COMMANDED ME WHAT TO SAY AND HOW TO SAY IT.” John 12:49 (NIV)
Example: JESUS LAID DOWN HIS LIFE AND DIED ON A CROSS
“I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked out my beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (CJB)
FLAT OUT FACTS:
FACT: “We do not spend enough time near the Master’s mouth! We want to feel His hand, but we do not want to hear what He has to say to us!” (Pastor Herman Knapp)
FACT: The MIND of Christ is the mind of the – TRANSFORMED!
FACT: If Christians do not start a TRUE transformation process on earth and continue it until their departure from earth – there is no way - it can be completed in the “twinkling of an eye”! (A. Chapman)
FACT: God cannot and will NOT change us or transform us unless we want Him to - and allow Him to! Why? It is an amazingly simple answer. God does not work like that! God does not go against our will! I REPEAT: God does NOT go against our will! If He did, He would be going against one of our Divine Rights THAT He Himself set up for us – AND that was and is - OUR RIGHT to make our own choices! So, if you do not want to change that is up to you and God will NOT force you! The choice is yours!
FACT: The Transformation/Born-Again process is NOT a quick fix! It is a moment by moment and a day-by-day process - for the rest of our life!
God did NOT allow His Son to come to earth with free passes simply because He was the Son of God! Jesus did not have access to QUICK FIXES, and INSTANT BREAKFAST! Jesus had to learn exactly the way we do! In fact, our Savior had to go through far more than we can imagine as He carried out His calling! He had to obey His Father and face what God set before Him daily! All the while: Handling every situation the way God wanted it done!
The life of obedience is tough, it is NOT an easy road: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But SMALL IS THE GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD that leads to life, and only a FEW find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
There is no way we can be born again until we die to self and put God first in our lives and that - requires change! Therefore, we must WANT to change, and God will not just do it for us – there is NO magic wand that can be waved over us! We must work it out with God – our self!
Men and women across the globe want shortcuts in their lives especially in their Christion growth and their Christian walk! They want Jesus to wave a magic wand over them even after all the suffering and pain He went through while on this earth – Most people think because they said a Sinner’s prayer, they are HOME FREE, and they are - ENTITLED!
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
IF Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man – WHY DON’T WE THINK WE HAVE TO?
“I am your example; keep doing what I do!”
John 13:15 (VOICE)
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