Transformational


Author: Andy Milligan Date: Sunday, May 18, 2014 Campus:

Andy Milligan continued the Who We Are series this week and talked to us about what it means to be Transformational. The transcript is below.

WHO WE ARE: TRANSFORMATIONAL

This week we are going to be continuing our mini series on ‘Who we are’ as a church, previously we have looked at welcoming and the message was clear, who is welcome?

Last week we looked at Extravagant loving

Then next week Hannelie is going to be looking at action.

But this morning we are going to be focusing on what it means it means for us as a church to be Transformational.

Story: C.Hange

Part of me feels like this talk should have been first or last in the series, but definitely not in the middle.

Because in week 1 we were called to welcome everyone in week 2 we were called to love extravagantly and in week 4 we will be called to have an active faith.

So here’s the thing. Welcoming, loving, active. These three culture statements are very much about our behaviour towards others.

But Transformational, that is primarily about us.

Because if we are transformed then we will welcome others it will flow out of us natural

If we are transformed then we will love others genuinely and feelings of hatred, anger etc will no longer exist within us.

If we are transformed then we will be active, when we see a need we will do something about it without thinking.

Transformation is the key to the other three.

Because transformation is something recognisable, a person who has been transformed into the likeness of Jesus cannot look the the same as before, that would be impossible.

In week 1 Gareth said that everyone is welcome no exceptions. And it could be summed up as Come as you are.

This morning I want to say that’s fantastic but if we call this our home then we cannot stay as we are.

The person I was yesterday is not good enough for what God has for my life today.

The person you were yesterday is not good enough for what God has for your life today.

Come as you are but do not stay as you are

Because God’s ultimate aim for your life and mine is to become like Jesus. That’s it.

We can never make ourselves right with God by living ‘good lives’, that is anti-Gospel, it is the complete opposite of Jesus’s message.

It is only by faith in Jesus that we can be made right with God.

Believing in Christ does not mean that we simply have to try harder to live better than in the past. If that is our mind set we are putting faith in ourself, we have taken Jesus off the cross and tried to put ourselves there in his place.

The Gospel is that whilst we were still in opposition to God, he sacrificed his life for us and if we put our trust our faith into his hands then when we meet face to face with God he will welcome us as sons and daughters.

It’s saying to God, Father, accept me not because of what I have done or ever will do but because of what Jesus has done in my place.

And it’s important to remember that the amount or quality of the faith does not matter. It’s like if two different people board the same plane. One is very nervous and feels sick, the other confident. It’s clear who trusts the plane more.

Which one is safer? Neither because the object of their faith is the same.

The object of our faith, Jesus.

That’s the Gospel, nothing more, nothing less.

And so it is important that we recognise that living a good life will not save anyone.

Try as we like to be good people, it will never bring change in someone else’s life.

Yet at times I find myself guilty of thinking it will.

For example recently we were taking about GOT at work and I decided to read the books rather than watch the Tv show. When asked why I explained that I didn’t feel comfortable with all the sexual nudity.

And I believe that to be the right decision, I don’t think God would want me to watch it.

But morality will not help a person see Jesus.

The only thing that will help people see Jesus is Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:18 Whenever, (we) turn to face God…We’re free of it! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transformed our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

If we want people to find Jesus then we need to naturally radiate Jesus.

We were created to be like Jesus. God wants us take on the attitudes, the values, the characteristics of Christ.

That is our ultimate purpose in life.

And as we become like Jesus people will find Jesus.

I cannot stress that enough, if we want people to encounter Jesus and who wouldn’t then we need to focus on becoming like him.

Come as you are, but do not stay as you are

God wants a people who he can embody, who can become like him and reflect his love to others. To be Jesus to others.

And when you read the Gospels it’s clear what that means.

When he met prostitutes. When he met tax collectors. When he met outsiders. Weirdos. Smelly people. Rich people. Disillusioned people.

When he met them, he loved them. He treated them with respect.

He looked at them and saw them as children of God, created in His image.

And they wanted to meet him, People were drawn to Jesus.

Zaccheaus climbed a tree just to see Jesus. A power hungry thief climbed a tree to see God.

There was something about him that people were drawn to.

He loved everyone, he treated all as though they were his equals even though they weren’t.

With Jesus no one felt ignored, no one felt invisible. Everyone felt valued, noticed and loved.

Story: Andy Henman

He wasn’t an Andy version of Jesus he was a Jesus version of Andy.

That distinction is important.

This guy wasn’t trying to be like Jesus, it wasn’t forced or fake.

He was a Jesus version of Andy, because he was still very unique, but I could still see Jesus through him, people were drawn to this guy because the presence of God in him was obvious.

And so my first challenge this morning is are people drawn to Jesus through us?

Because that’s exactly what transformation looks like.

When we become like Jesus people are attracted to his very presence that flows out of us.

And I don’t mean because we have an exuberant, extroverted personality, because otherwise all of us should become like that, and I don’t believe that for a second.

No I mean are people drawn to us because when they need help advice or support we are the people they seek out.

Are people drawn to us because they recognise that we are non judgemental and willing to help no matter what the cost. JESUS

Are people drawn to us because we offer our time freely and can be called upon thorough any storm. JESUS

Our reputation should not be of one who judges, but one who always has time, always has grace, and always shows love. JESUS

We rely on God to work things out rather than force the situation. JESUS

We don’t react to criticism and rush to defend ourselves JESUS

We don’t exclude others and put others down JESUS

We aren’t self serving or worried about pleasing number 1 JESUS

We serve one God and place our hope in nothing else. JESUS

Come as you are, but do not stay as you are.

I really love reality documentaries about extreme weight loss. My favourite being Obese a year to save my life USA’. I love them because the weight lossee’s weigh somewhere between 25stone/158kg and 35stone/222kg and they set out to lose half their body weight in one year. It’s crazy.

For them this is transformation. At the end of the year their life will be radically different. It is such a hard journey for them, and seeing them persist and work is amazing. And the results are extraordinary. I’m watching the second season currently and in every story I know the weight loss is going to be dramatic and that they are going to look completely different and yet I’m still taken aback, because the change is just so great.

Video

From watching the show I’ve noticed that the success of each candidate is determined primarily by their commitment to the process.

To bring about transformation the weight lossee needs to fully commit to the change.

If they don’t they will fail

They will fail because when things get hard they won’t stay the course.

God’s greatest call for your life and mine is to become like Jesus.

But if we don’t fully commit to it then it won’t happen.

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

But I don’t want to discourage anyone this morning who feels they are going no where because transformation is slow.

This is a journey it takes hard work it takes grafting. It’s all about the nitty gritty, negotiating the day to day challenges, the struggles the temptations.

And we have to be dedicated to it because from what I’ve experienced a large part of the journey seems to be about getting it wrong and messing up but our response needs to be to get back up and keep going.

That’s what commitment looks like.

C.S.Lewis
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny”

But commitment is about more than just keeping going.

It’s about worshipping God daily.

It’s about reading the bible daily.

It’s about praying daily.

It’s about listening for God’s voice daily

It’s about being filled with the spirit daily.

It’s only that type of commitment that will bring about transformation.

Sunday can not be the only day of the week we worship, read the bible, hear God, pray and read the bible.

That’s like preparing for a marathon by running just 2 miles a week.

In obese a year to save my life USA the candidates commit to 365 days of change, they really go for it. They spend on average between 2-4 hours a day exercising, eating around only 1500 calories, that means no pizza, no chips no burgers, no sugar, no desert for a whole year. It’s proper hardcore.

And so my second challenge this morning is How committed are we to this journey?

God wants all our lives, not 75% of it! 100%. And I know that seems scary, because the feeling of not being in control is difficult, which is the very root of all our issues and the bible defines this sickness, as pride.

A.W.Tozer said.
“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. They are trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within them.”

I showed you the video earlier here of this guy who lost weight, within two years he regained it, every pound.

Why? He hadn’t dealt with the problem. His actions changed but his character did not.

Come as you are, but do not stay as you are

In January Jill got some of us to write a letter about the things we hoped to achieve this year, we received that letter in the post recently. How did you do? Be honest with yourself. It’s okay not to have achieved it, but how much effort did you put in?

In the OT when people made agreements with God or went through big moments they built Altars. The point of these Altars was so when they saw it, it would remind them of God’s promises and remind them of their commitment. It’s the same reason we have communion, it helps us remember and refocus on Jesus.

And when these altars were made it was often in response to a covenant which is another word for an agreement. A commitment to do things God’s way.

God wants us to become like Jesus, that’s his purpose for your life and mine and so I want us to make an agreement with God this morning to commit to putting our all in to becoming like Jesus for the rest of this year and I would love for all of you to join me in doing so. Let’s commit to giving it everything.

Come as you are, but do not stay as you are.

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