Thursday, April 5, 2012

Christ Follower.

This message was preached at 
Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the 1st of April 2012. You can listen to the Audio recording of the message by clicking here .

Christ follower – Purpose #3

We’ve crossed the half way mark in our 40 days of purpose. At the end of this weekend you should be on chapter 30.  Purpose Driven Life is written by Rick Warren. 
How many of us have heard of Sachin Tendulkar?. If you had to buy a cricket bat whom would  you go with? Me or Sachin? He is the expert. He knows what is good.

 I was reading  what some  who endorsed this book have to say.

"This book will guide you to greatness-through living the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Make sure you're not missing the point of your life-read this book!" Billy and Franklin Graham — Billy Graham 

"If you only read one book on what life is all about-make it this one! Rick Warren is absolutely brilliant at explaining our real purpose in the world and making the complex understandable. Read this book, then give it to everyone you care about. It is life-changing. Believe me, you'll never be the same after reading this!" What a gift!" Lee Strobel, Author, The Case for Christ — Lee Strobel, Author, The Case for Christ 

Max Lucado
 They are one of many eminent Christian personalities who endorsed this. Also when we evaluate  anything we should ask does it confirm with God’s word.

How do you evaluate something – by the standards of God’s word. Does this teaching/idea contradict the Word of God on does it Conform to the Word of God.

So we saw that our first purpose is :
Purpose #1- Get to know God and love God – worship
Purpose#2- Formed for God’s family – created to love and live with other believers – Fellowsihp
Purpose #3- Created to become like Jesus Christ – discipleship

A disciple is a learner/follower. One who is learning to look like, be like, act like and think like Jesus Christ.

Our perspectives, our passions, our priorities and our personalities will become more like Jesus.
That’s the goal. A Christ like character. Becoming, a godly man or woman.

Q. Are you a disciple of Jesus? Whom are you following?
Paul says in 1 Cor 11:1 follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.
Eph 3:17,
1 Cor 4:16 therefore I urge you to imitate me. V17 For this reason I am sending you Timothy… he will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Phil 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.
Heb 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

 Q. What do you want to become when you grow up? Is a question we often ask children and teenagers?
Pilot/engineer/doctor/teacher/home maker/scientist

Eph 4:15 gives us an answer to that question

…Instead speaking the truth in love we will grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.
Rom 8:29 … for those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
Wow what a privilege and an honor.

Imagine Sachin Tendulkar’s coach coming up to you and saying… Brian … one day you are going to be like Sachin. 100 centuries in ODI’s. I believe you have the potential and it will happen.

Or imagine Michael Phelps coach coming to you. MP has won 16 Olympic medals, 14 gold and  2 bronze in swimming.  In Bejing he won 8 golds. Currently holds the all time record with 14 gold medals.
Imagine his coach coming to you and saying – Lassya, I see potential in you. I believe you can get 14 Olympic gold medals like Michael Phelps. And you are going to do it.

Now of course the above two situations are imaginary but this one isn’t.
Now imagine God coming up to you and saying Flavian, I want you to become like my Son Jesus. … yes he’s perfect, holy, loves righteousness and hates wickedness, he washed feet, prayed till he sweated blood, washed feet, was humble even though he is God and loved you to death and laid down his life for you.

I want you to become like him, I’ve put that potential in you and you know what, one day you will become like him.
1 john 3:2-3 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
God’s ultimate plan for you is not your career or your comfort, but your character development and Christlikeness.

Sermon on the mount,
Gal 5:22 – fruit of the spirit
1 cor 13 – chapter on love
Phil 2/ Jn 13 – humility and servanthood
The greatest expression of love – death on a cross
That’s what God has planned for us to be like.

Many Christians misinterpret Jesus’ promise of the “abundant life” to mean perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of your  dreams and instant relief from problems through faith and prayer.
 Some of us want to use God like a Genie like Aladdin and his genie (magic lamp)

This self-absorbed perspective treats God as a genie who simply exists to serve you in your selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment. But God is not your servant. Never forget that you life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes.

The Steps to Christlikeness
Eph 4:22-23 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

 Three things .
1)Put off your old ways – further  he talks about put to death what ever belongs to your old nature Col3:5. V8 rid your self of all such things…WE have to put to death. What do you do with cockroaches? You kill them. To become like Christ you have to put to death sin.

2)To be made new in the attitude of your mind i.e changing the way we thing. Our mind pays a very important part. We need to have a biblical perspective and instruction. Austin’s testimony was wonderful. He used to cheat in exams before but now he no longer does.
Put on the character of Christ as we develop Godly habits. 1Cor 13.

Your character is the sum total of your thoughts and deeds. It is how you habitually act and think.

Sow a thought – reap and action
Sow an action – reap a habit
Sow a habit – reap a character
Sow a character – reap a destiny

Christ likeness or spiritual maturity does not happen overnight. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Genuine discipleship is a lifelong process. The bible depicts it as a marathon not a sprint, a journey not a destination.

Today we are going to look at HOW God helps us to move along in this life-long process… how he helps us to mature spiritually.
If someone tells you can become a Sachin Tendulkar you will feel honored. But this I not just anybody – its becoming like Jesus the son of God.

God’s plan is that we THINK like Jesus, ACT like Jesus, we VALUE the things He VALUES and LOVE people the way He LOVES them. God uses EVERYTHING to conform us to the image of his Son.

 Is like converting a tree branch into a table. Different tools used. Saw, file, sandpaper, nails, leaves ripped off.It’s the same process in our lives. We are a rough block of wood being shaped slowly.
God uses all things to make us like Jesus. Here are three

1.   God uses TRUTH to TRANSFORM us – Spiritual growth is a process of replacing lies with truth. In Jn 17 he says sanctifies them by the truth. What is being holy? Holy is in the everyday life as we deal with people and situations.
Jn8:31 If you hold onto my teaching you are really my disciples. i.e you are obeying it in the midst of difficult circumstances.
1Pet 2 crave pure sp milk.

 What is your attitude towards the word?
1Receive it – your attitude determines your altitude. Receive it with a good heart
2Read it daily – don’t neglect. Very kind in Is had to write out the entire law.
3Study the word – ask questions. Journalize it
4Memeorise – make it a part of your life
5 Meditate upon it.

Have a daily quiet time and then ask God how you can apply it your life.
Dawson Trotman while in Sunday school used to memorize the Bible verses t get the prize. When he grew up one day the words he had memorized came back to his mind and he was convicted and converted that day. He stared the Navigators .

2.  The second tool he uses is trouble – to teach us to trust him. Jesus said in this world you will have trouble. But what we have realized this – that trouble is there to make us more like Jesus.Rom5:3-4 Suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces Character. Those troubles draw us to Jesus. Keep a spiritual Journal – write down what God is peaking to you. Write because you will forget it in time .
Keep your eye on the reward. 2 Cor4:17 – problems are temporary in Eternity perspective.
Heb11 is the great chapter of faith – they went to much suffering for their faith. Its talks about people who were sawed in two, fed to the lions etc –Has that happened to us?
Think of the trouble you are going through now – Rom 8:28-29. God uses ALL things God is working for our good. This is a promise we can hold on to.

3.The third tool he uses is temptation
Jam1:3 God does not tempt us. Satan does in order to harm us. But our amazing God can take that and enable us to overcome it and so make us more like Jesus. Everyone is tempted. 1Cor 10:13. Every temptation is common to man. It’s like a test. When you pass it you get built-up and you move forward.
Being tempted is not a sin but what we do with it is important. Jesus fought temptation with the Word.

This is how God will form Christ like Character in us. Truth to transform, troubles to help us trust him and temptation to teach us to obey Him.

Colin D Cruz
April 2012

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