SESSION SIX, WINTER 2017
YOU CAN BE CHANGED The promise of God is that you can be changed and not merely in some kind of outward, cosmetic way so that your life may look different than it once did, but on the inside you’re the same old man. No, the promise that God makes is this: you can be changed from the ______________. Ezekiel 36.26: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 1. YOUR HEART ____________TO BE CHANGED Mark 7.21-23: For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person. “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.” There’s something wrong with us that ____________ at the core of who we are. Jeremiah 17.9: The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it? The Question: How can we live a different life with the same old heart? The Good News that Jesus came preaching is not a set of rules to follow that we can’t possibly fulfill. It’s a ____________ that we can be forgiven for our past sins and our hearts can be transformed so we can live a future life that pleases God. 2. YOUR HEART CAN BE CHANGED Ezekiel 36.25-26: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. THREE APPROACHES TO THE SPIRITUAL LIFE 1. _______________ This approach assumes the more I’m learning, the more I’m growing. This is a very Western and a very ______ approach to life. We think we have mastered a subject when we can discuss it at length and describe it in detail.
But with spiritual truth, it’s not about our mastering it, but about it ____________ us. This approach to the spiritual life requires little personal experience and no existential _______________. Information is important – the more I know, the more I can grow. But information alone does not change us and it does not transform the human heart. 2. _________________ The desire for self-improvement moves many people to start attending church. But how can you live a new life when you’re the same old man? We must decide: Is our problem the result of our not trying hard enough? Or is there something wrong __________ us? All our willpower ever does is express our ____________. Your will power doesn’t determine what you want – all it does is attempt to achieve what you want. If there is something wrong with what you want, then your willpower will never be enough for you to live a different kind of life. The word “reformation” begins with “re-form” – it takes the old stuff within us and reshapes and reorders it. But it doesn’t ______________ what’s there. 3. _________________ Transformation: to change in character or condition; to change a thing into a different thing This is the promise of the Gospel – we can be changed in character so that we are something new and different than before. “Gene”: Brothers, before I accepted Jesus, I relied on myself to find my way in the world of men. In reality, despite outward evidence of worldly success and being considered a “good person”, I was just stumbling from one crisis to another. My self-gratification came from solving each crisis even as I knew that I probably caused many of them. … Make no mistake; my life is far from perfect. But there is no mistaking the changes that have been made in me. Not everyone’s coming to faith is as dramatic as Gene’s. But if we have truly accepted Christ, the transformation has already begun. 2 Corinthians 5.17: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here!
The total transformation of our hearts is an ongoing process. Our principle desires and the direction of our lives may be changed in a moment, but we will continue to fight battles so that the change God has worked in us fully impacts every area of our lives. Philippians 2.12-13: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose. There are times after God has given us a new nature that we will have to exert our will to turn away from what’s wrong and to step into God’s will for us. Even with a new heart there will be battles to fight against temptation and sin. But ultimately the battle is not won by our willpower, but by letting God go _________ in our lives and complete his work of transformation within us. Philippians 1.4,6: In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy … being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. How Do We Let God Go Deeper and Complete His Work in Us? 1. Spend time with __________. John 15.1-5: Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. … Apart from me you can do nothing. You cannot live the Jesus life without the life of Jesus _________ in you. 2. Spend time with _____________. John 8.31-32: If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Freedom from old desires, temptations and sin comes when we get into the word and we get the word into us. 3. Spend time with others who are being transformed. Hebrews 10.24-25: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Being around people who know, love and are serving Jesus, and who are being transformed into the image of Jesus will spur us on to want more and to be more and to let God do more in us so we can be fully transformed into the image of his Son. The Woodlands United Methodist Church www.thewoodlandsumc.org