Doing Laundry – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 5:17.  Series Real Followers, pt.2

The cleansing that comes from believing in God is a continuous process.  Becoming more like Christ is not instantaneous.  One reason that some Christians struggle with growing as a disciple is that it requires change.  For some, “change” is a dirty word.

There are some things in life that have had to change for me over the years.  For example, as a boy my favorite breakfast was cinnamon-sugar toast.  I’d make 4 pieces of toast, let them cool a bit so that I could pile on more butter, add a layer of sugar about 1/4 inch thick on top of that, then coat that with enough cinnamon so that you couldn’t tell how much sugar was piled there (in case Mom walked in).

This morning, I had some whole grain, multi-grain, all wheat some kind of good for you bread.  I chased that down with some sort of healthy cereal.  I don’t know what it was, but it had some grain in it too that had no taste but made up for it in hardness.  My teeth still hurt from whatever that crunchy stuff was.

Changes in life happen.  Inviting Jesus Christ into your heart causes changes for us all.  For some, the changes are quite dramatic.  For others, the changes may not seem so intense.

Sidebar – every testimony is a valid account of an experience with God.  I have heard far too many Christians say that they don’t share their testimony because it isn’t one of those dramatic life-altering, tear-jerking accounts.  I wholeheartedly disagree and wish that all people of faith would realize the power of their own stories for the world to hear.

End sidebar (soapbox, whatever you wish to call it).

Christianity is not supposed to fit into your lifestyle.  Christianity is supposed to become your lifestyle.  Real followers should constantly be newly conformed to the image of God. 

The skin on the palm of your hand is not the same skin that was there 30 days ago.  It is constantly cycling the old out and the new in. 

Jesus tells us that we cannot put new wine into old wineskins.  Understand how his audience would have heard this.  Wineskins were made of goatskins.  When the wine was ready, it would be stored and sealed in these skins for the fermenting process.  While fermenting, wine expands and the skins would expand with it.  As time passed and the expansion would cease, the skins would harden and even become somewhat brittle.  When the wine would then be consumed, the skins could not be used again because they were no longer pliable.

When we give our lives to the Lord, we must allow Him to come into our lives and clean things up.  That always means that some things have to change.  Giving your life to the Lord is how you fall in love with the Lord.

Those that truly love the Lord will radically change their behaviors.  Remember, it was the goal of the Talmud (disciple) to be as close to their rabbi as possible.  This was a sign of devotion, and yes, love.  Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23a, NIV).

If you love the Lord you will obey him.  Therefore, if you are stuggling with your obedience is can be concluded that you are stuggling with your love for Him.  In other words, if your level of commitment to being more obedient to God every day is not what it should be, then I would say that your level of love for the Lord is not what it should be. 

I’m not saying that you don’t love him.  I am saying that perhaps your love for him should be your focus more so than your behavior.  Remember, seek Him first!

Real followers constantly live the John 3:30 principle; He must increase and I must decrease.  This must be a daily exercise and goal.

Things change over time.  I am about to celebrate my 10 year anniversary in full-time ministry.  I am so glad that I am not the same pastor I was 10 years ago.  Or 5 years ago.  Or even 2 months ago.  I must daily take up my cross and draw nearer to God so that I can become closer to Him and a better disciple for Him.

If you are a real follower of Christ, how are you closer to the Lord today than you were yesterday?

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