Friday, December 9, 2011

How to be like Christ

How to be like Christ
And we can see from the New Testament lesson today that even though we are positionally in Christ, you have been raised with Christ it says. You are already there, somehow mysteriously. He says, "Set your mind on the things above, not on earthly things." You died. You died. When you trusted in Christ, you died and you entered into His death. And now your life is hid with Him in God, and when He returns to glory you are going to be glorified with Him. What an unbelievable passage! Now, that's true and that's why it says, so why do you live according to the old natureinstead of the new nature? Maybe you have heard the illustration that the old nature, the old self, and the new self, two natures going on inside a Christian, like a good dog and a bad dog inside fighting each other. Whichever dog we feed the most is going to win. Okay? If we feed the old nature, that's why we know Christians, they don't look like Christians, because they are feeding the old nature. But, if we feed the new nature by God's Spirit, we are going to be renewed more and more into the image of Christ and that is what verse 10 says. You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. We are growing more and more into the image of Christ as we walk with God.
So how does God do it? How does God help me to grow spiritually? How does He shape my heart into Christ's heart? Well, there are many ways. The discipline of scripture. The discipline of prayer. Small group of discipline. Fasting. All kinds of ways that can be shaped so that we will grow more and more like Christ. But, the best way is to see that God is already working on this is in Romans 8:28. Would you turn to Romans 8, and also I think we have it up on the screen. Romans 8:28. This is one of the most powerful verses of scripture. Let's look at it together. In fact, let's read it together.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Notice it doesn't say that we know that in most things God works? God says, all things work together for our purpose. If you are a Christian, this is not just 40 Days of Purpose, this is like what, did Rick Warren say, 25,550 Days of Purpose? The average life on planet earth. Your purpose as a Christian is to become like Christ. What is that purpose? Well, look at verse 29. Let's look at verse 29 together. Let's read it together.
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son."
That is the first half of verse 29. That's the purpose. To become conformed. And, it says that we were predestined. God fore-knew before the foundation of the world, before you were born. Those who trust in Christ, their design is to become like Jesus. That is the goal of God for each of us in this life. God predestined us. What does that mean? Don't let that word throw you. The root word of predestined is where we get our English word horizon. And the ancient Greeks saw life as though fate were propelling us toward a certain end. A set course with distinct boundaries that needed to be pursued. But here Paul takes that word and he says that is not fate at all. God has a horizon for us. We are moving to a certain purpose. What is that? To become like his son Jesus. That's discipleship. That's the third purpose.
You know people say those who live together start to look like each other. People that have been together for a long time, people who have been married for a long time they start to look like each other. They also say that about people and their dogs, that you start to look like your dog, but I am not sure about that. But people who live together for a long time look like each other. Listen to this quote from Pastor Smoot. Pastor Smoot wrote a book, "Predestined in Love". I think we have the quote. Here it is:
"Actually there is no change talking about people who live together for a long time. There is no change in physiognomy, but there is a developing similarity in expression and reaction so that the onlooker begins to think of both in tandem associated together so much as to be conformed to each other."

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