Transformed By His Glory
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Sunday 11th October 2015
As we round up this two-part series today titled ‘From Glory to Glory’, here is a brief recap of what we discussed last week. We agreed that moving from glory to glory refers to a forward or upward movement. God has programmed a next level for each of us. Hence, we ought to give ourselves permission to progress and thrive. Even, if the present situation looks hopeless and messy, we should not despair; it is simply God’s way of moving us from glory to glory. As long as we are willing to keep moving forward as highlighted by St. Paul in Philippians 3:12-14, then a glorious future is inevitable. In rounding up, we discussed four things we can do to embrace our next level, namely: (a) Receive a word from God and respond by faith (b) Leave the past behind (c) Lay aside distractions and (4) Renew your mind.
As we round up this series, here is our foundation scriptures, once again: ‘But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord’.
God desires to transform every aspect of our lives. More so, the world’s opportunity of encountering Christ will only occur by seeing Him radiating His glory through our lives. In other words, we are Christ’s ‘mirror’ by which the world sees Him. We’ve been designed and created to reflect the image of Christ for the world to see. The apostles experienced this after Jesus ascended to Heaven. There is an account of this in Acts 4:13, which reads: ‘Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus’. Despite their limited access to the formal education and training of those days, the apostles still caught the attention of the cultured elite, nonetheless. Conversely, until the world notices Christ in us, we’ve not begun to make an impact for Him.
What is the purpose of the church today? What part must the church play in pointing Christ to the occupants of the various newly built homes in our community? If as a church we are going to make an impression on non-Christians, then we must drop and place elementary issues aside. Sadly, instead of focusing on what really matters, we have focused on minor disputes that bear little significance in the scheme of things. It is worth noting that the world will never get to know God, until they see Christ in us, hence we need to re-define our values and purpose.
So then, how do we reveal Christ to the world? This is precisely what Apostle Paul outlined in our foundation scriptures, in 2 Corinthians 3. The glory of God could also be defined as His opinion (in Greek: doxa), God’s view, perspective, royalty, majesty, brightness and splendour. Isn’t it sad that the opinion of God is now silent in our schools and on the streets of our community? This is the reason why we are here on earth and our role is to proclaim and manifest God’s glory.
In St. Paul’s discourse recorded in 2 Corinthians 3, he compared the glory of Moses with that of the glory that Christ revealed by grace. Even though the glory of Moses was so bright such that he had to cover his face with a veil, the potency of the glory of Christ, transforms our lives when we behold Him. As we are being transformed, the world begins to notice and observe Christ within us. 2 Corinthians 4:6 reads: ‘For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’. The next logical question is this. How do we behold his glory? Here is John 1:14: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’. Each page of the bible speaks of Christ. The Old Testament is New Testament concealed, while the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. Although, we now live in the dispensation of the New Testament, it is vital that we read the Old Testament as well, in order to appreciate the New Testament, better. As we read the word of God, the Holy Spirit works in us to conform us to the image of Christ, ultimately transforming us. Our transformed lives can then point the world to Christ.
The people in our world are looking for Jesus. John 12:20-21 paints a typical scenario of this: ‘Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Until Jesus is seen in our lives, the world will not stop and listen to us. However, we cannot reveal Christ, until we know Him. The importance of knowing Christ was the subject of St. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:10, saying: ‘that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death’. The word ‘know’ in this verse can be interpreted as ‘koinonia’ or intimacy. In knowing Christ, we are being transformed from glory to glory.
Has it ever occurred to us why Jesus was followed by the mammoth crowd everywhere he went? In the same way, if the world will be drawn to us, they must be able to perceive Jesus in us. If the world sees Jesus in us, they would in turn be transformed by His power. So then, let’s focus on the reason why God has sent us here. We do not have forever to live on earth; hence we must begin to address this issue unapologetically. Without a shadow of doubt, heaven and hell is real, with the eternity of the populace of our world being at stake. It is time to heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.
Here is Isaiah 60:1-3: ‘Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising’. Isaiah writes about Gentiles coming to the light once the glory of God is seen upon us. Let’s emulate King David, who served God’s purpose before he fell asleep (Acts 13:36 NIV).
Here are four areas in which we need to experience transformation, as we behold God’s glory:
(a) Character transformation: Our world is looking to see Christians with the character of Christ. This becomes evident in our lives, by the working of the Holy Spirit when we begin to give our time to studying the word of God (See James 1:22-25). Studying of the scriptures reveal the image of Christ to us, and the Holy Spirit shapes and changes our lives to reflect the image of Christ, till Christ is perfected in us. Hence we need to submit ourselves to study the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming us.
(b) Walking in the Power of Christ: As we abide in Christ, we begin to walk in His power. John 15: 4 reads: ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me’. As we abide in Christ, we will begin to draw virtues from Him to reign in life.
(c) Mind transformation: Roman 12:2 reads: ‘And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’. Again, as we spend time reading God’s word, our minds are renewed by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, our outlook to life changes and aligns with what God desires. Such will be the depth of our relationship with God that the seemingly impossible becomes negligible.
(d) Experiencing the grace of God: When you see Christ, you see his grace at work, revealed through healing, deliverance, prosperity and victory. Such is the grace of God within a believer who has seen Christ, that the devil cannot stop him.
When the world sees Christ in us, they gravitate towards Him in us. With Christ lies the solution that the world is looking for, but the process ought to begin with our studying the word and spending time in fellowship with Christ.
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