Experiencing Real Life Transformation
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 3: 7-18
Sunday 3rd July 2016
Having recently concluded 'Deeper and Higher 2016' and looking forward to the All European Maximise Life Conference in the next few weeks, I would like to share this series with you titled 'From Glory To Glory'. Knowing fully well that God has blessed each of us during the 30 days of prayer and fasting, can I encourage you to begin to anticipate the manifestation of those things that God has released to us?
Today's message titled 'Experiencing Real Life Transformation' and this series will aid in preparing you for what God will do during the convention. Here is our foundation scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. 'The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn't we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people's minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses' writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (NLT).
God's word will be declared once again during the convention this year. The question today is this: How do you maximise the experience and seize the moment? This would be the focus of this message, and by inference the whole series beginning from today.
Firstly, let me reiterate verse 16 of our foundation scripture: 'Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away'. As God's children, we have access to His presence, as the veil which separated us from God's Holy of Holies has been removed. The veil can also be described as a covering, a spiritual darkened vision that the Israelites lived with for several centuries. In Christ, we now have undeniable access to God.
Let's do a bit of an exegesis on verse 18. Here is the Amplified version: 'And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit'.
Firstly, the phrase: 'And all of us' refers to all of us who have received Christ as saviour and Lord. This is not a special privilege reserved for the chosen few; it is available to each of us, called into relationship with Christ. We have all been justified to take hold of this truth. 'With unveiled face' indicates that we can approach God's presence, unreservedly at any time we desire. The phrase 'unveiled face' is in reference to the experience of the Israelites, when Moses returned from Mount Sinai with his veiled face, because of the glory of God on him. However, in Christ the veil has been taken away. As a result of this, we have access to God's glory.
Verse 18 further speaks of a continual exposure to God's glory. '[because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord'. The word 'Behold' refers to a painstaking observation of one's image in a mirror. It further refers to the reflection of a person's image for others to see. The word 'Behold' could also mean: 'To focus on', 'To persist', 'to give your attention to', 'to contemplate'. The mirror refers to God's word. When we devote our time to contemplating and scrutinizing the word, similar to the time we spend each day getting ready in front of a mirror, we are absorbing and receiving the light from God's word. John 1: 5 put it this way: 'And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it'. Consequently, our lives are transformed to resemble the life of Christ.
The next phrase in this passage reiterates this: 'We are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendour'. Besides the transformation that we experience, we also reflect Christ to the world – His power, wisdom, life and glory. The word glory, 'doxa' refers to God's opinion, which becomes ours once we examine His word and instil it. The word glory also includes: splendour, magnificence, excellence, pre-eminence, dignity, grace and majesty. One of the issues we constantly contend with as Christians is our negligence of beholding God's word, resulting in non-transformation. Transformation is guaranteed if we would spend time, studying and meditating on the word of God. Our transformation comes from God, which is how this verse concludes: [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit'.
Here are three major reasons for transformation into Christ's image:
(a) To become like Him: All the attributes of Christ can become our experience as we devote time to His word: 'loving, caring, passionate, strong, victorious, ruler'. Ephesians 4:11-13, 15 reads: 'Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church' (NLT). God desires that we become like Christ, conforming into His image, so that Christ becomes the first among many brethren. See also Romans 8:29-30.
(b) Renewal of Mind: Our minds are renewed as we devote our time to His word. Romans 12:2 reads; 'Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect'. The distinction between God's children and the world is elucidated by the word of God. Our rationale must be different from the way the world interprets life. Our thoughts and words ought to be completely dissimilar from the way of the world. These including our attitude, behaviour and customs are changed by God's word.
(c) To Reveal Christ to the world: Each blessing given to us by God should be shared with others – it must not end with us. Our lives ought to be an extension of Christ to the world around us, as the world is in need of Christ. As the world is tired of religion, we must be good representatives of the living Christ for them to see. Here is John 3:30, 'He must increase, but I must decrease'. This becomes a reality when we behold Christ in His word, as in a mirror.
It is the image of Christ that will demonstrate His power, and draw them to Him; hence we must devote time to becoming like Him, in studying His word.
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