TRANSFORMATIONAL CHURCH AUGUST 7, 2011 FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
2 CORINTHIANS 3:18 HCSB <ul><li>“ We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of God and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord Who is the Spirit .” </li></ul>
ROMANS 12:2 NASB <ul><li>2 ”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” </li></ul>
EPHESIANS 3:10 HCSB <ul><li>“ so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church ” </li></ul>
BOOK OF ZECHARIAH <ul><li>Zechariah: You Return to Me, I'll Return to You! </li></ul><ul><li>The book of Zechariah has been called the Apocalypse of the Old Testament. </li></ul>
Apocalypse (" lifting of the veil " or " revelation ") is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation.
Like the book of Revelation, Zechariah is a book of prophecy. Its theme is to set forth the program of God , which is also the theme of the book of Revelation.
The difference is that in Zechariah Israel is in the foreground and the Gentile nations are in the background,
while in the book of Revelation the Gentile nations are in the foreground and the continuous thread that ties them together is the nation of Israel.
<ul><li>The whole book of Zechariah is a call to return to the Lord . </li></ul><ul><li>The first six verses are a plea for repentance . </li></ul>
ZECHARIAH 1:1 “ In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo”
GOD REMEMBERS <ul><li>Here, in Zechariah 1:1, we have three names that are very significant. </li></ul><ul><li>Zechariah means " God remembers " </li></ul>
GOD BLESSES ON TIME <ul><li>Berechiah, his father's name, means " God blesses " and </li></ul><ul><li>His grandfather's name Iddo, means " At the appointed time ." </li></ul>
<ul><li>God remembers & </li></ul><ul><li>He blesses </li></ul><ul><li>at the appointed time . </li></ul>
Zechariah was a contemporary with Haggai, one of the prophets who ministered to the remnant who had returned from captivity in Babylon.
Although they were back in Jerusalem rebuilding the temple and the city, they were still vassals of Babylon,
DEPRESSING TIMES still subject to the Gentile nations around them, without much hope for the future. It was a discouraging, depressing time , and a spirit of dark pessimism gripped these people.
And Zechariah comes to them in the midst of their depression, with this announcement that is even wrapped up in his name and ancestry:
Jehovah blesses, Jehovah remembers at the appointed time. What an encouragement those names must have been.
RETURN TO ME (ZECH 1:3) Thus says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts: Return to Me , says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 1:3
I WILL RETURN TO YOU That is always God's way. When you find yourself straying away from His presence your life grows cold, your faith grows dim, and you grow discouraged.
RETURN TO ME Then, when you are defeated you find yourself exposed to all types of temptations and prey to every evil thought. What must you do? " Return to Me ," says the Lord, "and I will return to you."
If you want God back in your life, with all the glory of His presence, then come back to Him. That is always the formula.
“ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8
(John MacArthur commentary on Zechariah 4.) Since the creation God has desired to have a close relationship with man and has always spoken to him.
In the case of Adam before the fall, God walked and talked with him in the cool of the day, the Bible says, and man had a perfect knowledge of God's truth and perfect fellowship with God's presence.
Then sin came and the consequence of sin was that man lost the knowledge of God and became ignorant, so in Ephesians 4:17-19, the apostle Paul outlines something of the results of the fall.
" Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart .“ Ephesians 4:17-19
One of the effects of the fall was that conversation and communion with God was hindered and man was now in lonely isolation.
But God was not going to give up with that and fall back into some kind of silence.
To this ignorant world, a world that became a sinful world, God then began to speak and He sent His revelation to redeem sinners.
God from the very first time that Adam sinned began to speak and the first thing that He said was, " Adam, where are you ?"
I want to find you because I want to talk to you . God has always talked. God has always spoken.
God has always communicated. And in the Old Testament time the vehicle of His communication was the nation Israel.
After the founding of the nation they became His channel of information and revelation.
In Romans 3:1-2 " What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision ?" In other words what is the advantage of being a Jew?
The advantage comes in verse two: " Much every way, but chiefly because unto them were committed the oracles of God .” Rom 3:2
In Romans 9:4-5 Paul says, regarding his own kinsmen, "Who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law …”
God has always spoken to man. In Isaiah 43:21, God says regarding Israel, " This people have I formed for Myself, they will show forth My praise ."
Deuteronomy 4:5-6 says, " See I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.
So keep and do them, says Moses, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people .'" Deut 4:5-6
God wanted Israel to speak His truth so that the nations would know wisdom and endeavor to ascertain the Source, which would bring them to Him.
In Psalm 18:49, " Therefore will I give thanks to Thee among the nations, O Lord ." In other words the responsibility of proclaiming God in the midst of the world.
In Psalm 96:3, “ Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the people ."
In Ezekiel 5:5, " Then saith the Lord God, this is Jerusalem. I have set her in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.
And she hath changed Mine ordinances into wickedness more than the nations, my statutes more than the countries that are round about her, for they have refused Mine ordinances and My statutes. They have not walked in them .“ Ezekiel 5:5
Now that is a sad diversion from all the intentions that is in the preceding verses. God had said you're My people, you are to proclaim My truth, you are to tell people what I am and Who I am and what My will is,
but instead Ezekiel says they violated God's principles, they disobeyed his ordinances, they kept closed mouth about His commandments and failed in the thing that God had called them to do.
Now basically when God chose Israel in the Old Testament it was to be a witnessing people and they were to witness in two ways:
by their lifestyle and by their proclamation. It was not just a matter of speaking; it was a matter of living.
There was to be a lifestyle so dramatically different that it was a testimony to God. And then they were to verbalize the things that God revealed to them.
And the tragedy is they failed. That's all that can be said, they just plain failed and God had to set them aside.
And Israel today is not God's witnessing nation and they haven't been since the time Jesus was on the earth.
And that's why the Lord Jesus had to find a new group, a new witnessing people, and that new witnessing people is the Church , you and I and all those who have been a part of the body of Christ.
We are His witnessing people, we are His witnessing community, but as we come to Zechariah 4, we find the most marvelous prophecy that tells us that in the future Israel will be reinstated as God's witnessing nation and this is an exciting thing.
There is coming a new day for Israel. There will be a hope realized in that all that God had originally intended for them is going to come to pass in the future.
Now as we look at Chapter 4, just a quick brief review: The chronology of this vision is in perfect sequence with the others.
Zechariah has eight visions all eight of which refer to the restoration of Israel both historically as they rebuild their city after the captivity and prophetically as they will be a part of God's wonderful coming kingdom.
The first of the visions presented the outward promise of the kingdom. And then they talked about the restoration of the city and the temple.
And then after the outward restoration, the visions moved to the inward and we saw the inward salvation that occurred.
In Chapter 3 we see the saving of Israel and the figure of the cleansing of Joshua the high priest. Joshua is a picture of the nation and as Joshua was cleansed and purified so Israel is to be cleansed and purified .
So there is an outward presentation of the kingdom, but the outward kingdom will never come until the inward salvation occurs.
And now moving away from that to the next in the sequence we find that this vision deals with the usefulness of Israel in the outward kingdom when the inward cleansing has taken place.
God is going to restore Israel to a place of wonderful usefulness. That's always the way it is.
God has a plan in the world, God has a design to accomplish, but the people who accomplish it will be the people who are saved and then they will be useful to God within the framework of His plan .
So the nation is saved in Chapter 3, prophetically and the nation is used as God's witnessing people in Chapter 4 . Now let's look at the vision and see several points.
The presentation of the vision. verse 1. " And the angel who talked with me ," and here we are with good ol' faithful interpreter angel whose leading us all through these visions, and leading Zechariah as well.
" The angel who talked with me came again and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep ." After Zechariah sees a vision the thing is so astounding and so dramatic and so provocative and so profound that the natural response is to slump in a state of meditation .
Here he almost gets himself into a sort of a semi-coma of spiritual exhaustion over the exercise of his mind and the comprehension of what he has seen. It's beginning to build on him now and he falls into a state of exhaustion from which the interpreting angel comes and wakens him.
Daniel had a similar experience in the 10 th Chapter of Daniel the 9 th verse. Now having been wakened, Zechariah sees another vision in verse 2. " He said to me, what do you see? And I said, well I have looked and behold a lamp stand ,"
Some of your Bibles may say a candlestick, but that probably is not the best translation because they aren't actually candles as we'll see.
ZECHARIAH 4:1-2a (your study?) 1 The angel who was speaking with me then returned and roused me as one awakened out of sleep. 2 He asked me, "What do you see?" I replied, "I see a solid gold lampstand there with a bowl on its top.
ZECHARIAH 4:2b-3 It has seven lamps on it and seven channels for each of the lamps on its top. 3 There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left."
Ray Stedman says that in Zechariah 4:1-3 we see the power of the Holy Spirit---in the vision of the lampstand and the olive tree. It pictures the Spirit-filled life.
Oil always refers to the Holy Spirit, and here were olive trees continually dripping oil out of their branches into a lampstand, and it was burning brightly.
INNER STRENGTH What wonderful symbolism of the fact that the Lord within us is constantly supplying that inner strength.
That makes it possible for us to burn brightly as light in the midst of a dark generation.
“ so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world ,” Philippians 2:15
ZECHARIAH 4:4 4 Then I asked the angel who was speaking with me, "What are these, my lord?"
ZECHARIAH 4:5 5 "Don't you know what they are?" replied the angel who was speaking with me. I said, "No, my lord."
ZECHARIAH 4:6 6 So he answered me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit ,' says the LORD of Hosts.
<ul><li>Solid gold = purity </li></ul><ul><li>Lamp = light </li></ul><ul><li>The purity of gold and the emanating light represent the presence of God the Father. </li></ul>
7 CHANNELS Seven channels is where the oil flows to the lamps, oil flowing in seven different ways to produce seven different lights. (river boat pilot)
There can be no renewal, revival or rebuilding without a vision for and an experience of the all-consuming presence of God.
GOSPEL = TRANSFORMATION <ul><li>The Transformational Church is His church . </li></ul><ul><li>The heart of the Gospel we carry into the world is transformational . </li></ul>
2 CORINTHIANS 3:17 “ Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord Who is the Spirit .” 2 Corinthians 3:18
HEBREWS 1:3 “ 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”
JESUS RADIATES GOD’S GLORY <ul><li>We reflect His glory (II Cor 3: 18) but the Son radiates His glory! </li></ul><ul><li>He is the Sun and we are the moon (we reflect His light). </li></ul>
REFLECT GOD’S GLORY <ul><li>It is not our goal to make well adjusted, well behaved unbelievers. </li></ul><ul><li>We want to see believers reflect the glory of God in our cities. </li></ul>
SHINE THE LIGHT OF CHRIST We want to shine the light of Christ , not to make shiny, happy people, but to multiply the number of shiners and magnify the light of Christ more and more in every corner, community, country and culture.
GOAL = TRANSFORM CULTURE <ul><li>The goal is to transform culture , not just an individual. </li></ul><ul><li>God’s glory affects cities . </li></ul>
In Zech 4:6 God says, “ Not by strength, or by might but by My Spirit says the LORD of Hosts .”
NOT BY OUR STRENGTHS Zerubbabel had been trying to rebuild the house of God by his leadership skills alone, out of his resources alone, from his intellect alone.
ONLY ONE FOUNDATION <ul><li>All of Zerubbabel’s strengths were gifts from God but without God, they all came to nothing . </li></ul><ul><li>There is only One Foundation – the rest is “wood, hay and stubble.” I Corinthians 3:12 </li></ul>
GOD = HOPE <ul><li>Human willpower (self effort) brings no hope . </li></ul><ul><li>When God is in something – there is always hope . </li></ul>
“ Three things remain: faith hope & love.” 1 Cor 13:13
“ Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.” Rom 5:5
NOT ABOUT OUR COMFORT <ul><li>A church must rely on God’s empowered mission and not the personal preferences of the congregation. </li></ul><ul><li>That is a challenge to our comfort & convenience and it frustrates our personal visions. </li></ul>
DON’T PLAY CHURCH <ul><li>Stop running on a religious treadmill that leads to nowhere . </li></ul><ul><li>Stop playing church . </li></ul>
ROMANS 8:31 <ul><li>“ If God is for us, who can be against us?” </li></ul><ul><li>That gives us a lot of hope ! </li></ul>
HOPE IS ABOUT THE FUTURE <ul><li>Too many churches attempt to gain hope and strength from sentimentality of a bygone era of ministry success. </li></ul><ul><li>Commemorating past victories is not victory . </li></ul>
ZECHARIAH 4:9 “ Then you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent me to you. Not that they will say Zerubbabel has great hands and look at what he has done.” (human effort)
Zechariah carries a message of hope: 1)hope that God is present with His people and 2) that He empowers them to point others to His redemptive glory.
OUR GOD IS A REBUILDING GOD FBCJ carries a message of hope because our God is a rebuilding God Who is still at work and still on mission.
Don’t get tricked into thinking that God no longer is working through North American churches.
“ If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14
DESPERATELY SEEKING HOPE <ul><li>The world is desperately looking for hope . </li></ul><ul><li>God wants us to make disciples and transform our communities. </li></ul>
A CONTAGIOUS HEART <ul><li>It is all about God . It is not about us. </li></ul><ul><li>Transformational Churches (TC) are not flawless but they have a contagious heart for God and His mission. (3 huts) </li></ul>
BEYOND PROGRAMS <ul><li>God can move us beyond programs and into His harvest fields. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t need to create something new but we must go back to the way the first century church did things. </li></ul>
DON’T MISS GOD’S MISSION <ul><li>His bride is underachieving in the world today. </li></ul><ul><li>Move more fully into God’s mission of redemption . </li></ul><ul><li>When people live transformed lives you have a TC. </li></ul>
GOD’S HOUSEHOLD (EPH 2:19) ” So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God's household ,” HCSB
EPHESIANS 2:20-22 “ The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the LORD in Whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit .”
THE DREAM IS TRANSFORMATION <ul><li>A building starts with a dream and has a blueprint (Fibonacci) . </li></ul><ul><li>The dream for the church is transformation . </li></ul>
REBUILDING THE CHURCH <ul><li>You first must know what you are building (a transformed church). </li></ul><ul><li>The blueprint shows how the building fits together and how each room supports the other . </li></ul>
YOU NEED A GOOD BLUEPRINT <ul><li>A bad blueprint leads to destruction and many churches with problems today had a bad blueprint from the beginning. </li></ul><ul><li>Even with great materials , if you have a bad blueprint you end up with a pile. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A good blueprint can also help you to access how you are doing as the building progresses. </li></ul><ul><li>Carpenter’s rule: “ Measure twice, cut once!” </li></ul>
<ul><li>Measure properly before proceeding. </li></ul><ul><li>Spending time measuring the wrong things will not help. </li></ul>
MEASURE TRANSFORMATION Don’t measure the outlying issues of ministry because you’ll miss the core mission of God .
<ul><li>Measure the issues that bring transformation to lives and to communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Measure to see if your church is impacting your community. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Measurements matter for the church and a change of the scorecard is needed in North America. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most important measurements is insuring that males and females are being changed by the power of God . </li></ul>
NOT PROGRAM DRIVEN <ul><li>The old scorecard was : BODIES, BUDGETS & BUILDINGS . </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be a program driven church. </li></ul><ul><li>The real destination is life, not the church building . </li></ul>
The abundant life is lived out with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances in the marketplace.