090719 Centered on Christ 07 Like Christ


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Sermon 7 of 7 in a series "Centered on Christ" presented July 19, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ, by Dale Wells

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090719 Centered on Christ 07 Like Christ

  1. 1. “Centering on Christ - The Theology of Prepositions” • Christian is • The Christian fundamentally lives through, one who is in, under, related to with, for & to Christ Christ • Relationship • Today, we'll described in see that the many ways, Christian lives with Christ at like Christ the center
  2. 2. Why is being like Christ so important? Two reasons:
  3. 3. Christlikeness is what God wants to see in us • Why did God send his Son to live among men, die for men, and be raised for men? • What is God up to? – He is making human beings more than human by making human beings like Christ • God created us in his image – We spoiled the image by sin – God is restoring the image by making us like Christ, because Christ is both the perfect man, and the perfect image of God
  4. 4. “Like Christ” sums up God's purpose in conversion
  5. 5. Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV • You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
  6. 6. Colossians 3:8-10 NIV • But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
  7. 7. “Like Christ” sums up God’s purpose in sanctification
  8. 8. 1 John 2:3-6 NIV • We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
  9. 9. 1 John 3:2 NIV • Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. • God’s purpose is to make us like Christ
  10. 10. Christlikeness is what the world wants to see in us
  11. 11. The name of Christ is constantly on the lips of Christians • We sing his name; we pray through his name; we call ourselves by his name. • The world has a right to see in our lives the one we proclaim with our lips – to see visually the one we proclaim verbally
  12. 12. E. Stanley Jones, missionary to India, was told two things: • “Jesus is ideal and wonderful. But you Christians – you are not like him.” • “If you Christians would live like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.”
  13. 13. Leon Suenens, in The Future of the Christian Church: • “What men are waiting for from the church, whether they realize it or not, is that the church of today show them the gospel. Our contemporaries want to meet Christ who is alive today. They want to see him with their eyes and touch him with their hands. Like the pilgrims who approached Philip one day, they say to us ‘We wish to see Jesus’. Our contemporaries want a meeting face-to-face with Christ.
  14. 14. Leon Suenens, in The Future of the Christian Church: • The challenge for us as Christians is that they demand to see Christ in each of us. They want us to reflect Christ as clearly as a pane of glass transmits the rays of the sun. Whatever is opaque or besmirched in us disfigures the face of Christ in the church. What the unbeliever reproaches us with is not that we are not Christians, but that we are not Christian enough. That is the tragedy.” • Nothing hinders Christian testimony more than the gulf between proclamation and performance
  15. 15. The Holy Spirit shows us the glory of Christ 2 Corinthians 3:18a NIV And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory ...
  16. 16. Gk. katoptridzomenoi (present participle of katoptridzoo) • Has two meanings: • In the active voice it means "to produce a reflection". Hence, the NIV reading: – 2 Corinthians 3:18a NIV And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory ... • In the middle voice it means "to look at one's image in a mirror". Hence, the NAS reading: – 2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord ...
  17. 17. NIV footnote captures this with the alternative reading “contemplate” • Probably the NAS is a better rendering than the NIV • But, as we’ll see, both go hand in hand • The work of the Holy Spirit is to show us the glory of Christ • In the context, Paul reminds his readers of Moses’ experience on Sinai
  18. 18. Exodus 34:29-35 NIV • When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.
  19. 19. Exodus 34:29-35 NIV • 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.
  20. 20. Moses covered his glowing face to abate the fear of the people • But he also did it so the people couldn't see that the glory was fading – 2 Corinthians 3:13 NIV We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
  21. 21. Paul takes this as a parable • The glory of the Lord is still hidden to people, by and large • Friends, relatives, acquaintances, whole populations have never seen it • We don't veil the gospel, but unbelievers cannot see it because the veil covers their minds
  22. 22. For Jewish unbelievers, the veil is taken away only in Christ • 2 Corinthians 3:14-17 NIV But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
  23. 23. For Gentile unbelievers, blindness is eliminated only in Christ • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 NIV And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
  24. 24. By contrast, our faces are unveiled • On Sinai, only Moses saw the glory of God • In Christ, we all see the glory • Where do we see the glory? • In the mirror of the NT, we see Jesus:
  25. 25. Jesus emptied & humbled himself • Philippians 2:5-8 NIV Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
  26. 26. Jesus served people in their needs • Matthew 20:25-28 NIV Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
  27. 27. Jesus loved his enemies • He taught it • Matthew 5:43-45 NIV "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
  28. 28. Jesus loved his enemies • He practiced what he preached on the cross • Luke 23:33-34 NIV When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
  29. 29. Jesus loved his enemies • He is our example • 1 Peter 2:21-23 NIV To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
  30. 30. The Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ • Having seen the glory of Jesus, we must reflect it (NIV reading) – 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory ... • The Holy Spirit changes us into the likeness of Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:18b NIV And we, ... are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  31. 31. Gk. metamorphoumetha transliterated is “metamorphosis” • The process by which a lump of coal becomes a diamond • The process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly • With the change in verbs there comes a change in Paul's allusion • Paul no longer alludes to Moses with his face shining on Sinai
  32. 32. Now he alludes to Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration • The same word metamorpheoo describes the change of Jesus’ appearance when his face, body and clothes shone • Matthew 17:1-2 NIV After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
  33. 33. Paul puts the word in the present tense • The significance is that metamorphosis is an ever-present reality in the life of the Christian • Moses' face faded moment by moment • Ours brightens constantly – This is not to say we are, or ever will be perfect – We will never be fully like Christ until he returns – But it doesn't allow for complacency – We are continually being changed to reflect more of his glory
  34. 34. The word is in the passive voice • We are not changing ourselves; we are being changed • The Spirit is transforming us • In the same way as a lump of coal is subjected to intense pressure and heat in order to become a diamond • The change may not be easy or pleasant, but it transforms us into a thing of beauty
  35. 35. Christianity is more than a Positive Mental Attitude • Self-centeredness is deeply ingrained in us • We do not need just behavior modification; we need a new character • How is this accomplished? • It is the work of the Lord in our lives
  36. 36. Metamorpheoo is only found in one other context in the NT: • Romans 12:1-2 NIV Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed (Gk. metamorpheoo) by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  37. 37. William Temple: • “It is futile giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it; I can't. It is equally futile giving me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it; I can't. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like that. And if the Spirit of Jesus could come and live in me, then I could live a life like that.”
  38. 38. The secret … • Not that we live like him, but that he lives in us • Not that we imitate him, but that reproduces his character in us • Not just seeing Jesus by the illumination of the Spirit; we are being transformed into his image by the power of the Spirit • 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.