Day 2: Knowing God Changes Everything
- 1 Cor. 6:19-20a – “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.”
Before God gave you this new life, everything was about you, right? I mean, that’s how most of the world lives. We tend to try to make things revolve around us. Sure, we do things to help others. Some spend a lot of time helping others, some just a little. But, what is our motive for helping others? Usually, we do it because it makes us feel good. That’s because everything is about ourselves.
In fact, many among the ranks of Christianity have attempted to do the same thing with Jesus. Many have the motive of trying to get God on their side. We want God to bless our lives. We want God to answer our prayers. We want God to make a way for us. Those are actually good things. The problem is, we want God to bless our lives the way we want Him to bless. We want God to answer our prayers the way we want. We want God to make a way for us as long as it’s our pre-approved path. (You might want to listen to this sermon: http://68church.com/knowing-god-or-using-him-for-his-stuff/)
This is not how God designed the operating system to work. God designed the operating system of the world. He created all the systems and functions. From the physical to the metaphysical, God designed it all. From gravity to gratitude, it was all a part of God’s plan. And when we operate according to God’s plan, we thrive. Yesterday, we talked about the curse. How, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God a curse entered the world. When that happened, we all disobeyed with them. That’s hard to understand, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Because of the curse a virus has corrupted the operating system God designed. And what God designed to work in a certain way, we have corrupted and tried to make it work our way.
Because of this virus, we humans tend to make everything in life about ourselves, including God. But that’s not how God designed it.
Now it’s time to learn another churchy word. Repent. You’ve probably seen that word on poster board signs at football games and on street corners, bumper stickers and nailed to trees in the woods. But what does it mean? It means to change your mind in a way that causes you to change your actions.
When it comes to following God, we can’t just try to cram God into our lives as we want them. Instead, our belief in God needs to actually change the way we think, especially about ourselves. And when we change the way we think about ourselves, it changes the way we act.
You see, when we move from death to life, we actually die to what we thought life was so we can receive God’s gift of true life. Matthew 16:24-26:
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
If we’re going to follow Jesus, we have to deny ourselves. We die to who we were before Christ.
4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(If you haven’t been baptized, we would love to give you the opportunity to do so! Read more here: Baptism)
If we become like Christ in the likeness of His death, we will be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. Our old self which was dominated by sin, (which we talked about yesterday) but this new self is free from the bondage of slavery. Sin is living in rebellion against God. Sin is trying to make God our servant. Life in Christ is all about changing our focus from ourselves and putting our focus on God.
We like to say that it changes the why that drives your life. Before Christ, the why that drove our lives was ourselves. But now Christ is the why that drives our lives. We get up in the morning, not for ourselves, but for God. Knowing God literally changes everything. If it hasn’t, you may not know Him yet. But don’t worry, you can know Him right now!
Lastly, knowing Christ doesn’t just change our focus from ourselves to Christ, it changes our focus from loving ourselves to loving others. We stop making everything and everyone in life about us. We stop trying to make everyone adapt to our schedules and preferences and we seek to serve them the way Christ served us. How did Christ serve us?
Philippians 2:1-11 –
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus didn’t use his Godhood for his own gain, instead he served all of humanity by dying on a cross. He gave his life for us. And Jesus told his disciples:
12 My commandment is this—to love one another just as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-14)
Do you sense that new life in Christ rising up within you? That continual rising of life within you is exactly what will happen as God reshapes you into the image of Christ. As it rises, you will find yourself more and more compelled to life your life for God and others. Maybe you don’t feel it yet, but God is at work in you, in your heart, in your mind, reshaping the way you think so that you will have the power to give your life the way Christ gave His.
What is the why that is driving your life?