Introduction

God can transform you — I believe we are in a season of spiritual transformation.  Transformation:  synonymous with words like changeover, conversion, and transfiguration.  I believe that we are always in the process of transforming ourselves, right?  We exercise our bodies, trying to transform them.  We have been exercising our brains since we exited our mother’s wombs, transforming them – growing them.

Season of Spiritual Transformation

The other day I was outside with ‘ol Doof’ (our dog) giving him a good head pat and belly rub.  While I was out there with him, I looked up at the tree and the sky and said to him, “feels pretty good out here today, buddy.”  Season is starting to change, isn’t it?  The earth is always going through some form of transformation with seasonal changes, tectonic plate shifts, volcano eruptions, and even ice sheets breaking off in Antarctica.

Like the earth, we are always going through some form of transformation.  With every passing second we get a little older, don’t we?  Over time we are able to recognize the transformation of getting older!

In my sermon last week – Rejoicing in God’s Glory – I began to speak on spiritual transformation.  We saw that spiritual transformation is the work that God does inside of those who believe in Him through the inner dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Again, like the earth (and even the universe) we are always going through spiritual transformation by God who is constantly and diligently working on us.  I spoke to the reason and purpose as to why God is working to transform us in last week’s sermon.

Do you want to transform

So, the question that I want to ask you today is this:  do you want to transform (change, grow) as a person?  Now, I believe most of us would answer yes to that question.  Many of us, after all, seek to change and seek to grow, yet, most of us often seek to grow materially in the worldI don’t want you to think I am knocking material growth but my question is why do we put so much value on the material?  Why do we believe God put us on this earth just to grow materially?

We clamor for a material transformation but where is our clamoring for the spiritual transformation?  Yes, we are in this world to evolve but I believe we are in this world to evolve in more ways than just physically and materially!  We are spiritual beings and so we should also seek out spiritual transformation as well.

God’s Spiritual Transformation

If you are seeking to transform yourself spiritually, I believe that you should seek out Him who created you!  Who better is there to enlighten and transform you spiritually than the one responsible for life itself?  Now, I understand that many of us are stubborn, so we may say, ‘I don’t need God transforming me’.  Then there are others of us who don’t understand why God would want to transform us or just don’t believe that they can be transformed.

Example in Paul

However, I tell you that God can transform you!  God can and will work on anybody and scripture is filled with proof of this.  I want to take a moment to focus on the spiritual transformation that took place in Paul.  We preachers love Paul!  The reason I love Paul so much is because of what is represented in him.  Yes, in Paul we see a story of redemption but let us not overlook the great transformation that happened in him.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul speaks of his former conduct in Judaism (Gal. 1:13).  Paul was a man that was raised in the Mosaic Law that was given by the Lord.  He was taught by Gamaliel and was zealous (fervent) toward God (Acts 22:3).  In his zeal for God, Paul he saw the teaching and preaching of Christ by the apostles as sinful.  We know that acceptance of Christ is acceptance of the whole truth of God, so Paul was someone who did not stand in acceptance of the whole truth of God at that time.

Paul’s disdain for the way of Christ was so strong that we see him “breathing threats and murder against the disciples (followers) of the Lord (Acts 9:1).”  In his own words, he tells us that he persecuted the believers of the way of Christ and sought to destroy the early growing church of Christ (Gal. 1:14).

So, to sum this up for you:  Paul was lawless in his religion; he stood in opposition against God (he was a fervent sinner).  If there was someone that you would believe God could not transform or would not use, it would be Paul!  Yet, in Paul, God saw something much differently than what we would have seen.

Chosen to be transformed

I have preached before that God views us differently than we view one another.  When God looked at Paul, He saw a “chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15).  Does this mean that Paul was special?  Yes, certainly it does!  Yet, I want you to know that God views everybody the same exact way He viewed Paul.  Everybody is a chosen vessel for God!

Let’s take a look at my key verses for today and see what Paul wrote about being a chosen vessel of God (Rom. 8:29-30).  He says, “whom He (God) foreknew, He also predestined (appointed) to be conformed (transformed) to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).”  So, who did God foreknow and who did He choose to be transformed into the image of His Son?

Paul says to us, “whom He (God) predestined, He called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Rom. 8:30).”  Now, many people like to hold “being called” by God over the heads of others, but I want you to understand that all have been called by the Lord.

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

key verse – romans 8:29-30

Now, pay close attention to the fact that Paul said those who God called, He also justified.  How was anybody justified of their actions in the world?  Did we plead our case to the Lord so that we could be justified of our actions?  No!  The only way you or I can be justified is through the blood of God’s only begotten Son!  So, the called are justified and glorified through the actions of God loving the world — through Jesus Christ!

Remember what Jesus said and what is recorded in the gospel of John.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  That is from the New King James translation, but I love the original King James that uses the ‘whosoever’ – meaning anybody (all people in the world).

God Wants to Work a Good Work in You

You see, God chose everybody (the world) when He sent His Son to justify mankind.  The Lord sees us the same way He saw a man – Paul – who we would say was not a good man.  God transformed Paul for the purpose of bearing His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

As I said last week, God wants to transform all of us for the purpose of bearing good fruit throughout the world.  The Lord also wants to transform us so that we can eternally dwell with Him and He with us.  As we saw in my last series of sermons, the Lord’s plans for us are not wicked or evil, but for peace, a future, and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

God can certainly transform anybody

So, I give thought and consideration to all of us living in the world and how we are just like Paul in many ways.  Many of us don’t believe in God or “the God of the Bible.”  All of us have a different set of morals – what we consider to be right and what we consider to be wrong.  I also imagine many of us have taken (maybe still are taking) actions that we would look back on and not be proud of.  Yet, in all of this, God desires to transform us into His image and God can transform us.

The question is whether or not we will do as Paul did on Damascus road.  You see, on the road to Damascus, Paul was confronted by the one he persecuted.  Stubborn, know-it-all Paul fell to the ground trembling when He heard the voice of God (Acts 9:4).  He humbled himself when He realized that voice was the voice of God and asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do (Acts 9:3-6)?”   

God confronts all of us today with the goal of spiritually transforming us.  How long will you continue to run from or ignore the voice of God and stand in opposition (lawlessness – sin) against Him?  If you seek true spiritual transformation, repent – turn from the world and humble yourself before the Lord.  Seek God’s enlightenment and spiritual transformation!  He will work a great work in you and transform you into someone who will bear good fruit.

Thought: God Can Transform You

By Rev. Leo H. McCrary II – March 7, 2021
Responsive Reading – Acts 9:1-16
Key Verse – Romans 8:29-30