Day Five

Week Seven - Day Five
Consider the Transformation of Others

LISTEN

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 2:1-10 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

LEARN

As a Christian, you are no longer the person you once were. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that you are a new creation. This transformation is through the grace of God who sent Jesus Christ to die and rise again, so you can live a new life. Your life has purpose beyond what you knew before you became a disciple of Jesus. But, what does this new life entail?

We started this week learning about surrendering our life to Jesus and picking up our cross daily for him. Ephesians 2:10 begins to explain this is more detail; it tells us God has good works for us to do. What are the “new life” works? Living the new life is really being re-made into the creation we were originally intended to be. Ephesians 4:24 says, “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” The “likeness of God” is the same idea as found in Genesis 1 when God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Paul, in his writings to the church at Ephesus, describes di erent gifts we’re given to accomplish this together as a church body. He describes how imaging God plays out in the context of marriage, parenting, work, etc. His writing points to the fact that true disciples of Jesus produce more disciples of Jesus. The new life, the true life we are intended to have, is responding to others in every situation out of grateful- ness for what Christ has done for us.

LIVE

  • How can you use what you have learned this week to disciple or encourage another person in Christ?
     
  • How can you help someone who doesn't know Christ see the beauty of what Jesus does in a person's life?

Day Four

Week Seven - Day Four
Examine your life by the Word

LISTEN

Colossians 3:1-10 - If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on Earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put o the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowl- edge after the image of its creator.

LEARN

The apostle Paul was a living example of someone who had taken o the old self and put on the new self. He was originally a well-respected Jewish authority who was very self-assured (Acts 22:3). He was a devout Jew and studied under a highly respected Jewish teacher, Gamaliel. Because he was deeply devoted to the Jewish faith, Paul pursued followers of Jesus and had them arrested and killed! He was among the most religious people of his day - until he met Jesus (Acts 9:1-19). Then, he did a complete 180°! He renounced his prior life and began to live a completely di erent life for the glory of Jesus Christ, even at great personal cost to himself.

As Paul lived for Christ, he was beaten several times -- even to the point where he was left for dead. And yet, he would return to the same people that had abused him to tell them, again, how great Jesus is and why they should follow Jesus! (See 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 for those details.) Paul knew what he was talking about when he shared the need to turn from the old self and put on the new. As a disciple interested in making other disciples, Paul relentlessly encouraged people to grow and live a life totally committed to Jesus.

Live

  • Here is an exercise to asses your transformation over time. Review Colossians 3:12-17 and then ask yourself how well you are putting on the new self as described by Paul. If you ask the Holy Spirit, he will show you where you can rejoice because he has transformed you. He may also show you where further change is needed. 
     
  • How can you use your ongoing transformation to encourage others?

Day Three

Week Seven - Day Three
Off with the Old, On with the New

LISTEN

Colossians 3:1-14 - If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on Earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immo- rality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put o the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is be- ing renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion- ate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

LEARN

Paul’s letter to the Colossians invites them to begin living as people changed by God. Paul does an amazing job explaining how Jesus is our risen Lord (Col 1: 15-23) and how our future with him is permanently fixed with him in glory. But, Paul wants us to live that reality out right now (Col 2:6). Paul’s letter goes on to provide practical instructions for living for Christ. It describes both taking o the old self (which came from the heart of stone described in Ezekiel 11:19) and putting on the new self (which lives for and by the desires of the Spirit).

In reference to a list of common sins which are pervasive in American culture and society today, verse 5 uses powerful verbiage - put these things to death! Paul equates “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness” with idolatry. Idolatry is the admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone more than Jesus. When one chooses some thing, person, or event over loving and pursuing Jesus, they are choosing the desires of the flesh (the old self) rather than the desires of the Spirit; that is idolatry. Paul says, “Don’t do that! That’s not who you are! You are a new creation!” (2 Cor 5:17).

Live

  • Prayerfully consider if there is anything inyour life interfering with following the desires of the Spirit. Record the revelations in your journal. 
  • Spend time both repenting and thanking God for bringing this interference to your attention. Ask him to reveal your next steps to overcome the sinful desires of your heart so you are free to pursue the desires of the Spirit. Record your action plan, consider adding a time frame to accomplish it, and share it with a family member or someone in your Discipleship Group.

Day Two

Week Seven - Day Two
God shapes your Transformation

LISTEN

2 Corinthians 3:18 - And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

LEARN

In this section of Scripture, Paul was writing to the Corinthian church about how they (and we) are like priests of the Old Testament. One di erence, though, is how God has written his word on our hearts, but the law of the Old Testament was written on stone. Because of God’s work on our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we are growing ever more in the image of God! Contrast this to Moses (Exodus 34:29-35) whose face shone after being exposed to God, but his shining face gradually faded. 2 Corinthians 3:13 explains how Moses veiled his face because he didn’t want the Israelites to see the fading glory. Paul shows us that as the Spirit works in us, we continue to look more and more like “the glory of the Lord.” God didn’t just make a one-time investment into your life. Because he loves you, accepts you, and wants to transform you over time, his investment in you is everlasting in and through his Holy Spirit. He is with you all the time, guiding and directing you through every day, both the good and the bad events of life, and helping you to respond in ways that reflect God.

Because of the work Jesus completed on the cross, his followers are forgiven for their sin. However, they are not perfected yet and struggle between desires of the old self and pursuing the desires of the Spirit. (Paul writes much about this in Ro- mans 6-8.) 2 Corinthians 3:18 promises that God is working to transform us into the image of Jesus. We do not go through the transformation by ourselves or with our own power. What love! God accepts us through Jesus Christ and enables us through his Spirit to become more like him. This is something we cannot do alone, no matter how hard we try.

LIVE

  • Does knowing that God is in control of your transformation affect your willingness to participate with him in this work? How so?
     
  • What fears or distrust do you have about God's ability to change you?
     
  • Record your thoughts and share them with your family, friends, One Life or Discipleship Group this week. 

Day One

Week Seven - Day One
God Initiates your Transformation

LISTEN

Luke 9:23-26 - And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Ezekiel 11:19 - And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.

LEARN

Jesus describes the unfathomable challenge to his disciples in Luke 9. He calls them to pick up their cross daily. This means to live wholly for him by denying them- selves and working for his glory. This is often called “receiving a new identity.” It’s the idea that you are a di erent person at your core. But, how does one do this? That isn’t something God asks us to do alone. Amazingly, he has this covered! Ac- cording to Ezekiel 11:19, God plans to transform his people so they want to live for him. This includes giving them both his Spirit and a new heart. In the biblical writ- ings, the heart refers to your core being; the combination of your feelings, intellect and will. In other words, God gives you new desires, new knowledge of him, and new courage to live for him in the core of who you are. Once God gives a new heart, the actions of a disciple flow out into life. This is everything a Christian needs to pick up their cross and lose their life for Jesus.

LIVE

  • Reflect on two changes in your life that show how God has given you a new heart. Take a moment to praise him for his work in you.
     
  • The fact that he changes you is part of your ongoing testimony that Jesus is alive and active in your life. With whom will you share this information this week?

Group Discussion Questions

  • How does your identity impact how you live your life?
  • In what ways do you daily struggle to die to your old self and put on the new self?
 

Apprenticeship Module - Activity

Pair up with someone in your discussion group that you didn’t come with. Pray together and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways in which you need him to transform you. Review your daily devotional reflections and share the struggles and desires of your heart with each other. The purpose of this exercise is to be helpful in supporting each other – not to go “sin hunting” or interrogating each other. If there is a struggle shared, love each other by praying and tangibly supporting each other this week.

 

Repentance is:

Conviction is where you become aware you are not living as God has commanded you to.

Contrition is feeling sorrow for sinning against God and people.

Confession is when you name your sin to God and ask God to forgive you. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are forgiven, cleansed, and freed from sin’s power. When we confess our sins we remember that our guilt has been dealt with and we joyfully receive God’s grace.

Change is making a plan to live differently. It is answering the question: How will I die to myself and live for Jesus in this area of life? In order to answer that question, you may need wisdom from a friend or the word of God. Changing is a joyful act of worship that doesn’t only entail stopping an old behavior, but always includes starting (or re-starting) a new behavior that is in line with God’s will and our new identity in him.