Introduction to Believe
Once again, not really a sermon this morning. Today is the introduction to Believe. We’re about to embark on a spiritual journey that will take us to June 30, 2019 - if all goes as planned. No one is allowed to miss church until after this series is over. You can’t skip church until July 2019! Believe me, I will tell on you. Each week I email an attendance report, not only to the District office, but to Heaven. Yes, Heaven has Wi-Fi.
As with anything in life, you get out what you put in – and this 30-week series is not different. The goal is transformation, but transformation will only take place if we engage the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to change us. The goal is not to be the same person, or the same church 10 months from now. Say again ….
The Believe series is not about Biblical knowledge only.
This series is about Biblical knowledge that we must assimilate into our hearts, our minds and our lives.
The goal is to believe, because
Our beliefs determine our behavior.
We want to live like Christ, therefore we must think and act like Christ.
So, to be like Jesus is the goal – that’s why we’re doing this.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
And that’s the goal – to be transformed, renewed each day into His image.
A group of children went on a fieldtrip to visit a famous sculpture. As they were looking at the sculpture of a lion, one boy asked the artist, “How did you get it to look so real?” “Well,” said the sculptor, “I chipped away everything that didn’t look like a lion.”
That is part of spiritual growth – God chipping away everything that doesn’t look like Jesus.
Answer this (page 2):
How willing am I to allow God to chip away in me what doesn’t look like Jesus?
Similar question –
On a scale of 1-9, how much do I really want to be like Jesus more than any other goal in my life?
Here’s a suggested prayer:
God, I give you permission to make me the Christ-like man/woman you want me to be.
Let’s talk about the series for a moment.
This series is divided into three 10-week segments. Each segment has a specific focus: Think, Act, Be. You can see those in the handout. Again, we want to live like Christ, therefore we must think like Him, act like Him and be the men and women He wants us to be.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Again, this series is not about doing more or knowing more – it’s about being more – more like Jesus – and being more like Jesus effects relationships
If you purchased a Believe Bible, you read the chapter in advance during the week prior to the sermon. Each chapter has selected scriptures from the Old and New Testament that emphasize the theme for that week.
For instance, tomorrow we begin reading chapter 1. Each chapter has a key topic, question, idea and verse. It is imperative to get the theme in our heads, but more importantly in our hearts. We want to know what we believe and why, and then transfer that into how we live. The chapters are short - so read repetitively, think, process, engage - Meditate on the Word (Josh 1:8). Memorize the key verse. Do this throughout the week and the sermon will tie everything together - it will solidify what we’ve been learning all week. In Sunday school, the entire church will engage in a discussion or teaching that further solidifies the topic.
The only way this will work is if we’re all honest with ourselves and with each other. This needs to be a safe place to express doubts, questions, struggles ….
Again, tomorrow we begin with chapter 1, which leads up to the first sermon on September 16.
Personal goals and expectations
At the beginning, I said The goal is not to be the same person, or the same church 10 months from now. Take a few moments and
Consider your current spiritual reality.
This is not a report of what is happening in your life – this is an honest self-evaluation of your spiritual condition. There’s a place in the handout to write down a brief description of your current reality.
Notice, I’ve provided today’s date. I suggest saving this for next year – to compare.
In the next section, answer this,
What is your preferred spiritual reality?
What do you hope to get out of the Believe series? What are some goals you could create? For example, one of my goals is to memorize every memory verse. Here’s the cool thing – as the Holy Spirit changes us and we live more like Jesus, the church changes as well – because we are the Church. The more we look and behave like Christ, the more the church looks and behaves like Christ.
Like I said, we don’t want to be the same 10 months from now. But, we were not created to change in isolation. We were created in and for community. If we really want to be transformed and live like Jesus, we need partners.
Question: List 3 people you could invite into your journey. Maybe meet during the week or talk on the phone or whatever, they could be near or far … just list 3 people. These people could be like a Paul – a mentor. They could be like Barnabas - a peer. Or, like a Timothy – someone you bring along and mentor.
List 3 more. Got the list? Now that we’ve picked people we want, let’s be quiet for a moment and ask the Lord, “Who else.”
Question: Of those 6 or more people, whom will you invite into your journey?
When will you contact them? What will you do if some say no? Say yes?
Turn to 1 Peter 1
Before we get into the Word for a few minutes, any questions about the series?
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life …
What’s the promise?
Define a godly life?
How do we get this godly life?
… through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Knowledge here means the full extent of what can be known.
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
What’s the promise here? We can participate in God’s nature. This is a promise, a reality – it’s 100% possible. Knowing we can participate in God’s nature, how might this change your goals for Believe?
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
Who’s responsible for growing in our faith? For striving toward maturity?
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What’s the goal of this series?