Waynedale United Methodist Church
Saturday, April 04, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

Aug 30, 2015 Sermon

Matthew 28:16 – 20
Ted Jansen  August 30, 2015  Waynedale UMC
1.)        Transformation.  A definition is “a change in form, appearance, nature and character.”  Let’s get an example of the type of change that is involved. 
A change in form.  That is like water that changes to ice when it gets cold.  A change in appearance.  That is like a woman or a man who gets a haircut, new hair color, or contacts instead of glasses.  A change of nature.  This is like a person who was very angry and now they are calm.  Or someone that was relaxed but not get excited, like at a sports event.  A change of character.  That is like a person who has a new baby in their life and feels and acts more responsible than they used to.   Do you see the types of change?  Transformation is a change from one aspect to another. 
2.)        Transformation of a butterfly from the world of nature is another obvious example.  There are several changes that take place.  An egg is placed on a leaf is transformed into a caterpillar.  The caterpillar transforms into to a chrysalis.  The chrysalis is transformed into a butterfly.  The butterfly flies is transformed so that it can lay eggs. 
            A total transformation occurred with the butterfly; the form, the appearance, the nature and character have all been changed.  
3.)        Jesus Christ was transformed.  His form and appearance were changed but His nature and character did not change.  
            Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of God, who resided in heaven along with the Father and Holy Spirit, was transformed when He came to earth.  He took on the form of a human when “the word became flesh.”  Jesus was bound to a certain time and location.  He was transformed.  He had a form and an appearance and I believe it was different than when He was in heaven.    
            Jesus was also transformed after He was crucified and buried in the ground.  The transformation of Jesus took place when He was physically resurrected to life after He was dead.  He had a new body, a spiritual body, which had a similar earthly form, but was different.    
4.)        I believe that when we invite Jesus Christ, when we pray to have Christ come into our hearts, when we allow God’s love in Christ to enter our lives we have the Spirit of God into our lives.  The Holy Spirit transformed Jesus Christ and transforms us and the world around us.    
            One way of understanding this is when you eat food, like a banana, that is transformed into energy for your body.  According to Douglas Graham’s article on “Bananas and Energy,” “Bananas are one of the world's finest foods for supplying fuel energy. They supply a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that foster a quick and efficient conversion to useable fuel. Whether you need quick energy release or long lasting energy, bananas supply the fuel for the occasion.
Our bodies convert all food matter into simple carbohydrates (sugars) for use as fuel. This process can require considerable energy, and will often leave you tired, especially after a large meal. The carbohydrates in ripe bananas are already in their simplest form, and can be digested easily with a minimum of energy loss.”
5.)        Jesus gave a promise to the disciples after He was resurrected.  In Matthew 28:16 – 20 we hear Jesus say, “I am with you always.”  
            I want to focus on three sections.  I am, with you, always.  This promise is a deposit, a source of fuel for our faith as a disciple.     
            I am.  This word was used in the Old Testament to describe Almighty God.  I AM.  Jesus used this term in describing Himself and wants us to know that He is Divine and the Father and the Spirit are all one.   
            In Lent we are going to read a book and look at all the I Am sayings that Jesus used to describe Himself.  We will realize what Jesus meant as He spoke after He was resurrected as “I Am.”
            With you.  Jesus is “with” us.  Contrast the word, “with,” with next to, above, around, for.   Jesus said that He would be with us.  Jesus is inside, outside and with us in a close and intimate way.  
            Jesus is not next to us, watching us.  Jesus is not for us in some impersonal way.  Jesus is not above us watching from a distance.  Jesus is not around us in some detached style.  Jesus is “with” us. 
What does it look like to have a friend “with” you?  (Ask people)  They talk to you, they come to visit and spend time with you.  They check in when times are going tough.  They are with you. 
            Always.  Christ’s presence is not based on any conditions that we can create.  Jesus is with us all the time, forever.  Jesus is not with us when we are good, when we are in worship, when we are successful.  Jesus Christ is with us always.  Even when you don’t understand or care about Christ He is with you.   John Wesley called prevenient grace where the underserved love of God is active in your life.  You don’t even realize it but God is trying to show you His love and grace.   
6.)        When we trust God and this promise we experience transformation.  Does our form, or appearance change?  No, but our character and nature can change. 
            I read a paper on Spiritual Transformation and in one section the author wrote that when transformation comes to us the first change is the essence of your “self.”  The self is changed into a Savior’s identity.  Christ dwells inside and this changes the self.   Then the center of your life changes.  Your motivation, your purpose, your values change as the focus is different.  Then your community changes.  You associate with people who share your new focus.  Then your habits change.  You use your time, money, possessions and passions in new ways.   
7.)        Our Vision as a church is Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World.  Jesus gives us the great commission and transformation happens when we make disciples, when we baptize and when we teach all to obey Jesus. 
            In a few weeks we are going to have Francis Mustapha come and share a mission update on the Madina Schools.  His life has been transformed and he has transformed a village in Africa.  People started different ministry organizations in Fort Wayne out of transformation in their hearts. 
            Transformation starts in Christ, goes inside of us, and make the world different, starting with those who live close to us.    
8.)        We have been hearing about the massive fires out west.  We are receiving men and women from other countries to help put out the fires.  Fire consumes and touches all that is in its path.  Transformation is occurring but in a negative way.  Trees, home, plants are being destroyed.    
            When the church began the fire of the Holy Spirit was blazing.  The fire of the Holy Spirit did not destroy or consume, but touched lives.  People were touched by the love of Jesus Christ and the church grew. 
            We can read what happened to the early church in the books of Acts.  It was expanding because of the transformation of Jesus Christ.  The church has moved across continents of Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, Africa.  The fire of God continues in each new life and generation. 
9.)        As we think of the butterfly let us consider what God is doing in our lives, as the church. 
            A butterfly lays an egg.  This is a church, a person, a group of people that place an idea, create a ministry, tries something new, and does something risky.  There are lots of ideas, like lots of eggs, and only a few will grow.    
            An egg changes into a caterpillar and eats the leaves around it.   Churches have ministries that make a difference.  This ministry consumes time, money, people and energy.  This is what is needed at this stage.  Disciples are being made and God’s plans are being worked out. 
            The caterpillar goes dormant because it has eaten enough and goes to sleep.  It changes to a pupae.  A ministry that once was active is no longer in existence like it once was.  It has finished.  This is a hard time because it appears that death has occurred.  It is a time of waiting and preparing for a new beginning.  Something different will emerge, something unexpected.    
            A butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.  It has to stretch and strain and get blood and fluids into its legs and wings.  It flies and in time it will lay eggs.  A new ministry arises that looks very different than others.  This new ministry is creating new ideas and plans for people.  People are experiencing the presence of Christ, who is with us always.  These new ministries are people that “do church” in a different way. 
10.)      Are we willing for transformation to come?  Are we willing to pray a song that will begin the process in our lives?  “Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us!”