God created us to reflect His Image
"Then God said, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;"
Image = a copy or replica which is able to express the essential nature of that being copied or replicated
God's purpose for our lives is that we express His essential nature and character to all those we come in contact with. In doing this, we are doing what we were created for. The result is we experience an abundant, meaningful, and satisfying life.
Our Heart Manifests Sins That Prevent Us From Reflecting God's Image
Matthew 15: 18 - 19
"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. "For out of the heart come evil thought, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
Heart = The seat of our understanding, knowledge, and will; The source of our thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affection, and sense of purpose
The evil we do (our "sins") are symptoms. The cause is a bad heart. The center piece of this heart is sin - pride and being self-centered.
Being prideful and self-centered results in the attitudes and actions the Bible calls "sins".
God says His solution to our problem is to be born again--to let Him give us a spiritual heart transplant.
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will be careful to observe My ordinances."
God promises us three things: a New Heart (being prideful and self-centered is replaced by having a genuine concern for others), a New Spirit (A hunger for God rather than rebellion against Him), and God's Spirit within us (God Himself takes up residence within us!).
We Are to Believe that Jesus' Death and Resurrection are God's Means by which we are born again.
"Therefore they said to Him, 'What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'"
"For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotton Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come.
If this has made sense to you and persuaded you to believe it, a spiritual heart transplant has taken place in you and you are now in a restored, personal relationship with God. It is helpful, as a means of expressing your thankfulness to God, to take a moment to talk to Him in prayer. The words you say are not as important as expressing your understanding of what has taken place and your thankfulness for it. The following is a sample prayer you might follow:
I acknowledge I have said and done things that are sins. I now realize that these sins have created a barrier between You and me, and that I will never know true meaning and purpose in my life until I am restored to a relationship with You. I now choose to trust Jesus as the One who took my sins into Himself, clearing away the barrier between You and me. I now choose to accept that I am reborn as a new creation in this moment.
Thank You, Father, that You have given me a new heart and a new spirit, and have placed Your Holy Spirit within me. Thank You, Jesus, that You loved me enough to come and be sin for me that I might be restored to relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Father, guide me in my understanding of how this all works!! I want to know You to the fullest so I can experience the meaning and purpose You have created for me for. AMEN
Applying This to Our Lives
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch annot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit for apart from Me you can do nothing."
"And do not be drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Holy Spirit"
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
The Fruit of the Spirit is the Essential Nature of God. Thus, when we are filled with the Spirit and abiding in Christ, we are fulfilling God's purpose for our lives and we experience the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
To be filled and to abide is simply to say to God:
"Father, in this moment I yield myself to Your Spirit within me to express the life of Jesus through me. May You be honored as Your essential nature is expressed through me right now."
Sunday School: 9:00 a.m.
Worship Service: 10:15 a.m.
Pastor's Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. or call for appointment