Message 10: Transformational Encounters
- One of our main purposes is to encourage transformation.
- Jesus didn’t live, die, and resurrect so that we would stay the same people we were when He found us.
- We were not given the Holy Spirit to maintain status quo.
- The Spirit is given to change and transform us for the better.
- This morning, I want to share with you Moses’ transformation.
- Encounters with God must lead to transformation.
- Otherwise those experiences are wasted.
Exodus 34:29–35 (CSB)
29 As Moses descended from Mount Sinai—with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain—he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord., 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone! They were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called out to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community returned to him, and Moses spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he commanded them to do everything the Lord had told him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. After he came out, he would tell the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 and the Israelites would see that Moses’s face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil over his face again until he went to speak with the Lord.
1. Encounters with God should lead to transformation.
- Notice, I said should.
- Unfortunately, too many people will experience God or seek God and have a real experience.
- But they don’t allow that experience to lead to transformation.
- Furthermore, one experience with God is not enough.
- The Bible and history are full of people who had real encounters.
- But they never built off that encounter by meeting with Jesus daily through prayer, worship, Scripture, and community.
- The GOAL is not encounter, its transformation.
- Moses’ encounter with God on the Mountain resulted in a dramatic transformation.
- Exodus 34 says that from this point forward, Moses’ face shown after each time Moses went and met with the Lord.
- God’s glory and goodness had a physical change on Moses.
- Salvation will ultimately lead to changes in every-part of your life.
- Your face might glow, but it might. (Sister Dolly sure glows after she was saved).
- Encounter and transformation will change your attitude, your habits, and your perspective.
- But Israel couldn’t stand to even gaze upon the reflected glory of God.
- Exodus says that Moses had to put on a veil because he radiated with the Glory of God.
- If this was too much for Israel, imagine the result of them actually being in God’s presence.
- God knew that Israel, in her present state, could not handle what Moses could handle.
- But what terrified Israel, excited Moses.
- There are people all over who claim to love Jesus and follow God.
- But are terrified of actually being transformed by God.
- At first, Moses was surprised by the change but then he embraced it.
- The veil was for Israel’s sake, not his.
2. God’s transformation of you will be hard for some people to handle.
Two groups of people will have problems with you being transformed and changed by God.
- First, the unsaved around you will be challenged.
- This makes sense.
- When you start turning down opportunities to party or to gossip or other things you use to do, some will question.
- When an alcoholic starts refusing drinks, their friends will question the transformation.
- When we start drawing lines in the same sand we use to cross, people will start to question our transformation.
- That is when we point people to where we are going and who we are chasing.
- It’s a powerful opportunity to say “I’m not perfect, but I’m changing and Jesus is my new role-model.”
- When encounter leads to transformation, our friends and neighbors are watching to see if it’s real.
- If it only lasts a week, that’s not transformation.
- If it only lasts a year, that’s not transformation.
- But when we can point to a past self, and testify today of what God has done, then that is transformation.
- I celebrate people like Josh Kane, who not that many years ago was caught up in drugs and other pursuits but has been clean, sober, and saved for several years.
- I celebrate Pastor Ben whose story of homelessness and addiction has resulted in transformation and being ordained with the A/G.
- I celebrate what God has done in Pastor Larissa, who has overcome many things to be where she is at.
- Transformation is REAL through Jesus.
- Second, the religious will challenge your transformation.
- This one impacts us all.
- It’s too easy to sit in a church year after year and not be transformed.
- That isn’t always the preacher’s fault.
- Sometimes, it’s because we don’t want to be transformed or don’t know we need to be transformed.
- Where some of you are at now, is you are at a place where transformation is starting.
- Transformation isn’t subtle.
- I’m not trying to become a better version of myself, I’m becoming like Jesus.
- The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 uses a word for transformation that is from the Greek Metamorphous.
Romans 12:2 (CSB)
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
- To morph is to change from one thing to another.
- Same word we use to describe a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
- Guess what: A caterpillar looks very different from a butterfly.
- As many of you chase after God harder than ever before, know that these encounters will facilitate transformation.
- And as you transform, you will have critics.
- You’ll be too radical, too spiritual, or too dangerous.
- People will demean your worship, just like the disciples demeaned the woman who washed Jesus’ feet.
- People will question your experiences, just like Eli questioned Samuel.
- People will judge your expression, just like David’s wife judged David who danced before the Lord.
- And you have to decide: will you let God change and transform you or will you insist on fitting the mold of the world?
3. The Apostle Paul used Moses’ story in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18.
- Listen how Paul interprets and applies Exodus 34
2 Corinthians 3:7–18 (CSB)
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious. (My translation: If that which could not transform you had glory, how much more glory does that which does transform have?)
12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. 13 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from gazing steadily until the end of the glory of what was being set aside, 14 but their minds were hardened. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. 15 Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at, the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
- Moses’ veil hid both the glory and the fading of that glory from Israel.
- When we believe in Jesus, the veil that separates us from God is set aside.
- Many modern weddings do not include a veil; but when they do, the bride never lifts her own veil.
- According to etiquette, either the father lifts the veil after walking the bride down the aisle, or the groom lifts the veil when it is time for the first kiss.
- Either way, the bride does not lift the veil.
- In the same way, you cannot remove the veil by yourself.
- The transforming work of the Spirit is God’s work.
- Only by turning to the Lord is the veil removed.
- We do not do the removing, God does.
- Paul says that the removing of the veil brings the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
- Freedom from what?
- Not just freedom from, but freedom to be.
- Free from something is not complete freedom.
- The kind of freedom the Spirit brings leads us to be free from the Law and sin, and free to encounter God.
- When we often talk about “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”, we usually are thinking about being free from addiction, or depression, or striving, or any number of obstacles.
- This is true. Freedom through Jesus diminishes the power of the old things and results in our ultimate victory over them and from them.
- But the context of this verse is not freedom from external and internal pressures but freedom from the Law that did not lead to our ultimate transformation.
- The Law could only show us our sin, but it couldn’t forgive it.
- The Law could only show us our downward spiral, it could not set us free from it.
- Let me speak pastorally: There is a strong and vocal movement in the church that is insisting that Christians acting Jewish.
- This group insists that for us to be Godly, we must start calling God YHWH and Jesus YESHUA and we need to keep all of the elements of Judaism such as observing the various feasts and elements.
- This sort of teaching strikes against the freedom Paul told the Gentile believers in Corinth that Jesus came to provide.
- You are not going to become more loved or more righteous or more spiritual by adding some Hebrew to your vocabulary and by calling Jesus Yeshua.
- True transformation comes by entering into God’s presence and allowing Him to remove the veil put up by sin, religion, and culture.
- the Apostle Paul said that Moses glowed after meeting with God but he could not show off that glow to the Israelites.
- He didn’t have the freedom to express that transformation, and therefore hold back.
- This holding back was not freedom.
- True freedom results in us being in the Presence of God and then displaying that Presence to our world.
- True freedom is not permission to do whatever we want, but the opportunity to approach God and to be transformed by Him.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at, the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
- If your experience with God does not result in transformation, then you must still be wearing your veil.
Apply: We must move from information to transformation.
- A danger of being in church:
- You can gain all kinds of information, but neglect transformation.
- You can have all the facts, and the quiz answers, and random pieces of information that makes you fun at Christian parties.
- But information does not inevitably result in changed lives.
- The Law was a schoolmaster.
- By Paul’s day, the Jews new the OT better than anyone.
- Yet, all that information did not permit them to see Jesus as the Messiah.
- Even today, we are discovering that Education is not the savior of nations like we had hope for 50 years ago.
- It is possible to have all the information and to never allow that information to form and change you.
- Please, do not merely hear preaching or read your Bible for the sake of “learning stuff”.
- But instead, strive to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
- Instead, pray “God I want to be transformed into your image from glory to glory.”
- We are not here to merely learn about God, we are here to be changed by God.
- May we all be changed and transformed by a glory that does not fade.