Sunday, December 17, 2017 2:40 PM

It's a Wonderful Life - Part II

Sunday, December 17, 2017 2:40 PM
Sunday, December 17, 2017 2:40 PM

It’s a Wonderful Life – Part 2
Pastor Stephen Hayes
December 17, 2017

 

Main Idea – Each of us is living a wonderful life blessed by God.  Because we spend time with God, our appearance – and what we do and say – will be changed because of our interaction with Him.

 

Jesus at the center 

  • Particularly at this time of year, most of us are thankful for the life God has given us.
  • Jesus came to bring life and peace to those who had lost those things: Luke 2: 10-14 - Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
  • The traditional Christmas manger scene depicts Jesus as being in the center of the scene. Likewise, Jesus should be at the center of our own lives; everything should revolve around Him.
  • However, we should not limit Jesus by what is portrayed about him in humanly-generated art representations.

We were created in God’s image

  • It is a good thing we do not exactly know what Jesus looked like because we might then attempt to mimic that appearance, and worship the image itself.
  • Rather, the Bible tells us we already have been created in God’s image. Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
  • And, the image of God in us is continually being conformed to Him.                   2 Corinthians 3: 18 – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 
  • Romans 8: 29 – For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
  • As we grow in our faith we are continually being transformed into something better and better. This is a spiritual, internal change as well.                                2 Corinthians 5: 16-17 – Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
  • This ongoing transformation is continual because God’s actual appearance is beyond anything we can imagine or comprehend. Exodus 3: 13-14 – Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”  And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”  And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

We are different after we spend time with God

  • Moses looked different after he had spent time with God on Mt. Sinai. Exodus 34: 29-32 – Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.  So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.  Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.  Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
  • The disciples talked and acted differently after they had spent time with Jesus. Acts 4: 13-14 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.  And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

We reflect God when we are active doing what He has called us to do

  • If we do what He did, we get what He got. Jesus was very clear that He was acting according to God the Father’s will and design.  That should be our focus as well: to reflect God’s image by obediently serving the purpose He gave us.
  • John 5: 19 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
  • John 6: 38 – “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
  • John 7:16 – Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
  • John 8: 27-30 – They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My father taught Me, I speak these things.  And He who sent Me is with Me.  The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.
  • John 12: 49 – For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
  • John 14: 8-10 – Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?  The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

It’s not about us; it’s all about Him

  • As we serve, God’s image will be reflected through us. Like the original disciples, we should be quick to recognize this reflection is not of ourselves, but is of God. 
  • Acts 3: 11-13, & 16 - Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.  So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this?  Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go . . . And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know.”
  • When we do God’s will, we not only reflect His image, but also plant seeds in others through whom He can then reflect Himself again.

 

 Reflective Questions for It’s a Wonderful Life – Part 2       

  1. This lesson contains many Bible verses that describe how we reflect God’s image. Can you describe what it looks like to reflect God’s image in your own words?
  2. This lesson also contains many verses that tell us to reflect God’s image by doing what He has told us to do. How will you know what to do?  How do you know what He has told you to do?
  3. Have you ever experienced God’s power through a good work you have done? How did you know it was God, and not you, who had done the work?
  4. Why is it necessary to always recognize God in all we do as we serve Him?

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