Sermon Illustrations: Transformation
Probably the greatest miracle in the Bible was the Incarnation - when God poured Himself into the tiny body of a baby. And this Baby grew up into a man. And all this time, if you looked at the outside, it was just a man. But on the inside there was the divine nature, Almighty God, the power behind the universe. Then one day, Jesus is up on a mountain with some disciples and He decides to let the divine nature shine through. And He glowed, His face glowed, and even His clothes shone like light. The word the Bible uses in Mat 17:1-5 to describe what happened is "transfigured" - Jesus was transfigured before them. He allowed His true inner nature - the divine nature - to be seen outwardly. This is the word used in Rom 12:2 where it says "be transformed".
"It describes a change from within. The world wants to change your mind, so it exerts pressure from without. But the Holy Spirit changes your mind by releasing power from within. If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer; if God controls your thinking, you are a transformer."1
God can take the mess that you're in and make it your message. Duane Vanderklok
An atheist was taunting a converted alcoholic. "You don't really believe those Bible miracles such as where Jesus changed water into wine, do you?" "Why not?" replied the believer. "Come to my place and I'll show you how Jesus changed beer into chairs, carpets, and a pool table!"
A man goes to the doctor. "Doctor, I'm coughing my heart out. It feels like my lungs are burning up." "Let's have a look," says the doctor, and examines him. "It's not looking good. But you're in luck. I've got a bottle of medicine here. The instructions are on the bottle. It'll clear this up in three days." Five days later the man returns. "Doctor, you told me this stuff would cure me in three days. I'm not getting better. I'm getting worse." "Did you read the instructions?" "Of course I read the instructions. It says …" The doctor snatches it out of his hand. "Gimme that bottle. This bottle is unopened." "You didn't say I had to open it." "Listen, you came in to see me. I examined you. I diagnosed your problem. I gave you the medicine. Now it's over to you." How many Christians have I seen over the years, they know God's Word has power to transform their lives, to heal, to deliver, to give wisdom, to counsel, but they just never seem to get around to reading it on a regular basis?
A farmer and his family had lived out west all their lives, but they had to go to the big city to view some documents. So they load up the ute and head to the city. They pull up outside a massive building and the farmer says to his family, "Stay here. I won't be long." Little Johnny says, "Aw, Dad, can't I come too?" "Alright," says the farmer. "But the rest of you stay in the ute." They get out of the car, and up the steps to the front entrance, when the doors suddenly open. "Wow, did you see that Dad? The doors just opened by themselves." "Yeah, ya never know what they've got in the city, son." So they're wandering round, marvelling at all the things in the building. The farmer asks for directions, the clerk points at the lift door, and they go and stand in front of it, not knowing what to make of it. Next thing an old woman comes along, gets in the elevator, and the door shuts. A couple of minutes later, the door opens again, and out steps this beautiful young woman. An old woman went in, and a beautiful young woman comes out. The farmer turns to his son, "Quick son, go get your mother." There's a theological truth in this - God isn't so much into changing us, as He is into exchanging us.
1 Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament Vol 1 p554 on Romans 12:2