Episode 1. So What’s the Plan?
So many people in this world have lost sight of who they truly are. They go looking for and identity in all different places, but there’s only one identity that’s our true identity. And there’s only one identity that’ll give us the life God always planned for us.
Join Berni, as he takes a look at our self image – from a different perspective.
Hey, it’s fabulous to be with you again this week on the program. Last week, if you were able to join me, we were chatting about our identity, our understanding of who we are and where we fit in which is something that concerns each one of us, more or less, at different times in our lives. You know, when they talk about people having a mid life crisis and how often do you see that happening in all its various forms.
Mostly it’s a crisis of identity and destiny and this week we’re going to continue with that because this is so important, it’s so important to know who we are in this world and what God has planned for us. As I’ve heard one preacher saying in the past ‘our who and our do’ because here’s what’s happened, this is what we’ve been chatting about so far in this series of messages that we’ve called ‘Meet The New Me’.
Right up front you and I were created in God’s image, literally according to the Bible and this is the Greek word that’s used in the New Testament for ‘image’, literally we’re ‘icons’ of the living God but then, then we rebel against God, we all do at some point.
Adam did, Eve did, you did, I did and before we know it that original image, well it’s as though a graffiti vandal took to it with a can of black spray paint, before we know it that original image is totally unrecognisable and one of the great maladies of this age, perhaps the greatest of all is that people have lost sight of who they are, made as they have been, handcrafted in the very image of God.
I had someone bale me up once, a so called contemporary Christian communicator and berate me for using that word ‘sin’ on this program. Oh you know it’s not something people understand, it’s the wrong word. Sure sin has become a four letter word but that doesn’t change the fact when you and I went our own selfish ways, it’s like the devil graffitied the image of God in us.
So totally has he obscured the truth, the reality of the original image that in many a man’s life, in many a woman’s life, that original wondrous amazingly beautiful and creative and filled with potential image is totally obscured. And so many of us wander around half a life time, even a whole life time knowing that life isn’t working, knowing that something’s not quite right, knowing that something’s missing but we can’t quite put our fingers on it because our sin has put a black opaque layer of muck between us and our original image, the image of God Himself.
You know what, it took me half a life time to figure that out and I know there are many people who are at that point today where you know that you believe that you’ve come to grips with that, you may have even put your trust in Jesus but you just don’t know what to do about it and so over the next few days we’re going to discover exactly what God has already done and what He’s plan is to deal with this mess that we find ourselves in.
First His plan. I come back to something we chatted briefly about last week. God has an amazing plan and it’s a plan that gives me a huge sense of hope about the future. Here it is, Romans chapter 8, verse 29:
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son in order that he might be the firstborn in a large family.”
And as I observed last week on the program what God is saying to us here is that Gods destiny for those who love Him is that they once again become conformed to the image of His Son, that they would end up looking like Jesus. Now this is not some straight jacket meaning this word ‘conformed’, the original word that’s been translated here as conformed is the word ‘summorphos’ from which we get the word ‘to morph’, to be transformed.
If you were able to join me when we chatted about this last week you’ll recall that the dictionary definition of morph is to change smoothly from one image to another by small gradual steps. It’s an incremental process of transformation.
It’s a little by little life long process of being transformed, having the horrid black graffiti of sin cleaned off this part of our lives and then that part of our lives and then over here and then over there and bit by bit we start looking more and more like Jesus.
But Berni I feel so rotten with all this muck all over me, I feel so unworthy, I feel … Of course you do, that’s natural. Whenever I’ve been covered in muck in life it’s always felt awful.
I remember when I was in the military and we’d be out on exercises, we wouldn’t be able to have a shower or to bathe for weeks on end, it was horrible being dirty and smelly all the time and after weeks of that it was totally the most amazing experience to come back to our barracks, to step into that hot shower and to wash yourself totally clean. It’s the most unbelievably liberating feeling.
That’s what happens my friend the moment, the very moment we put our faith, our trust in Jesus. The moment we realise how dirty our sin has made us, the moment we admit that to God, the moment we realise that there is absolutely nothing we can do to wash ourselves clean except to believe that by dying on that cross Jesus paid the price of our sin.
Jesus took our punishment so that we could be clean, totally pure and clean in Gods sight, totally forgiven in Gods heart, the moment we believe that in our hearts it’s like that shower after weeks of being dirty, we are clean and it is the most amazingly unbelievable feeling.
To know that in God’s sight we’re clean. In Gods heart we’re forgiven because we put our faith, our complete trust in Jesus. The truth is simple and powerful. I’m going to read it to you here from Gods own Word, just drink it in once and for all, Romans chapter 6 beginning at verse 3:
“Don’t you know that all of us who’ve been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death. So in effect we’ve been buried with him in baptism into death so that just as Jesus was raised from the dead so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we’ve been united with him in death like his we’ll certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
“We know that our old self was in effect crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to it. So, bottom line, if you’ve died like this in faith with Jesus you’re free from sin and if we’ve died with him we believe that we will also live with him. The death he died he died to sin once and for all but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Dead to the old marred, graffitied image of who we once were and alive, walking, here are Pauls, here are Gods exact words:
“Walking in newness of life.”
Do you see why I call this series of messages Meet The New Me? The whole point of Jesus becoming a man, dying to pay for our sins and then being raised from the dead again is because God knows that you and I are guilty, we feel guilty, we can’t do anything about it and so when we put our trust in Jesus, believe with all our hearts that through His sacrifice we are made clean then we stand on the threshold of a new life, a new me, a new you.
That’s the beginning, that’s the start of new life but then we need to go through rehab, old habits sometimes die hard, that’s natural and we’re going to talk about that some more on the program this week. That’s the morphing we were talking about earlier, the lifelong process of change, growth, maturity.
It’s a fantastic plan and the fact that we don’t get it all right in an instant is normal. You see how knowing and understanding Gods plans sets us free, it’s like a breath of fresh air, it’s like a new life.