25 April 2012
Theme: Connecting with God
Topic: Resembling Christ
Reading: 1 John 3:1-7
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he* is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 4Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.5You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.7Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins and reconcile us to Himself. But even beyond the atonement for sin, is the transformation of all who believe in the death and resurrection of Christ do undergo. The transformation occurs through the Holy Spirit and is aimed at making us more like Jesus. Why do we not just believe in Him but also have to be like Him? In dying on the Cross, Christ put to death the desires of the flesh and called us to be like Him. As we get connected with God, we are transformed to the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this study, we shall discuss what it means to be like Jesus and why the transformation has to occur in all believers.
1. What does becoming like Christ mean to you?
Romans 8:15-17, 29-30
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’16it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God,17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.*30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Galatians 3:26-29, 4:1-7
for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,* heirs according to the promise.
4:1-7 My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property;2but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.3So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits* of the world.4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our* hearts, crying, ‘Abba!* Father!’7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.*
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he* is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
2. How do we become more Christ-like?
Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you.26But the Advocate,* the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
1 Timothy 5:22, 6:11-21
Do not ordain* anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
6:11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made* the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen. 17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; 21by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
1 Peter 1:22-23
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth* so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply* from the heart.*23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.*
Mention some of the benefits and hindrances.
3. When are we expected to resemble Christ - now, later or both?
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;* but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13Beloved,* I do not consider that I have made it my own;* but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,14I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly* call of God in Christ Jesus.15Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.16Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. 17 Brothers and sisters,* join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears.19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.20But our citizenship* is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.21He will transform the body of our humiliation* so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,* by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
We are called to be like Jesus. As ambassadors of Christ, let us live and love like Him, our Perfect Example, that when He comes He will find us working for Him.
Lord, it is only through your Holy Spirit that we become transformed to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may live according to Your purpose all the days of our lives. We ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.