10/31/2021 – Sunday Evening Sermon – Des Steyn
The title of my lesson this evening is Changed Into His Likeness. Now there were two months sitting on a branch and they saw a no, I'm sorry. There were two caterpillars sitting on a branch and they saw a moth fly by. And the one caterpillar said to the other, If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings. And then he said. You'll never catch me up in one of those.
Now the reason I told you about moths is because a few sermons ago I used the illustration of butterflies. So I thought I better change it just to confuse you a little. You're familiar with the story of the ugly duckling, right? The the story goes something like there was this mommy duck with all of its ducklings around the farmer's yard, and the farmer saw this as other little bird that was also a little small and it had obviously lost its parents. So he decided he would take it and give it to the mother duck to raise. And he put it there, and she took care of it. But the other children, her ducklings began to make big fun of it simply because it was ugly, and they just went on and on about how ugly this duckling was. And but in the meantime, they would go down to the lake and they'd watch all the beautiful swans swim by, and they would wish that they were swans. But then in the meantime, they would turn around and make fun of this ugly duckling. And as the weeks went by, the duckling got bigger and bigger to the point where the ducklings started making fun of the other ducks and turned out to be a swan. At the end of the day, you all know that story, right? If not, I can repeat it for you. But it's a story that we grew up with and it just all it all it was about was do not make fun of somebody who doesn't look like you. Because when all is said and done, they may end up being a whole lot better than you in all kinds of ways.
I remember I used to bully my younger brother. He was six years younger than I was. And I used to play with him and take make just a typical sibling rivalry thing. But I was six years younger, so I was able to bully him. And then he grew into a kid like two times bigger than me. And one day I was, you know, making fun of him, and he turned around and hit me just once, and I never made fun of him again. That what I'm trying to say is that we all have an inherent beauty and strength within each one of us. Just like the moth, the caterpillars, they didn't realize that they would become a moth or a butterfly.
The ugly duckling it people thought it was a duck, but it actually was something far more beautiful than that. And what the word that we used to describe when something changes from one thing to another is the word metamorphosis. I know you're all familiar with that word. It occurs in the New Testament. A few places in Mark Chapter eight verses 36 all the way to Chapter nine, verse one. Jesus says this, he says. But what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul for? What will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory of his father and with the Holy Spirit, the holy angels and Jesus was saying to them, Truly, I say to you, they are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power. And it's kind of interesting because Jesus is saying there will come a point in time when God requires you to accept me and own me in in the world, among others. And if you deny me, I will deny you. And Jesus said, that will happen. But they are people then who will not taste of death till they see the kingdom come with power. And that tells us that the kingdom came with power during the lifetime of those people back there.
But then in Mark Chapter nine verses two through eight, he says this six days later, Jesus took with him, Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them.
Now that's the word meta. In Greek, it's metamorphic aspi from which we get the English word metamorphosis. So he was metamorphosisized or morphed before them, and his garments became radiant and exceedingly white as no launderer on Earth can whiten them.
Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three Tabernacles, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. For he did not know what to answer because they became terrified. Then a cloud formed overshadowing them and a voice came out of the cloud. This is my beloved son. Listen to him all at once. They looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.
And in that little reading, they are some really interesting points. The one is when Jesus says when the son of man comes in the glory of his father. And what is interesting is we wonder what exactly is that glory?
Because we know that Jesus had the glory before he even came to Earth. And I sometimes wonder if indeed, Jesus put off his humanity for the sake of these three disciples and allowed them to have a glimpse of the glory that he really had. It's a possibility, but what is also interesting is that they were terrified when they saw this. This is more than they could deal with. And so this tells us what happens when you become terrified. Will Peter tells us, you start a building program.
And so he said, Let's build three tabernacles and make you all happy. And of course, God said no. Listen to Jesus. And of course, Moses and Elijah disappeared. What that meant, very simply, is God was telling them Jesus has supplanted the old law, the Old Testament, the prophets and the law, Moses and Elijah. And so that was let nailed to the tree, nailed to the cross. And so all, that's all that he was telling them. But then Jesus said the kingdom of God will come with power. And what is interesting is when you start looking at from Luke, 23, Chapter 23, all the way through to Acts Chapter 2.
And interestingly, Luke was the one who wrote obviously the gospel of Luke and also the Book of Acts and what's in the first chapter of the Book of Acts is very much a repeat of the last chapter of the Book of Luke. A lot of eight different things that he lists in the last chapter of Luke. He re-states in the first chapter of acts, and so we use Luke and from Chapter 23 with Passion Week, beginning with ending up with Jesus being crucified on the cross. And then, of course, being buried and then being raised. And when he resurrected, there was some serious power that was being displayed to the world. Remember, the curtain in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom. People graves were opened up and people came out of them the saints and walked through the city and there was darkness over the world. There were there were some extreme power that was being displayed right then. And then just a few days later, Jesus, three days later, Jesus appeared to the disciples and to others, and to a total of 500 people over a period of 40 days. At the end of that 40 days. He was ascended to heaven. And so you saw all of these, the things happening that I'm sure got the people's attention. And then in Acts Chapter two, the disciples are in Jerusalem. They're sitting there.
They're wondering what in the world happened? And suddenly there was from heaven, tongues as of fire and a rush of a mighty wind, and it rested upon them and they began to speak in other languages, in the different languages that all of the different Jews from the different regions spoke when they came to Jerusalem for the Passover. And so they all recognized the languages that they were speaking. And so there was some immense power that happened right there. And then Peter took that opportunity and preached the sermon, which resulted in 3000 baptisms, and that was the kingdom established with power that Jesus had promised.
In Matthew in Mark Chapter nine. And so he gives his disciples a glimpse of the glory in John Chapter 17 verses one through five. It said after Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed Father, The hour has come. Glorify your son that your son may glorify you for you. Granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life that they know you. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on Earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. And so Jesus came to Earth.
He fulfilled his purpose. And now he was returning to God. He was praying, God, I'm going to come back to you. I'm going to. When I'm done on that cross, I'm going to be able to say it is finished.
And when he says it is finished, it means he has accomplished the task he came to accomplish and he came to Earth as us. To us, for us, so that we too can have the opportunity to one day be glorified with God, and so Jesus spoke of that eternal glory that he had with his father.
So now we go to Revelation Chapter one, where the Apostle John is is seeing these astonishing visions and he's attempting is. I just feel so sorry for the Apostle John trying to put into English words that what he has seen. And of course, the best that he could come up with is symbols. Let's, let's put it in symbols and hope. Well, chapter one is a wonderful description of the magnificence of Jesus. Verses 10-17, he says. On the Lord's Day, I was in the spirit and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said, Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches. I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands, and among the lamp stands was someone like a son of men dressed in a robe, reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool as white as snow. And his eyes were like flaming fire. His feet were like bronze, glowing in a furnace. And his voice was like the sound of rushing waters in his right hand. He held seven stars and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the living one. I was dead and now look, I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. That was a glimpse of Jesus that John was given looking up into heaven.
And that's the best that he could come up with. I would suggest when we come face to face with Jesus, it will be even far beyond what we read in this description. We will be so overwhelmed, and so the Bible gives us these pictures of this returning Jesus, the glory he had from before the foundation of the world and is stripped away. The human shell that and and showed to his disciples what he was before he came. But here's the thing. He didn't die so that he could taste glory. He died so that we could taste glory.
And as I said, he came to us as us. For us, of course, the lesson on the Mount of Transfiguration, like I already said, was that the New Testament, the new covenant that Jesus established supplanted the old. And Jesus says in John, 12:48, I have not come to judge the world. The word that I have spoken will be the judge on the last day, and I found that very interesting because we always think of this judgment scene revelation talks about it and we and there are various passages that talk about this judgment that we will be receiving and we always think, Well, we're going to go up in front of God. And a Revelation 20 tells us that books are going to be opened and our names are going to be found in the lamb's book of Life and and all of those good things. But when Jesus says, I haven't come to judge, the word that I have spoken will be the judge on the last day. This is actually the judge right here. This is what judges us when we go. If you are driving through a school zone and it said you drive at 20 miles an hour and no cell phones allowed and you zip through at 40 miles an hour and you're looking at your cell phone and a cop catches you.
Do you think he will just give you a ticket or arrest you? I think he will arrest you. You will. You will end up in front of a judge. You have already been found guilty because you saw the sign. It said 20. No cell phones. You broke it. You have already. You have judged yourself on the basis of the word that is the judge. And when you appear before God, the judge, the righteous judge, all he needs to do, just as in the law of court is proclaim is decide what the sentence will be. And so when Jesus says that what he says there is makes me feel a whole lot more serious about what we read in the word of God. Because this is our opportunity to do right by obeying what it says.
But a lot of people. Try to just when Peter decided, well, we'll build a Temple to Jesus and to Moses and to Elijah. What he was trying to do was curry favor with everything. And that's one of the downfalls of the world, the religious world today, even in Christianity.
We try to build altars to things other than only Jesus, and we bring in. It's called assimilation. And when you look at church history and some of the different movements that are out there that have assimilated with other religions and secular ideas and things like that, it waters the church down.
And so God says to him, No, no, no, no, no, not that. You only listen to Jesus. And so we need to be so vigilant, making sure that when we apply the word to our life, it is only the word and not what the world says the world.
The word means, but enough of that. What I really want to talk about is this metamorphosis aspect. In second Corinthians Chapter three verses nine through 17, Paul discussing the New Covenant as being superior to the old and what was going on was that the Jews were resisting it. They were resisting this new covenant. We know that they, some Jews, came to him and they were converted, but many of them were against him. And so he was trying his best. There were Jews who were so much against Paul that they decided that they were going to not eat or drink until they had killed him. And I guess they ended up starving to death because he was not killed by them. But what he says? So talking about the Jews struggling or not being willing to accept this new way of things, this new messiah, this new covenant, he says this in second Corinthians three verses nine through 17.
If the ministry that brought condemnation (He's talking about the old covenant now,) if the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious. How much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness for what was glorious has no glory now. The Old Testament has been done away because Jesus is here.
In comparison with the surpassing glory and what was transitory came with glory. How much greater is the glory of that which lasts? And so if there was glory in the Old Testament and there was there were incredible heroes of the faith that appeared and who did astonishing things in the name of God in the Old Testament.
It was a time of glory. But how much more the covenant that we live under that compared to this covenant, that one is nothing. Then he continues in verse twelve, he says. Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. But even to this day, he says, when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the spirit, and with the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom in context. He's talking about freedom from the old law verse 18 and we all and listen to this one. We all with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord's glory and are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the spirit.
And so when we begin to look at Jesus and emulate Jesus and internalize Jesus, then we too grow from one degree of glory to another. And so we too are, if you like, metamorphisized or transformed in Ephesians Chapter four verses eleven to 16, this kind of also explains a little.
It says so. Christ himself gave apostles, prophets, evangelists and the pastors and teachers to equip these people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. And what he's telling us right there is as we grow in Christ, we are being changed into his likeness. Verse 14, he says. Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there, by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Now what he's saying right there is the the more we imbibed the word and the more we internalized Jesus and his teachings, the more we will be able to resist those who are cunning and crafty. And what he's telling us right there is that we need to be vigilant and be careful of people who are going to bring a false gospel, the kind of gospel that the Apostle Paul says. If we, if anyone preaches to you a different gospel, let him be accursed. That's in Galatians chapter one. So then in verse 15, he says, instead speaking the truth in love we will grow to become in every respect, the mature body of him, who is the head that is Christ from him. The whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work. And we recognize that that each part of us, every single member of us is a part of that body.
We are all a member and it was wonderful yesterday watching people operate when we were eating hamburgers and baked beans and all those other good things. We got the notice. Lisa and I read the the newsletter and it said twelve of the twelve get your at twelve. Well, it said that begins at twelve. So we are OK. We'll do good. We'll get there at seven minutes to twelve. That's good. Well, we were late. I mean, we were like three hours late because we found that at from 9:00 already, they were cooking burgers and doing all kinds of interesting things. Everything was set out and ready to eat. And so we will not make that mistake next time. I am happy to say that we did get here before we were allowed to start dishing up. So that was a very good thing. But up watching everybody operate, even the older ladies went into the kitchen at the end and they were cleaning up and they were just doing their thing. And I was I said to one of them, I'd like to come and help you. And she said, No, you don't. She's the only woman are allowed in there because men don't know how to clean. Properly. OK. What can I do? Well, you can take the garbage out. I can do that. So I watched Paul and who else? Johnny take the garbage out. I watched them, but I learned. So maybe next time I may take the garbage out. But I know what I won't do is help clean up the kitchen because I don't know how to clean.
And you know what? My wife will back that up, so we're good on that, but we're never too old to learn and to grow. And you're not. Somebody would come along and they'd say, Oh, but hold on. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Well, the thing is, first of all, we're not dogs. And number two, these are not tricks that we need to learn. What these are is all about being having a quiet, strong, willful, focused, humble obedience that brings glory not only to Christ, but ultimately even to ourselves. Because when God places his glory on our heads just as he plays, says his glory on the head of his son. We, too, will receive that glory when we glorify the Sun, especially when He hands us the crown of righteousness.
And he says to us, Well done, my good and faithful servant. That's us he's talking about. How exciting is that to to know in spite of the ailments that we have on planet Earth, we have a glory that is going to be given to us one day and we're going to feel really good about it.
And that feeling is going to last for eternity. How can we not smile and be happy when we hear good news like that? And so the invitation is extended and you're invited to participate in that glory that God wants us to have as we stand and as we sing.