Thursday, August 24, 2017
Remember Who We Will Be (2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2)

First United Methodist Church

Glen Rose, Texas

January 27, 2013


Series: Memory Check

 “Remember Who We Will Be”

(2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2)

Rev. Billy D Strayhorn

INTRODUCTION:

     Every moment of every day can be seen as an opportunity to worship God. Every place we go can be a sanctuary. With hearts in tune with Christ our Savior, we can see God everywhere.

     So, far we remembered our Baptism. Calling to mind that time in our lives when we were plunged into new life and a life of faith in Christ; a time when our hearts were sprinkled and made clean; a time when God’s Holy Spirit was poured into our lives.

     We’ve looked at Who We Were and how our Past might Determine who we are but it doesn’t Define who we are. God is the one who Defines us.

     And through Peter God says: [We] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that [we] may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once [we] were not a people, but now [we] are God's people; once [we] had not received mercy, but now [we] have received mercy.”

     Last week we looked at a number of things God says about us. God has our name inscribed on God’s hand. God calls us by name because we belong to God as children of God and heirs of the Kingdom; Friends of Christ; Forgiven, Saved; God’s own people. We also looked at how to remember Who We Are through the spiritual disciplines of Worship, Prayer, Daily Devotions and Bible Study.

     And today we come to Remember Who We Will Be. Remembering the future might sound like something out of science fiction. It seems totally improbable and impossible. And yet, Jesus gave us glimpse of who God is shaping us to be. As God’s children, as God’s own People, God wants us to have that family resemblance. God wants us to be like Christ.

PRAYER

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 (NRSV)

 [3:12] Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness,  

 [13] not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside.  

 [14] But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside.  

 [15] Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds;  

 [16] but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  

 [17] Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  

 [18] And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.  

 [4:1] Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.  

 [2] We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.

I. TRANSFORMING US:

     A. Paul says we “are being transformed into the image [of Christ] from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” John Wesley called this being shaped by the Holy Spirit as moving on to Perfection through the Sanctifying Grace of God.  However we put it, it’s a small snapshot of Who God is shaping us to become. And just like being the second or third day of travel on a long journey, while we’re not there yet, we know our destination. We know where we are going. Because God is shaping us and leading us we can actually Remember Who We Will Be.

     I want you to notice one thing, the verb used here is active; “We are BEING transformed.” It implies that some of the work has already been accomplished. The fact that you’re here points to that. It’s not just about what happened in the past, it’s about the next step in our journey of faith and how God is transforming us from one degree of glory to another.

     B. According to German folklore there once was a wicked man who fell in love with a saintly girl He knew he didn’t have a chance at all, so he put on the mask of a saint to woo and win this saintly girl he loved. It worked and they were married.

     Years later when a cast-off girlfriend discovered the deception, she challenged him to take off the mask in front of his beloved and show his face for the sorry thing he was. He did what he was told only to discover that underneath the saint's mask, his face had become the face of a saint.

     The transformation Jesus offers us is the real deal. It’s not just a mask we wear. It’s not just words we speak. Our participation in all the Spiritual Disciplines is how God slowly transforms us into the Saint God wants us to be. It’s how God is transforming us into the image of His Son.

II. TRANSFORMING THE WORLD:

     A. But we need to remember that God is not transforming us simply for the sake of transforming us. God is transforming us so we can be the Disciples Jesus calls us to be. Disciples who are Transforming the World. As God’s children, as heirs of the kingdom, as God’s own people we are called to be about God’s work in the world today. The last thing Jesus did was to give the Disciples and the church its marching orders.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NRSV)

[19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  

[20] and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  

     We are being Transformed so we can become Disciples while making Disciples for the Transformation the world. Our spiritual disciplines are part of that transforming process in our lives.     B. But one of the best tools God has for transforming the world is you. The church has tools to equip you and help you Remember Who You Are Going To Be.

     Let me remind of just a couple of those tools. We are called to be card carrying evangelists or transformers or disciples however you want to put it.

     The Why I Am A Christian card created using Adam Hamilton’s outline.

          1. I believe the accounts of eyewitnesses. You simply talk about the Gospel accounts.

          2. Because of the Christian Ethic. Most world religions have an ethic of retribution or justice. The Christian ethic stands that on its head and says “love your enemy, do good to those who despise you.”

          3. The compelling picture of God in Jesus. When we look upon the face of Jesus we see the heart and soul of God. Jesus’ life, words, message are so compelling that we can hardly not follow.

          4. The redemptive power of the cross. We live in a fallen world. The word we use is Sin. Our sin, our disobedience caused a great chasm to open between us and God. God’s love for us is so deep, God sent His only Son, who gave His life on the cross for us.

          5. The hope given because of life after death. Christianity is the only religion which offers the hope and promise of resurrection.

          6. My own personal experience. And then share how this has impacted you. (4)

     C. SPIRIT Cards: If someone wants to go deeper, use these to talk about how to live your faith.

     D. 1,2,3,4 Card. This outlines who we are as United Methodists. It’s easy to remember. We believe in One God. We live by 2 kinds of Holiness: Personal and Social. We follow 3 simple rules: Do no harm, Do good, Stay in love with God; and we have 4 work areas of focus: Developing leaders, Creating places for new people, Eliminating poverty and Improving health globally.

     E. And then there’s our Business Card or Invitation Card. You can use it to leave a word of encouragement for someone, you can use it as a personal invitation for them to join you for worship or Sunday School or some other event in the church. Making Disciples is our business, so take advantage our business cards. If you run out, we always have more, either on the AV counter or in the Church Office. If we run out, I’ll have more printed but we need to be about God’s business of Transforming the world.        In 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NRSV) Paul writes So we are ambassadors for Christ, God is making his appeal through us. . .” 

     Remember Who We Will Be.

CONCLUSION:

     There is an old story about two brothers. They were likeable enough young men but they had a little bit of a wild streak. It got so wild that they became sheep thieves. They earned their money by stealing sheep from the local farmers. As happens to all thieves, one day they were caught.

     Rather than kill them or imprison them, the villagers decided to brand the two brothers on the forehead with the letters S. T. for sheep thief. The action so embarrassed the one young man that he ran off, never to be heard from again. The other brother was so filled with remorse that he chose to stay and try to reconcile himself to the villagers he had wronged.

     At first the villagers were skeptical. Most of them wouldn't have anything to do with him. But he was determined to make reparation for his offenses. Whenever there was sickness, the sheep thief was there to help care for the sick person. Whenever there was work that needed to be done, the sheep thief showed up to help. It made no difference whether the person was rich or poor, the sheep thief was there to lend a helping hand. Soon he was an integral part of the community, never accepting pay for anything he did. His life was lived for others. As a consequence, he was a friend of all and well-respected.

     Years later, a traveler came through the town. As he sat at the sidewalk cafe eating his lunch, he noticed the well-respected old man with the strange scars on his forehead, sitting at a table nearby. It seemed that everybody in town stopped to pay their respects or share a kind word. Even the children stopped to play or give and receive an affectionate hug.

     The stranger's curiosity was peaked and he asked the cafe owner about the old man, "What does that strange brand on his forehead stand for?" 

     The cafe owner, a contemporary of the old man, thought for a moment then said, "It happened so long ago that I don't rightly remember. But I think it stands for Saint."

     Hopefully it won’t take that long or that level of sin in your life but God wants to Transform you so you can Transform the world. God wants you to Remember Who We Will Be. God is “transforming us from one degree of glory to another” a disciple, a saint, a transformer and an ambassador for Christ.

     Remember Who We Will Be and let the Transformation begin.

This is the Word of the Lord for this day.

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