Jesus Transform Lives

Jesus Transforms Lives

John 8:3-12 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

What a powerful moment. Jesus’ light in that crisis transformed everything. However, Jesus transformed more than a lethal situation; everyone on the scene was transformed by what happened—not just the accused, but also the accusers, and even the audience.

The crowd was made up of visitors to the temple in Jerusalem for the Passover. What role did the audience play in the scene? Judging by their passivity, they remained spectators. They didn’t condemn the woman the way the religious leaders did. But they didn’t plead for her, either. They remained silently on the sidelines while a person’s life was at stake.

As the family of God, we gather in church to worship, sing, listen, and give. But if we’re not careful, we can end up being spectators when it comes to the sins of other people. Often when we see people in sin, rather than helping them out of it, we don’t do anything other than give them a few dollars and hope they stay away. We don’t want to get involved. We don’t want to be associated with them. Why are we like that? It could be because we feel guilty about our own sin. It could be we don’t want to be accused of the same sin. It could be we just don’t care.

We all have something in our lives that others could throw a stone at. And people seem to enjoy throwing “stones” and ruining reputations. Although they don’t actually use rocks today, people cowardly “throw stones” through social media. They say things online under a pseudonym that they would never have the courage to say face-to-face. I read about a hardworking young pastor who took a much needed vacation and posted a picture online of himself relaxing on the beach. Immediately, his post was deluged with hateful comments like, “It’s awful when preachers take their congregations’ money and spend it on luxurious living.”

Jesus is not like that. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

The woman was guilty of adultery, but Jesus didn’t condemn her. That was an amazing thing for Him to do. It still is today. What amazing grace and mercy He shows us when He tells each of us who repent, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin”. The love and forgiveness of Jesus has the power to transform our lives.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

In the crowd’s eyes, Jesus’ response was amazing. Nobody had ever considered this. And it immediately transformed them. They began to see what Jesus’ ministry was all about – overwhelming mercy and grace – and that changed the way they saw God. It also changed the way they saw their own sin.

Realizing you are not condemned—your sin is forgiven—and God loves you, transforms your life. It changes the way we look at others. It moves a complacent person from being a spectator to becoming an activist.

People everywhere are tired of dead religion. However, a relationship with Jesus gives us life, an abundant life. Having experienced the transforming grace and mercy of Jesus Christ ourselves, we are motivated by the Holy Spirit to share the good news with others so that they can be transformed, too. And when they see Christ’s radical love in our lives, it begins to transform their thinking—the way they see God and the way they see their sin. It is how we lead them to Jesus for the transformation that will give them abundant life.

Jesus will transform them just like He transformed the accused woman in this scene. Jesus turned the accused into the accepted. Instead of rejecting the adulterous woman, He accepted her. Jesus doesn’t condone sin, but He takes everyone who is weary of their own sin and is repentant and tells them, "neither do I condemn you," "Go now and leave your life of sin."

This acceptance by Jesus was crucial for the adulterous woman. Why? Because she still had to live in her community with the reality of what she’d done. You see, while it’s true there is no longer any condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, there are still consequences to sin. Ask any addict who’s gone through a recovery program. There are broken bonds to mend with family, friends, children, coworkers. In the case of adultery, there can be unwanted pregnancies, broken love with a spouse, strained relationships with children, betrayals of trust within a community—matters that can take years to be repaired.

I would not be faithful to God if I didn’t say that while Jesus loves you, accepts you, and forgives you, there is still a very real fallout to sin. That’s why our sin is of great concern to God beyond the moral reasons of law-breaking. His laws are for our benefit. Breaking His laws is not only a sin against God, it is damaging our hearts and lives. This is all the more reason to bring any and every sin to Jesus. Only His powerful, redeeming grace can fully restore our hearts and lives, and transform us into His image.

There was another group present that day: the accusers. The Pharisees’ self-righteous, accusing plan backfired on them. They publicly exposed the woman’s sin, but the sinful woman wasn’t condemned. Instead, she was forgiven and Jesus escaped their trap.

However, Jesus privately exposed the sin in their hearts and lives. They were transformed from self-righteous judges to realizing their own sin. They missed God’s forgiveness that day, but Jesus averted them from stoning a woman—something they would have to live with the rest of their lives. Hopefully, they later realized God’s mercy and grace were available for them, too, as well as for the woman they brought to Jesus.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus was asked two kinds of questions by the people He encountered, questions that revealed everything about the hearts of those asking.

The first type of question was accusatory. Time after time, religious leaders asked Christ, “Why do you eat and drink with sinners? How could you be sent by God with a reputation like that?”

The second kind of question came from people bearing the problems of life: “Would you heal my sick daughter?” “Would you deliver my son, who’s thrown into the fire by demons?” “Would you heal my bleeding problem, which has plagued me my whole life?”

Jesus answered both types of questions with his actions. First, He transformed the sinners, bringing them from the farthest margins of society to repentance to the very center of God’s love and Kingdom. Second, Christ cared about people’s problems. He didn’t just meet their need, but transformed their life in spirit, soul, and body.

Do you want a meaningful, significant role in God’s kingdom? Every time you bring those burdened by sin to Jesus, you take part in a great transformation. You will be changed by your actions and the sinner will be changed. Meanwhile, passive observers will be affected by the manifestation of God’s grace and mercy.

May we, as a church, draw to Jesus the addicted and the clean-living, the grieving and the carefree, the damaged and the blessed, the poor and the wealthy, the lonely and the lively, the tattooed and the preppy. Let every soul be loved and accepted. And may we all be transformed by the amazing grace of our Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus offers forgiveness to any that will confess, repent, and turn from their sin. That forgiveness cost Christ His life on the cross, but He loves you that much. The cure for sin is a repentant attitude, a loving Savior, and power from the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

The church is a community of forgiven sinners. The church does not reject sinners, and it does not condone sin. All of us are capable of these very sins and we have committed them. So we lovingly embrace all who repent, seek God’s forgiveness, and desire to live rightly before Him. We need each other’s encouragement to obey God’s Word in a perverted world. We are still being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Lastly, Jesus transforms people from death to life. The Bible is very clear that every person who is not saved does not have joy, faith, or eternal life. In fact, when God looks at their hearts He sees fear, doubt, and eternal death.

Jesus came to offer life, abundant life, and eternal life. You may wonder: How does a person receive this life? How is a person’s life transformed from fear to joy, from doubt to faith, and from death to life?

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John wrote his letter to convince us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That is why it is the most recommended Book to anyone who is beginning to read the Bible. He wrote to tell us that Jesus is the Savior of the world, the only One who can take away our sin and reconcile us to God. He alone can give us eternal life. He alone can take us to heaven. Are you convinced—do you believe?

There are basically two kinds of belief. One is intellectual faith. This is faith that believes in the facts of the Gospel.

You believe that Jesus was born of a Virgin. You believe that He lived a perfect life. You believe that He died to pay the penalty for sin. You believe that He was buried in a tomb for three days. You believe that after three days He rose again from the dead. You believe all of this, but have you ever made it personal, or it is simply an intellectual assent to the facts of history?

James tells us that the demons have this kind of faith. James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.

They were at Bethlehem, and they saw Jesus’ birth. They saw His sinless, perfect life, and try as they could, they could not get Him to sin. They saw Him go to the cross. They saw Him die. They saw Him buried. They saw Him rise from the dead. They saw all that and they believed that those things happened. They have an intellectual faith.

Well, I ask you, are they going to heaven? Are the demons saved? Of course not! Their destiny is eternal destruction in hell.

What you need is not intellectual faith but saving faith. This is not merely assenting to the facts of history. But it is going a step further and saying, “I believe that Jesus died and rose for me. I believe that He paid the penalty for my sin.” Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone to get you to heaven. Your badness can’t keep you out and your goodness can’t get you in. He is the only one who can save you, transform you, and take you to heaven. Do you believe that?

If so, I ask, “Has Jesus transformed your heart and life?” I don’t mean He has stirred your thinking. I don’t mean you agree with His teaching. I mean, has He given you a new life and transformed your mind and heart so much, that you are no longer the same person?

If not, you can give your life to Jesus today by confessing Him as Lord and the Son of God who died on the cross for your sin. Confess your sin and repent of it. Give it up. Then give Jesus your life by dying to it through baptism, and be raised a new person filled with the Holy Spirit. The transformation will have begun and will continue as you walk with Jesus. You will be amazed at the difference Jesus makes in your life.

  December 2017  
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