Sermon 16 June 23 Ezekiel 36:26-28; 2 Corinthians 3:2-6 Matt 23:25-28 Introducing “Heart Change”
Eze 36:26-28: Who is taking primary action in this passage? Notice the series of actions in the passage and how “then” something else occurs. What is that something else? When a person has a “heart of stone” or a “divided” heart, what does that mean to you? What is the opposite of that? Does the following of decrees and laws start the action in this passage?
Matt 23:26: My “dirty cup” sermon was about this theme. According to the passage what is more important, outside change or inside change, external appearances or internal attitude?
2 Cor 3:3: How do you become a letter from Christ according to this passage? Why might Paul mention tablets of stone in this context? Where does Life come from and live according to Paul?
Table Talk Questions (after the message, as final preparations for the meal are made, you are invited to sit at table and have conversation around these two questions:
Given the definition of — and distinction between — “Technical” challenges and Adaptive challenges (which Pastor Pete will share) identify together three Technical challenges CCC is facing, and then discuss what you think her greatest Adaptive challenge is. Be sure to not use up all the time on question 1. That will be tempting, but question two is the important one today! Be ready to report just before we eat. After the meal we will move into a talking circle conversation on the same topic.
Summary: The expectation of the Transition Process is usually mainly looking for a ‘technical’ result. That means people expect that Pastor Pete would say “this needs oil” or “this needs to be done away with” or “Pastor So and So was the whole problem” or “the congregation is the whole problem” or “if only you painted the ceiling purple all would be fine” and then you would diligently and dutifully go about trying to fix it. The reality of true transitional change is that it comes from deeper. It comes from within. It comes from”above” working within.
In the Matthew passage Jesus warns about making things look good on the outside (technical, superficial, cosmetic, plastic surgery change) while the inside is misguided, corrupt and dark.
In the Ezekiel passages God promises it will be possible for people to have deep internal change – heart change – and that inside change will automatically bring them into compliance with God’s law and into being fully God’s people.
In the Corinthian passage Paul paints a picture of the kind of witness (or letter to the world) believers living out their Heart Change can be. They don’t need technical endorsements in the form of certification. Their lives are a beautiful letter giving glory to God.
Jesus’ forgiveness and permission to us to be open about the struggles of our hearts, to confess, to not be perfect, and then to be cleansed and purified by God’s grace and free to live imperfectly but loved–that is the key to real, lasting, God glorifying change. Anything else is window dressing.
The more people in any given congregation who are experiencing deep change, heart change, the healthier it will be for kingdom purposes. That is the main thing that needs to happen.
That kind of heart change only comes from God.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
when people are open God doing that in and through them, things begin to change…
It is deep, not surface, not superficial. It happens inside, and then begins to show on the outside in the fruit of the spirit, not legalistic obedience.
May we bear ever increasing fruit for God’s Glory here at CCC