SERMON DATE AND TITLE:20120325: "The Transforming Power of Jesus"

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Sheepfold Ministries - March 25, 2012

Pastor Phil Roland


The Transforming Power of Jesus

ACTS 4:10-14

"I am amazed at the many ways people will attempt to improve themselves. There is only one way we can truly change our lives. It is through a personal, one-on-one encounter with the risen living Jesus."       Pastor Phil

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Three Common Ways People Attempt to Change Themselves:

I.  RESTORATION: Outside In - Deut. 33:25b; 1 Peter 1:24-25

"Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be."

"All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

          A. Self-Discipline: Diet and Exercise - 1 Timothy 4:8

            "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things,

             having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come."

                        1. Restore what has been lost

                        2. Get back Youthful energy and zest

                        3. Treadmills, Stationary Bikes, Stair Climbers

                        4. Aquatic Therapies

                        5. Marathons

                        6. Futility: Jack La Lane's Death at 96, Father of Fitness

            B. Cosmetics and Restorative Treatments - 1 Samuel 16:7

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the

             height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not

             see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD

             looks at the heart."

                        1. Cosmetics and Gimmicks of all kinds

                        2. Surgery - Facial - Dental - Lipo - Stomach Stapling - Botox 

            C. Restoration is like the Atlantic Blue Crab

                        1. The Blue Crab sheds its exoskeleton once a month

                        2. Literally, eats itself out of its outer shell

                        3. The shell doesn't grow: as the crab grows, the shell bursts

                        4. Crab becomes vulnerable to predation, even its own kind

                        5. For the crab, metamorphosis is dangerous

            D. Restoration at this point is like an addict in withdrawal

                        1. Emotions return with unresolved sorrow and grief

                        2. They become thin-skinned and prone to relapses

                        3. Escape the hard work of sobriety back into their addictions



II.  REFORMATION: Inside Out - Acts 8, Esp. vs. 17-19

"Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

            A. Simon wrongly believed he could purchase God's power

                        1. By-passes the inner work of the Holy Spirit on human hearts

                        2. God's Spirit has never been for sale

                        3. God's Approval cannot be manipulated by man's devises

            B. There is a Worldly side to the 12-Step Movement

                        1. If you attempt to reform yourself, you will fail

                        2. Step One is Powerlessness

                                    a. Admit to yourself: the addiction leaves you w/o power

                                    b. You have a complete lack of self-control

                                    c. "To Try is to Die!"

                        3. Step Two is Acknowledgement

                                    a. Admit you need a power "greater than yourself"

                                    b. 12-Stepers call it your "Higher Power"

                        4. Step Three is Relinquishment

                                    a. Release your Death Grip on the Problem

                                    b. Give Control to the Power "greater than yourself"

            C. Unless you Turn yourself over to Jesus, this is only Reformation

                        1. Turn your Broken Total Self over to Jesus

                        2. He can heal your damaged Will / Drive


III.  TRANSFORMATION, Healing by Miraculous Change

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus."    Acts 4:13
A. Peter and John were Cowardly Men who Abandoned Jesus

                        1. The Crucifixion and Resurrection was only weeks Before

                        2. They were Common men: untrained, unlearned, illiterate

                        3. They hid at Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial

                        4. They hid: Locked in their homes: Fearful for their lives

            B. Now, they were Proclaiming Christ w/Great Boldness

                        1. What Happened?  Why the Transformation?  Difference?

                        2. Their Antagonists were Powerless

                           ". . .And they realized that they had been with Jesus."

3. These were not Restored or Reformed men

                        4. Peter and John were Transformed by the Power of God

                        Romans 1:16
                        "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of

                         God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and

                         also for the Greek."  (Power of God = "Dynamis")





            C. They were Eyewitnesses to the Great Miracle of Resurrection       

            "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is

             liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory

             of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,

             just as by the Spirit of the Lord."    2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV)
1. What you Look At has the Power to Change You

                        2. Have You Been With Jesus?

                        3. Have you Experienced His Life-Changing Power?

          D. Metaphor of the Metamorphosis of the Caterpillar to a Butterfly

                        1. Ugly, hairy, green worm becomes the radiant Butterfly

                        2. The mature Caterpillar prepares its own "Cocoon Casket"

                        3. The Caterpillar sheds its own skin to Prepare for it's Death

                        4. Remains up to Forty Days as a Chrysalis

                        5. Inside, the Caterpillar Dies and Decomposes

                        6. A Spark of Life Remains in the Chrysalis

                        7. The Developing New Life Feeds off the Old

                        8. That Spark Transforms Itself slowly into a New Life Form

                        9. Finally, the New Life Form struggles out of the Chrysalis

                        10. If there is no struggle, the New Life Dies

            E. "When Christ Calls a man, He bids him to come and Die!"

                        Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "The Cost of Discipleship"

                        1. German Lutheran Pastor and Theologian

                        2. Involved in 1943 in German Resistance Plot to Kill Hitler

                        3. Executed, Hung just before the end of WWII, April 1945


There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly



Acts 4:1-14 (NKJV)
1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,
2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,
6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.





        Back in the 50s, there was a well-known radio host/comedian/song writer in Hollywood named Stuart Hamblen who was noted for his drinking, womanizing, partying, etc.

        One of his bigger hits at the time was: "I won't go hunting with you, Jake, but I'll go chasing women."

One day, along came a young preacher holding a tent revival. Hamblen had him on his radio show, presumably to poke fun at him.

        In order to gather more material for his show, Hamblen showed up at one of the revival meetings. Early in the service, the preacher announced, "There is one man in this audience who is a big fake." There were probably others who thought the same thing, but Hamblen was convinced he was the one the preacher was talking about -- some would call that conviction -- but he was having none of that.

        Still, the words continued to haunt him until a couple of nights later he showed up drunk at the preacher's hotel door around 2 a.m. demanding that the preacher pray for him! The preacher refused, saying, "This is between you and God, and I'm not going to get in the middle of it." However, he invited Stuart in, and they talked until about 5 a.m., at which point Stuart dropped to his knees and with tears, cried out to God.

        That is not the end of the story. Stuart quit drinking, quit chasing women, quit everything that was 'fun.' Soon, he began to lose favor with the Hollywood crowd. He ultimately was fired by the radio station when he refused to accept a beer company as a sponsor.

        Hard times were upon him. He tried writing a couple of Christian songs, but the only one that had much success was "This Old House," written for his friend Rosemary Clooney.

        As he continued to struggle, a long-time friend named John took him aside and told him, "All your troubles started when you got religion. Was it worth it all?" Stuart answered simply, "Yes."

        Then his friend asked, "You liked your booze so much, don't you ever miss it?" His answer was, "No." John then said, "I don't understand how you could give it up so easily."

Stuart's response was, "It's no big secret. All things are possible with God." To this John said, "That's a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it."

And as they say, the rest is history. The song Stuart wrote was "It Is No Secret."

"It is no secret what God can do.

What He's done for others, He'll do for you.

With arms wide open, He'll welcome you.

It is no secret, what God can do..."

By the way... the friend was John Wayne, and the young preacher who refused to pray for Stuart Hamblen?

That was Billy Graham.


According to SNOPES, this is a true story.