Sunday May 23 Pentecost Sunday

CHANGED

There is a parable given in Luke 10:30-35.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho,

and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment,

and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:

and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him,

and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:

and  when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

and went to him and bound up his wounds,

pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast,

and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

And on the morrow when he departed he took out two pence,

and gave them to the host, and said unto him,

‘Take care of him; and whatever you spend more,

when I come again, I will repay you.’”

This is a familiar parable that most of us were first introduced to in Sunday School. And, we have been blessed with its teaching in many subtle ways. This day I would suggest perhaps a slightly different point of view than that of the norm – this man’s life has been greatly and forever changed. Changed by the One who arrived at just the right time to save the man. If I may be permitted to identify our ‘good Samaritan’ as our ‘Good Shepherd,’ and the victim of crime as each of us.

There we are, as we once were, victims of cruel predatory assault, laying broken and bruised, stripped of all wealth and import, sprawled in the dust of the earth from which we came, helpless to help ourselves. This represented our state after the ‘fall.’ The enemy of our soul easily overpowered us and left us to die in the sand. Impoverished, we lay fallen, unable to regain our footing. We needed saving – someone, from outside of ourselves was needed to raise us up and so save us.

And if I may continue the thought, religion would not and could not save us for ‘the priest passed by on the other side.’ Our heritage or family could not save us for ‘the Levite passed by the other side.’ Only one – The One could and would save us. And in saving us He has made us new – He has changed what He found into someone of worth and value.

And so it is when Christ is allowed to reach down and take our hand.

In our parable above it states that as the man lay in ruin “by chance” religion stopped by, and “likewise (by chance)” family/heritage dropped by, yet for our good Samaritan “came to where he was.”

This speaks of directed purpose. Listen to Galatians 4:4:

“But when the fullness of the time had come,

God sent forth His Son, born of a woman,

born under the law.”

Jesus came at a precise and perfect moment.

And as He “came to where he was,” so He came to where we were – each one of us – right where we were – right where we are.

The man in our parable had a life-changing encounter.

He was changed for the better – He was changed by the Best!

I use this phrase to introduce a song I penned some years ago based upon this parable. It is titled, ‘I’ve Been Changed.’1

Chorus:          I’ve been changed for the better, I’ve been changed by the Best;

                        I was beaten, I was robbed, left in the dust,

                        Now I’m healed and restored, declared just,

                        I’ve been changed!

I was stomped on, stepped around, left for dead

But He lifted me up now I’m alive instead.

And He paid the price; He anointed my head, I’ve been changed!

From the dungeons of Hell to Heaven’s throne room;

From begging in the streets to the side of the Bridegroom;

From a grave I deserved to an empty tomb; I’ve been changed!

From pride and rebellion my mind’s been renewed;

From my self-righteousness my sin’s been removed;

From a slanderous tongue, my worship’s approved; I’ve been changed!

From a lie to the truth; from water to wine;

From the sentence of death to life for all time;

From mortal flesh to a nature divine; I’ve been changed!

When He comes for me in the twinkling of an eye;

And catches me up as He cleaves the sky;

Pardon me! but I’ve gotta’ cry; I’ve been changed!

 

We often fail to appreciate the degree to which we have been changed.

Once we are ‘in Christ’ we are completely new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it this way.

“Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation;

old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

All things are becoming new. Every aspect of our life. All things.

I am continually amazed at the lengths fallen man will go to in avoiding being changed by God in this way.

God desires to change us into the image of His Son as stated in Romans 8:29.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate

to be conformed to the image of his Son . . .”

Fallen man, on the other hand, desires to conform God into some earthly image.

Psalm 106:20 is startling in this respect:

“The people made a calf at Mount Sinai.

They bowed before an image made of gold.

They traded their glorious God

for a statue of a grass-eating bull.”

(NLT)

Again, Jeremiah 2:11 says much the same thing (NLT):

“Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones,

even though they are not gods at all?

Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.”

The New Testament continues the same thought in Romans 1:23 and 25 (KJV):

“And, [mankind], changed the glory of the uncorruptible God

into an image  made like to corruptible man,

and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

Who changed the truth of God into a lie,

And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator

Who is blessed forever, Amen.”

It is a foolhardy effort on the part of man to try and change the unchangeable God. 2  

And it is likewise foolhardy to try to change one’s self. We all need a touch from the hand of God and a kiss from the Holy Spirit.

And Oh, the changes He has wrought, in those He has redeemed!

And what has He changed?

Consider.

Where once I was lost, I am now found. Luke 19:10,

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

When once we were slaves to sin He has set us free. Romans 7:14,

“. . . sold under sin . . “

Sold, as in, on a slave dock, in need of Someone to purchase.

We have been lifted to the highest heavenlies. Ephesians 2:6 (KJV):

“And has raised us up together, and made us sit together

In heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

We have been raised from our graves to new life. ! Corinthians 15:54-55 KJV:

“. . . Death is swallowed up in victory.

Oh death, where is thy sting?

Oh grave, where is thy victory?”

From defeat to victory!

No longer slaves but heirs with Christ. Galatians 4:7 KJV:

“Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a son;

And if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

And we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit unto that day.

Sealed by the Holy Spirit as a down-payment for a greater change to come.

Changed from this mortal body into an immortal one – a spiritual one.

Returning to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 KJV:

“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,

but we shall all be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye,

at the last trump;

for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible

and we shall be changed.”

We are even now being changed into His image. Changed from glory to glory.

He has made us to be kings and priests according to Revelation 1:6.

He has promised to deliver us from every evil according to 1 Timothy 4:18.

And He has called us unto His eternal glory by Jesus Christ 1 Peter 5:10.

We were changed for the better at the moment of our new birth.

The changes continue daily, hour by hour. And there are changes in store for us upon that day.

Romans 6 encourages us to reckon so many of these changes to be so – to live a life in response to these established changes in us.

To see ourselves as changed creatures – totally new.

As we face the coming days let us rejoice in our new beings.

Let us follow the admonition of Romans 12:1-2 as it calls us to:

“I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,

that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable,

unto God which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed

By the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Can we acknowledge all the changes in our standing in Christ?

Will we continue to work with the Holy Spirit and allow the molding to continue?

And certainly, let us rejoice with those things yet to be done in us and through us in Christ Jesus.

I’ve been changed for the better; I’ve been changed by the Best.

Change my heart Oh God! Amen

1  R.T.Muir I’ve Been Changed 1998

2  Hebrews 13:8

 

 

 

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty God. Maker of heaven and earth. Creator of every star, every grain of sand, every piece of pitch black, every particle of sunlight, every ounce of water, every volcanic rock, every whale in the ocean, every single-celled creature, every blood-red ruby, every ribbon of agate, every lush forest, every dry desert, every mollusk that crawls on the ocean floor, every human being who walks the earth. Lord, the great diversity and beauty of all that You have made makes us fall on our faces before You and cry: “Holy. Holy. Holy is the Lord God Almighty! Blessed be Your name! Great are You Lord, and greatly to be praised!”

You are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Covenant bearers. You are the Holy One of Israel. Hallelujah! We worship You Lord with humble hearts full of praise and gratitude. There is no one like You! Father, we remember how You brought Israel out of Egypt with Your strong and mighty right arm. Wow! We remember how You brought Your people across the Red Sea on dry ground. Wow! We remember how You showed every Egyptian god to be false and powerless and how You drowned the Egyptian army in the sea. Wow! We remember how You provided for Your people in the desert and led them to Mount Sinai. Incredible! We remember how You gave Moses the law on tablets of stone. Wow!  We remember how You revealed Yourself to Moses in the details of the Tabernacle. Wow! We remember how You led Your people through the desert as a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day. Wow! We remember how You provided water from the rock and how You provided food for every day in the heavenly manna. Wow! And we could go on Lord, there is no end to the amazing acts You have performed for Your people and there is no end to the miracle acts of provision that You have performed for Your people. Wow! Lord there is no one like You! Hallelujah!

Lord, so many of our people need Your miracle provision today:

(Please take time to thoughtfully pray for each one throughout the week, doing a few each day. Let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts and your words as you pray. Add names of others you can think of to the list as you go along. Please include the names of children and grandchildren as well.)

 

 

Brittany and William Ellie and Bob Lorelie and Gary
Christina and her daughter Judy and Tom Andrea and Brian
Ila Wanda and her husband Teresa and Larry
Betty Linda Rachel and Jacob
Marge Carolyn Eleanor
Matthew Amanda Lorelie and Jason
Tony Pixie and Ollie Wilma and Ray
Teresa and her daughter Bev and Samantha Darlene
Ashton Skye Charity and Matthew Melissa and her son
Amanda A. Sarah and our Korean friends from Toronto  
Walter M. Aliece Henry  
     
     
     
     

 

We look to You for answers Father. We look to You for solutions. We look to You for provisions. We look to You for comfort. We look to You for healing. Glory to God!

Change our hearts Lord according to Your Word. Shape us. Mold us. Recondition us. Repair us. Exasperate us if need be. But please never give up on us. We belong to You and we give ourselves wholeheartedly to You. Have Your Way Lord.  As we submit to Your guidance Lord, change us for the better, from glory to glory into the express image of Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus. And may Jesus indeed be glorified in and through our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

 

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