How Do I Change?
The following is a transcript of the audio.
Not many people are happy with themselves. We all want to be thinner or stronger, taller or shorter, happier, healthier, smarter, you name it. There’s a myriad of things we’d like to change about ourselves. The Christian life includes a process of change — change away from our self-centeredness and toward God-centeredness. We call this process of change, sanctification. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes this change possible, but that doesn’t mean our spiritual and moral growth comes easily for us. Especially when it comes to patterns of sin in our lives, change can be very hard. And one of the most important questions in our lives is this: Where can I find the power for permanent change in my life? It’s a question Pastor John addressed in one of his sermons on John 1:14–16. The sermon is titled, “The Life-Giving Voice of the Son of God” from back in 2009. Here’s a clip from the message.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'” For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
And so the way I understand it, when God grants us the eyes to see Jesus for who he really is, that is, glorious, a beam, a brilliant beam of glory, light, spiritual recognition comes into our souls. And along that beam comes powerful grace, grace upon grace. And that grace changes you in ways you don’t even know need to be changed. Things will be wrought in this room tonight, today that you can’t predict and are totally designed for you by your hearing the Word and by hearing it see the glory of Christ, because Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18: Beholding the glory of the Lord we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next. That is how people change. They see him.
So there is the agenda in every sermon. Unfold some new glimpse of the glory of Christ. Say it as clearly and as faithfully to the text as I can. Call down the anointing of the Holy Spirit on me and the opening of the Holy Spirit for you. Have the light shine into your heart, grace upon grace flows down the beam of that glory into your heart and the power of God’s grace changes you in ways you don’t even know that you need to be changed. Things are awakened. Possibilities of walking with God that you never thought you could experience, ways of relating and leaning on him, enjoying him, being satisfied in him, following him, rise up in your hearts.
I am talking about a kind of faith that is an experience. It is not just knowledge in your head. It is like eating bread and drinking water, tasting honey. And the more you see of Christ for who he really is in his Word, by his Spirit, the more you taste him, the more you savor him, the more you know him, the more you treasure him. And it is these experiential dimensions of faith which change you. As long as you are just thinking thoughts about him, you don’t get changed. But when you start tasting the glory of those thoughts, when satisfaction in Christ lands on you, changes happen.
Beautiful. That was an excerpt from the sermon titled, “The Life-Giving Voice of the Son of God,” from John Piper. It was preached on September 13, 2009, and you can find the entire sermon at desiringGod.org. Related, see one of our very earliest episode of this podcast series, titled: “The Essential Warfare for Holiness,” that was episode #13. Find it in the archive. But how do I get to the podcast archives, you ask? One of the easiest ways to find episode #13 and all of the now almost 400 other episodes is through the Ask Pastor John app for Apple and Android devices. The Ask Pastor John app is free of charge to you. In the updated app for the iPhone, you can access the entire archive of episodes. And you will see a search bar at the top of the screen. From here you can search all the titles. If you don’t see these features in your app, be sure to update. We have already heard from users who have been at coffee shops with friends who have a question, and have opened the app and searched, found, and played episodes and listened together. Which is very cool and encouraging to us! On the Android side of things, up until now, Android users could only access the last 8 episodes or so in the app. But our developers are putting the final touches on adding these valuable features — the entire archive, and the valuable search function. If you are an Android user, be sure to keep your eye out for the soon-to-come new release of the app to get all the new features that make it really easy to search and browse every episode we have released in the past and all the episodes we have planned ahead. Well, we will be back tomorrow to ask John Piper: Should we expect to hear the verbal voice of God today? Until then, I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanking you for listening to the Ask Pastor John podcast.
Related resource: The Life-Giving Voice of the Son of God