Not many people are happy with themselves. We all want to be thinner or stronger, taller or shorter. We want to be happier, healthier, smarter — you name it. We have a myriad of things we’d like to change about ourselves.
The Christian life also 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 even then, spiritual and moral growth don’t come easily for us. Especially when it comes to patterns of sin, we experience change only with difficulty. One of our most important questions is this: Where can I find the power for permanent change in my life? Pastor John addressed this question in one of his sermons, “The Life-Giving Voice of the Son of God,” 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. (John 1:14–16)
The way I understand it, when God grants us the eyes to see Jesus for who he really is (that is, glorious), spiritual recognition comes into our souls. And along that beam of glory comes powerful grace, “grace upon grace.” That grace changes you in ways you didn’t even know you needed to be changed. God will work things in this room tonight that you can’t predict. He will work things designed for you by you hearing the word and seeing the glory of Christ. Paul said, “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). That is how people change. They see Jesus.
More Than Knowledge
In every sermon, I want to help people see Jesus. I want to unfold some new glimpse of the glory of Christ. I want to say it as clearly and faithfully to the text as I can. I want to call down the anointing of the Holy Spirit on myself and the opening of the Holy Spirit for you. I want the light to shine into your heart, so that grace upon grace flows down the beam of God’s glory into your heart, and the power of God’s grace changes you in ways you don’t even know you need to be changed. I want things to be awakened. I want you to walk with God like you never thought you could experience. I want you to relate to and lean on him, to enjoy him, to be satisfied in him, and to follow him. I want him to raise up all that in your hearts.
“The more you see Jesus, the more you savor him, know him, treasure him.”
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, like tasting honey. In this faith, the more you see of Christ as he really is in his word, by his Spirit, the more you taste him. The more you see Jesus, the more you savor him, know him, treasure him. These experiential dimensions of faith change you. As long as you are just thinking thoughts about him, you don’t change. But when you start tasting the glory of those thoughts, when satisfaction in Christ lands on you, changes happen.