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The Power To Change Series

A story
3 merchants crossing Arabian Desert
Dark, starless night
Mysterious voice tell them to stop
Stoop, pick up pebbles and put in pocket
Told to leave and not to camp nearby
Also told that in the morning, they would be both happy and sad
In the morning, they checked their pockets and found jewels instead of pebbles
Happy they picked up jewels
Sad, they had not picked up more when they have the opportunity
Have we encounter similar situation when we are enlighten by the word of God
Feel happy for seeing the light or being enlighten, same time sad for if we had known earlier,
we would have enjoyed the blessings as a result of this new insight
Same for me as I prepare and study the lessons so much valuable lessons that I wished I
had known earlier as it would have helped me in my personal life, my relationship with God
and with others.
And so for the next 10 weeks, even if you have read Gal. 5:22-23 many times, I encourage
you not to miss the lessons as you will have the opportunity to discover or re-discover for
yourself what are the riches and blessings that God have in store for you in producing the fruit
of the Spirit. We want you to leave here richly blessed and not be sad later on in life for
missing out the jewels of Gods word.

New year new beginning - new year resolutions hands up


Good to have resolutions mean we want to do better whatever it may be get better
grades, manage finance better, better shape by losing weight, improve relationship with
spouse, family etc
No better resolution than to start the year with developing your character as mentioned in

Gal. 5:22-23

love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,

meekness, self-control.
22Subalit

ang bunga ng Espiritu ay pag-ibig, kagalakan, kapayapaan,


katiyagaan, kabaitan, kabutihan, katapatan, 23kahinahunan, at pagpipigil sa
sarili. Walang batas laban sa mga ito.
v

Back track to Jan 2011 similar resolutions end 2006, how many were kept, fulfilled?
Why cant we fulfill them can be lack of energy after few months, distractions and pressure
of work, family etc..
Maybe mainly because we try to do them with our own strength and effort, we lack the power
to do it.
Before we start on the series, it is timely that we revisit and re-look at the power of God that
we often take for granted or failed to appreciate what it really mean or what it can do for us

Power in the Bible


Power - occurs 57 times in NT
It tells us of Gods omnipotence and His ability to do great and mighty things and it was the
word that was used to describe one of the key events that happened in the NT the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.


Most important thing in life Paul
It was such a significant turning point in the bible and of such importance that Paul regarded it
as the most important thing in his life. We read in Phil. 3 that whatever Paul has in his life
-possessions, status, freedom - he counted it as loss just to know Christ and the power of his
resurrectionthat this power can change lives just as it has changed his.
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Phil. 3:10
v10Ang tanging hangarin ko ngayon ay lubusang makilala si Cristo, maranasan ang
kapangyarihan ng kanyang muling pagkabuhay, makibahagi sa kanyang mga paghihirap, at
maging katulad niya sa kanyang kamatayan v11upang ako man ay muling buhayin mula sa
mga patay.
Paul want others to know it too
Because of what it had done to his life, Paul want others to know about it too..
that you may knowthe surpassing greatness of his power towards uswhich he worked
in Christ in raising him from the dead - Eph. 1:18-20
v18Nawa'y liwanagan ng Diyos ang inyong isip upang malaman ninyo kung ano ang inyong
inaasahan sa kanyang pagkatawag sa inyo, kung gaano kasagana ang pagpapalang inilaan
niya para sa kanyang mga banal, v19at kung ano ang di-masukat na kapangyarihang kaloob
niya sa atin na mga nananalig sa kanya. Ang kapangyarihan ding iyon v20ang muling
bumuhay kay Cristo at nag-upo sa kanya sa kanan ng Diyos sa kalangitan. v21Kaya't nasa
ilalim ng kapangyarihan ni Cristo ang lahat ng paghahari, kapamahalaan, kapangyarihan, at
pamunuan sa kalangitan. Higit na dakila ang kanyang pangalan kaysa sa lahat, hindi lamang
sa panahong ito kundi maging sa darating.
Greek dunamis, root for dynamite
God want you to have the dynamite power in your life, the same power that raised Jesus from
the dead can be yours to transform the weaknesses in your life into strengths.

We know that Gods power can do mighty things but do we personally believe that it can do
many wondrous things in our lives?
Lets review what Gods power can do in our lives?

Gods power will


Cancel past
Whatever your past was failures, mistakes, sinsGods power can cancel them and He
does that through the power of Jesus resurrection.
Col. 2:13-14 God forgives us, cancel our debt by nailing it to the cross.
v13Kayong dating patay dahil sa kasalanan, kayong mga Hentil na hindi nasasakop ng
Kautusan ay binuhay ng Diyos na kasama ni Cristo. Pinatawad niya ang ating mga kasalanan
at v14pinawalang-bisa ang lahat ng naisulat na alituntunin laban sa atin, pati ang mga
pananagutang kaugnay nito. Pinawi niya ang lahat ng ito nang ipako siya sa krus.
Like an etching board after the mess, you can just wipe it and it will be clean again.
Whatever our mess, God can wipe it clean and give us newness of life. Not only that just as
he says in
Jer. 31:34 he will remember our sins no more. He chooses to forgive and forget our past so
that we can get on with the present.

Why he can do it because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross and we read in Rom. 8:1 that if
we are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation for our sins.
Yet one of the reasons why some of us feel powerless is because we cant seem to let go of
our past the result will limit our present opportunities and does not allow the power of God
to fully work in our lives.
Like Hot air balloon to climb higher, we need to let go of the bagsour baggage in our lives
We need to let go of our past get out of our constant state of regret, being burden with guilt
of past mistakes and sins because we are already forgiven and allow Gods power to work in
us. Remember Pauls encouragement in Phil. 3:13-14 forgetting what is behindI press on
toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Conquer problems
All of us have problems. Only people no problem no pulsedead. Real problem is what we
do with those problems that we have. Many try to solve it with own power and end up
frustrated, defeated.
Circumstances are like a mattress on top, rest easy under it, suffocate.
We cannot control circumstances but we can control our responses to it. We dont want to be
under it and only God can help us get on top of it.
For that, we need to take the focus off our problems and focus on Gods promises.
1st promise we are assured in
Rom 8:35-37 nothing shall separate us from Gods love and we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
v34Sino ang hahatol na sila'y parusahan? Si Cristo Jesus na pinatay, ngunit higit sa lahat ay
muling binuhay, ngayon ay nasa kanan ng Diyos upang mamagitan para sa atin. v35Sino ang
makapaghihiwalay sa atin sa pag-ibig ni Cristo? Ang kaguluhan kaya, ang kapighatian, paguusig, pagkagutom, kahirapan, panganib, o kamatayan?
2 things nothing shall separate us from Gods love not trouble, hardship, persecution,
famine and others
and we are more than conquerors however dark the situation may be, God can turn it
around and help us conquer themif only we will believe and let God take control.
Eg. Of apostles in first century in Acts 4. When the authorities threatened them, they didnt
ask God to stop the opposition. Instead they asked for boldness (v29) and it was granted
them (v31).
What then do we do with our problems? Bring it to God and be amazed by what He can do to
help you conquer them.
Change personality
We have seen that Gods power through Jesus resurrection can cancel your past, help you
conquer your problems and thirdly, it can also change your personality.
Many examples of changed lives were written in the bible Paul from a harden man out to
kill Christians to someone who forgives those that cause him to suffer
God can do that because for a start we are born again we are a new creature and have a
new life in Christ Jesus when we rise up from the watery grave of baptismhe has paved the
way for us to start anewto die to our old self and begin a new life in Christ Jesus.
Secondly when we respond in baptism, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our
Christian life is a beginning with a difference it is not to start anew but we have a new nature
and we have the indwelling Holy Spirit in us, to give us the power to change our lives.
As we will learn later in this series, how God changes our personality is by producing in us the
fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Gal. 5:22-23.
It is not something we work up through our own power but it is something that God produces
in us when we fully trust him and let the Holy Spirit control our lives.

The questions today is do you believe in Gods power? If we say that we believe in God and
the power of Jesus resurrection and yet continue to rely on our own strength to change our
ways, to do the work of the Lord, to try to bring someone to God and so on, we will often find
ourselves defeated, weak and unable to live the productive Christian lives.

If we believe that Gods power can change lives, we may ask ourselves how then does God
develop in us the 9 attributes of the fruitful, productive Christian?
God certainly doesnt zap you with these 9 qualities the minute you become a Christian. No,
and I want to show you the process or tools that God uses to effect the changes in our lives.

Phil 2:12-13,

In
the bible says Therefore my dear friends, as you have always
obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out
(cultivate- mkjv) your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you, to will
and to act according to His good purpose.
v12Kaya nga, mga minamahal, tulad ng inyong buong-pusong pagsunod noong ako'y
kasama pa ninyo, lalo kayong maging masunurin ngayong ako'y malayo sa inyo.
Pagsumikapan ninyong maging ganap ang inyong kaligtasan nang may lubusang paggalang
at pag-ibig sa Diyos, v13sapagkat ang Diyos ang kumikilos sa inyo upang inyong naisin at
isagawa ang kanyang kalooban.
Work for something to earn it, to deserve it, to merit it not what the bible says as salvation
is a gift from God
Work out Not work for but work out your salvation
Work out - cultivate (mkjv) to make the most of what you have been given to be careful
what we believe and how we live. We are to cultivate our spiritual lives, to give it a spiritual
workout. Just like a physical workout is good for our health and to build up the body, a
spiritual workout is essential for us to build on our spiritual lives and develop our Christian
character.
Therefore change is a partnership God has the power and can provide the power but we
must flip on the switch in our lives.
Now, lets look at Gods part and the tools he use to change our lives

Gods Part
Through his word
The first tool that God uses to change our lives is the Bible. We read in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 all
scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in
righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped in every good work.
As the bible has stated in many ways, if we are serious about changing our lives, we need to
get into the bible read it, study it, meditate on it and importantly, apply it. It is the only way to
discover Gods truth and to become confident in our faith and lives.
Just as Rom.10:17 stated - our faith comes from hearing the word of God. A bible teacher or
preacher can expound the truth but if we want to have deeper insight into Gods word,
stronger faith, we need to start reading the bible.
Through the Holy Spirit
The 2nd tool that God uses is the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we were given the gift of the Holy
Spirit when we were baptized into Christ and it is the Holy Spirit that will empower and direct
us in our lives we are made alive by His Spirit
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives
in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if
Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of
righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who
raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who
lives in you. - Rom. 8:9-11
The Holy Spirit gives us strength, vitality and the power to do what is right.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, we will become more and more like Christ. Christs
life on earth demonstrates in many ways the qualities of the fruit of the spirit.

Through circumstances
Circumstances - Problems, pressures, heartaches, difficulties, stress
Need to know that everything happen for a reason, even though we do not see it at the point
of time
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have
been called according to his purpose. - Rom. 8:28
Note the text we know (certainty not maybe)all things (directly or indirectly) every
circumstanceswork together there is harmony, a patternfor good our spiritual
goodto those who love the Lord.
No matter the circumstances, we can all learn from the different circumstancesif we have
the right attitude.
To God - No difference in the source bad judgment, decisions, sins or other people
It does not mean that we will all have or need painful experiences to change but sometimes it
takes a painful or difficult experience for us to change our ways.
Prov. 20:30 put it this way Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the
inmost being.
CS Lewis says that God whispers to us in our pleasure but shouts to us in our pain. We are
more inclined to notice God and change our ways if we feel the heat instead of just seeing the
light.

If Gods part to change our lives is to use his word, the Holy Spirit and circumstances, what
then is our part in this process?

Your Part
Change is not automatic it is a matter of choice. We cannot sit passively, do nothing and
expect to grow.
Remember while we can make choices but we cannot decide on the consequences. Its like
picking up one end of stick we pick up the other end also the choices we make come with
their consequences. So we must ensure we make the right choices
3 things we must choose if we want to change
Choose your thoughts
Prov. 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts.
Saying You are not what you think you are but what you think, you are
1st step to changing our lives is to change our thought patterns.
Rom 12:2 we are transformed by the renewing of our mind
Paradigm shift circumstances may be the same but our perspective on it has changed, must
changed because we are now Gods children, redeemed by Jesus blood.
What I think what I feel how I act
If we think we are defeated, we will feel and act defeated
Eg. Speedboat on autopilot turn direction by force (will) but will be under tension. Soon, you
tire and let go and it goes back to autopilot mode. Better way to change is to adjust the
autopilot the course, the right direction etc. - start with the mind, not how you feel or your
actions.
What then should we base our thoughts on?

Meditating on Gods word


John 8:32 you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
When life based on truth, the start point is already in the right direction and you live with
right kind of thoughts
Psalms 1 blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the
way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers he does not get input from wrong sources
But his delight is in the law of the Lord and he meditates on it day and nightlike a tree
planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in seasonwhatever he does prospers..
When we meditate on Gods word, we will bear fruit.
Meditation rumination (synonym)
Rumination what a cow does when it chews its cud
Eat grass, chews all she can, swallow sit in stomach for a while burps it up (renewed
flavour) chews on it some more and swallows it again.
Rumination straining every ounce of nourishment from grass.
Meditation is thought digestion not putting mind to neutral and think about nothing.
It is seriously thinking about what you are reading Gods word what does this mean for my
life?
Thats why Col. 3:16 encourages us among the things to put on as the elect of God, is to let
the word of Christ dwell in us richly for if the word of God dwell in us, we will bear much fruit.
Think of these things
Phil 4:8 tells us 8 things that we can set our minds onthings that will keep our thoughts in
the right direction
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest,just,pure,lovely,of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. - Phil. 4:8
One way to ascertain whether you are doing it is to ask yourself when you had an encounter,
what comes to your mind first? Do we spend more time thinking about the negative of a
person or situation or do we dwell on the positive true, lovely the bible says if there be
any virtue, any praise think on these things.
Dont forget what we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions.

Starting point we must choose what we think aboutfor eventually it will influence the way
we feel and the decisions we make. And there is no better guide than the word of God.

Depend on the Holy Spirit


The vine and branches Jn 15:5
Jesus illustration of the vine and branches tell us that the branch is totally dependent on the
main vine it cannot produce fruit by itself.
We cannot tie a branch of fruit into our life a little patience here, a little goodness there, self
control etc. it will be temporary, looks good
It is an inside job it is the fruit of the Spirit. permanent, changes evident
Only when we abide in God and let the Holy Spirit control our lives can we bear fruit of the
Spirit.
How do we know we are depending on Gods spirit by our prayer lives.
Our prayer life demonstrate our dependence on God
Saying Whatever you pray about show you are hooked on God. Whatever you dont
pray about is what you are trying to do on your own.
It is something that I also struggle with and like Elder Adrian said on planning day, we all need
to pray more often.
There is much to pray about your decisions, needs, interests, schedule, problems, people
just about everything.
Prayer increases our awareness of God, of our weaknesses and inadequacies and the
importance of abiding in God and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us.

Respond wisely to circumstances


Cannot control circumstances but we can control how we respond to them
Our experiences can result in 2 things, it can either make us a better person or a bitter
person. Essentially, it is not so much what happen to us but what happens in us.
Experiences ---> 2 Bs
Bitter person
Better person
Not so much what happen to us but what happens in us
Rejoice in our trials
Paul talks about it in Rom. 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because
we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character,
hope.
We can rejoice or glory in our trials and troubles for these will produce perseverance and help
us develop a mature character
Joseph case betrayed by brothers, sold to slavery
Eg. Of Joseph in the OT. If our response to problems is to be angry and bitter and wallow in
self pity, our spiritual walk and life will be very much affected. But if we like Joseph choose to
see Gods hand in these circumstances, our response will be to trust in his providence for we
know that it will all work together for good and we let God use these circumstances to develop
our Christian character.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good - Gen. 50:20
Paradox of producing fruit of Spirit
Fertilizer factor
Just as a plant needs fertilizer, which may not be nice to smell but it is essential for growth.
Hence circumstances are like the fertilizer and our spiritual fertilizer may not be plesant but it

is essential for our growth. In essence, God produces the fruit of the Spirit in us by allowing us
to encounter situations and people full of exactly the opposite qualities.
Eg. Easy to be loving when we are around lovely people or people like us but we learn real
love by loving people who are difficult, harsh, cranky and so on.
Do you think that we can develop patience without trials or
Peace without going through storms and chaos in our lives.
So the next time you face some difficult situation or people, remember that this may be the
very situation or people that God has allowed in our lives so that it can fertilized the Christian
seed in us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

And so having understood Gods part and our part in this life changing process what is the
next step if we want to have the power to change and to develop our Christian character and
fruit of the Spirit. Let me suggest the following resolutions to get you started:
Desire to change
Unless we see the need to do better in our lives and we want to change, it is pointless for us
to even start for when things get tough or we become distracted, without this desire to
motivate us, we are more likely to give up and continue in our old ways.
Co-operate with God
We need to co-operate with God. Stop doing things on your own strength or will. Change is a
partnership and the partnership requires our co-operation.
Read, study and meditate on the Bible
We cannot expect to understand God, know His promises and commandments unless we
read and study His word . We need to take time to read, study and more importantly, meditate
on the Bible.
Let the Holy Spirit control your life
It is said that the only way to have better control of your life is not to take control to let the
Holy Spirit control your life. The more you want to control your life, the more likely that it will
be led by the flesh, our carnal self and if we want our spiritual life to grow, we need to be led
by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is in us it is up to us to let Him take control and to
empower us in developing the fruit of the Spirit.
Accept circumstances as part of Gods plan
The good and the bad - all things work together for good. If we love God, we need to trust
Him and accept both the ups and downs in our lives and with Gods help, respond wisely to
these circumstances that God may be glorified and our Christian character strengthen.
Ask God for help
We need to start increasing our prayer timeif we feel powerless and defeated, maybe we
have not spent enough time at the throne of God.
Change takes time
Like the fruit that takes time to ripen, our Christian fruits will take time to develop and grow.
Dont be disheartened by the seemingly slow progress or pain we have to go through just
like the parable of the vine and branches in John 15, there is much pruning to be done in our
lives before we can live the abundant and fruitful Christian life.
One More Night With The Frogs
Story from the events surrounding Israelites exodus from Egypt God sent 10 plagues on the
Egyptians. There were lice and there were frogs. During the plague of the frogs, you can
imagine there were frogs everywhere on your bed, dining table it must have been messy
and real frustrating. When the Pharaoh decided that he had enough, he summoned Moses
and agreed to let the Israelites go. So Moses asked when do you want me to get rid of the
frogs? Pharaohs answer was classic Exo. 8:9 Tomorrow!
He must be crazytomorrow? Why not now? Why spend another night with the frogs? Why
would anyone put off a change that was going to be positive?
Yet you and I do it all the time. We procrastinate by putting off changes that we know will be
good for us. Why?
Complacent with our Christian life? Too lazy to change? Afraid because we dont know what
the changes will involve? Too proud? Stubborn? Not me, Im ok syndrome?

It is one thing for me to share and tell you about Gods power, what to do to be a fruitful
Christian and another for you to overcome the inertia and actually let God begin His work in
you.
Dont delay. As we study about the fruit of the Spirit from Gal. 5:22-23, as we discover new
insight and truth from Gods word, we need to put that knowledge to action, that God can start
his work in us or else it will remain just that mere knowledgesomething we know but
useless because it does not bring about a change in our lives.

In the coming weeks, we will learn what it means to be a fruitful and productive Christian. At
the end of this study on the fruit of the Spirit, we believe that you will see Gal. 5:22-23 with a
new perspective and through this new knowledge, you will find greater fulfillment in your
Christian life.
The lessons are as follows:

Love - Become A More Loving Person


Joy - The Choice to Rejoice
Peace - Peaceful Living in an Uptight World
Long-suffering - Developing Your Patience
Kindness - Putting on a Little Kindness
Goodness - Living the Good Life
Faith - The One Who Can Be Counted On
Meekness - A Gentle Approach
Self-Control - Developing Self-Control