My Bible study class is discussing Chip Ingram’s book, The Miracle of Life Change. These few pages are my notes for that class.
Life-change Begins with Truth:
We are continuing in Ephesians 4:7-10. We often think that life-change begins with our experience, but it actually begins with truth (John 17:17). Jesus said that He wants us to reflect who They are and what They’re like.
Jesus even had a group of early believers (John 8:31-32). Think about how many Christians you know who are truly free. Are they really free from all the old habits they struggle with? Free of anger outbursts, free of lust; really living in a loving and authentic way? The truth underlying or relationship with Christ is that the power of sin has been broken… we don’t have to sin (Philippians 2:13, 1 John 4:4). Believers are free, forgiven and secure; the truth is that sin is defeat and you are free.
Life-change Demands that We Act on the Truth:
This action goes by the title, “faith.” Remember that there is a process of holy transformation, and it is not enough to just simply know the truth. Here are great passages about faith (Romans 1:16-17, 4:2-3, 18:21, 5:1-2, 10:17, Hebrews 11:6, 1 Peter 1:6-9, 1 John 5:4-5).
Many people think the Christian life is primarily about morality; do more good deeds than bad deeds. People want to act Christianly. It comes down to a list of “shoulds” and “oughts,” rules and guilt. People need transformation.
Life-change is Both a Gift and a Responsibility:
Even when we intellectually believe the right stuff about Jesus, we usually experience very little genuine change. This is active and passive. Passive in that we are given a gift, active in that we have a responsibility to act.
The gift of grace: we see both in the life of Paul (Romans 1:5-6). This is the gift that helps believers to morph (Ephesians 4:7). This grace gift is really a spiritual gift. The word gift has to do with our capacity for service; spiritual gift has to do with the area of service. Every believer has a spiritual gift. Only God can bring about life-change, but He never does it alone; it is done in the context of community. Change comes by grace and not self-effort (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). We’ve been given a gift and it is our responsibility to use it for God’s glory.
The Team Together:
The church functions together by using individual parts. Gifts are described in Ephesians 4:11. The purpose of these gifts are given in Ephesians 4:12-13. Leaders equip (or prepare others) for service. Christians are to become mature, like Christ, reaching full potential, working in ministry, thinking like Jesus, loving like Jesus, responding to enemies like Jesus.
The next three verses provide a clear-cut description of what maturity looks like (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Four Tests of Spiritual Maturity:
Check these out when determining your maturity ion Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15).
- Can you handle the Scriptures well enough to spot false teachers and trendy religion?
- Do you have the ability to speak the truth in love?
- Are you fitted with a spiritual gift? Do you know and use your gift?
- Do you have an ever expanding love for God and others?