Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition part 1:
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
October 29, 2006
I’m going to tell you
something, but you can’t tell my wife. Okay? Here it is: I like to
watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I do. It’s a
good show. But don’t tell Shera, okay? I mean, I’ve spent years making
fun of those “Trading Places”, “What Not to Wear” kinds of shows. I
don’t want to ruin everything I’ve accomplished. (Of course, the fact
that this message will be PodCast makes it likely that she’ll find out
anyway. So I think I’ve already blown it.)
But in about eight hours, I’ll be sitting in front of my TV, remote
control in hand, and I’ll tune in to see what’s happening on Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition.
You know why I watch it, don’t you? I mean, most of you who watch it…
you probably watch it for the same reason. You watch it because of the
difference it makes for that one family each week. Now, if you’re not
familiar with the show, let me see if I can summarize it for you.
Every week, this construction crew identifies one family who really
needs help. Usually, it’s a family that has recently lost someone, or
there’s a severe mental or physical disability within the family, or
it’s a family that has given and given and given to their community and
now it’s time for them to be given to… typically, they’re living in an
old run-down shack… a home that should be condemned… or one that’s just
not healthy or functional for their particular needs… The crew shows up
on their doorstep, sends the family on vacation, demolishes their home,
and builds them a big new one, all in the span of a week. And then
there’s the heart-warming ending when the family comes back and
discovers the home that been built just for them.
How many of you watch that show, at least occasionally?
Of course, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a
spin-off from another show that was simply called Extreme
Makeover. Do you remember that show? That was a show where
people who were disfigured or who just thought they were ugly would go
into seclusion for a while, have all kinds of plastic surgery done on
them, and then there’d be the “big reveal” at the end of the show when
their family would see them again for the first time. I never really
watched that show, but it was a big hit for a while as people loved to
see the transformation and the difference it made.
But both shows have their limitations. The original Extreme
Makeover focused on changing the outward appearance of a
person, but that was as far as they could go. They couldn’t really do
anything about changing the person.
And the Home Edition? Well, it focuses on changing
the circumstances and changing the surroundings. But again, it can’t do
a thing about changing the person.
In fact, to my knowledge, there’s only one way that a person can truly
be changed, and that’s through the work of God in your life. When He
changes you, He doesn’t just change your outward appearance. In fact,
at least initially, nothing changes there. And He doesn’t necessarily
change your circumstances. Though He will change your outlook on them.
No, when God transforms a life, the transformation begins from the
inside out. Look in the Bible at how the Apostle Paul explained this in
the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians… read it with me…
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a
new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
When God transforms your life, you’re a new person! He doesn’t just do
a little housecleaning here or there… He recreates you so that at a
heart level… at a soul level… you’re a brand new person. He breathes
new life into you.
And I’ve got to tell you… when you accept Jesus into your life, that
transformation begins immediately. There are changes you can notice
right away. Those of you who have experienced this know what I’m
talking about. You immediately begin to notice greater levels of love
and compassion for others. You discover a new desire to live in a way
that will honour God. Doesn’t mean you’ll always get it right, but you
have that desire. You have a new confidence and a new purpose in life,
because you’ve been reunited with your Creator. You experience a brand
new perspective on your problems, and even when things are darkest you
find that there is hope.
That all begins immediately. But it’s only the beginning. It’s only the
start of a life-long process. All of those things that I just mentioned
will continue to grow in your life. One by one, as you allow God to
work in your life, you’ll experience victory over those habits and
addictions that there was no way you could beat beforehand. The reign
of selfishness in your life will end, and you’ll begin to act
selflessly. And all of this is what God will do in your life to make
you the person He created you to be. And what did He create you to be?
Romans 8:29 (NLT)
For God knew his people in advance, and he
chose them to become like his Son…
God’s plan is and always has been to make you like His Son… Jesus
Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong. Let me be clear about what this verse
is saying… It’s not saying you’re going to become a god. There are some
cults that will tell you that you will become a god, but that’s not
true and that’s not what this verse is saying. You will never be a god.
I mean, you may want people to think you’re a god and sometimes you may
act like you think you’re a god, but you’ll never be a god. And God
doesn’t want you to become a god. What He wants is for you to become
godly. He wants you to develop His character… the way He thinks, the
way He acts, the way He feels, His values, His moral character. He
wants that for you. In those ways, He wants you to become like His Son.
How do you become like Jesus?
Well, let me suggest
four ways that you become like Jesus. There are notes provided in your
Sunrise Update which you can use to follow and fill in the blanks.
1. You become
like Jesus by your closeness to Him.
By your proximity to
Him. Here… Let me show you something. I have here a magnet and a couple
nails. And I think you’ll find this really quite remarkable. I can take
this magnet…. This is amazing to me… I can take this magnet and
actually pick up the nails. Who would have thought, a magnet can pick
up metal. Isn’t that incredible?
Okay, maybe not. But how about this? The magnet can pick up the nails,
but if I take one of the nails and try to pick up the other one, it’s
just not going to happen. Okay, it’s nothing new for you. You know that
the magnet has a north pole and a south pole and creates a magnetic
field causing a force of attraction that can pick up metal. We’ve all
played with magnets as kids. We know how they work.
But here’s the thing. This nail can’t pick up the other nail all by
itself. But, if the nail is connected to the magnet, it takes on the
characteristics of that magnet and can then pick up the other nail.
What made the difference? Its proximity to a real magnet.
There, that’s your science class for the day. But here’s the point. The
nail is transformed and takes on magnetic qualities because of its
relationship to the real magnet. And for you and me… our lives can be
transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The closer we get
to Him, the more we take on His characteristics.
So how do we get close to Jesus? How do we get to know Him better and
better? Well, the two greatest tools He gave us are prayer and reading
His Word, the Bible. That’s why all this month I’ve been encouraging
you to pray and read the Bible for seven days in a row. Maybe just a
few minutes each day, but seven days in a row. Because I know that if
you will do that, you will notice the difference it makes. And if
you’re able to do that regularly, then it will transform your life.
The Bible is a book of Truth. And God is the Author of Truth. And Truth
is incredibly powerful. It takes Truth to transform your life. So if
you really want to grow spiritually, you’ve got to get into this Book.
The more you get into it, the more you’re going to grow. You need to
read it and study it and memorize it and meditate on it and think about
it and apply it in your life, because it takes Truth to transform us.
And more than that, you’ve got to get to know Jesus. Because it’s your
proximity to Him that makes the real difference.
The more you learn about Jesus by reading His Word and the more you get
to know Him personally… the more you will become like Him. And that is
really God’s design for your life. Look at this verse… read it with me…
Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Instead, we will hold to the truth in love,
becoming more and more in every way like Christ…
To become like Jesus, you need to get close to Jesus.
2. You become
like Jesus through a lifelong process.
You know, babies are
cute. But if babies stay babies, it’s tragic. God doesn’t want us to
remain as spiritual babies. He wants us to grow up. He wants us to
mature. And what does spiritual maturity look like? Just take a long
look at Jesus.
God put you on this planet to become like Jesus. Jesus is the model of
what He wants us to grow up like. But this doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s not like one day all of a sudden – ZAP – you’re just like Jesus.
It’s a process. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition may be able to destroy a
house and build a new one within a week, but the Makeover that God
wants to work in your soul will take a lifetime. He’ll work in this
area of your life for a while, and then He’ll move over here, and then
He’ll start challenging you over there. It’s a process of growing and
maturing a little bit each day.
And unfortunately, some people don’t want to go through the process.
And so, a lot of people grow older but never grow up. I know people who
have been Believers for years and years, but they’ve never grown up.
But the truth is, it’s going to take the rest of your life for God to
build character in you… the character qualities of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God, who began the
good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally
finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
3. You become
like Jesus by changing bosses.
No, you don’t have to
quit your job tomorrow morning. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am
saying is, you need to change who and what you’re living for. At one
time, you were living for pleasure and power and popularity. You
thought those were the things that would bring you fulfillment. You
were living for yourself, and you were subject to your own sinful
desires and temptations.
But if you’re going to become like Jesus, that needs to change. Look at
Romans 6:16-19 (NLT)
You can be a slave to sin, which leads to
death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living…
Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the
illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously,
you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led
ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to
righteous living so that you will become holy.
And if you want to become like Jesus, you must become holy because He
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
But now you must be holy in everything you
do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You
must be holy because I am holy.”
Wow, that sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? To be “holy”! Wow. I mean,
is that even possible? Sure, the Pope is called “Your Holiness”, so
maybe he’s holy. I suppose Billy Graham might be in that category. And
maybe those saints from the past who have cities and hospitals and
streets named after them. They could be holy. Maybe even that elderly
lady down the street… she seems holy. So sure, some people can be Holy.
But me? Be Holy? If I’ve got to be holy, then I might as well quit
right now, right?
Well, hold on. I don’t think you really understand what it means to be
holy. Because “to be holy” does not mean “to be perfect”. It doesn’t
mean that you don’t make mistakes from time to time. It doesn’t mean
that you don’t royally mess up and need to seek God’s forgiveness from
time to time.
Being holy does not mean you are completely without fault. It does not
mean that you become someone really weird who’s completely out of touch
with reality. It does not mean it is impossible for you to sin. But it
does mean that it is possible for you not to sin. It does mean that it
is possible for you to operate your life according to the love of God
flowing through you. It does mean that you aim to glorify God in your
thoughts, words and deeds and that you want to make Him proud of you,
Put simply, being “holy” means that you become more like Jesus. It
means that you become godly… a little more each day. It means you live
by God's standards, not the world's.
But still, can you really make yourself holy? No. No, you can’t. You
can’t make yourself holy. Only God can make you holy. Through the
sacrifice of Jesus, through the work of God, and through the presence
of the Holy Spirit in your life, you can be holy. Here… let me show you…
Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
For God is working in you, giving you the
desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)
For God’s will was for us to be made holy by
the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT)
You have been made right with God because of
what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.
So what role do you play? You can’t make yourself holy, but you do play
a role. Because you get to choose who you will live for. You choose to
change bosses. You choose to turn from serving your sinful nature and
to serving God and allowing Him to make you holy. That simple.
Oh, there will be struggles. Your sinful nature will fight back. But
allow God to continue His work in you, keep your focus on Him, and He
will work a miracle in your life.
4. You become
like Jesus by trusting in times of trouble.
Romans 8:28-29 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to
work together for the good of those who love God and are called
according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance,
and he chose them to become like his Son…
What do those verses tell us? They tell us that God’s purpose is to
make us like Jesus, and He’ll use everything that happens in our lives
toward that end.
But “everything?” Does that include bad things? Painful things? Does it
even include mistakes we make from sinning? Yes, it does. God works
everything for the good of those who love Him. It doesn’t say all
things are good, because there’s a lot of bad in the world. There’s no
denying that. But in everything, the good and the bad, God uses it to
make me more like Christ.
So even the troubles we face in life help us become more like Jesus.
How? Well, in the Bible, the words “trouble” or “trials” often refer to
situations designed by God to draw us closer to Him. They’re not
designed to hurt us; they’re designed to help us. You see, if
everything goes great in your life, it doesn’t stretch your faith, it
doesn’t mould any character, it doesn’t make you more like Jesus. So
God has to bring some things along in our life to stretch us and to
cause us to grow. These are called troubles or trials. Now look at this…
Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into
problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens
our confident hope of salvation.
All kinds of problems are going to come into your life, and you’re
going go, “Why me, Lord? Why is this happening to me?” As if your life
is supposed to be a life of comfort. But it’s not. This is not Heaven.
And if you think you’re going to have Heaven on earth, you’re going to
be very disappointed. This is not the place for comfort. This is the
place for character development. This is the place to become more like
And since we’re talking about becoming more like Jesus, let’s look at
how Jesus Himself handled times of trouble. He went through many
troubles and trials in His life, but His greatest was the night before
He was crucified. Because He knew what He was going to have to face the
next day, and the intensity of that turmoil in His heart was enormous.
He was going to take the sin of the world on Himself. He was going to
die a horrible death by crucifixion, and the real question would be,
“Would He trust God the Father?” Would He trust His Father to know
what’s best, even if it meant an extremely painful death? That’s what
He had to struggle with.
And so He took His disciples and went to a place called Gethsemane. And
He asked His disciples to stay nearby while He prayed. And He told them…
Mark 14:34 (NLT)
“My soul is crushed with grief to the point
This is major trouble Jesus is going through. He says, “I am almost
crushed when I think of what’s going to happen tomorrow, what I’m going
to have to go through.” And maybe you say, “I know that feeling… I’ve
felt like I couldn’t make it another day.” But notice how Jesus prayed.
Mark 14:36 (NLT)
“Father, everything is possible for you.
Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will,
If you’re going to become like Jesus, you’re going to have to learn
this. When you go through trouble, it’s okay to say to God, “God, I
don’t like this”, “God, I want You to take it away.” That’s what Jesus
said. But He also surrendered to God’s plan. He said, “Regardless of
how I feel, I want Your will to be done. Whatever that may mean.”
If you’re going to become like Jesus Christ, you’ve got to learn to
trust God completely, even when things look terrible… even when things
are falling apart. Because God uses trouble to teach us to trust Him.
It’s easy to trust God when everything is going great in your life. The
real test of your faith is, do you hang tough with God even when you
don’t feel good? Even when everything is going wrong? Even when you’re
facing these troubles and trials?
Because you can. And I think one of the things that will help you do
this is if you remember the reward. Because in eternity God is going to
reward you. The Bible says… read this with me…
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT)
For our present troubles are quite small and
won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great
glory that will last forever!
Paul says, “You know what? What we’re going through isn’t going to
last, and even if it lasted a lifetime, that’s nothing compared to the
number of years you’re going to spend in eternity.” God uses trouble to
teach us to trust Him and to become more like Jesus.
God wants to work an
Extreme Makeover in your life, at the soul level. But He won’t do it
without your permission and cooperation. Over the next few weeks, we’re
going to talk more about how you can cooperate in this process. But
this morning, we need to deal with the issue of permission. Will you
give God permission to work in your live, any way that He needs to, in
order to make you more like His Son? Will you give His Holy Spirit free
reign to challenge you in various areas of life and to transform you by
His presence? That’s the decision you need to make. Will you make it
Let’s bow our heads in
makes so much more sense when we realize that it’s not about our
career, it’s not about our comfort, it’s all about character and
becoming like Jesus. We ask you this morning to place in us a deep
desire to become more like Your Son everyday, and then begin that
process in our lives, we pray.
Now you pray. Just
silently, you can pray something like this…
Dear God, I
want to grow in character. I want to become who You made me to be. I
want Your will for my life. Thank you for the model of Jesus. I want to
become more like Jesus in the way I think and the way I feel and the
way I act. And if that means taking me through times of trouble, then
that’s fine. Whatever it takes. I want to know You, and I want to
become more like You. And so I give you permission to do whatever You
need to do in my life.
Now, if you’ve never
opened your life to Jesus Christ and want to do that this morning, then
you can add something like this...
“Jesus, I can’t
become like You unless I know you. So I want to get to know You,
starting today. I ask You to come into my life and into my heart. I’m
sorry for living my own way; teach me to live Your way. In Your name I
of this message was adapted from material by Rick Warren at
PurposeDriven.com. Used with permission.]