Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition part 3:
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
November 19, 2006
Main Passage: Philippians
Well, the results are in. We’re just a few weeks removed from
Halloween, and I can now tell you what the most popular costumes were
this year. Let’s begin with costumes for children…
Top Children's Costumes 2006
1. Princess (generic) 11.5%
2. Pirate 5.0%
3. Witch 4.8%
4. Spider-Man 4.4%
5. Superman 3.7%
Top Adults' Costumes 2006
1. Witch 17.5%
2. Pirate 3.7%
3. Vampire (generic) 3.7%
4. Cat 2.6%
5. Clown 1.8%
Those were the most popular costumes. Here are a few more that I
We actually had a lot of interesting costumes show up at our front door
this Halloween. We had 50 people! Of course, the worst part of that is
that there weren’t as many leftovers. We have a split entry in our
home, and Shera was working that night, so I spent the evening running
up and down the stairs.
Of course, that was just for one night. And after that, all the kids in
the neighbourhood went back to looking as normal as they ever looked.
Oh, maybe some melted chocolate around their mouths, but pretty normal.
Because that’s the way it works. Halloween comes once a year and then
you put the costumes away.
Well, at least most do. But there is one segment of the population that
tends to keep their costume on. They feel like they have to look a
certain way and pretend to be something they’re not. And there have
been times when I’ve found myself right there among them. There have
been times that I’ve thought to myself… maybe not consciously, but I’ve
thought this… “I’m a Christian. I have to look like a Christian. I have
to hide my flaws, I have to talk a certain way, I have to put on a
happy face, I have to project this false front… I have to put on the
Christian costume and impress everyone with my religiosity.”
How about you? Have you ever felt the pressure to do that? Have you
ever felt frustrated with how cheap and superficial and shallow that
can be? Have you ever felt guilty about it? Have you ever felt
disillusioned by it and wondered if it was all worth it? Have you ever
felt like you couldn’t pull off the façade any longer and so maybe you
should just quit? Have you ever felt like a hypocrite?
Do you know where that word “hypocrite” comes from? It comes from
ancient Greece (hey, I have some of that under my kitchen counter.
Ancient Grease). In ancient Greek society, the theatre was extremely
important. And they would put on these huge plays in large
amphitheatres. The actors didn’t have microphones to make their voices
heard, and they didn’t have cameras to magnify their images onto
screens, so they invented their own system. They developed big masks
that you could see from a long ways away.
The masks made them look like the characters they portrayed. And built
into the masks were megaphones to amplify their voices. So the actors
got on stage, got behind their masks and they became somebody else…
someone different than they really were. In Greek, this play-acting was
called hypocrisis, from which we get our word hypocrisy. Those actors
were not what they appeared to be. They claimed to be one thing but in
reality were another.
Of course, it’s not just Christians who struggle with this. There are
lots of people who pretend to be something they’re not and who try to
look a certain way. I saw on the news this week that breast implants
have gone up 37% in just the past five years. People are so concerned
with looking a certain way before others.
Now, I’m not saying that appearances don’t matter, because they do.
Even I brushed my hair this morning. I ironed my shirt, I shaved, I
brushed my teeth… But what I want to propose to you this morning is
this… it’s in your notes…
God wants to work in your life is not a cosmetic cover-up, it’s a heart
It’s not about what you
do, it’s who you are.
It’s not about what you say, it’s why you say it.
It’s not about where you go, it’s why you live.
And this makeover does not begin on the outside, it begins on the
But don’t just take my word for it; take God’s Word for it. This is
what He tells us in His Word…
Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
For God is working in you,
giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Circle the words “in you”. What God’s doing “in you” changes your
actions, not the other way around. Let’s look at another verse… we’ve
looked at this one before…
Romans 8:29 (NLT)
For God knew his people in advance, and he
chose them to become like his Son…
God didn’t choose you just to ACT like His Son. He chose you to BECOME
like His Son. Circle that word. So again, it’s not a superficial thing…
it’s a complete makeover. The Bible says you become a “new creation”.
It’s not a cosmetic cover-up, it a heart transformation.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
But now you must be holy
in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.
You don’t just change a few habits. You don’t just edit your
vocabulary. You don’t just add a few good deeds to your schedule. God
makes you a new person, from the inside out. Because, understand this…
You don’t change the inside by changing the
outside; you change the outside by changing the inside.
You get that? What you do doesn’t change who you are. But who you are
certainly changes what you do. And God understands that. Hey, He made
us that way.
In fact, when you try to do it the opposite way… when you try to change
the outside before you’re changed on the inside… what happens? You
become judgmental, you become bitter, you become frustrated, you become
hypocritical. And there’s more than enough of that in this world –
there’s more than enough of that in churches – already. So as for you,
you count on God to transform you on the inside, and then you allow
that to change how you live on the outside. Okay?
Now, is it too early to talk about Christmas? Is it okay to mention
Christmas and Halloween in the same message? I’m not sure I’m allowed
to do that… there may be rules against it… But I think I’ll risk it.
How many of you have seen “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? For those
of you who haven’t, where have you been? How could you not have seen
the Grinch? Well, I’m going to talk a bit about it, and if you haven’t
seen it I hope I don’t ruin it for you. But hey, the cartoon’s been out
for 40 years this year. So I think you’ve had your opportunity. [Book –
1957, Cartoon – 1966, Movie – 2000]
In the story, do you remember how much the Grinch hated Christmas? And
do you remember how much he hated it when other people celebrated
Christmas… particularly the Whos who lived in Whoville? So what did he
do about it? He dressed up like Santa Claus and go into the town and
steal all the things that were associated with Christmas.
Now, he dressed up like Santa. But did he become like Santa? No, of
course not. The changes were only superficial. Even though his
appearance was different, he was still the same mean, ol’ Grinch on the
inside. But do you remember what happened at the end? Let me show you…
VIDEO CLIP - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
What made the difference? It was a heart transformation. It wasn’t the
clothes he wore. His heart grew 3 sizes that day. That’s what made the
Okay, so we’re talking about a heart-transformation. What do you think
of when you hear the word, “heart”?
If I say you’ve got a lot of heart, what does that mean? It means
If you put your heart into something, what does that mean? It means
If you give someone your heart, it means you love them.
If we go to the heart of the matter, we’re going to the very core.
Basically, when we talk about heart, we’re talking about every that
makes you, you.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify
you through and through.
(“sanctify” = be made like Jesus; be made holy)
Not just in the things you do, not just in the things you say, but
“through and through.”
So how does this happen? How do you undergo this heart transformation?
Well, it’s really not all that complicated. In fact, it’s pretty
simple. It’s simple to understand. It can be difficult to enact, but
it’s simple to understand. So let me explain it to you in three simple
Three Steps to Heart Transformation:
1. Give God
permission to change you.
You’ve got to decide if
you really want this heart transformation to happen and if you do, then
give God permission to do it. Because God’s a gentleman. He’s not going
to force Himself on you if you don’t want Him. If you choose to reject
Him and His ways, then He’ll respect that decision. You will have to
face the consequences of that decision, but it’s a decision you’re free
And it’s not a new decision that people are faced with today. 3000
years ago, King David was confronted with an area of sin and weakness
in his own life. He had done some pretty bad things. He had even
committed adultery and then arranged for the woman’s husband to be
killed so that he could her for himself. And it all came from a heart
of selfishness and lust. And David realized that it needed to be
changed. And he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. So this became his
prayer… he repented for what he had done, and then he prayed…
Psalm 51:10 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Is that the prayer you need to pray today? A prayer that gives God
permission to change you? Wouldn’t be a bad prayer for each one of us
every day, would it?
with what God is doing in you.
You see, here’s the key:
You can’t change yourself. Only God can perform this heart
transformation. He created you in the first place, and He’s more than
capable of re-creating you. But again, He’s not going to do it without
your permission and your cooperation.
I mentioned earlier that these steps are simple but not always easy.
This is probably where it gets toughest. Because sometimes, even when
we want God to change us, we don’t really want to change. You know? We
like our sin too much. And we don’t like the tension that change
brings. We don’t like that period of discomfort or struggle or even
failure that often accompanies change.
And so we give up and we refuse to go along with it. We fight against
what God’s trying to do in us. We just don’t cooperate.
But the better approach would be to say, “God, I know this won’t always
be easy. I know that change can be difficult, and even painful. But I
want to cooperate with you as best as I know how. Because I know that
You want what’s best for me, and I know I can trust You. So show me
where You’re working in my life, and show me how I can cooperate with
what You’re doing.”
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, there’s a prayer where someone
Isaiah 64:8 (NLT)
We are the clay, and you are the potter.
What’s that saying? It’s saying, “God, You’re in charge. You form me
and transform Me as You see fit.” Is that the prayer you need to pray
3. Allow the
inner changes to be expressed outwardly.
This is where the things
you do and the things you say and the places you go… this is where
those become important. They don’t precede the heart transformation,
they’re a natural outflow of the heart transformation. The Bible says…
Luke 6:45 (CEV)
Good people do good things because of the
good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in
So for better or for worse, what’s on the inside is what becomes
expressed outwardly. And that means that if God is performing a heart
transformation in you, and if you’re cooperating with it, then it’s
going to impact the way you live. But this time, there’s not going to
be the feeling of hypocrisy. There’s not going to be the dissonance or
the conflict between what you do and what you really are. You’ll be
able to live with integrity… with oneness… with wholeness.
So there you go. Three
simple steps. And the beauty of it is, it doesn’t matter how long
you’ve been a Christian; these three steps apply. If you’re a brand new
believer, then you need to give God permission to work in your life,
cooperate with what He’s doing, and start to put it into practice. If
you’ve been a Christian for five years, you’ve got to give God
permission, cooperate with Him, and put it into practice. If you’ve
been living for Jesus for fifty years, same thing. Give permission,
cooperate, and put it into practice.
See… I told you this would be simple. There’s nothing revolutionary
here. But it will be revolutionary for you.
These three steps can be enacted in your life every day for the rest of
your life. And don’t feel like you have to get ahead of the game. You
don’t have to pretend that God has already perfected you in every area
of your life. Be honest with where you’re at right now, and keep
pressing on… giving permission, cooperating, and putting into practice.
The apostle Paul understood this. He was Superman in the early Church.
Hey, he wrote half of the books in our New Testament. He’s someone that
you’d almost expect to have it all together. But what did he say? Well,
he wrote about spiritual maturity and about experiencing the full power
of Jesus in your life, and then he said…
Philippians 3:12 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already
achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I
press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first
So this heart transformation that we’re talking about is a continual
thing. It’s the work of God in your life every day of your life.
Sometimes He’s performing minor changes, sometimes major changes.
Sometimes easy, sometimes hard. Sometimes the changes happen over a
period of time, sometimes they happen rather quick, almost
But God always has more for you. He’ll continually make you more like
His Son, and that’s a wonderful thing. Just give God permission to work
in you, cooperate with what He’s doing, and then don’t fight it – allow
the changes to take effect and impact the way you live.
And what you will discover is that the makeover God wants to work in
your life is not a cosmetic cover-up, it a heart transformation.
Can you imagine how your
life would be different if you would consistently do these three simple
things? Can you imagine the changes? Can you imagine feeling free from
hypocrisy – that “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality? You know,
putting on those masks and pretending to be something you’re not?
How would it be different if you could just say, “You know, I’m flawed.
But God’s working in me, and little by little as I cooperate with what
He’s doing, this will change – I will change. Everyday I’m becoming
more and more like the person He made me to be. I’m becoming more like
Okay, here’s what we’re
going to do. We’re going to sing a song that simply expresses a desire
for God to take us and shape us, mould us and transform us, according
to His plan. We’re going to sing it, and then I’m going to pray. But
I’d encourage you to use this song as your prayer. Okay?
Song – “The Potter’s Hand”