Show Jesus

June 2, 2013  II Corinthians 3    Reflect Jesus

      ILL. One Sunday as they drove home from church, a little girl turned to her mother & said, "Mommy, there’s something about the preacher’s message this morning that I don’t understand." The mother said, "Oh? What is it?" The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the world in His hand. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that’s true, honey."   "But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?" Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the preacher had said was true. With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, "If God is bigger than us & He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?" Well that is the point.   Jesus should shine through us.    That is the goal of Christians. That is important.   Sometimes we get so involved with everything that we forget or neglect that.   We want Jesus to shine through us in the home in the market place and at work.  We want Jesus to be seen and heard.   That is what God has called us to do and that is the most important thing for us to do. 

     To reflect Jesus we must stay focused on Him.   To reflect Jesus is not to grow a beard and dress like Jesus dressed.   The meaning here is to respond to life like Jesus did.   It is an inward character and sense of being.   Paul in Philippians 3 said that he wanted to know Him, Paul wanted to know Jesus and wanted to know his power and wanted to experience his sufferings.   That was the intimate relations hip that Paul sought after.     In this passage here Moses reflected the glory of God.  Moses spent time with God and was around the holiness of God and it made his face shine.   You know the old sayings you become what you eat and the saying garbage in and garbage out.   If you do the right programming on a computer then you will get the right results.   I tried to find this illustration but did not find it but it goes something like this.   Sow a thought and reap an action.  Sow an action and reap a character.  Sow a character and reap a destiny.   Some people have been raised in situations or have seen things in others and they say I will never be like that.   And they think and think about it and they actually take on those traits that they do not like or other traits that are not good.   What we focus upon impacts us.     As we focus on Jesus we reflect him.  That preempts ministry.   That comes before ministry.  The only thing that we can offer to others is that what we have received ourselves.   Paul writes I am passing on to you what I have also received.   

     Dave Wilkerson writes that Paul speaks of a ministry that does not require particular gifts or talents; rather, it is to be undertaken by all who have been born again.  That ministry is gazing on the Lord.  I like that.  You do not have to be talented.   It does not matter what your spiritual gift or gifts are.   Every Christian is invited and can focus on Jesus.   That is one right and privilege what we have in this world.   That is a right and privilege that no one can take away from you.    Dave Wilkerson continues this ministry is every believer's first calling and no ministry can be pleasing to God unless it is birthed out of this calling.   I am talking about the ministry of beholding the face of Christ. Paul says, "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2Corinthians 3:18).   What does it mean to behold the Lord's glory? Paul is speaking here of devoted, focused worship, time that is given to God simply to behold Him. And the apostle quickly adds, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry" (4:1). Paul makes it clear that beholding the face of Christ is a ministry we all must devote ourselves to.  The Greek word for beholding in the verse above is a very strong expression. It indicates not just taking a look, but "fixing the gaze." It means deciding, "I won't move from this position. Before I do anything else, before I try to accomplish a single thing, I must be in God's presence."

    Many Christians misinterpret the phrase beholding as in a glass." They think of a mirror, with Jesus' face being reflected back to them.   But that is not Paul's meaning here. He is speaking of an intensely focused gaze, as if peering at something earnestly through a glass, trying to see it more clearly. We are to "fix our eyes" this way, determined to see God's glory in the face of Christ. We are to shut ourselves in the holy of holies with but one obsession: to gaze so intently, and to commune with such devotion, that we are changed.   What happens as a believer beholds the face of Christ?   Paul writes, "We . . .are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).   The Greek word for changed here is "metamorphosed," meaning transformed, transfigured.   Everyone who often fixes his gaze intently on Christ is being metamorphosed. A transfiguration is taking place. That person is continually being changed into the likeness and character of Jesus.  God changes us and we work at changing us.   We discipline ourself to focus on him and He changes us.  As we see his love, grace and mercy we begin to reflect that to others.   As we ask for forgiveness and experience his cleansing then we offer that to others.  There is gentleness and a sweetness that flows from those who have walked with the Lord for years and years.  We see that gentleness in Jesus.  We see that forgiving grace and love in our Lord.   We see the compassion of Jesus for people. 

     Ephesians 5:1-2 that is exactly what the apostle Paul urged the early Christians to do: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children & live a life of love, just as Christ loved us & gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering & sacrifice to God."   The Holy Spirit uses the word predestination in Romans 8.   That is a big word isn’t it?   God has predestined us.   God has a plan for our life.   What is the predestination or what we are supposed to be?   In this verse we are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son.  We are to be like Jesus.    God wants us to be like Jesus and when we are like him we reflect him to others and to God.   God sees that life flowing through us. 

    I just read about an interesting story of a young boy living in Paris at the end of the World War II.   He had been orphaned by the atrocities committed by the German forces.   Now all alone, he had to scrounge around the ruined city as best as he could to find food, clothes & shelter.    But nearly everyone was experiencing desperate times, & he found that people either ignored him or had nothing to give to him.    Years before, he had heard someone talk about God & Jesus. But with the hell on earth that the war had brought into his life,   he had long since lost what meager faith he once had.   One cold morning, he was wandering down the street, staring into the windows of shops & cafés.    He stopped outside the window of a small bakery.   The smell of the fresh bread made his stomach ache with pain.    He was so absorbed by the smell & sights of the bakery that he didn’t realize an American soldier had come up & was watching him.   The boy hardly noticed it when the G.I. walked past him into the store.   He did, however, notice the large bag the baker was filling for the G.I. with rolls, breads, & pastries.    And the boy could hardly breathe when the soldier exited the shop, knelt down & handed him the bag.   He looked at the G.I. with astonishment & gratefulness.  Finally, he asked the question that was running through his mind: “Mister, are you Jesus?”   We should live our lives in such a way that we are mistaken for Jesus. 

    Have you ever questioned why someone would want to reflect Jesus?   Maybe there is a greater or bigger question.   Is there any reason for a Christian to not want to reflect Jesus?    What would be the reason we would not want to reflect Jesus more?    Certainly embedded in this verse is the idea of change.   There is a tendency for us to resist change.  People have an element of stubbornness in us.    Perhaps at times we just don’t take the time to think about things.  I am sure for those that have children at home it are tough to get an hour with the Lord.   To spend a day with the Lord would seem impossible for some people but what a wonderful thing to do.   What do you think is the one area of your life that God would have you work on and change so that you would reflect Jesus more?   That is a good question to ponder. 

   Why would the Christian want to reflect Jesus?    I find Jesus to be the sweetest loveliest person I know.  As I consider his life I see in Him the kind of qualities that I desire in my life.   Galatians 5:22 & 23 tells us what our life shows forth when we are in the Spirit of God.   The fruit of walking with Jesus and the out flowing of the Spirit of God in our life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.   Our Lord walked in this life with those qualities.  There was calmness around him.   He did not fret or worry.   He was not in a rush and he ministered and laid down his life.    He walked in peace and the favor of God His father was upon him. It was not all easy in fact it was quite hard at times.   Yes there were difficulties and frustrations.  Yes Jesus experienced pain and hunger.   He is the healer and the friend of sinners.  Yes Jesus loves sinners. He loved his enemies.  He did not seek revenge.   In 1 Peter 2:23 the apostle Peter tells us, “When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats.”   He came to serve and he washed the disciple’s feet.   What a humble compassionate God.   The Psalmist said taste the Lord and see that he is good.  

    In this pervious verse is another reason that we would want the presence of the lord in and around us.   Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.   Do you know people who feel like they are in bondage?   Why are more and more people choosing suicide?      Ever feel like things were pressing in on you?   Some feel that their lives are totally out of control.   Some feel that they are slaves to sin.  For some there is no hope and no freedom.   Where the spirit of the Lord is present there is wonderful freedom.   Spouses should be creating an atmosphere of freedom and the presence of Jesus. Is Jesus reflected in your home or are there tenseness, discord, and strife?   Does your spouse see Jesus in you?    Do your children see the reflection of Jesus in you?    Christians have the freedom, joy and blessing of coming before the father.   No matter what we have done when we seek to come before him to see him and experience him God is ready to meet us.

     God is calling us day by day to change.   God desires us to be more like Jesus.   God wants us to reflect Jesus to others.  That means that we must change.  We should be growing in Christ likeness.   God want us to walk in freedom and to walk in victory.   God desires that His peace, joy and love flow freely through us.   It is a joint venture.   We have our responsibility to be more like Jesus and God also is involved in the process.  "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Phil. 2:13).   The growing Christian takes steps to read and meditate on the scripture.    The growing Christian is sharing his or her faith.    The growing Christian is a person of prayer.   He growing Christian says no to sin and yes to God’s spirit.   The maturing Christian looks full in His wonderful face.   There is a heavenly gaze that makes that person of great worth in the world in which we live.   And they walk in the freedom and power of God reflecting Jesus to others.