Discipleship: A Transformed Life
Key Scriptures: Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 and Romans 6:1-14
What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from other types of disciples is that a transformation has occurred. The life of a Christian is very different from the life lived before becoming a follower of Jesus. Such a transformation exists because of God's redemptive plan for mankind and the cost of His divine plan. People can change habits, jobs, life styles, etc., yet if the change is without a foundation of Truth, then the change is based on personal issues or earthly circumstances. God's Call to Discipleship is anchored in Truth and expresses a redemptive love. God requires a transformed life because of His perfect nature and the perfect, sinless life of His Son. God's power and Spirit support and drive our transformation into the likeness of His Son. In this lesson, we will study the meaning of transformation as we gain an understanding of why it is essential to a disciple’s life.
Teacher’s Note: This is the first of two lessons on a disciple’s transformation into the life of Jesus Christ. In addition to the questions and scripture text of this lesson, I would advise that you look over the lesson texts and questions for lesson #4. This will aid you in understanding where we are going in both lessons. These two lessons are pivotal to this 13-week study because we examine the why and the how of transformation. The remaining lessons will focus our attention on strengthening our faith and our discipleship in Jesus.
Due to time constrains questions 1, 2, 6, and 7 would be in my opinion, the questions that should be covered during class.
1. Why is God’s mercy important to us in relationship to offering our bodies as a “living sacrifice”? See Romans 12:1-2.
Although mercy is defined as compassion or pity, God’s mercy is defined by the expression of His goodness and love for us, the unworthy and guilty. God’s mercy can only be understood in the Light of the Gospel message because He gave His only son so our sins could be forgiven. Through His Son, God is offering us a new life and the gift of eternity with Him and His son.
Paul sates, because of God’s Mercy fear and self-pity should not be a motivation for our service. Because we have experienced this mercy, our response should be to offer the only gift of value that we possess: our own lives as living sacrifices. As disciples, we should internalize His Mercy by incorporating it into our daily lives so that we sacrifice ourselves to each other and the world.
2. How is a transformed life a “living sacrifice” to God? See Romans 12:1-2.
Jesus was truly the Suffering Messiah, taking upon himself the sentence of death and separation from God. This sentence of death was clearly undeserved since we know that Jesus was perfect. In Ephesians, Paul shows us that Jesus sacrificed His heavenly position for us and willingly gave His life because of his great love for us. We owe the Father no less than ourselves as a living examples of the Risen Lord. Sacrificing our most precious gift, our life. That means we value nothing above our relationship with Jesus. In order to make this possible, we must begin the transformation process of renewing our mind into the design and plan of the Holy Father. The value of this renovation/transformation cannot be estimated by worldly standards. Though once we were sold under the sin of this world, we are now bought through the gift of another: Our Lord’s Body. Our transformation is ongoing, a constant work in process and therefore a continual act of praise and worship to God.
3. Explain the analogy in 2 Corinthians 4:7 of “treasures” hidden in “jars of clay.”
In these verses, Paul is referring to his life as a minister of the gospel, which God entrusted to him. Paul calls the gospel a “treasure”, which is carried to the world in weak and fragile vessels, the “jars of clay”. These vessels were Paul and the other disciples while in the 21st century, we these “jars of clay”. God’s design and plan was to send this priceless message of hope through weak and fragile human messengers in order to draw attention to the message and not the messenger. And, these same weak, earthly vessels are brought to life, being transformed by God’s message, which sheds light on a blinded world.
4. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, Paul says we “always carry around in our body the death of Jesus.” How should these verses impact our lives and work so that this transformation is apparent to others?
The death of Jesus is the reason we are free from sin and truly free from the sting of an earthly death. Although the death of Jesus was only a momentary event in history because God raised Him from the dead, we as disciples, carry the message of His death to the world on a daily basis. His death is always with us, reminding us of His great sacrifice and strengthening our desire to become living sacrifices for His work.
As transformed “jars of clay” carrying the message of Jesus’ death, we also carry the message of eternal life for who enter into His death.
5. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul reveals that our troubles are momentary.
How does this strengthen our process of being transformed?
Paul encourages us to focus on the fact that our life in these “jars of clay” is temporary. When we encounter difficulties in our walk of faith, we must remember that the duration of such distress will be short. As transformed disciples, we must understand that our goal is heaven, which is our true home and not this world. Keeping such a spiritual view of life in this world will help us to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
6. Using 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 21, what is
the real basis for our transformation into a new creation?
God’s Mercy brought the redemptive plan to us and the life of Jesus made God’s plan a reality. Because of the sacrifice and sinless life of Jesus, we should be compelled to reflect His Glory by living as new creatures, conformed to His likeness, and being living sacrifices for Him.
7. Using 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 and Romans 6:1-14, what is the relationship of death to being transformed into new creatures? What was the master of our old lives? What is the master of our new lives as disciples?
Death is itself part of our transformation. It is the beginning point of the transition from one state of being and into another. The only way to totally immerse our selves into becoming a disciple is to look at our old life as death and our new life as rebirth. The death of Jesus’ earthly, weak body on the cross and His resurrection from the dead was the completion of God’s redemptive plan for us. Now we must follow Jesus’ example and by doing so, we too are transformed. How can this death through the grave of baptism not change us?
As transformed, new creatures, we should no longer look through a worldly set of eyes, but use our new spiritual eyes to see God’s vision and will for us. We should realize that the old ways of life were directed by worldly thoughts and ideas. Sin was our master and could be again if we don’t die daily in our walk of discipleship. The master of our new life is the Spirit of Jesus as we live out His life in our lives. As new, transformed creatures, we must resist blending the olds ways of life with our new life? The Light of the gospel message is not compatible with the darkness of the world? Thus, God’s desire is to be reconciled with us but only in the Death and Life of His Son. Our part of the reconciliation is to become transformed into Jesus’ likeness, separating us from our old life!
This Week’s Challenge: Focus your prayer life during this week on how you are becoming a transformed disciple. Use the key Scriptures from the lesson as your guide in your prayers.
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