Teaching for Transformation, Part 3: Actions

 "People do not drift toward holiness". ~D.A. Carson

This is the last of three posts on teaching for transformation.  I've already mentioned that the first part of transformation is the affections, what we desire, value, and will.  This transformation also leads to a change in our thinking.  These changes are internal.  They are issues of the heart and mind.  They are important but intangible.  The final part of transformation is obedience, or our actions.

Ephesians 4 and 5 have a lot to say about this.  In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul says "you took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God's likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth". (HCSB)  He is saying that transformation is like removing an old garment and replacing it with a new one.  You removed your old self and "put on" the new self which is being renewed and transformed into God's likeness, righteous and pure and full of truth.  But what are the tangible attributes of this new self?  Keep reading

Ephesians 4:25 "....speak the truth, each one to his neighbor"
4:26 "Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger."
4:28 "...do honest work with his [your] own hands"
4:29 "No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need"
4:31-32 "all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with malice.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ."
5:1 "Be imitators of God..."
5:2 "Walk in love..."
5:3 "...sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you..."

As the quote from Carson at the top says, people do not naturally drift toward holiness, either in thought or deed.  It is the result of the transforming word of God, and that is what you, teacher, bring to your people every week.  We must constantly remind our classes that "you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light". (Eph. 5:7)  A life transformed by the power of God doesn't participate in the deeds of darkness but rather exposes them with Light.

We must remind our people of the transforming work of grace in their lives.  The work of transformation should be seen spilling over into every area of their lives. Sunday school isn't just a time to teach them what it means to live a holy life, but to exhort them to actually do it. God transforms our hearts and our minds so that we may obey him and follow him and do what He says.

So, teacher, teach for transformation.  Desire every week to see your people renewed and transformed by God's word.  Pray for them.  Exhort them.  Challenge them.  Live it out for them.  Love them.

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