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SermonSpiritual Change - The Transfiguration of Jesus
An all-creatures Bible Message

Spiritual Change
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
2 March 2014
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Exodus 24:12–18
Exodus 31:18
Psalm 99:1-9
Matthew 17:1–13
2 Peter 1:16–21
2 Peter 2:1-3

Spiritual change is what happens to us when we allow the Holy Spirit to enter our lives.
 
This is Transfiguration Sunday, which speaks of Jesus being transfigured in His appearance upon the mountain. 
 
Even Jesus’ clothing was changed in appearance, and He met with Moses and Elijah, which leads us to believe that this spiritual change was more than just in appearance and that His physical body changed back into His spiritual body.
 
Furthermore, as we will soon see, even Peter, James, and John were able to see this event, which leads us to believe that God opened their eyes to be able to see into the spiritual realm.
 
This celebration of Transfiguration Sunday also relates to the time when Moses was called by God to come up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, at which time a spiritual change took place so that his face shone after speaking with God.
 
Let’s take a look at this event as recorded in Exodus 24:12-18…

12. Now the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction."

The important thing to recognize in this verse is that God, Himself, wrote the original law and commandment on the stone tablets which He was giving to Moses, just as we are told in Exodus 31:18…

18. And when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.
NASB

With this important fact in mind, let’s return to our Exodus 24 passage.

13. So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.
 
14. But to the elders he said, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them."
 
15. Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.
 
16. And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.
 
17. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.
 
18. And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
NASB

There was something very special and holy taking place upon the mountain, which should transform everyone who possesses any true faith into a loving, compassionate, and peacemaking child of God; and this spiritual change should cause us to do everything in our power to live in the heavenly will of God here on earth.
 
As we look at Psalm 99:1-9, which is a psalm of praise, we need to keep in mind who the Lord our God really is, and that He always lives and acts according to the perfection of His heavenly will, where there is no death or pain or mourning.

1. The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble;
He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!
 
2. The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is exalted above all the peoples.
 
3. Let them praise Thy great and awesome name;
Holy is He.

Anyone can just say these words, but only those who possess the spiritual change, which the Holy Spirit brings upon us, can praise the Lord with sincerity.

4. And the strength of the King loves justice;
Thou hast established equity;
Thou hast executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
 
5. Exalt the LORD our God,
And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He.

Then the psalmist adds some history.

6. Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called on His name;
They called upon the LORD, and He answered them.
 
7. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
They kept His testimonies,
And the statute that He gave them.
 
8. O LORD our God, Thou didst answer them;
Thou wast a forgiving God to them,
And yet an avenger of their evil deeds.

God is not killing anyone, or making war against anyone or a nation, as humans all too often have done throughout history.
 
God makes a distinction between the people and their evil deeds, and only seeks to spiritually destroy the evil in the world, which is how He avenges their evil deeds.

9. Exalt the LORD our God,
And worship at His holy hill;
For holy is the LORD our God.
NASB

Now let’s take a look at Matthew 17:1-13, which tells about Jesus’ transfiguration and the spiritual change that we talked about previously.

1. And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves.
 
2. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

Seeing Jesus being transfigured, or hearing about this spiritual change happening before witnesses, is one of the loving ways that God shows us that He cares about us, our faith in Him, and the way we go about doing His ministry here on earth.
 
We may not be transfigured in the same way that Jesus was, but when people change their lives from being worldly, as most people are, into truly loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, they are transformed spiritually, and their softened demeanor is evident to those around them.
 
This spiritual change is what it means to be truly “born again.”

3. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
 
4. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Peter, who often suffers from “foot in mouth disease,” is thinking and speaking in worldly terms.

5. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"
 
6. And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid.
 
7. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." 
 
8. And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus Himself alone.
 
9. And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." 

Jesus is here referring to Himself as the Son of Man.

10. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
 
11. And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things;
 
12. but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 
 
13. Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
NASB

Jesus is plainly telling us that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah.
 
In 2 Peter 1:16-21, Peter writes about his experience on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured, and the spiritual change that took place.

16. For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
 
17. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased" — 

Remember that this quoted phrase was a rebuke to Peter for suggesting that he build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah instead of absorbing the spiritual change that was happening before their eyes.

18. and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Peter knows that he, James and John witnessed the transfiguration of the Son of God, and now Peter wants all of us to share in the same glory and encouragement that they experienced on the mountain.

19. And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

The “morning star” is a reference to Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us; in other words, the spiritual change that occurs when we are born again.
 
Just as darkness disappears when a physical light is turned on, so will evil flee when we shine the spiritual light of God upon the evil in this world.

20. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,
 
21. for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
NASB

This happens because a spiritual change has taken place within us.
 
As an encouragement to us, Peter is confirming his right to openly express what he witnessed.
 
Now in 2 Peter 2:1-3, he tells us about the worldly system that confronts us.

1. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

An example of this are those people who claim that God gave them dominion over the animals and that they can do whatever they want to do to them, such as killing and eating them which is totally counter to what God commands us in the last paragraph of Genesis 1, which is the same as His heavenly will.

2. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;
 
3. and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
NASB

Not only do those people exploit us humans, they also horribly exploit the animals and the environment we all live in.
 
They do these evil things because there is no Godly spiritual change within them.
 
This is exactly the way the world operates today, and we need to stand as beacons of light against it.
 
Amen.

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