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Sunday, Feb 5, 2017PM Service
The Dangers of Reformation Without Transformation
Speaker: Marc Wragg
Passage: Matthew 12:43-45
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Visiting Pastor, Marc Wragg, from Saving Grace Bible Church in Osprey, FL (http://www.sgbcvenice.org/) taught the congregation a compelling passage about the danger of external obedience without regeneration.  In the subject passage, Matthew 12:43-45, our Lord exposes external hypocrisy without drawing near to Christ. 

The main question is, “How do we know if God is at work in us with regenerating grace which produces an inward transformed life?”  We will examine five key points to help each of us answer this question.

  1. The Reformation
    1. (v.43) The unclean spirit leaves.  Besetting sin departs and the person becomes free from what might have been a life dominating pattern.
    2. Did God cause the change?  Has the sin been replaced with a greater love?
    3. Signs of false reformation without transformation:
      1. Change is based on a feeling.
      2. More concerned or happy with putting the sin off than building an intimate walk or relationship with Christ.
      3. Only concerned for the externals without concern for thoughts and intentions of the heart.
      4. Undisciplined in spiritual pursuits (i.e. prayer, Bible study, submission to leaders).
      5. Unwilling to press forward for mature growth in doctrine.
      6. No delight in truth
      7. No love of God’s people.
      8. Great love for himself and no evidence of dying to self.
  2. The Reprieve
    1. (v.44) Demons leave and look for a place to inhabit; rest.  There is reprieve from sin.
    2. Obedience is less difficult
  3. The Reorder
    1. He dresses up his life with externals.
    2. The house is de-cluttered, put in order, and made to look more clean (v.44c).
  4. The Return
    1. V.45 notes that when the unclean spirit returns, it returns with greater strength.
    2. This is the chief evidence of reformation without transformation.
    3. An example of this is a person giving himself over to sin and then a more sinful trajectory of greater domination and enslavement develops.
  5. The Rebuke
    1. V.45c Christ confronts and rebukes the generation.
    2. He persuaded the hearts of men in His ministry, but they are far from Him.
    3. The evidence of an untransformed heart:
      1. They are public defenders of truth (Matthew 12:10-14), but they are secretly rebellious and full of hate. 
      2. They say they want to honor God with their lips, but they want to put Christ to death.
      3. These are the kind that stand among God’s people, but point them away from Christ.

The Chief Mistake:  Cleaning the outside with an externally changed life and acting like everything is okay in the heart. 

So how do I know if I have a genuine conversion?  Notice in v.44b, Christ says, “When it (the unclean spirit) comes, it finds it unoccupied.”  This is the greatest evidence of reformation with transformation --- the Holy Spirit is not dwelling there!

  • A regenerated soul is “born again”.  God comes in and takes over our life!
  • God indwells us.  Truth abides in you and you abide in the truth.
    • Romans 8:10-11 – The Spirit dwells in you.
    • 1 Cor. 3:16 – The Spirit dwell sin you.
    • 2 Cor. 13:5 – Test/Examine yourself for Christ in you.
    • Col. 1:27 – The mystery of Christ is in you.
    • Eph. 1:13 – We are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit
  • How?  Here are the commands to put on the new self:
    • James 4:6 – Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
    • Ephesians 5:18 – Be filled with the Spirit
    • Romans 13:14 – Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

The bottom line to ask ourselves:  Where is Christ in my life?  Do I delight in Him?