1.) True change is revealed and proven by the way we live. Our words and "religious activities" don't cut it!
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducee's coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
The Pharisees thought they had everyone fooled with their "religious activities" and what they did as far as outward appearance goes. When we surround ourselves with the type of thinking that says we are okay as long as we look okay true change needs to be examined!
Your lives will reflect change when you have truly repented of your sins and turned to God.
2.) True change is necessary to enter Heaven!
20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
I would never want to be made an example of by Jesus in a negative way, especially one like this! Jesus told everyone that the Pharisees had themselves fooled into believing that they were more righteous and more Holy than everyone else. They thought that their actions and outward appearance "earned" them a secure status with God, but Jesus warned that they were badly mistaken. In fact he said, "unless your righteousness is better than that of the Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven!"
The Pharisees ended up being an example for us to use to measure just how much change has truly taken place in our lives!
3.) Authentic change doesn't just benefit you but it inspires others as well!
In this chapter of Acts we find what I think is the greatest example of change in the New Testament! We have Saul a wicked wicked man who sought to find and kill as many Christians as possible. When explaining the depths of Saul's wickedness I compared him to the person of Osama Bin Laden to try and drive the point home! The two had much in common. But when Saul is converted as you can read, we see that he ends up becoming a powerful preacher of the gospel. In fact it says in verse 31 that Saul was able to restore the churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. And they became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord!
No longer did the people fear Saul but instead they feared the Lord because of the great change that he was able to do in such a person as Saul.
Not only that but this change also inspired others to change once they seen the great turn around that came through Saul's conversion.
Saul ended up being one of the greatest advocates of change in the New Testament!
As you can see from the examples above true change matters. As we are constantly surrounded here lately by the presidential campaign ads of both parties that promise change, I challenge you to examine your walk with Christ and see where you measure up when it comes to true change.
Are you an example like the Pharisees or are you an example like Saul?