John Gray - Keys To Transformation
I want you to go to Matthew, chapter 17. Matthew, chapter 17. And, tonight, I want to talk from, the subject heading keys to transformation. Keys to transformation. You know, many of us have been coming to church for some time now, I know we have visitors but, for many of us we've been walking this thing out for a little while. And, one of the rarest things to see, is true change. And even in the prayer time, I've heard people saying, I've been asking the Lord for some things but, nothing seems to be changing. I'm believing for some things and, it has yet to change. And, I know what that's like, to pray a prayer, and to ask God for a thing, and that thing, not to happen, when I want it to happen. Has anybody else ever been there?
You know, I remember some of the prayers I pray to the Lord, and I'm like, Lord things need to change. I'm just going to tell you the truth, some things need to change around here. Because, such and such is bothering me and I'm still trying to figure out how to do this, and how to do that. And then, with my marriage, I need you to. You know the Bible says the wife is supposed to submit, that's what it says, I just need you to talk to Aventer and let her see that scripture. And God's like, what about the part that says husbands submit? I don't want to hear that part. I'm talking about the part, and, I noticed that I was asking God for some things to change, and I said, this needs to change, and that needs to change, and this, this, this and this. And he says, do you see any common threads? I said, yeah there's only one common thread, with all of these things that need to change. Me.
And the hardest thing, for many of us to do, is to look inside. And to see where we, can become an agent for our own deliverance. Where can we take personal responsibility, where can we take the reigns of accountability to begin to see, true change? Now, let's just get this out of the way, everyone here, will change, we need to change. If you've been married for any length of time, you know change is inevitable. The person that you married, many years ago, may not look the same today, they've changed. That's not a bad thing, it's a truth thing. My point is, change is inevitable. How you embrace it, how you prepare for it, how you acknowledge it, will determine levels of growth and maturity in your own life.
Tonight, I want to talk about keys to transformation. Go to Matthew, chapter 17. As you're going there, Matthew 17, I'm reading from the new King James version. You ever had a picture in your mind, of how you wanted your life to look? I had a picture in my mind of how my life was supposed to look, sometimes the picture doesn't mirror the reality. And there were times in my quiet moments, and I'm just being honest, in my quiet time, in the stillness, when I'm able to be still. Because right now, we have two, two year olds, running around my house. My children are 11 months apart, so we literally have two, two year olds, help us Jesus. But when I'm able to be still, there is an unease, there's something on the inside, and I can tell, something has to change.
I can't even tell you what exactly it is, but I know the Holy Spirit has been stirring in me. John, it's time to grow up, it's time to let go of some things, it's time to move forward in some areas. Because, if I'm honest with you, I know how to exist, but I'm not really sure if I know how to live. I'm good with paying bills when it's on that last notice. Anybody like me? When the yellow note comes, I'm like, I've got another month, I'm cool, I'm cool. When that pink note hits, it's like, oh I better call there, I better get down there today, they close at 4:30pm. I better get down there. I know how to avert crises, I don't even know if I know how to live in peace time. That's the nature of the superhero syndrome, you always want to save the day. But God is saying, stop putting that kind of stress on you, there's only one superhero, his name is Jesus.
Some things have to change: if I'm going to be successful as a husband, as a father. If you're going to be successful as a business person, if you're going to be successful as a wife, if you're going to be successful as a student. I believe that there are some principles tonight, that the Lord wants to give you, to transform. Matthew, 17, verse one, and nobody in here can say that they don't have to change. Because, in this story, we see even Jesus Christ, had to change.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you wish, let us make here three tabernacles: or tents, or places of prominence and worship. Let's make three tabernacles, dwelling places, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, this is my beloved son, son, son, special effects, you all weren't even ready. In whom I am well pleased, pleased, pleased. Hear him! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and fainted, and screamed like girls. I just snorted. And they were greatly afraid. When they had lifted up their eyes, watch this, they saw no one but Jesus only.
I want to talk about keys to transformation. We here are in a local church, you are next to somebody, maybe you know the person next to you, or maybe you don't. But everyone in here is in a, place of transition. We're going to be here for, maybe, 30 more minutes, and then you're going to shift, you're going to walk out of here. You're going to go to your car, and you're going to go home, and you're going to do whatever you need to do to get ready for tomorrow. You're going to go to sleep, and you're going to wake up, and then start your day tomorrow. And, you're not able to just stay in one place for very long, life is not designed for you to stay stagnant.
And many of us, we have, become stagnant in spiritual areas, and God is trying to shake off the stagnation because, many of us want routine because routine feels safe, it feels comfortable, but God is saying, for where I want to take you, it is no longer acceptable for you to remain stagnant, you're going to have to grow. I know some may be saying, now where's the other John from last week, the one that be shouting and running? I love the shout and the run, but I also want to give us some application, so that we can run, at the house. So that we can run, at our jobs, and run, at our marriages. Is that all right? Keys to transformation. In this story, we see Jesus talking with Peter, James and John. And, out of the 12, he brought these three men.
But Jesus had a community, of disciples, there were 12, but he only chose those three, why? And what happened, that they were the ones allowed to go up the mountain, with Jesus. Why? And, why did Jesus have to be transfigured? And the word transfigured, in the Greek is metamorphoses, where we get our English word, metamorphosis. Jesus literally became something else, in front of them, and I want to let you know, that God, is so determined to cause you to be that thing you saw in your mind, that greater version of yourself, he is going to fight with you, and fight for you, so that you are able to be free from the shackles of your past and lesser versions of yourself, so that you can maximize, in this lifetime, the calling and the gifting of God that's on the inside of you, you are not going to escape the earth until you are great.
Hand me the remote, and move children, get out the way! Get out the... But since they don't take the hint, I got to sit on the couch, the couch is nice! But it's not my chair! It sits a little lower. I'm what you call 'not small'. So it's a little harder to sit down in that tiny couch because my wife likes tiny couches, so I'm down there, trying to eat, hold lemonade, and click the- and they just this there, in my chair. This is so nice, ooh. This chair is so lovely, everything is so lovely. I can't wait for you to leave my house. What if it's not a chair? What if it's a habit? Change is not easy, but it is necessary. If we're ever going to be what God has called us to be, we're going to have to let go of the familiar. And embrace, through faith, the process, thereby which, we are called, to grow. But we don't grow, in a vacuum, we grow in community.
Now I don't mean, in the sense of a public display. But community in the sense that, you have family, close friends, sometimes, they're in the middle of your process. I've shared with my wife, different fears that I've had, and different things that I wasn't sure about. And, the only way to deal with the fear, is to embrace it, and keep moving forward. Towards the thing that I'm afraid of. And that's the power of change, sometimes, you got to go face that thing, that doesn't feel good. Sometimes, you going to have to just run straight, towards it. Every now and then, you can't just back away from Goliath, you can't toss a rock towards Goliath, you got to do what David did, and you got to just take off running. Like I don't know what's going to happen, but whether I live or die, I'm going to fight to change today. Something has to change, am I talking to anybody?
This, place of change, we got to embrace it as believers, because it's the only way that we're going to begin to produce fruit, with the relationship that we have in Jesus Christ. But you're going to have to endure, some of the people around you saying things like, hmmm, you changed. Have you ever heard that? Stings a little bit. Doesn't it? You want to be like, no, no I'm still me! You know, you know, you know. You know! You know. That part of us wants to hold on to what we used to be, so we can still be validated by the people that really, never really had our best interests at heart. There will be some that will have a negative connotation, and say, you've changed, you're brand new, you've been going to that church, look at you.
You all don't want to listen to that radio station no more, you just want to listen to, what is this, who is Israel Houghton? Houghton? Houghton. It's Houghton. Hmm, whatever, you've changed. But there are people that will be close to you, who know you, who know your heart. And they'll have a different texture to their voice, because they've been there long enough to know what it took for you to even be in this position. And they'll say something like this, you're changing. Can you encourage somebody next to you say, you're changing, tell them I see it. Say, you're changing. Can you tell, just one more person, say, you're changing. You're getting better. Tell them, you're getting better.
Encourage somebody, somebody needs to know that tonight. Just maybe give them a high five, or a low five. Just say, you're getting better. You're getting better. You're changing, you're getting better. The better version of yourself, you're a better man now than you were a year ago, you are better woman now than you were a year ago, you're a better wife now than you were a year ago, you're better, you're a better version of yourself. You are changing, the word is doing the work. The word is doing the work, the word is doing the work. Staying in the community is staying in the presence of the Lord. And it is doing work on the inside, something is changing.
Jesus, was transfigured, on a mountain, Peter, James and John. Why them? And why of all people would Jesus have to change? I thought Jesus was perfect. I thought Jesus had on his premium sandals. I thought he had on a nice robe, with the nice hair. I thought Jesus' hair was, you know? Why would Jesus need to change? For I am the Lord! I change not, sayeth i. Jesus was like, let us go up the mountain. To understand what happened in Matthew 17, you're going to have to moonwalk back, to Matthew 16. Hee hee, okay, in Matthew 16, the beginning of the chapter, you see that Jesus is being followed closely, by the pharisees and the Sadducees.
The pharisees, were a particular religious sect that, believed in the law, but also, the oral tradition, they believed that when you died, you went to a place called hades or sheol. And there, you would either receive, a reward or punishment for a certain period of time until the Messiah or mashiach, would come, and restore all things and bring you back to life. Then you would come back to the earth, and you would be rewarded according to your works, so pharisees were real big on works, they were big on ceremonial cleansings, and washings, and feasts and fasting. They were big on the external look, of relationship, but they were real short on internal integrity. They were following to see if Jesus was going to roll with them, on the other side was the Sadducees which was a more strict sect, of religious believers, who had a political aim as well.
The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection from the body, they did not believe in the immortality of the soul, they did not believe in evil spirits, they did not believe in any of that. But what they believed, is that you could do good works, and if you were just, a good person, and if you lived in this life, they didn't believe that there was anything really after, this life. And so, the Sadducees needed people to validate them. And so, they were always trying to be self-congratulatory, and these two groups of people were following Jesus, and they said, show us a sign. And Jesus' response to them was this, it's a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks a sign and no sign will be given you except the sign of the prophet, Jonah. Now Jonah, was in the belly of the whale, three days. What Jesus saying is the son of man is going to be dead for three days and he's going to rise up, that'll be the only sign, you all get.
Do you notice when you walk they ssshh. Do you notice people sit up a little bit when you come in? There's something on the inside of you, it's called the Holy Spirit. It is the seed of the divine and even though people may not know what it is, they know there's something about them, that's different. She's different. He's different. When you walk in, you change things. You guys, all right? Jesus, Jesus was clearly frustrated by the lack of the ability of these religious leaders to see who he was.
So then Matthew 16 and 13 happens. Dr. Paul, and he's walking with his disciples and out of frustration it says when he came, into the region of Caesarea Philippi. He says, who do men say that I am? That's important that nothing happens in the Bible by accident. Caesarea or Caesarea Caesarea Philippi is a city that was established by a man named Philip the Tetrarch, he was brother of Herod Antipas. Herod divorced his wife to marry Philip's wife illegally and John the Baptist, you all know him, he approached Herod and said, "What you just did divorcing your wife and marrying that man's wife, that was wrong". And he was so offended by that, that he threw John in jail.
You all know John went to jail, right? And you know John was beheaded. He was beheaded by order of Herod's wife. And so this city was a very important marker for Jesus because this city was the very city that John the Baptist, the same man that announced Jesus, over this city and over this man, he lost his life. So this was a Marker in time for Jesus, where the ministry of John ended Jesus ministry began. And so in this city, he says, "You know what"? Who do men say that I am? Am tired of being anonymous I need to know if anybody here has been given, clarity on who I am. Isn't it weird, that even some of the people closest to you still don't know you? They see you, but they see you how they need you.
The word Caesarea or Caesarea literally translates severed. In this moment Jesus said, I got to sever the old. I need to know who's ready to go to the next place? And in that place, that's when Peter blurted out your the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus said, bingo. He didn't say bingo, but said upon this rock I built my church. Gates of hell will not prevail against it. This happened in that moment in that city because something had to change. I need you to understand that until you're frustrated, until you're tired, until you're ready, until you're just uncomfortable, nothing will change. God is allowing that uncomfortable thing, I know I'm talking to more than three people, that thing, that won't go away the Holy Spirit is allowing it because he wants you to initiate the process whereby change will occur.
So I want to give you some keys, to transformation. You ready I need you to write these down. This is important. Jesus, getting ready to give you the first point. Jesus said who do men say that I am? And Peter said, "You're the Christ, the son of the living God". Jesus said finally, somebody knows who I am. They know what I am. And then it goes on to say that he told them, how he would die, how we'd have to die and how he would be raised up in three days, he started revealing more of himself. Now this is important. There was, a public announcement because, you know, when Jesus was born, the angels announced his birth. There is this place, help me, Holy Ghost. There's this place, of public announcement, but then later, is when we, reveal the purpose.
So the public announcement may not be the same time, as the revealed purpose. It's important for you to get this some people might see you but they still don't know you. You got to give the Holy Spirit the place, to reveal you to people. Don't go around "Excuse me, I'm a prophet. I just want to get some groceries. I know but I saw you at Lakewood I just want you to know am a prophet", even with that lettuce in your hand, stand up, God's getting ready to give you a garden. That's what he's going to do. If you are a thing, you don't have to announce it. Let heaven announce you. And let heaven reveal you. Is that all right? It's important.
Let me give you these points. Keys to transformation. The first one is a moment of severing. There're some things that need to be severed in your life. You need to identify what are some things that need to be cut off? What in your life needs to be cut off in order for you to change? That is the Caesarea the Caesarea. Matthew 16 and 13 this place of severing. The moment of severing, the unease of a situation often leads you to say, "This is enough". And the reason why God allows this to happen is because we're called to initiate the conversation. Jesus said, "Who do you men say that I am"? He wasn't asking because he didn't know. He was starting the conversation to push, his own destiny. He knew that he only had a certain amount of time and if I'm going to go to the next level, then the people around me need to catch the vision.
Some of you are moving slower than you need to because you've got people around you that don't share your vision. So you need to initiate the conversation and ask them, do you know who I am? That's not a prideful question. You need to ask them because there are certain ladies in here you've been spending inordinate amounts of time with a certain gentleman, but he does not seem to understand, who you are. You are not a girlfriend, you are a wife waiting for someone to give you the ring, so you can function in your purpose. Sir, we've been going out for two years, do you know who I am? I'm not a boo thing. I'm not a weekend hook up. I am the daughter of a king and I carry favor.
Now if you don't see that, that's okay, but I've got to cut this. You need to initiate the conversation because what people's response is we'll give you clarity on where you need to position them, if anywhere at all. But some people need to go. Now I feel the Holy Ghost on that. Some people just need to get the bye bye. Peace. And here's why you got to initiate the conversation, because it's time to go higher. Say that out loud, it's time to go higher. Hey, bro, I can't stay where I was last year. Last year was good for last year, but I can't be rocking 2014 in 2015. 2014 anointing is not going to do well in 2015. It's time to go higher. I need to have some conversations and not just with folk on the outside, with some people close to me. And not only them, I need to have a conversation with myself.
Hey, John, are you ready to change? Are you really okay with the amount of weight you're carrying in your body? When you know that African American men disproportionately die from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease? Are you going to continue to eat what you want, John gray? When you've got a wife who loves you and children who need you? Are you going to blame everybody else? Are you going to take personal responsibility? Sometimes you need to have a hard conversation in the mirror. "I'm talking to the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself then make"... Okay, I'm sorry. Somebody give the Lord a praise.
Point number two. Let me give you point number two. After Peter said, you're the Christ, the Son of the living God the next thing you see is Jesus taking Peter James and John up the mountain. Why them? Cause apparently out of the 12 those were the three that caught the revelation the fastest. You need to be able to identify the people who can see you clearly and take them. Doesn't mean you don't still have friendship and relationship with the others but the ones who see you in this season, take them up the mountain. Why? Because and here's the point, we can't go higher, until you see me clear. I need you to see me as the Lord as the father created me in order for me to go higher, I need you to see me through his eyes. Because only if you see me through the eyes of my father, will you give me my proper value.
People who don't have a revelation of who you are through the eyes of the Holy Spirit will never value you properly. They can't value you properly. Because only through God would they be able to say, "Oh my goodness, look what they've walked through and they still serve God". Look at that great purpose and I get a chance to be a part of what God is doing in their life. I need you to see me clear, in other word, in other ways we can't go higher, until you see me clear. Third, third point. I said this earlier, but this is the point, Jesus position was announced, but his purpose was revealed. The Holy Spirit has to reveal who Jesus was beyond simply a do good miracle worker or some new age prophet on the scene. It was the Holy Spirit that spoke to Peter and said, "You're the Christ, the unique Son of God, sent to save us from our sins".
Now that I understand your purpose, now, tell me what it is and my role to play so I can do that. You need to give people your purpose. You need to share your purpose. Don't have anybody in your life that's not on purpose. No more accidental friendships Peter. I'm not just going to spend time on the phone with people that aren't a part of where I'm going. I don't have an hour to waste talking about what was on tv. Did you see what happened? On empire girl, cookie is a mess. Listen, I appreciate all that but where I'm at, I've got too many things that God has put in my spirit and I need to go ahead and build my own tv shows and write my own books and my own film and start my own business. And I don't have an hour to waste. Now, if you want to talk about how to help me, get downtown and get my business license, and help me to lock in this 501[c], now we can talk but I don't have time for the frivolous. Jesus position was announced, but his purpose was revealed. Let God announce you. Let God reveal you, because self rev, self revealing, could be a road to pride. It doesn't always in that way, but it could be. When you have to tell people what you are. Tell people, all of that just let the Lord, reveal it.
Number four. Fire in, fruit out. Fire in, fruit out. What do I mean by that? On the mountain, the Bible says that he was transfigured, before them. And his clothes, were made bright like the white. It says he was transfigured and his facial like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. But notice, it didn't say his clothes were transfigured. He was transfigured. He was changed. Metamorpho. Transformed. Anybody ever seen the movie transformer? Anybody familiar with transformers? It looks like a car, but when, a battle comes, it turns into a soldier. And it can fight like a man and then when the fight is over, it changes back into a car. Jesus, did not look different when he came off the mountain, but he was different. He was transformed, and it wasn't an external work. It was an internal work, the fire of the Holy Ghost was infused upon him on the top of that mountain and then from the inside, fire, the fruit was produced outwardly. Once he got the fire on the inside, then his clothes started glowing and his shoes and his hair started glowing.
Stop trying to get the fire on the outside. No more cosmetic Christians. Ooh, I feel the Holy Ghost. We have too many people who are cosmetic in their approach and everything is external, but nothing changes. Your character hasn't changed. Your integrity hasn't changed. You're still doing the same sins and somehow you think that the blood of Jesus is cool with it. Well, I mean, you know everybody has something, yes, but at some point after 30 years, maybe something should change. So fire in, fruit out, get the fire the Holy Spirit on the inside, and allow, this internal change to produce external fruit. Last point. The Bible says when Peter got beside himself was like, "You know what, it's good for us to be here". I'm going to make a tabernacle for you and Elijah and Moses. The father was like, quiet! He didn't say that but he said, "This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased. Hear him".
And then when Jesus came back over he touched them said come on, get up. And the Bible says, when they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus only. That word, Jesus only, the word only is monos. So it didn't say they saw Jesus first that would have been protos. Protos means first, which means there could be a second, and a third and a fourth but it's monos, which means only there's nobody else to look at. Once you get a glimpse of Jesus, there's nowhere else you need to go. You don't try anything else. You don't call the psychic hotline. You don't try this and this and this, and it's not meditation. And it's not this, that and the third is just Jesus only ooh that the church would get the revelation that its Jesus only Christ alone, Cornerstone, weak made strong in the Savior's love through the storm he is Lord, Lord of all. In order for true change to take place, you have to come to the knowledge of Jesus only. Christ alone is the only way to the Father.
And it is, in Jesus, not just the name, but in his fullness, his character, embracing his mission, his ministry and his methods. In that we will find true change. What the church, must be to the world is Jesus only. And we must display the character of Christ, we must display the love of Christ, we must display the heart of Christ. Not this religious, judgmental, angry, guilt-ridden display, and if you don't do it this way, you better be sure you're going to burn. Let me tell you something. Yes, hell is real but heaven is more real and God has made the way for us, to get to heaven. If we confess Jesus Christ, and believe in our heart and confess with our mouth, we shall be saved. Jesus only, and if we can get that we will see true change. Let's fight, for people to see the real Jesus by fighting for Jesus to be on the inside of us.