The Process of Change

Romans 12:2

January 6, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.                   Introduction (Romans 12:2)


A.    What does “Ready to Change” mean?


1.      Ready, prepared, trained, psyched, equipped, organized, available, complete, in place, in position

2.      Ready for whatever happens in the future – not caught off guard

3.      The opposite would be: Unprepared, caught off-guard, panicking, ill-equipped, disorganized


B.     It is our church theme this month

C.     What we will learn this year, the Lord willing…


1.      What is a Church?

2.      Why is it compared to a Bride in the Bible?

3.      What should Christians be ready for?

4.      How shall we become ready? Training in twelve big areas


D.    This month is about just being READY to change – wanting to change – to be more and do more than you and I currently are


1.      Not by being like the world around us

2.      But by being transformed

3.      The miraculous process of being changed


II.                The Need to Change (Luke 22:31,32)


A.    Take a good look at how we REALLY are – be honest

B.     Many Things are Wrong With Us


1.      We were Born wrong – born sinful (Romans 3:23)

2.      We Have Wicked Imaginations – it is not right inside our heads ladies and gentlemen


a.       Unnatural fears and worries

b.      Wicked Images and actions

c.       Evil surmisings – constantly judging people and condemning them, yourself


3.      We are proud, arrogant, not needing God

4.      Headed for an eternity in a devil’s hell

5.      No wonder Jesus said that, “We MUST be born again!”


C.     We need to change – we are like an ugly caterpillar


1.      Only living to eat

2.      Gorging ourselves on everything that is within reach


D.    Deep down, every heart should wish to change


1.      Wanting to change - willing to be changed - yielded to the work of God in our lives as he breaks us and changes us - converts us

2.      Wanting to be a better husband, wife

3.      Free from some sinful habit

4.      Free from the past, and failures and depression

5.      Free from anger and bitterness

6.      Wanting to have a right mind, a sound mind


E.     Many people are afraid to change!

F.      Thankfully, We were DESIGNED to change


1.      Not stay this way!

2.      Just like a Caterpillar is designed by God to become an absolutely beautiful butterfly

3.      So can we become what Jesus saved us to be!


G.    But know this, You CANNOT change yourself (Jer 13:23)! WANTING to change, and WORKING hard at changing, doesn’t mean it will happen


III.             You Are Going to have to Trust God’s Process – It’s called, “Conversion” (Luke 22:31,32)


A.    God has everyone in the process – whether you like it or not

B.     Thankfully, He is committed to changing you and me (Rom 8:29; Philp 1:6)


IV.             Background (Dan 4:4-9)


A.    We could look at dozens of examples of people in the Bible that God transformed


1.      Saul of Tarsus to the great Apostle Paul

2.      Simon, the son of Jonas, to the great Apostle Peter

3.      Sarai to the great Sarah, wife of Abraham

4.      Jacob, to Israel, Prince with God

5.      Even Job, from self-righteous, to the doubly blessed and greatest man of the entire middle east


B.     This morning, we will look at and learn from King Nebuchadnezzar – pagan king of the Babylonian Empire


1.      He has a bad nightmare – he knew it had a meaning

2.      No one could figure out what the meaning of the dream was, Except Daniel

3.      It was a prophetic dream about what was coming up in Nebuchadnezzar’s life

4.      A dream about how God would change this pagan, idolatrous, self-conceited killer of a man, into a transformed child of God, who loved God, and served Him the rest of his life!


C.     So how did it happen? How could God do such a thing? And would he do it again in YOUR life, and the life of your family?


V.                Message - The Process of Change


A.    The Stripping Down Part (Dan 4:10-23) – No Pain, No Gain


1.      To change Nebuchadnezzar, God had to cut him down to smaller than small


a.       God could not start with him and just add a few ingredients

b.      He had to strip everything away, so that he would start over


2.      God took everything away from Nebuchadnezzar


a.       The empire itself – its success, height, depth

b.      The wealth – all the produce, fruit

c.       Even the friends and people who looked to him for wisdom and comfort

d.      He took them all away so that he had nobody to look to, to lean on – he was alone


3.      God humbled Nebuchadnezzar!


a.       What had once been a great life, was stripped down to poverty and aloneness

b.      Believe me, NO ONE finds this easy!


4.      All that was left was a stump – the base of a tree. Something you just sit on


a.       It was NOT a useless place

b.      It was a way for Nebuchadnezzar to start over!


5.      Thank God that He brings us to the place where we CAN start over!


a.       Sometimes, we have to experience this many times during our lives

b.      Jesus taught that a seed has to fall to the earth and die before it becomes fruitful and successful

c.       Because THAT is when we can start to change and be different

d.      Listen to the words of Jesus. John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”


B.     When God Hems Us In (Dan 4:15)


1.      Then an iron band was locked around that stump so that it would not grow – it would stop any sprouts, or growth at all!

2.      Nebuchadnezzar would have to endure


a.       Being hemmed-in, hedged-in – blocked from being able to do anything

b.      Being alone – only with other animals

c.       Harsh weather – no coming in from the rain, or the storms


3.      God sometimes HAS to lock us down, block our path


a.       Sometimes in a hospital bed

b.      Sometimes by the loss of a job

c.       Sometimes with no one understanding what you are going through

d.      Loss of your friends, and even family!


e.       WE want the blessings of God and safety

f.       What GOD wants is a change – for us to be transformed into the likeness of His dear Son!


4.      Just remember, to trust the Lord


a.       That you really are NOT alone – the Potter is there

b.      And trust HE is hard at work on you and in you, moulding, fashioning a new you


5.      So, We actually change, when we can do nothing ourselves – kind of a contradiction, but it is GOD’S way!


C.     Learning to Wait and Stay (Dan 4:25)


1.      God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, and let him just sit for 7 years – 7 long years


a.       This was no overnight religious experience he would go through

b.      No! It was going to take time for Nebuchadnezzar to break!


1)      As did Moses – 40 years by the way before God could even get Moses to talk to Him

2)      As did Saul of Tarsus – went away for 3 years alone from everyone after getting saved


2.      Application to the listener:


a.       Don’t run, or try and get out of the forging process

b.      If you run away from the pain and the troubles, God will have to start the whole process all over again

c.       If you run ahead of God, or, If you try and do things your own way, you run the risk of staying the same old way you are right now

d.      Do you not realise that…


1)      The best marriages aren’t the ones that are 2 and 3 years old, but the ones that are 20 and 30 years old, by God’s grace!

2)      The wisest people are rarely young – most have some time under their belt

3)      The sweetest friends are those that have stayed with you


3.      We all have need of patience while we are in the fire, in the trial, under pressure, and when we are at a loss!

4.      We CHANGE, when we are made to wait and stay where God has put us

5.      Where does God have YOU? Right now? Better stay until God has finished teaching you something; finished humbling you; finished changing you!


D.    Change is Always a Work on the Heart (Dan 4:16)


1.      THAT is where the work must occur first (Luke 1:17)


a.       We work so much on our: Appearances, Abilities, and our Actions

b.      God ALWAYS is at work on our hearts!

c.       Luke 1:17 – “And he (John the Baptist) shall go before [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


2.      Watch how God changes Nebuchadnezzar’s heart


a.       God set out first to change Nebuchadnezzar’s heart into that of a beast – the worst it could be

b.      So that Nebuchadnezzar would see just how wicked his heart really was


1)      Have you even felt provoked to where you say and do something you thought you would never say or do?

2)      THAT was God revealing the kind of heart that you really have

3)      Or, the kind of heart that you are becoming, if you don’t ask God to fix it


c.       And so that He could change that same, most wicked heart into the best kind of heart – a new heart!


3.      We change when our heart is made different


E.     It is Also a Work on the Mind (Dan 4:25)


1.      This is not something that Nebuchadnezzar needed to “feel”

2.      But to KNOW, and believe with all his being

3.      God wanted Nebuchadnezzar to KNOW Him


a.       To know what HE is like

b.      To know just how powerful HE is

c.       And yet how merciful, and how forgiving

d.      To know HIS will

e.       To know His mind

f.       People study amoebas, virus’ and rocks. They study planets and stars and entire galaxies. They learn Math and Chemistry, and Physics and architecture…

g.      But “I” delight in studying the Creator of all those things! I get to know HIM!


4.      Most people freak out when troubles come – they either hyper-analyze, or switch-off and don’t learn anything! Never really learn anything that God is trying to show them!

5.      God wants us to learn about HIM through the process of change!

6.      Change happens when we think differently. Knowing God helps you think differently!


F.      The Goal of the Work, is Repentance (4:27)


1.      Daniel pleads with Nebuchadnezzar to REPENT


a.       To humble himself, break his rebellion and stubbornness, by himself

b.      To change his mind on his own, and to be sorry for his own wickedness

c.       Before God has to do it


2.      Sadly, he didn’t change his mind, or his attitude – rarely do people quickly repent

3.      It would have been so much easier for God to change Nebuchadnezzar, because God can only change a broken man

4.      Repentance is where God can step in and…


a.       Save a lost man

b.      Heal a broken marriage

c.       Cleanse a wicked imagination

d.      Deliver a person from the bondage of some grievous sin

e.       Transform a stubborn, hell bound pagan into a Bible believing Christian!


5.      How hard is it for YOU to repent? Don’t worry about anyone else… how hard is YOUR heart?


VI.             Conclusion


A.    This was A Miracle – No Other Process Works to Change Us


1.      People and religions and philosophies


a.       Can make us feel better

b.      Can make us act better – behaviour modification


2.      But none can actually MAKE us better – cannot change our heart or imagination. And none can change our destiny

3.      Only God Can produce the Miracle of a Changed man, a Changed Woman, a Changed Teenager!


B.     God Changed Nebuchadnezzar by a painful process


1.      It Humbled Him

2.      It Taught Him – who God was and what He can do

3.      It Actually Converted Him (4:34-37)


a.       (2 Corinthians 5:17) - “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”


4.      It Bettered Him – didn’t just restore him back as king, but as a godly, God fearing king

5.      It Used Him for the Glory of God (4:37)


C.     God seeks to do the same in every individual, every church

D.    Are we ready for such a process?

E.     Are we ready for such a change?

F.      Just trust that the Lord is committed to changing us – that is our goal for 2013