I believe this same principle applies to us as worshippers of Jesus Christ. In 1 John chapter 3, the Bible says this:

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1 March 4, We Become Like what we Behold I want to propose a principle this morning. A principle that I believe is true, and is Biblical, and is extremely relevant for all of us as worshippers of Jesus. The principle is this: we become like what we behold. The things that we look at effect us & change us. You & I tend to become like the things that we focus on, the things we behold - especially those things we behold with great admiration. There are countless examples of this truth all around us. We see it in little children, who want to be like their parents. If a little boy sees his Dad wear cowboy boots, then he wants to wear cowboy boots. If a little girl sees her Mommy putting on makeup, then she wants to put on makeup. Their parents are the largest figures in their lives, the people they see & admire every day. And little kids have a tendency to become like what they behold. Advertisers count on this principle. This is why they pay huge sums of money just to display their corporate logo on a race car or a website or a magazine page. Because they believe that if you simply SEE their logo over & over, just the seeing of it will impact you, will change you, make you more like they want you to be. You see this all the time in sports - young players modeling their game after their favorite pro. HS QB s try to model their throwing motion after Peyton Manning. Young basketball players dream about dunking like Blake Griffin. Why? Because they ve SEEN these guys over & over again. We become like what we behold. In happens in fashion - we see TV or movie celebrities looking all beautiful & think, maybe my hair would look good like that, maybe I could wear clothes like that, copy their style... We become like what we behold. In business - we watch what the most successful CEO s do and emulate them, trying to reproduce their results. We model ourselves after our heroes. We become like what we behold. I believe this same principle applies to us as worshippers of Jesus Christ. In 1 John chapter 3, the Bible says this: 1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are children of God now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

2 We will be like Jesus! That s our destiny as followers of Christ! If you are a Christian, you will one day be like Jesus. I will be like Jesus. Now... we re not there yet. Not even close. All of us have FAR to go. There are huge gaps in our lives that God has only begun to fill and heal. But the promise of this verse is that it WILL happen! We WILL be like Jesus! What a tremendous hope! What a glorious destiny! Understand, the Bible teaches that we will be like Him, not become Him. Jesus will always be God, and we will always NOT be God. But, as much as is possible, we will be like Him. We will love what Jesus loves. We will value what He values. We will be completely filled with His joy. We will never again lapse into sin. We will delight in the Father like Jesus does, with maximum intensity, forever &ever! What could be better than this?! You couldn t possibly imagine anything that would bring you more joy and satisfaction than this! There are no greener pastures to long for, there is no greater dream that we could ever dream! We will be like Jesus. And what does the Bible say is going to bring about this transformation?......we will be like Him, because we will SEE Him just as He is. We become like what we behold! When Christ appears, we will see Him in all of His glory, and we will be captivated, transformed, cured from any competing desires. We will instantly see how ridiculous it was for us to have ever longed for anything or anyone else. This is Jesus deep desire for us. In John chapter 17, Jesus prays: John 17:24 Father, I desire those you have given Me to be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory... I think that the sight of Jesus in all His glory is going to be so captivating, so mesmerizing, so gloriously overwhelming & irresistible, that we ll just be swallowed up in His glory and transformed into His likeness forever. We will become like what we behold. But this is NOT just a future thing. This has huge implications for our lives right now - today! Romans 8:28, a very familiar and well-loved verse, says:

3 Romans 8:28-29 We know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. That s a wonderful promise. AND - as is often true in scripture - we learn even more about this promise by just going ahead and reading the next verse: For those whom God foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son... You see, the good that God is working all things together towards is You & I being conformed, being shaped into the image of His Son. THIS is what God is aiming at in your life, in my life - not necessarily health or wealth or earthly comfort & success, but Christ-likeness, becoming like His Son. And so - happy things, hard things, beautiful things, painful things... God is purposing all things to work together towards this goal in our lives. And this is going on right now, day after day, in each of our lives. This is true for ALL Christians. In 2 Corinthians, the Bible says that: 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image, from glory to glory. See that? We are being transformed into His image! So this is a right-now, ongoing process in our lives, changing us from glory to glory, from one degree of glory to another, progressively more & more & more like Jesus. And look at how the Bible says this happens: beholding the glory of the Lord. Once again, we become like what we behold. Ok... so, if this is true, then, practically speaking, what am I supposed to do with this? I can t see Jesus with my physical eyes. He s at the right hand of God, and I m not. How do I behold Jesus? The fact that you re here today is a good start. Because the Bible says that the CHURCH is the body of Christ. In a healthy, functioning church, you will get glimpses of the glory of Jesus in action. Not perfectly, and not all the time. But you can see something of Jesus in His CHURCH.

4 WORSHIP is another powerful means of beholding His glory. In Psalm 63, David writes: Psalm 63:1-3 O God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You... David is looking earnestly for God. And where does he turn?... So I gaze on You in the sanctuary and behold Your power and Your glory. The Message Bible says: So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in Your strength and glory. So WORSHIP is a wonderful way of beholding Jesus and becoming like Him. Another VERY important place to see Jesus is in His WORD. Jesus told some Jewish leaders: John 5:39 You study the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life, but the Scriptures testify about Me! The Bible is all about Jesus! He reveals much of Himself in His Word. The Bible is where we can behold Jesus life and His teachings. The Word of God is living and active and it changes us! This is why our pastors would preach a series of messages called The Jesus Story from the book of Mark - so that we can SEE Jesus! This is why we re pushing again this year for everybody to read through the Bible in a year - because the Scriptures testify about Jesus! If you re not participating in that Bible reading plan, let me encourage you to re-think that decision. We re only 4 weeks into this 12-month reading plan. There s time for you to catch up if you really want to. Or, this coming Friday, we begin the book of Exodus, chapter 1. That would be a perfect spot for you to join in. Now, you might think, Didn t we just do this last year? And now you want me to do it again? YES! Because we re not doing this just to check some box and say I did it! We re reading the Bible out of a desperate desire to SEE JESUS! To become like Him!

5 Sometimes people will say, I ve tried reading the Bible, and I just didn t get that much out of it. I didn t see any evidence that it was making me more like Jesus. Think of it like this... say you plant a sapling in your front yard, ok? And the next day, it comes a nice, steady, soaking rain. Are you gonna be able to look at that sapling and tell that the rain is making it grow? No, not in the moment. But check back in a year, check back in 10 years. There ll be LOTS of growth! Very often, the greatest & most lasting effects are quiet & hard to detect in the moment. But there is far more going on than you may think when you come to the Word every day, desperate for a glimpse of Jesus. God says: Isaiah 55:10 11 Just as the rain and the snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so My Word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Jesus says: Matthew 4:4 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So, to behold Jesus, you ve got to spend time in His Word. And TIME is something that s very valuable to us, and it s hard to come by, I get it. BUT... if you leave this church building today and hardly even think about Jesus or glance at His Word until you come back next Sunday, that s a whole week spent beholding something else. And, therefore, becoming like something else! Because, we become like what we behold. It s really pretty simple - whatever we value enough to spend significant time focused on, that s what we will tend to become like. If you spend all your time focused on money - you will become greedy. If you focus on stuff - you ll become materialistic. If we behold trivial things all the time, we become trivial. If we behold foolishness, we become foolish. If what we behold is inferior and temporary and meaningless, our lives will (take on that same character and) begin to seem inferior and temporary and meaningless. We need to CHOOSE - very carefully - what we behold!

6 Hebrews chapter 12 says: Hebrews 12:1b-2a Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. This is how we run the race, this is how we live our lives, this is how we become the people God has destined us to be - by keeping our eyes on Jesus! Because we become like what we behold! Look - for me to call myself a Christian, and yet honestly have no desire to become any more like Jesus than I am right now... I d say that s a red flag. To say that it s my destiny to become like Christ, and yet not be actively pursuing Christ-likeness now... that just doesn t make any sense. As worshippers, let s keep our eyes on Jesus, seeking Him in His Word, drawing near to Him in worship, filling our eyes with a vision of Christ so great and glorious that we truly become like what we behold. PRAYER Jesus, thank You for the promise of one day seeing You in all Your glory, and becoming like You. Help us to keep our eyes on You. We want to be like You, Jesus. We long to be changed from glory to glory, progressively more and more into Your image. Right now, we kneel before You in humility, we draw near in worship, we set our eyes and our hearts on You.

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