In this three-part series, Daniel Pel addresses a very important question of what it means to be the follower of Jesus in this ever-changing culture. He suggests that there are many factors in our lives that can shape us, but the culture that surrounds us is in particular a great threat to our identity as children of God. Not only do we let this culture mold us, but even more alarmingly, we often try to shape God to our own liking, distorting His image and hindering the true Gospel. In these three lectures, we will discover how God wants to be our Potter who can shape, form and fashion us like clay, in His image. If we acknowledge we need His help and surrender to His touch, He will continue to form our lives according to His will.
Lecture 1: Counteracting Culture – 52 Minutes
What is the shaping factor that changes us? Daniel Pel discusses how the culture that surrounds us may affect God’s plan for us.
In this lecture, Daniel Pel explores how in the days of Jeremiah the culture shaped the nation of Israel, stripping them of their identity. We learn how they then tried to restore their identity again by creating many self-proclaimed laws and rituals. Jesus and His teachings were a serious threat and collided with these unBiblical laws and rituals. Does His Gospel collide with today’s culture in a similar way? What is a shaping factor that truly changes us? Daniel Pel suggests that our world today is suffering from distortion, as it attempts to change an image of the incorruptible God into an image of corruptible man. Deism, atheism and humanism are examples of man-made philosophies that lead to total rejection of God. Today, as it was in the time of Jeremiah, it is culture that takes over and shapes us. This is a reversal of God’s plan. We must let God be our Potter again, so people will see His image and light in us and make us the counteracting factor to the culture we are in.
Lecture 2: Lest We Hinder the Gospel of Christ – 53 Minutes
Our heart needs a total transformation through Jesus Christ, so we can be right representatives of the Gospel to the world.
What does it mean to be shaped by God? How can this be achieved? First, we need to admit our sinful and wicked nature and realize we cannot change by ourselves. It is very clear from Scripture that inside of us there is no power to do good. Our heart does not need mere modification, it needs to be totally transformed, and this can only be delivered through Jesus Christ. The shaping work of Jesus goes beyond giving up on obviously bad traits or habits. If we could only truly realize what it means that Jesus gave up all His rights so we could be saved, this would become our shaping factor. In 1 Corinthians 9:12, Paul says he is willing to give up anything, including his rights, just so others can see the Gospel more clearly. What hinders the Gospel in our lives? What are our stumbling blocks? Why do we often, through our poor choices, hinder others from clearly seeing the most important image they should ever see in their lives – the Cross of Christ? Let’s be right representatives of the Gospel to the world.
Lecture 3: Agents of Reconciliation – 64 Minutes
God has a calling for each of us to be agents of His reconciliation and He will shape our circumstances to fulfill His mission.
When we place ourselves in the hands of the Potter, we become a new creation. Through the power of transformation in our lives, we exemplify the resurrection of Jesus and become His witnesses. God has a calling for each of us to be agents of His reconciliation and He will shape our circumstances to fulfill His mission. As it was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our eyes need to be fixed on the Promised Land and we always need to be prepared for God’s call. We can trust that He will orchestrate our lives so that everything falls into its place if we let Him guide us. The apostles had difficulty at first to understand the mission of Jesus, but the time came when they surrendered their own plans for the future, and with the power of Holy Spirit they were able to spread the Gospel across the world. Like them, we need to reject all that stands in our our way and be ready for His ministry.