A Sermon by Mr. Rodrigo M. Mangay-ayam at HMC’s 111th Founding Anniversary 10.17.14
Our theme for this year’s anniversary celebration, is “TRANSFORMED INTO CHRIST-LIKE IMAGE”. What does it really like to be transformed into the image of Christ? When can we say that we have been transformed? When we can already walk on water or make the blind see? I am sure we all have a variety of answers. How can we have ourselves transformed into Christ-like image? Again, you have your answers and I have mine.
TRANSFORMATION – A CONTINUING JOURNEY
As for me, transformation is a continuing journey. I can only say I am transformed when I come face to face with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in heaven. On this note, I would like, therefore, to title my talk today “TRANSFORMING INTO CHRIST-LIKE IMAGE. And I chose Colossians 3: 1 to 4 as our text and I read from the New Living Translation Bible:
“1. Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits on the right hand of God in the place of honor and power.
- Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
- For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
- And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
MY LIFE’S GOAL IS TO GO HEAVEN
As in every endeavor that we venture in, whether personal or in business, we always have to set a goal – where or what we want to be at a certain future time. In a game of basketball, the goal is to put the ball through the basket within a specific period. In a game of golf, the aim is to put the ball into that hole with the least number of hits. And so on and so forth.
As I earlier stated, my life journey goal is set on to Heaven where I can come face to face with my Lord and Savior. It does not matter kung sa “paderetsong daan” o paliko-liko basta doon ang tungo. After all, I am not in a hurry anyway. Ang importante ay pagdating ko doon ay tatanggapin ako na walang condition.
I remember the late Pastor Marcelino Casuco who texted me one time of the paradox of life: First: everybody wants to live long but nobody wants to grow old; and second, everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
IF WE WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN, WE SHOULD:
- SET OUR SIGHT ON THE THINGS ABOVE (Colosians 3:1): Set your sight on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power.
This simply says that in everything that we do, we have to be focused on the goal, that is, on things in Heaven. Whatever happens along the way, everything we do should always be towards the attainment of that set objective.
For those of you who know how to ride a bicycle, is not it that you have to look at where you want to go and not just a few meters away from the front wheel? You have to set your sight far up, otherwise, you will fall.
As in a game of basketball, the player shooting the ball should always set his sight at the basket, which is the set target.
You can just imagine what will happen if a golf player does not set his sight on the target hole before hitting the ball.
In an external audit work, the auditor should always bear in mind at all times the ultimate objective of the audit, which is to certify that the financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with financial reporting standards free from material misstatements.
Do not be like the old woman I saw in a picture frame where the old woman was sitting by a highway looking exhausted and the caption says “I do not know where I am going but I am on my way.”
It is easier to accomplish any endeavor if we always keep our mind set on and stay focused to the goal we want to accomplice.
- SET YOUR THOUGHTS ON THINGS ABOVE (Colosians 3 verse 2)
“Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.”
To emphasize this, let me borrow the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi who was well loved in India:
“Watch your THOUGHTS as they will become your attitude;
Watch your ATTITUDE as they will become your word;
Watch your WORDS as they will become your actions;
Watch your ACTIONS as they will become your habits
Watch your HABITS as they will become your character
Watch your CHARACTER as it will become your DESTINY.”
Our thoughts determine our DESTINY.
If our thoughts are focused on earthly things, we will harvest only what is on earth.
To illustrate this, let me relate to you a story I once read:
There was a farmer who, one day while in the forest found an eagle’s egg. He took the egg and put it into the nest of his chicken in his farm. It did not take long before the eaglet hatched together with the brood of chicken. It grew up with them. All its life, the eagle, thinking that it was a chicken, did what the chickens did. It scratched the ground for food to eat. They flew but just a few inches above the ground. Months passed and the eagle grew more majestic than the others but did just the same things. One day, there was a big bird flying above them. The eagle on the ground was so amazed at the way the bird was flying so majestically with ease with a simple stroke of its wide wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the eagle to its neighbor. “What is that bird called?” “That is an eagle, the king of all birds.” said the chicken. “But do not give it a second thought because we can never be like him.” exclaimed the chicken. So the eagle never gave it a second thought and several years after it died thinking that it was just an ordinary chicken.
What could have happened had the eagle set its thought on the eagle flying majestically above and tried to fly the way the eagle did?
Your thoughts should always be focused to the destiny you want. Thoughts which would make you veer away from the target and hindrances should be set aside.
- SET YOUR HEART’S AFFECTIONS UPON JESUS
Paul told the Colossians, that if they are heaven bound, then their heart’s affections must always be pointed to Jesus and it must be continuously upon Jesus.
This can be aptly explained in Luke 5:45, which says “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”
If you love a person, you will always do everything to please that person. In the same manner, if we set our hearts’ affection upon Jesus, we will always endeavor to do that which is pleasing to His sight.
To summarize, for us to go to heaven: (1) we should set our sights to the realities of heaven; (2) we should set our thoughts on things above and not only on things on earth, and (3) we should set our hearts’ affections upon Jesus.
You might be asking why then these requirements while in fact we have been justified by grace as what is written in Ephesians 2: 8 which says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is a gift from God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Yes, we have been saved by GRACE and NOT as a result of good works, all we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ. Yes, this is true, my dear friends, but there is a continuation in (Ephesians 2) Verse 10, which says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the GOOD things He planned for us long ago.
There are several more which say that all we have to do is BELIEVE in JESUS CHRIST and we are saved. To cite a few, we have:
In Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and be baptized will be SAVED, but whoever does not believe will be condemned
In Acts 16:31 – Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.
And the favorite verse of all – John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
And in Galacians 2:21 – I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.
There are more and more that we can cite which would point to our salvation by GRACE through our faith. It appears that entering heaven is automatic. Why then am I saying?
1.SET YOUR SIGHTS and THOUGHTS ON THE THINGS ABOVE and
2. SET YOUR HEART’S AFFECTIONS UPON JESUS?
As amply said in the book of James, It is not enough that we have faith. Our faith should be shown by the good deeds we do. Faith that does not show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.
Let us also look into the following:
- Romans 6:15 to 16 and 23, which says (I am reading from the New Living Translation Bible) and I quote:
“15 So since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does this mean that we can go on sinning? Of course, NOT! 16 Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- John 15: 1 to 6
“1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2.He cuts off every branch that does not produce fruit, and prunes the branches that do bear fruit so that they produce even more. 5 Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.”
- Colosians 3:5 to 17
Before I close, I would like to read in gist the remaining portion of Colosians Chapter 3, which would summarize everything that I said this morning.
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.
Have nothing to do with sin and shameful desires.
Do not be greedy for the good things of this life.
God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things.
Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Love one another. Love is what binds us together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”
MY DEAR FRIENDS, WE CAN CHOOSE TO SET OUR SIGHT ON THINGS ON EARTH AND WE KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES.
WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE LIKE THE EAGLE THAT BELIEVED IT WAS A CHICKEN AND REMAINED FOCUSED ON BEING A CHICKEN.
IF WE WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN, WE SHOULD THEREFORE SET OUR SIGHT TO HEAVEN, OBEY GOD, DO WHAT IS PLEASING TO HIM AND RECEIVE HIS APPROVAL.
WE CAN CHOOSE TO SET OUR HEARTS TO JESUS AND REMAIN IN HIM AND HIM IN US. AND WE KNOW THE CONSEQUENCE.
WE CAN CHOOSE TO REMAIN IN JESUS AND BEAR FRUIT OR PART FROM HIM AND BE THROWN IN A PILE AND BE BURNED.
In closing, I want to relate to you a story of a young bright man who just graduated Summa Cum Laude from a very reputable university. He went back to his barangay in the province and thought of trying to test the wisdom of an old uneducated man who had been their barangay chairman for decades. He took a small bird with him. He thought of asking the old man if the bird in his hand is alive or dead. If the old man will answer the bird is “dead”, he will set the bird free and if “alive”, he will squeeze the bird tight until it dies. So that is what he did. Upon reaching the old man he asked him – “Lolo, I have a bird in my hand, is it alive or dead?”
The old wise man looked at the young in the eye and answered: “Young man the answer is in your hands.”
MY DEAR FRIENDS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: OUR DESTINY IS IN OUR HANDS. THE CHOICE IS OURS TODAY.
REMEMBER, HOWEVER, THAT ON FINAL JUDGEMENT DAY, GOD’S GRACE PREVAILS BUT WHAT WE DID ON EARTH WILL, DEFINITELY, BE CONSIDERED.