Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.
We’re living in a changing world where everything is changing. We need to know how to handle change.
- God said, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). God does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and in the future.
- God’s plan doesn’t change for creation. Peter said “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Peter 3:4).
- People change and the world changes as we follow God’s plan. Relationships, political powers, human interactions, physiology, maturity, perspective, preferences, circumstances, influences, and feelings change.
God designed life to have seasons in life for everyone. God puts balance in the lives of Christians. People are born and they die. There’s planting time and harvest time, good times and bad times. There are times when you feel God strips you down and then he builds you up.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The devil targets God’s people to destroy them by changes. God allows changes and opposition, not to destroy but to give us victory.
Daniel 7:25-27 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until…the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion…to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion…shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High…kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
God said he would do a new thing in the earth by making ways in the wilderness and rivers in the deserts. God will make ways in our wilderness and rivers in the deserts to affect the conditions of our world and society today. What he does now will be perfect for now. Where are we? Are we in step with God now and open to how he’s working today?
Isaiah 43:18-19 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Lot wasn’t in step with God at Sodom. He lingered when God said he needed to move in his life. He had his eyes on what he was doing. God was merciful to send an angel to take his hand and pull him out when he hesitated to go.
Genesis 19:15-17…the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters…lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful…and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And… said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
Lot’s wife wasn’t in step with God either. Maybe she was thinking about all the good works she was doing in Sodom but God wanted her to change. She was so caught up in her works that she wouldn’t leave Sodom to change.
Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
We need to pray and listen to God and what he wants us to do. Are we looking back? The Jews wouldn’t listen to Stephen about the change God wanted to make when they looked back to the law.
Acts 6:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus…shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
The people cried and plugged their ears. Do we start being vocal about change and stop our ears or are we open to change?
Acts 7:57-58 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Jesus was fulfilling the law and bringing a change to have an inward law in our hearts instead of the outward law that was weak and unprofitable. God was giving his Son to do something in us that was so much better by changing our hearts. We need Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our heart to guide us and lead us.
Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Hebrews 7:18-19 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Jesus was expecting fruit to be on the fig tree. Do we have just leaves, meaning just the outward appearance of a Christian, but no fruit? Jesus is looking for fruit in our life. God said he would destroy the unprofitable servant (Matthew 25:30).
Matthew 21:18-19…as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree…and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
How do we handle change?
Pause – Jesus was teaching the people when they brought a woman to him that was taken in adultery. He paused and wrote in the dirt before he spoke. The pause was to stop the momentum of doubt and unsettledness in the crowd. Change can be like a wave to overwhelm us. We need to pause and make sure our feet are settled on the rock of God’s will.
Take a breath – of the Holy Spirit to enter God’s rest. Receiving the Holy Spirit is called Sanctification. It isn’t a one time action. We must die daily (I Corinthians 15:31) to bring us under control of God’s will. Change brings uncertainty but God wants us to know it’s his will.
Acts 1:7-8…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and…be witnesses…unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Identify the change – This will help us know how to adjust to change in our life and in the church. We can be open to change and look for opportunities in our rapidly changing world. How people get information has changed so they search the Internet instead of going to a library. There’s a smear campaign on the Internet, on social media, and at schools against Christians and God so some look at them differently. People go to church for entertainment and churches cater to that. How are we handling it? God gave Daniel wisdom to know how to handle what he experienced in Babylon.
Daniel 2:20-21 Daniel…said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons…he giveth wisdom…and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Be curious about change – We can ask, is God in this change or not? People were amazed when they first heard Jesus. When he cast out bad spirits, some condemned him but others said, “what new doctrine is this” and saw it was with God’s authority that he did it. Be curious, not afraid, and look to God for his direction.
Mark 1:27-28 And they were all amazed…saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits…obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region…
Appreciate change in ourselves – Change is necessary for growth. We start as babies and become men and women. We start as new converts and become golden pillars some day. Personal growth comes through trials and tribulation. We have to let God do his perfect work in us. Our spiritual walk is not static (unmoving). Change is for our good as God perfects us.
I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
James 1:2-4 (Amplified Classic) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Be encouraged because we’re anchored to a never changing God who is working things out for us in his purpose.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.