2 COR. 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
POSTER FROM THE LOUVRE—I brought this poster all the way from Paris just for you baby!
So what hope do you bring with you?
I. If ANYONE . . .
At first I did not notice these two words. I have always focused on the new creation. Sure if anyone is in Christ he is a NEW CREATION. Look we are new creations. I have studied this passage and preached on it . . .But as I studied this verse this week, I could not get over this . . . IF ANYONE. No restrictions.
There are so many restrictions in society today. Must be 16 to drive and must pass the test. Must have insurance. 21 to drink. 18 to be in the military. Credit rating requirements in buying a home. Must be pretty. Must have red hair. Plenty of restrictions in our society today.
But here it says, IF ANYONE—Paul is speaking of himself here because later he says that “Yes, even such a one as me” can come to Christ.
HOW IS IT SO OPEN?
–NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO NOT ONE
–ALL HAVE SINNED
God does NOT compare my sins with others. He compares it with His incredible holiness.
GOD IS PERFECT—HE IS HOLY AND WE ARE NOT
HE WANTS NONE TO PERISH BUT ALL TO COME TO ETERNAL LIFE.
One of the great nineteenth-century preachers was a Scottish Presbyterian, Alexander Whyte, a wonderful man with a powerful sense of the evil that resided in the depths of his soul. His biographer says Whyte served a congregation that dearly loved him for nearly forty years.
One day a lovely lady came to him and said, “Dr. Whyte, I just love being in your presence. You are so saintly.”
Alexander Whyte looked at her with great seriousness and said, “Madam, if you could look into my soul, what you would see would make you spit in my face.”
Citation: Gordon MacDonald, “Repentance,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 121
Any person’s name could be placed here. No restrictions.
Have everyone say their name–If ______ is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, new things have come.
Then say the person you would least expect to come to Christ-
THE PEOPLE YOU PASS IN ECUADOR—REALIZE THEY COUNT TOO. IF ANYONE—WHOEVER YOU PASS, WHOEVER YOU MEET—GOD LONGS FOR THEM TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIMSELF.
II. IS IN CHRIST
In bringing the Gospel to Ecuador and our community—we give people an opportunity to be IN CHRIST. Paul used this language often throughout his writings.
We are IN a lot of organizations—Masons, Kiwanis, PTO at school, Church Choir, you name, we are IN a lot of things. What does it mean to be IN CHRIST?
Too often we lessen what it means to be IN CHRIST to just another membership.
To be IN CHRIST means:
¨ One who has responded in faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen savior. (v14-15)
¨ To be shielded from the wrath of God at death for the punishment for our sins. He takes the full brunt of it. We are to live a life of gratitude for it.
¨ To be apart of His body—we are all given gifts and talents and we are all needed in the body of Christ, in this local fellowship.
¨ To share in His sufferings—we are not guaranteed an easy life and Jesus said, if we are apart of Him, we will have problems. Taking a stand for Truth will cause problems. Christians will have problems . . .BUT greater is He is that is in you, than he that is in the world. We have the comfort of Christ.
EPHESIANS 1:13 — And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
¨ SEAL WAS EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP IN THE ANCIENT WORLD—THIS BELONGS TO ME. I AM GOING TO CARE FOR IT AND I AM GOING TO PROTECT IT.
¨ SEAL WAS AN INDICATION OF AUTHENTICITY—WHAT IS GENUINE & REAL. WHEN YOU ACCEPT CHRIST—IT MUST BE A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HIM. DON’T SHOW ME A BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE OR YOUR NAME ON A ROLL OR DATE YOU WALKED THE AISLE.
¨ TO SEAL IS TO PRESERVE—GO TO THE GROCERY STORE AND SEE SEALED FOOD. NOTHING CAN TAKE US OUT OF GOD’S HAND. EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THIS FALLEN WORLD, WE ARE SEALED. SEAL OCCURS 31X IN THE BIBLE—21X USED IN THE REVELATION SPEAKING OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS WORLD, CHRISTIANS ARE SEALED . . . PRESERVED.
In Disney’s animated movie Toy Story, Woody (a plush toy cowboy) confronts Buzz Lightyear (a toy astronaut) with the fact that he is only an action figure and not really a space hero. Early in the movie Woody shouts, “You’re not a space ranger! You’re an action figure—a child’s plaything.”
Only after failing to fly, Buzz realizes the truth of Woody’s statement. Grief-stricken and disillusioned, Buzz hangs his head in resignation, declaring, “I’m just a stupid, little, insignificant toy.”
Woody later seeks to comfort his friend by underscoring the love of the boy who owns them both. “You must not be thinking clearly. Look, over in that house, there’s a kid who thinks you’re the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a space ranger; it’s because you’re his.”
As Buzz lifts his foot, he sees a label affixed to the bottom of his little shoe. There in black permanent ink is the name of the little boy to whom he belongs. Seeing the image of his owner, Buzz breaks into a smile and takes on a new determination.
Elapsed time: 00:56:54 to 00:59:31
Content: Rated G
Citation: Toy Story (Disney, 1995), rated G, directed by John Lasseter; submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos
–WE CAN OFFER THIS GREAT HOPE—THIS GREAT OFFER WITH US WHEREVER WE GO.
III. NEW CREATION
Because of our love for others—we want them to be NEW CREATIONS. Only through Christ can we become NEW. V14-16
HOW ARE WE NEW?
GALATIANS 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 3:24 — and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Redemption is the restoration and fulfillment of God’s purposes in creation and this takes place in Christ, through whom all things were made and in whom all things are restored or created anew.
Justified FREELY—justify means to declare righteous.
- Legal reality—acquitted by God from all charges that could be brought against a person because of his sins.
- This judicial verdict is according to Paul rendered the moment a person believes.
- Grace—Justified FREELY—God’s justifying verdict is totally unmerited and undeserved. People have done, and can do, nothing to earn it.
- SHOW A COUPON—EXPLAIN HOW YOU USE A COUPON.
- Redemption—liberation through payment of a price—purchase of our freedom—redeeming a coupon—had coupon to get a free gift—free gift costs the giver something. God had to pay for that.
Jesus paid for it on the cross
God is both pure mercy and pure justice.
–Because of God’s mercy, God delayed payment.
–Because of His justice, somebody had to pay.
–Because of His grace, He decided to let His Son pay.
Heb 9:28—Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
–we are now an entirely new being.
Preacher’s kid marrying a prostitute
–problem is not with her but with the blood of Christ.
–You are no longer that person in the past.
Clean slate before God.
IV. OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY
We have buried with Him those things of the past. Our sinful desires, the sins we have committed, we bury with Him in His death on the cross.
PASSED AWAY—indicating a single action, now completed, pointing to the end of the former life of the person who is NOW in Christ.
In the late 1920s my grandparents married and moved into Grandpa’s old family home. It was a clapboard house with a hall down the middle. In the ’30s they decided to tear down the old house and build another to be their home for the rest of their lives.
Much to my grandmother’s dismay, many of the materials of the old house were re-used in their new house. They used old facings and doors, and many other pieces of the finishing lumber. Everywhere my grandmother looked, she saw that old house—old doors that wouldn’t shut properly, crown molding split and riddled with nail holes, unfinished window trimming. It was a source of grief to her. All her life she longed for a new house.
When God brings us into the kingdom, the old way of living must be dismantled and discarded.
Citation: Len Sullivan, Tupelo, Mississippi
- NEW THINGS HAVE COME
Because we are children of God now, He bestows upon us every heavenly blessing upon us.
Ephesians 1—like standing under a grain cylo and pulling the cord.
William M. Greathouse writes:
The new man in Christ is therefore actually living a holy life in Christ and in the power of the Spirit. The old man he once was in Adam has ceased to be.
An incident in Augustine’s early Christian life illustrates this. Before his conversion he had a mistress named Claudia. Shortly after he found Christ, Claudia saw him on the street in the city. “Augustine! Augustine!” she cried after her old paramour [lover]. Augustine paid no heed. “Augustine! Augustine!” she cried out again. “It is Claudia!”
“But it is no longer Augustine,” he replied, as he continued on his way.
Citation: William M. Greathouse, Romans: Beacon Bible Expositions (Beacon Hill Press, 1975), p. 103; submitted by Steve Eutsler
On July 4, 1854, Charlie Peace, a well-known criminal in London, was hung. The Anglican Church, which had a ceremony for everything, even had a ceremony for hanging people. So when Charlie Peace was marched to the gallows, a priest read these words from the Prayer Book: “Those who die without Christ experience hell, which is the pain of forever dying without the release which death itself can bring.”
When these chilling words were read, Charlie Peace stopped in his tracks, turned to the priest, and shouted in his face, “Do you believe that? Do you believe that?”
The priest, taken aback by this verbal assault, stammered for a moment then said, “Well…I…suppose I do.”
“Well, I don’t,” said Charlie. “But if I did, I’d get down on my hands and knees and crawl all over Great Britain, even if it were paved with pieces of broken glass, if I could rescue one person from what you just told me.”
Citation: Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You a Story (Word, 2000); submitted by Debi Zahn, Sandwich, Illinois