New Year, New You, New Me
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Key Verse 2 Cor 5:17
Motivational quotes for the New Year.
"If you asked me for my new year resolution, it would be to find out who I am." - Cyril Cusack (Not too good.)
"If you asked me for my new year resolution, it would be to find out who I am." - Cyril Cusack (Not too good.)
"What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year." -Vern McLellan (Kind of cliched)
"You are never too old to reinvent yourself." - Steve Harvey (I like this one if it means I can regrow my hair.)
"The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." - Chauncey Depew (Now we're getting somewhere.)
"The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps-- we must step up the stairs." - Vance Havner (Not this I like a lot.)
Waht about a man who was talking about resolutions with his friend.
“My wife and I are resolving this year to lose weight and get in shape.”
A friend responds, “That’s great! How are you going to do it?”
"Well I went out and bought myself a complete set of golf clubs and a membership at the Links Country Club. I’ll be hitting a few strokes on the golf course.”
“That should be great for you, what about your wife?”
"Oh, I bought her a new push lawn mower!”
This is the time of year we think about resolutions but after years of making them just to break them maybe we don’t resolutions, maybe we need something much stronger and more lasting. So instead of a resolution I propose that what we need is a revolution, a complete, 180 degree change. And we need the power to make that change last.
Reason For a Revolution 2 Cor 5:14
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
Dying People Need Life
Paul gives us his argument. He presents his case and it begins with his statement, “If Christ died for all.” Then in classic syllogistic, if-then form he says then all were dead. If one died for all then all were dead.
When Jesus died he died for all of us, all of mankind this means that all of us were dead in our trespasses and sins. We needed a savior, we needed a new life that only his redeeming death could purchase for us. All of us, all of us.
Dying is For Dummies
Do we realize the reality of our death in sin even while we seem alive in the flesh? Do we see the ruts of our non-existent spiritual life or if we are saved do we see the ruts of our routines?
Scripture Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
“You hath He quickened” this is the revolution we need, to find His life in place of our death in sin. I like that old KJV word. It comes from two Greek words, the first means sun and the second means to reanimate. In the original the idea was that the sun in the sky brings new life, but I think Paul was thinking of the new life that is brought through the Son of God.
Don’t die because you refuse to make a change. Dying if for dummies when Jesus offers us new life.
Christ’s death shows us that we are dead. Our own experience tells us that death is real. That each day we die a little bit more. Then what can we do?
We need a change, not just a new resolution, but a revolution, a spiritual revolution.
Quote: It's time to get out of the rut before it becomes a grave. - Pastor David Stone
A man was taking a shortcut home through the graveyard it was night and dark so he fell into an open grave. Struggle as he might he could not get out. Finally, he sat at one end and waited till morning. About an hour later another man taking the same shortcut fell into the grave. The first decided he would just watch as the other man tried to get out. After awhile he spoke from his position sitting on the grave-bottom in the shadows, “I been trying to get out of here for ages, you might as well just give up.” Soon as he heard that, the second man leaped out of the grave without even touching the sides.
Transition: Paul says we are all dead and we need new life. We need to be quickened, made alive by the power of the Son of God.
Results of The Revolution 2 Cor 5:15-17
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new
Revolution Brings Change
Paul points out that there are three changes that take place when we accept Jesus death in place of our death.
Change in ownership vs. 15 ..”that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
Change in thinking vs. 16 “henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
Change in self vs. 17 “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Can you Chart the Changes?
Looking at what Paul says, we should be able to chart the changes if we have experience the revolution of knowing Jesus as Saviour.
Who do you belong to?
Do you belong to yourself? Do you claim ownership of soul? Perhaps we can be honest enough to admit that a major part of who we are belongs to our habits, our character flaws and weaknesses? We don’t control them, they control us. Sometimes we are owned by jobs, careers or a driving ambition?
But if you have experience the revolution of Jesus Christ then, you should belong to God?
Perhaps we should take a kind of ownership test. Begin by thinking of the different things you do during a week. Nest write the approximate time you spend on those things. If ownership were determined by time spent on those things then who or what really owns you?
Who does your mind belong to? Because that changes who I think.
Do you think like a lost man or like a Christian, like a child of God or like an American? Let me ask it this way, Do I think like Clint Eastwood or like Paul? Is it easier to quote Dirty Harry saying, “Go ahead, punk. Make my day.” Or Paul saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Is your thought life governed by movies, TV, radio and novels or by God’s word, God’s house and God’s will?
Finally, are you experience the newness of Christ everyday?
When you are born into this world then your ownership by this world is automatic, just like death is nothing can change that, but if I am a new creature in Christ then everyday is be under the control of God, and everyday I can experience the power of being a new creation in Jesus Christ.
Illustration: Same houses new owners
Once on vacation I took the family by some of the house I had lived in growing up. Some looked worse, Some looked better one was torn down, but all looked different. Why? The owners had changed and the person on the inside made the outside look different. They showed their ownership by the appearance of the house. The same is true for us and who owns us, who lives inside us. Christ’s ownership or the worlds will show itself in our outward appearance and actions.
Transition: So what is our final response to the reality of Christ owning and changing us? Look at verse 18 and notice the …
The Response to the Revolution 2 Cor. 5:18-21
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him
Paul Commands Action
To those already in Christ, Paul says, You have a ministry of reconciliation.
They are ambassadors for Christ.
This means that they are to act in this world as Christ would act. In their relationships, in their commitments, in their families, Christ must be seen through them.
For this to be true they must have certain undeniable spiritual qualities.
Wisdom Mt 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Knowledge 2 Tim 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Compassion 1 Cor 13:13 Now abideth faith, hope love these three but the greatest of these is love.
Humility Philip 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Those are for Christians but to those who are here this morning and are not in Christ, have not believed on Him who came to die for you, have not accepted the gift of salvation offered by God at the cost of His Son’s life, this I and Paul would say to you as you stand on the cusp of 2019 and the edge of eternity.
Be reconciled to God. You may not realize it but if you are not saved then God stands against you as an enemy, because you reject the His Son. You have turned your back on Jesus’ dying for you.
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
With such contempt God could never be your friend. You need to be reconciled, not by turning over a new leaf of trying to be better but by beginning a new life in Christ because your better would never be enough.
Time to be Revolutionary
Now make sure you hear that right I said, be revolutionary, not revolting. Some of us may need to work on that in the upcoming year but that is not what we are talking about here. Be Revolutionary, make changes that go beyond just the next 365 days
So let me give you some revolutionary acts for 2019.
If you are lost accept Jesus Christ. Nothing will change your life more than finding His love and grace. Not just the coming year would change but eternity itself for you will change.
If you are saved then these things will revolutionize you.
Surrender daily. At the beginning of each day take time to give yourself and that day to God.
Pray and Confess daily. Every day you should go to God’s throne, seek His face and talk with Him in prayer. There you should lay before him your sins and failures and accept the forgiveness that is promised so that you might start the next day in the newness of Christ.
Hear God’s Word daily. Go to the Bible and read what God is saying to you. He has some very specific things conveyed directly to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. Listen as He speaks and everyday you will grow stronger in the power of that voice.
Attend God House regularly. You know why most regular resolution fail? There is not accountability and there is no support. The successful one are the ones that others help you keep. You know why most Christians fail in what they attempt as ambassador for Christ, why they fail to show their heavenly ownership? They start missing church, they forget their brothers and sisters in Christ who love them and are praying for them. The songs they used to love to sing fade and no longer inspire them. Go to church as much as you can, it will make the change in you lasting and permanent.
Illustration: Another Year is Dawning
Another year is dawning!
Dear Master, let it be
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee.
Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face.
Another year of service,
Of witness to Thy love:
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning,
Dear Master, let it be,
On earth, or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.
--Frances Ridley Havergal