New Creation In Christ
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17Video Link
Outline of chapters 4 and 5
Paul's ministry contrasted. 4:1-18.
The hidden and the open. 4:1, 2.
The blinded and the enlightened. 4:3, 4.
Slaves and the Master. 4:5.
Darkness and light. 4:6.
The frail and the Mighty. 4:7. (Glorious Gospel of Christ 1-7 )
Trials and triumphs. 4:8-10.
Death and life. 4:11, 12.
The written and the spoken. 4:13.
The past and the future. 4:14.
Grace and thanksgiving. 4:15.
The outer and the inner man. 4:16.
Affliction and glory. 4:17.
The seen and the unseen. 4:18a.
The temporal and the eternal. 4:18b.
Paul's ministry motivated. 5:1-6:10.
Motivated by knowledge. 5:1-9.
Motivated by judgment. 5:10.
Motivated by fear. 5:11.
Motivated by unselfishness. 5:12, 13.
Motivated by love. 5:14, 15.
Motivated by regeneration. 5:16, 17.
Motivated by reconciliation. 5:18-21.
Motivated by time. 6:1, 2.
Motivated by suffering. 6:3-10. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Our sermon is taken from verses 14-17 that we are going to take our sermon today, New Creation In Christ.
A teen age Amish boy and his grandfather went to visit the new mall in the city. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.
Having no idea what an elevator was the young boy asked, "What is this, Granddad?"
"Sonny, I have no idea, I never seen anything it in my life."
While the boy and his granddad were watching, a old woman hobbling on a cane walked up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened, and the lady slowly stepped between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the some numbers above the walls light up from 1 to 10 and then from 10 to 1.
They kept watching and the door opened back up again. Suddenly, out steps a young, beautiful, 24-year-old woman, smiling big and striding fast.
The father, watching as the young woman walks away, then says quietly to his grandson, "Quick, boy, go get your grandma."
The truly amazing thing about Christianity is its promise of newness, of a profound and powerful change for the better in us. We experience a new birth, our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God, often even our physical way of life can so change as to make us totally different people. The wonder of this newness is more than just a new birth though. It is also the reality of newness every single day. Yet, the power of such a truth is seldom realized in our lives. We don’t really grasp the potential of all we can do and all that can be done.
So, how can we grasp the reality of becoming new? This passage gives us three keys that we, as Children of God, need to understand in order to be be new every day. If I believe these principles, then the future is unlimited in its hope and unhindered by the past.
Here are three keys to grasping the truth of being always New In Christ.
Believing there has been a change in my purpose for living.
Realizing there is a change in my Knowledge.
And finally acting upon the change in my self.
New Living - 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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.
He says, the love of Christ constrains (presses us, holds us, impels us) because if Christ died for all, (in our place and taking our punishment) then we were all dead (dead in sin, guilty before God.)
Christ then died for all so that they which now live through Him, should not live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Christ died for us paying the penalty of our sin therefore if we believe then we cannot live for ourselves, but for Him. We have risen together with him to a new life, a new purpose.
Baptism is a symbol of this truth. Romans 6:4-6 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Christ died for me because I was a sinner. When I accepted him as Savior I begin walking in a new life. Things that used to own and define me no longer apply.
Your past does not own you. Your habits, character flaws and weaknesses do not hold you. Your job, career or ambition does not define you. These things cannot possess you because Christ paid the price of His life, bought you with His blood and now you belong to God!
We were born in sin and owned by the god of this world, when we make a conscious, spirit led decision to choose God’s gift of salvation then we are set free and made new. We experience that newness, the first time at salvation, but we must also experience newness everyday through that same gift of grace.
But you have to rise to the challenge and let the love of Christ constrain us.
Let me give you Three New Life Tests.
Are you alive in Christ? John 5:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Are you living for Christ? Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Are you living for others? Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another
Illustration: Same houses new owners
Once on vacation I took my family by some of the houses 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. Christ’s ownership will show itself in us as new creations.
New Knowledge - 2 Corinthians 5:16
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.
Paul’s New Knowledge
Paul says this change in ownership, this change in relationship with God changes everything he knows. Even his mind, his knowledge is new. He no longer sees man kind in just the light of the physical, or the fleshly but now in the knowledge of the spiritual.
Quote “Spiritual insight had changed Paul's center of gravity; eternity had become the yardstick of all measurement. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Even his knowledge of Christ has changed. Though Paul looked for a descendent of David, to fill the role of Messiah and take the throne of Jerusalem and reign as King from Mt Zion, he now knows that physical sight was short sighted. Jesus of Nazareth, that died on Calvary, rose again and called him to be an apostle was much more than just another King to sit on a throne. Paul knowledge of the Messiah, of Jesus lacked spiritual insight and now he knew Jesus and all others in a completely different way.
Paul no longer has just a physical knowledge but now a spiritual knowledge because his ownership had changed through salvation, so also had his understanding of everything. This new knowledge changes the way he sees, thinks and understands everything in this world including himself.
Our New Way of Thinking
We should also have that new kind of knowledge, that spiritual vision and thought life that come with our new life in Christ.
In our thoughts our dreams, our aspirations we must quit thinking like Clint Eastwood saying, “Make my day, punk!” and more like Paul saying, “I am crucified with Christ!” I should know that there is more joy and fulfillment in being John the fisherman, than in being Jame Bron the athlete. I know there is more to be gained by being in a Bible study group than in winning America’s God Talent.
Seeing the world with the new spiritual knowledge and realizing that eternity is just a step away, changes everything about me and around me.
Can I give you just a few examples of how this new knowledge changes everything?
Knowledge of God’s Perspective (The Way God Sees)
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
This changes my perspective of the world and what is happening in it.
Knowledge of Faith’s Power
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
This changes my understanding of what is possible in me and the world.
Knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s Person
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
This knowledge changes my understanding of where I am and what I am doing and what I’m facing because God is always with me.
Knowledge of the Priority of Love
1 Cor 13:13 Now abideth faith, hope and love these three, but the greatest of these is love.
This knowledge changes my motivation for everything I do as a Christian, as a parent, as a spouse and as a person. Love is the greatest force for change because God’s love is eternal.
With this new knowledge, comes the power to make changes in us and in the world around us.
Illustration: Amazing Changes In South Seas
In 1833 Charles Darwin went to the South Sea Islands looking for the so-called “missing link.” As he studied the cannibals who lived there, he concluded that no creatures anywhere were more primitive, and he was convinced that nothing on earth could possibly lift them to a higher level. He thought he had indeed found a lower stratum of humanity that would fit his theory of evolution.
Thirty-four years later he returned to the same islands. To his amazement he discovered churches, schools, and homes occupied by some of those former cannibals. In fact, many of them wore clothes and frequently gathered to sing hymns. Missionary John G. Paton knew something that Charles Darwin would never know. He knew Christ and, in that knowledge, and relationship he had come to the islands and preached the Gospel to the savages, that Darwin thought were below human and beyond hope. Darwin never believed in God, but he was so astounded by the change, that he gave a generous gift to the London Missionary Society.
Transition: The finally key to the reality of being new in Christ is in vs. 17
New Person - 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new
Therefore, In Christ, we are new.
Let’s break this down phrase by phrase.
If any man be in Christ, this is a universal promise of salvation and reconciliation to any and all who believe. Here again is that first class condition that sets up the rest of Paul’s conclusion, “Since you are saved, since you are in Christ.”
Then you are a new creature, a new creation in the power of God. This means we are given a fresh start, a new beginning, literally it means we are a new creation. And notice it is in the present tense. It doesn’t say you were, or you become a new creation, it says you are right now. “He is a new creature.”
Next Paul adds, “Old things are passed away.” This is in the aorist tense meaning it is a completed past action. In other words, in God’s eyes your past no longer exists.
Now notice the word of exclamation at this miracle, this wonder. Paul says, “Behold!” There is no exclamation point after behold, but it could have used one because this word is telling us, look at this, see the wonder, the amazement of such an incredible reality. Or if reading this from the Bill and Ted version of the Bible, “Dude, check it out!”
What is so amazing? What needs should we stand back in awe and behold? What should we check out? “All things are become new.” This phrase is in the perfect tense, a past action that continues on into the present and the future. All things are become new means permanent, never ending newness for us.
Quote: In the natural world it is impossible to be made all over again, but in the spiritual world it is exactly what Jesus Christ makes possible. - Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
Time To Arrive At the Same Conclusion
It is time for all of us to understand and act upon what it means to be made new in Jesus Christ, today and everyday.
First, you must be reconciled to be renewed
2 Corinthians 5:19-21 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.
This is not turning over a new leaf but turning over your life to God.
Secondly, To those who are reconciled and in Christ, understand that the new you didn’t stop at the new birth. Now, for some unfortunately it has, but it shouldn’t. Its not supposed to. For the child of God, every day in Christ is a new day, and a brand new fresh start.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
He is talking to Christians, to members of the church at Ephesus. Put off the old conversation, your lifestyle, (like taking off your old dirty clothes) and
Then be renewed in the spirit of your mind (made new again through what the Spirit of God in you can do)
Put on the new man (literally this says, put on the brand new man, a new person who is remade through the power and according to the design of God.)
Illustration: Augustine and the Prostitute
Soon after Augustine's conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy. There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately. She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking. “Augustine,” she called again. “It is I!” Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”
You are no longer you, if you know Jesus Christ as savior, you are a new person and you can remain a new person, with a new hope, a new perspective and a new outlook every single day. That is the power of being New In Christ.
None of us has a little room that we can enter into, push a button and come out physically new, but every one of us has a very big Savior and when I enter into a relationship with Him, then everyday, I can be new spiritually.
Every day, I should acknowledge that I belong to Christ. Every day I should see the world and everyone around me in the new knowledge of eternity. And every day, I should put off the old man and put on the new man that I may once again be a new creation in Him.
Imagine what we can do as a church, if each one of us is new each and every day. Don’t you imagine that all of Athens, Texas will be saying, Behold, Calvary Baptist Church or they may say, “Dude, you need to check them out.”