The Power and Potential of New - 2 Corinthians 5:14-17Video Link
Introduction: Quotes about Starting Anew
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” - Benjamin Franklin
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. - C. S. Lewis
It is never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot
Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. - Revelation 21:5
I enjoy a good quote and those are good quotes. A good quote is memorable, it is often witty, it must make a statement and it should make you think. These are all good quotes but only the last one has the power to make the previous ones truly possible. When God makes all things new at the end of time, it is only the last in a long line of renewals that His power has made a reality. Most of those renewals haven’t been about a new universe for us to dwell in but about a new heart and soul that dwells in us. God’s great power of renewing give us new life, a new start, a new outlook, a new worldview.
One of the truly amazing things about Christianity is the power and potential of new creation. It begins with a spiritual new birth, our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God, that is followed by a new way of living, a new way of thinking, a new way of living, a new way of being. So much so that our old friends, coworkers and acquaintances know longer recognize us, because we are not the same person.
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.”
And as wonderful as the new birth is, there is more to this power than just regeneration. It is also the reality of newness every single day. The power of such a truth is seldom realized in our lives. We don’t often fully grasp what we can do if by the power and grace of God, we can be renewed at any given moment or circumstance of life.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 gives us three ways, we as the Children of God, can grasp the power and the potential of being renewed by God. Like all things of God, I must grasp these principles by faith but at the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker, when we do grasp them by faith, then the future is unlimited in its potential and unhindered by the past. Here are the three principles before we look at them in depth.
First, we must believe we are under New Ownership.
Second, we must use our new Knowledge.
When the first two happen then the third, will also take place: a New Self.
So, let’s start our own winter quest for the power of the
new with new ownership.
New Ownership - 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.
I know, I know none of you come here today so you could hear some pastor use the word syllogism in the pulpit. And know, I don’t consider this the high point of the message, but it is what Paul is using in verse 14. He says, we judge this, If one died for all, then all were dead. That, “if – then” statement is of course a syllogism. It’s not the last one he is going to use to make his point and come to a powerful conclusion. He wants the Corinthians and us to see, this is true, this is real, this makes sense.
Paul made that judgement because he was motivated, constrained, and controlled by the love of Christ. Again, if Christ died for all, (in our place and taking our punishment) then we were all dead (dead in sin, guilty before God.)
Therefore (here is Paul’s first conclusion) if he died for us then we cannot live for ourselves, but must live for Him.
We are under new ownership.
This new ownership is written on in every book of the New Testament
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
What About Your Own Conclusion?
Do you see things the way Paul did? If Christ died for me because I was a dead and dying sinner on my way to hell. Then when I accepted him as Savior I began to walk in a new life. Therefore, I am no longer my own, but I belong to the Lord.
The power of this is overwhelming. Your past does not own you. Your habits, character flaws and weaknesses do not hold you. Your job, career or ambition does not own you. These things cannot own you because Christ paid the price of His life, bought you with His blood and now you belong to Him!
Also understand this, the ownership of the world is automatic, we are born slavery to sin, but if we can be set free choosing salvation in Jesus.
Now I’m going to do something I’ve never done in the pulpit before. When I told my wife that this morning, She asked, “You’re doing to dance?!?” To LeeOra and everyone else, no I am not going to dance. I am going to quote part of a song by Bob Dylan who I consider one of the worst singers in all of time and history. When I was in driving home from Bible college one day, the announcement came on the radio that Bob Dylan had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and had released an album of songs about his new life. This is probably the one that best illustrates what his experience. Its called…
Illustration: Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody
You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You're gonna have to serve somebody (serve somebody)
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody
I don’t know anything about Dylan’s Christian life since his confession, honestly its none of my business, but I do know he was right about having to serve somebody. Choose to serve the One who loved you and died for you, not the one who didn’t even give you a choice before dooming you to the suffering of being a slave to sin.
Paul goes on in vs 16 we are under new ownership and that new ownership brings new insight, new knowledge.
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 Understanding and Insight
Paul says this change in ownership, this change in relationship with God changes everything he knows. Even his mind, his knowledge, his sight is new.
“Spiritual insight had changed Paul's center of gravity; eternity had become the yardstick of all measurement. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He no longer sees mankind in just the light of the physical, the fleshly, but in the knowledge that they are sinners before God. It does not matter their wealth, their rank, their power or their status. Paul see them all as needing Christ.
Even his knowledge of Christ has changed. Though Paul looked for a descendant 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, his prophetic knowledge 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 man-made throne.
Paul no longer has just a physical knowledge but now a spiritual knowledge through his new relationship, his new ownership. This new knowledge changes the way he sees, thinks and understand everything.
A New Way of Thinking
We should also have that new knowledge, that new spiritual insight, that comes from knowing Christ. This new knowledge gives spiritual sight, eternal perspective, and heavenly vision.
We no longer think like Clint Eastwood saying “Make my day, punk!” but now like Paul we say, “I am crucified with Christ.” I now understand through my knew knowledge, by eternal perspective that greatest thing is not being a superstar athlete, or billionaire. No, now I spiritual can see that the greatest thing is to answer the call of Jesus to be a fisher of men. I understand it much more important to be a member of a church than a member of a country club. It is much more uplifting to attend a Bible study than attend a Neil Diamond concert.
Seeing the world with new spirit empowered knowledge and vision puts everything in a different spiritual light.
Examples of that New Knowledge, New thought life.
Matt 23: 11-12 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
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.
1 Cor 13:13 Now abideth faith, hope and love these three, but the greatest of these is love.
New Self - 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
Paul’s Final Conclusion
Let’s break this down this final logical but spiritual statement, phrase by phrase.
“If any man be in Christ,” this is an unbreakable, undeniable, unchangeable promise of salvation and reconciliation to any and all who believe.
“He is a new creature.” This means we are given a fresh spiritual start, a new reborn beginning, literally it means we are a new creation in Jesus Christ.
“Old things are passed away.” This is in the aorist tense, the past tense, meaning it is a completed past action. It is making this powerful statement, in God’s eyes your past no longer exists.
“Behold”. Look at this, see the wonder, be astonished at the amazement of such a thing. Or if you are in more modern way of saying it. “You gotta check this out!”
“All things are become new.” This, in the Greek, is the perfect tense. That means a past action that continues without change into the present and on into the future. Paul is saying this newness is permanent, a never-ending potential of God’s power in 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)
Be In Christ, New
How do you become new in Jesus Christ? How do you stay new in Him?
First, To those not in Christ
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.
Do you need to be new this January 2nd of 2022? Then be reconciled to God. God put you old life, your old sin, your past upon Jesus. He paid the price for your sin and now but faith you can be made right with God. The world believes it’s a good thing to turn over a new leaf but this is turning over your life to the One who paid a terrible price to set you free.
What about us, Christians, who have lost the power of seeing with new eyes and a new heart. It doesn’t have to stop at the new birth. We can choose to make every day, a new day, a fresh start in Jesus Christ.
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
Put off the old lifestyle, (like taking off your old dirty clothes) and
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind (made new through your understanding of what the Spirit of God in you can do)
Put on the new man (lit. the brand new man a new man who is remade through the power and in the model of God.)
This is a daily principle of renewal and if we have forgotten it then on Jan 2nd 2022, lets reestablish it in our daily lives.
Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky--smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
“Were you scared?”
“Would you do it again?”
“Why did you do it?”
“Because,” he said, “you can't just sit there.”
Listen to me, It’s 2022! You can’t just sit there! You can’t just sit there in your past failures, you past sin, your past sorrow. You can’t just sit there in your pain and problems. You can’t just sit there in the same ruts and routines. It’s time to tie your life to the power of the new in Jesus Christ and soar to new heights in Him. Just make sure you stay tethered to God’s word and you won’t have to worry about being hit by any jet planes of disappointment. Sorry I just had to finish out the metaphor.
What I am praying for you for my, for my family, for my church is that in this next year and even in this next day what C.S Lewis said will be true in us, through the love, knowledge and newness of Jesus Christ. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. - C. S. Lewis