Faithlife Sermons

Being Made New

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We often talk about being made new in Christ, but do we really know what that means? Are we living our lives in the newness that we are called to live in?

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Introduction

Good evening and welcome back!
It is good to see everyone out this evening.
The last time we will see each other until next year!
2017 was a long year in many ways but also a year that has went by very fast.
I know that everyone here has had many ups and downs in 2017 and to be honest we really don’t even know what to expect for 2018.
The only thing that I do know is that we can be assured that God will be with us.
Tonight, I want to continue with a thought that we actually started this morning.
One of the last verses we read this morning was in which Paul wrote . . .
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
And I would like for us to spend a little more time focusing tonight on this verse and the surrounding passage around it.
If you would like to start turning in your Bibles, in just a minute we will be reading from .
Most of the time, when we discuss , it is done with the intention of showing people the need of coming to Christ and how Christ makes us new and everything changes when we come to Christ.
It is one of those “evangelistic” verses if you want to call it that.
And I also know that for most everybody here tonight, you are already a Christian.
The reality is, that many people will not come to church on a Sunday night, and most of all on New Year’s Eve.
But the reality is, even if you have been a Christian for 50 years, there is still application for all of us in and the surrounding passage, which is what we are going to be looking at tonight.
And I wouldn’t be a good pastor if I didn’t remind us all as well that even though we may have made a decision for Jesus 10, 20, 50 years ago, the reality is what’s our relationship like today?
Are we closer to Jesus today than we were yesterday?
Also, was there any substance to that decision or was it just to ease our conscience?
Or to get somebody off our back?
It boils down to, are we living for Jesus or are we backslidden?
And a big part of answering those questions is revealed in our passage for tonight.
If we are made new creatures, are we living as new creatures?
Are we living our lives according to this and the many other examples that are revealed to us in the Bible?
So tonight, I want us to look at and see what Paul has to say about the subject of Being Made New, from the Christian perspective.
If you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand with me.
Paul writes this . . .

Scripture Focus

2 Corinthians 5:11–6:2 NIV - Anglicised
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

Knowing to Fear the Lord

So, from the way that Paul starts out here, it is pretty obvious that this message is intended for those who are calling themselves Christians.
These people were making the claim to know Jesus and to be followers of Jesus but their actions aren’t 100% lining up to what they are calling themselves or claiming to be.
And again, Paul starts out here with . . .
2 Corinthians 5:11 NIV - Anglicised
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
And Paul says this because he has been up against some scrutiny from those who were saying Paul was insane and that he was just trying to get a following to himself, and on and on and on.
In verse 12 he writes . . .
2 Corinthians 5:12 NIV - Anglicised
12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
All the lies and excuses people use to deny the truth that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All the lies and excuses people use to deny the truth that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And it had caused some of the others who were followers to begin to waver a bit.
So, Paul is really defending himself and the others because we know what it is to fear the Lord.
In other words, we know who God is and we know what God requires.
And they also respect the Lord and the Lord’s requirements.
Paul understands how serious the salvation of souls is and how vitally important it is for people to hear about Jesus and accept Jesus.
And it is for that reason that he says, we try to persuade men.
Not to build himself up but to reveal the truth to them; to make the plain truth about God plain to their conscience.
Which also brings us to our first point. Do we have this same fear for the Lord?
Do we know what it is to fear the Lord?
Do we understand the importance of sharing the Gospel with others?
Do we have that passion to share the truth with others?
They were claiming that Paul was out of his mind, do people say the same thing about us?
Paul goes on to say that . . .
2 Corinthians 5:13 NIV - Anglicised
13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
And . . .
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 NIV - Anglicised
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:
Which is also another very important point.
Paul is not compelled by the community.
Paul is not compelled by the church.
Paul is not compelled by the preacher.
And neither should we be!
Paul is 100% completely compelled by his love for Christ.
Paul’s love for God motivates him to love others and to show compassion on them.
Can we say this evening that we have that same motivation?
What compels us to do what we do and to live the way we live?
Paul says that his entire view of people has changed.
He writes . . .
2 Corinthians 5:16 NIV - Anglicised
16 So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
And what he is talking about here is the way the world picks and chooses.
The world says “this one is worth saving and this one is not.”
Or, “we should save this one first.”
“We should help this one and not that one.”
That is a worldly perspective and it is the wrong perspective.
Can we save everybody? No.
But God puts people in our paths and we, as Christians, have a responsibility to love everyone God puts in our path.
Even those people who are not like us.
Heaven is not going to be sectioned off, and Jesus didn’t say love your neighbor so long as they look like you or act like you.
Jesus said to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength and to love others as ourselves.
He didn’t add stipulations for that.
And when we start seeing people from a Godly perspective, how God sees them, then it compels us to share the Gospel and compels us to treat them as Christ would want.
If we are who we claim to be.
Which brings us to the next point . . .

Acting Like New Creatures

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
We say that we are new creatures when we are saved.
We say that Christ has changed us.
We say that the old is gone and new has come.
But do we mean it?
Do we act like it?
Does our everyday life reflect it?
Because we have talked about this before.
Being a new creature is not just a cleaned up version of our old self.
Being made new is just that, new.
We don’t go and take our car and have new tires put on it and call it new.
New means unaltered, undamaged, shiny and sparkling.
Ready for God’s use.
And I think we start out that way, but lots of times the old tends to creep back in.
Those old habits, old ideas, old behaviors, tend to make their way back into our lives.
The worldly point of view becomes louder and louder and God’s point of view is drowned out by the world.
And the entire purpose of our salvation is drown out.
Paul tells us our mission . . .
2 Corinthians 5:18-
2 Corinthians 5:18–19 NIV - Anglicised
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Did you notice that?
We have been given the ministry of reconciliation.
We are to deliver the message of reconciliation.
But, are we?
Paul says that . . .
2 Corinthians 5:20
2 Corinthians 5:20–21 NIV - Anglicised
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Does that describe us?
Are we Christ’s Ambassadors?
And I know it is a tall order, but that is what we have been made new for.
It is not to come and sit on a church pew on Sunday night, on New Year’s Eve, so we can feel good about coming to church.
It is so we can help others.
It is so we can share the eternal hope that is found ONLY in Jesus Christ with others.
Can we say we are doing that though?
Paul finishes this section up . . .
2 Corinthians 6:1–2 NIV - Anglicised
1 As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Altar Call

I said this morning that I wasn’t going to ask for New Year’s Resolutions because I didn’t want to cause us all to tell lies.
The reason I said that was because research says that only 8% of New Years Resolutions are kept.
Which means 92% are lies we tell to ourselves.
However, if you want to make a New Year’s Resolution, why don’t you resolve tonight to be the New Creature that God has made you.
To live 2018 in such a way that you reflect the Christ you claim as your Savior.
To be an Ambassador of Christ above everything else.
Resolve to share the Gospel with at least 1 person a month, that would be 12 people.
I would ask for more, but we have to start somewhere.
As we close, why don’t we spend some time reflecting on what God is calling us to do in 2018.
What is God calling you to change this year?
And, are you willing to do it?
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