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New Years 1997 - The old has gone the new has come

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Reading: 2Corinthians 5:11-6:2

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:

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NIV)

     Happy New Year! ¡Prospero Año Nuevo!

Have you made any resolutions? Have you given up on any of them yet?

New Years day seems like a good day to start over — get a fresh start on life. In our passage today Paul says that anyone in Christ gets a fresh start as a new creation.

I.   Being “In Christ”

     A.  What does this Mean?

           1.  Isn’t this a strange way to talk?

           2.  To figure out what this mean let’s look at a similar passage in 1 Cor.15

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 (NIV)

           3.  Being “in Christ” has to do with belonging, being, a part of. We are either a part of Adam and his descendants or of Christ and His.

     B.  How do we do it?

           1.  How do we get “in Christ?” By being reconciled to Him.

           2.  How do we do that?

                 a.  By trusting that what Jesus did is enough to restore your relationship with God that you destroyed through your own choices.

                 b.  Actually the Holy Spirit working in us has a lot to do with this whole thing.

                 c.  It’s a process more than an event.

II.  Just how new is New?

     A.  A New Creation

           1.  The other creation was a pretty dramatic event.

           2.  In the new creation that same Holy Spirit is hovering over the chaos.

           3.  In our new creation God’s breath gets breathed into us anew.

     B.  Bye-bye Old Ways

           1.  When God remakes us, we have the ability to begin to let go of our old self.

           2.  We are no longer slaves to our compulsions, nor our ego-centricity.

     C.  Embracing a New Way of Life

           1.  It ain’t new if it’s the same-old same-old.

           2.  The new way is characterized by what started it: reconciliation.

                 a.  This spills out to our relationship with God, to God’s people, in fact to all God’s creation.

           3.  So we don’t live for ourselves anymore, we live for Him who died for us (v.15).

III. A ministry of Reconciliation

     A.  A Relationship Word

           1.  This was the word used in Greek courts to describe a reconciliation following a marital separation.

           2.  It means restored relationship.

                 a.  By relationship we mean something personal and interpersonal.

     B.  A Change Word

           1.  Reconciliation doesn’t happen when everything stays the same.

                 a.  Note that God doesn’t reconcile himself to the world, but the world to himself. God doesn’t need to change, but we do!

           2.  Change has to happen because the old ways weren’t working.

     C.  A Love Word

           1.  Reconciliation only happens when both sides want it to happen.

           2.  With reconciliation comes the freedom to express and receive love.

           3.  Love is both the source and fruit of reconciliation.

     D.  Our Word

           1.  The ministry of reconciliation is given to us!

           2.  We’re like God’s ambassadors bringing His official announcement of reconciliation to anyone who will listen.

           3.  Our job is to talk about this and model this in all our relationships!

The Bottom Line:

Say ‘good-bye’ to your Old ways. Embrace the Life God offers, especially your new Relationship with Him.


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