Faithlife Sermons

The Journey: The Road Ahead

The Journey  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The most dangerous part of a car is not the front bumper or the engine or accelerator, but the rear view mirror.
We can get so fixated on what’s happening behind us that we don’t know what’s going on in front of us. Can’t see the break lights ahead. Can’t see that bump in the road. Can’t see the stoplight up ahead. In a car, what’s ahead is far more important that what’s behind us.
The same is true of our lives. We can get so caught up on the past whether that be former pain or former glory. We can think about the big game we won or the recital we nailed. Some might ever remember we crushed someone’s soul in a debate. We can also cling tightly to the pain of our past or our identity in a sin would be forgiven if we had the courage to step and receive the love of Christ. Sometimes we can get more excited about past accomplishments that we neglect present and future opportunities. Because the journey of our lives lies ahead and not behind us.
Even for Christians, we can live for that first day that we gave our lives to Jesus thinking that was it. The emotions of feeling the love Christ overwhelm us, whether alone in our bedrooms or as we walked the aisle of a church. And when when people ask us if we are Christians, we talk only about that day. We perhaps long for the good ol’ days when church was thriving. We pray for revival to the past. However, we so easily forget that the journey lies ahead and not behind us.
Let’s pray.
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 5:17-21
Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. - Walt Disney
2 Corinthians 5:17–21 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
If the Journey lies ahead and not behind us, then let’s...

Big Idea: Keep Moving Forward.

1. Look AHEAD. (5:17-18a)

“....a new creation.”
Now a rearview mirror is there for a reason. It does serve a purpose. You need to keep what’s behind you in mind, but you can’t live there.
For a person who has found forgiveness in Jesus Christ, Paul tells us that we are a new Creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.
This is not to say that we are not still affect by our past. It simply means that our past no longer determines our destiny.
The natural state of a person is to be an enemy of God. At some point a person’s life, in order for them to have a restored relationship with God where they are on a path to heaven, a change needs to take place. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and we are given new life and new purpose. And that life and purpose lies ahead.
Keep moving forward.
Runners know this. Cyclists know this. But no one knows this more that the person approaching the finish line in first place only to make the mistake of a split second glance back which slows them down and allows their competitor to pass them.
Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. - Walt Disney
Look ahead…but don’t only look ahead.

2. Look AROUND. (5:18b-19)

“Ministry of reconciliation....message of reconciliation.”
Many of us think about our lives as a highway. And we’re cruising along at the speed limit (because to go faster than that is to break the law). We have the top down, our hair is blowing in the wind. And the radio is blaring the soundtrack to our lives. No traffic and it is smooth sailing. And for whatever reason you always see yourself driving down the 1 near big sur.
Now, I’m sorry to burst dream, but our lives are not a highway. If we’re honest, the journey resides more on roads that resemble the surface streets of San Francisco....during a giants game. Its busy. There is a lot of things and people vying for your attention. Work, family, School, church…people. People always want something from us, but do we have something to offer them.
In our Journey of Faith, we can often live in autopilot. Driving that highway in autopilot.
Anyone ever driven home from work one day....pull out of the parking lot, get lost in your thoughts…often about things that happened that day (in the past) only to find yourself pulling into your drive scarcly able to remember the drive?
That’s how many live the Christian life. The ministry of reconciliation that we have been given coupled with the message of reconciliation begs us to exit the highway and brave the surface streets where people are.
Look around at the people that God has entrusted to you. They are people that need to hear the message.
It’s almost as Paul is saying…yeah yeah you are a new creation, now get to work.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Last week I talk about how Jesus wanted us to Keep our final destination in mind, but it is possible to be so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good. You can be so laser focused on the future that you miss the present filled with people who need you look around. Look at the People around you. Get to know them. Help them to be reconciled to God.

3. Look INSIDE. (5:20-21)

“ambassadors for Christ.”
No I believe that all Christians are on the same journey on the same road. However we experience it in very different ways because we are different.
It’s like driving different cars. I drive a 4x4 2500 Suburban. Let me tell you that thing was not built for comfort. It’s a rough ride....and I love it. Some of you drive cars that are quiet as a mouse and so comfortable that you can’t feel any bumps in the road. You might even say, “what do you mean vallejo streets are bad?”
But in many cases, our cars are more than just transportation. We decorate them with stickers of where we’re from, what team we root for, stick figure families. brand can be a status symbol. The thick layer of dust declares are busy lives. Our cars are like a visual ambassador for the driver.
However, no matter the car you drive, you still need to regularly check under the hood.
Paul tells us that we are ambassadors for christ empowered with the ministry of reconciliation to bring the message of reconciliation to hurting world.


The last verse is so powerful because it talks of all that Jesus did for us to reconcile us to God.
Jesus who was perfect paid the punishment for all of our sins that we take on the rewards of His righteousness. And in doing so reconciled us to God. So the first thing we should look for when we look inside is Jesus. Have we been reconciled to God?
If so, are we moving forward?
Have I embraced Jesus as my lord and savior?
Have I followed that commitment in baptism?
Am I committed to a local church? Where I have community? Where I serve and where I give generously?
Am I growing daily as I read his word and spend time in prayer?
Are we moving forward on the road that leads to heaven.
As we look around are we bringing other people along as we live out the ministry of reconciliation?
But again, the past can somehow get in the way. And every moment creates the past. We must constantly be letting the past go and we move forward to new opportunities.

Respond: 1. Is there something from the past you need to let go of? Is there something around you that you need to do? Is there and area of your life where you need to grow?

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