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New Creation Year: Taming Chaos

New Creation Year  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Ten spoken acts of God are used to model following Jesus, when we embrace our identity as a "New Creation"

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Setting the Scene

New Year’s in the west has become known for wild celebrations followed by commitments to make adjustments to our lives. I have been guilty of this many years, making some agreement with myself, with God, with family. Often it involves health, relationships, work, time spent or faith or any combination of those.
You are probably familiar with this approach and have become a victor or victim, depending on what?
SLIDE:

You want order, but the world needs to behave.

While I think it is a stretch to take a foundational part of scripture, Genesis chapter one, and use it as a framework for how we might approach these things, I think it is useful to see the structure as a tool that can be used to make intentional changes. And as we go through, you might learn a few things about how plan of God is filled through Jesus. We are going to start linking something a New Testament author wrote (Paul) with the first chapters of Genesis.
But here is the key: How do we do this when the world decides it does not want to behave?
When work does not want to cooperate?
When relationships deteriorate?
When health decides it wants to rule?

How do we continue to move forward, embracing what Paul wrote about us when he said we are a “New Creation?”

Chapters 4 & 5 of 2 Corinthians gives some really practical guidance if we are sincere about reading a bit deeper. Let’s read together these two chapters and see if we can identify a few things that relate to first chapters of Genesis.
SLIDE:

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” t made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” h Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Awaiting the New Body

5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. 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,” as some say, it is for 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, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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 people’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.

SLIDE:

Did you pick up some familiar words and themes?

Secret and Shameful
Deception and Distortion
God of this world
Image of God
Let light shine out of darkness
Given over to death, wasting away
Redemption
See eternal things not physical things
House in heaven
We want clothes so we are not naked
We have been made
God appeals through us, as His image

What do you think was on the authors mind when he was writing this?

The act of creation described in Genesis.
Which makes sense, given he is describing anyone who believes as a “new creation.”

He is tying the creation narrative to us as new creations.

If you are going to make that connection your mind may go back to the creation narrative in scripture.

Genesis Chapter One gives us a framework for creation

That framework presents a flow that we can bring into our lives.

As you look into Genesis 1, you will see two panels of three acts under the umbrella of bringing order from chaos.
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Orders Chaos

Describes God as being over the dark waters (chaos), that he is above them and has power over them.
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Day 1

Referred to Hebrew as tohu wa bohu, formless and void, or unordered and empty. And God spins up light from darkness, separating it. But also creating a space for stars and divine beings to exist.
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Day 2

Separates the water on earth from the water in the sky. Prepares the waters on earth and the air in the sky for creatures to inhabit.
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Day 3

Causes dry land to appear (foundation) and vegetation to grow to nourish life and keep the air and atmosphere functioning for the inhabitants.
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Day 4

Puts the stars in the sky to rule day and night. This is where the divine creatures are created. God gives the responsibility of communicating times and seasons to the stars. He delegates this authority.
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Day 5

Puts the fish in the waters and the birds in the sky.
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Day 6

Puts the animals on the earth and creates humans.
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Calls it good and rests

Now, If you watched what happened, God has created a temple to be inhabited. And he has set humans in the earth to be the image of Yahweh in the earthly temple.
And then he rests.

How this may apply to us

SLIDE:

Live each moment so it lasts

To bring order to chaos we can follow the same framework:
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Recognize chaos
Ancients saw chaos as a divine being, typically ruled the seas.
Ask God to shine a light into that chaos
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Bring order
Day 1: Time is an effective tool, when applied to the entire spectrum of your life. From this moment until you are no longer here. People say to live each moment as your last. Scripture would say to live each moment so it lasts.
Day 2: Order your physical world to remind you that other things exist. See yourself as part of a greater creation, recognizing you are unique with a common purpose.
Day 3: Consider how the physical creation has been provided for you to eat and live. Our local and intimate environments have great influence on how we exist day-to-day.
SLIDE:
Fill the space
Day 4: Make conscious decisions on what will consume the time in your day. Will it be Pinterest or Parables? Faith or Facebook? Fun or Food? Facts or Fiction? Good news for the world or news of the world?
The ancients watched the skies to understand seasons and times. They considered the time and took steps to organize their cultures accordingly. Some took to worshiping the stars and deities, making offerings to them so that the gods would respond favorably.
Day 5: Recognize what you can and cannot do. This is tricky. You do not have gills, so you may swim in the ocean with a suit and tank, but you will struggle to live in the ocean. You do not have wings, so you may travel in the sky until the fuel runs out or the column of hot air dissipates in the cool of night. Identify other “worlds” you can interact with from time to time, but be sure they are temporary.
Day 6: Be mindful about how you see yourself as a human who exists to be a blessing to other humans. The promise of God is that he would bless the nations through his people. You are like a hose of heavenly hospitality in a world that is full of evil. Fill your environment with actions that bless others. If your spigot is not on, nothing comes through. Make intentional decisions about how you will do this and then do it.
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Call it good
Recognize progress not perfection, simply because we are not God. Believing is a journey, and journey’s require motion, movement, walking, talking, helping, working, raising, etc. Work to make it good, not perfect.
SLIDE:
Rest
You have to work in down-time. For some that might mean doing nothing, others reading a book, others may tinker with things. Regardless, it is where creation inspiration occurs. WARNING: When you are inspired during rest, write it down, but don’t immediately engage. Run your creative ideas through the framework: Does it bring chaos? How does it affect the order of things? Do I have space for this? Will it be good?
These questions answer the “should I?” Just because I can, does not mean I should.

Break this down by days

When Paul is writing to the Corinthians he notes that our existence is day by day.
It is too much to consider everything that needs to be done and consume it in one day.

We already do this, but often out of order

Restless leads to filling spaces with people, things and work. That leads to a life unfulfilled and chaotic. You can’t bring order to it because you will be empty. And since not much good comes of it, you are always on the lookout for the next person, thing or job that you can call good.
Here is a familiar one: You see something good, so you take it and consume it. You never considered any chaos it might generate for you or others and next thing you know everything is out of order. You have no peace because you constantly see, take and consume. There is no consideration for the outcome except immediate gratification. You have become your own god of good and evil. This pattern repeats over and over in scripture.
SLIDE:

Result: Chaos is Contagious

Right now, we are in need of some order in this world of chaos. Can you just sense that people are begging for someone to bring order to this chaos?
In today’s culture, people are looking to another person, another leader, someone to rule the chaos around us.
When we embrace the God of scripture as the one that can order the chaos around us, we are going to behave very differently.
I think the world is ready to see some people who are sincere about driving the chaos away by living in the light.
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