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New Creation Year: Filled with The Rest

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New Creation Year  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:02
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When I think about entering God’s Rest...

We have reached the point where we talk about entering God’s Rest. In Genesis 1, God rested from His creative acts and called it good.
He did not call it perfect. A better way to think about Eden and the result of God’s creative acts would be as the ‘ideal.’
The author of Hebrews challenges us to enter God’s Rest. What does this mean?
For me, rest is not a word that anyone who knows me would apply to me. I am constantly up to something.
Strange, because I am an introvert at heart. When I get home, I don’t want to leave. But when the sun is up I seem to find myself doing something. I always have a list of tasks and projects that I want to get done.
For instance, I still need to build-out the new stage back-lighting. It has been pretty blank, black and boring back there!
I have projects at church I want to complete. I have a large group study with you guys I need to launch.
I am studying Hebrew and reading through the bible in one year with Kara.
Kara and I have a new project we are taking on, and in addition to that, I have resumed former responsibilities at work.
I am a husband and father of three daughters, 16, 8 and 3.
Where, in all of that, do I find rest?

When we hear ‘Rest’, we think sleep or relax

But this is not what we are talking about.
Think about this from the Genesis 1 perspective.
When God ‘rested’ from His work of creation, did He stop and go to sleep?
Maybe you think of rest as ‘disengaging.” Do we get any sense in scripture that God disengaged from his creation?
Question: Why would God do this amazing think, putting humans, imagers, on earth, and then just step away and not engage?
It makes no sense.
What was God’s purpose? To image love, period.
We think that is earned by things we do to or for God. But that is not what the biblical story tells us.
This is where we get so tripped up in our view of God. We see Him as some distant being that is waiting for us to build a ladder to him.
Really stop and think about that. We constantly try to reach God.
As an image, we don’t reach, we have been given love and kindness.
When you adopt this view, the who equation changes from working for something to being something.
SLIDE - Working versus Being
In Genesis 1, we see God stop creating and start being ‘with’ His creation.
This is exactly what Paul is going to get to in the last verses of our series.
And Paul is going to ask us to do the same thing. Let’s take a look.

Working versus Being

We are going to go back just a bit to remind ourselves of what Paul was talking about. He has just wrapped up explaining how he processes chaos or trouble one day at a time, through faith and expects to see glory as the outcome.
SLIDE - So we have stopped evaluating...
2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person (creation). The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
When that is applied in our everyday life, we will start evaluating other humans from God’s point of view, and that leads the way to embracing ourselves as a new creation.
We are going to go through this little section bit-by-bit. I don’t usually do this, but I want us all to slow down and see the text, really think about what Paul is telling us here. This way of thinking is so radical and opposite of our culture and ourselves.
18 And all of this is a gift from God,
What is the gift? New life, new creation, bringing glory, living by faith, resurrection, new body, etc.
Moreover, this ability to image God in this dying, used up, out of shape body of ours, has been given, gifted to you and me.
REST. You did nothing to earn it.
who brought us back to himself through Christ.
Brought back from where?
From this world, from our mind of death, from the cultural and personal views that caused us to act in ugly ways towards others.
REST. The gift of God is restoring us to Himself through what Jesus did. What can you do that will improve on that? Do I need to say that again?
And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
WAIT! I thought we were talking about rest? Now we have a task?
Of course we have a task. We have always had a task!
We ARE the image of God. Your whole existence has been measured on how ‘good’ you have been, you know this and do this everyday, you just don’t think about it as you do it. That is why you feel inadequate, like you failed, like something is missing.
Jesus comes and makes it possible for God to live in you and walk with you. You did not do that.
And if we look at this verse, it really has nothing to do with us, does it?
The task is targeted at other people, other humans, NOT ourselves.
Imagers of God reconcile people to God.
What does this look like? Paul gives us an example.
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,
Have you ever just stopped and thought about what that verse is saying?
God, was IN, Christ. He was in there doing something. Christ is the perfect example of what an imager of God should look like.
What was God doing in there? He was reconciling humans to himself.
How was he doing that?
no longer counting people’s sins against them.
You guys, do you get how serious this is? Think about our western Christian culture that we have spread around the world.
When you think church, do you think of a place that ‘no longer counts people’s sins against them’?
Do you realize the tens of billions of dollars, the millions of hours, the thousands of days that are spent ‘counting people’s sins”?
REST. You can go ahead and stop that, today. Do you realize how much mental time you will get back when you stop counting people’s sins?
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors;
God is making his appeal through us (image). We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

We speak for Christ, so be the gift you were given

Could this language about being the image of God be any clearer? ‘We speak for Christ.’
Do you see how that commandment, “do not take Yahweh’s name in vain” has a different meaning? Do not bear or declare, by your words and deeds, that God, Yahweh is something He is not.
But what about judgement and discipline and punishment and God’s wrath? How will he do that without me?
God promises to take care of that in His time and His way with His creation. It is not our task.
Our task is to image God, that is the task.
Therefore, be the gift. Be the gift in the lives of the ones you love and the ones you hate. That is our task.
The alternative is to receive this gift and then start working to pay it off, to earn it, to somehow show merit to deserve it.
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says,
The gift has been given along with the task of sharing the gift.
Think Genesis 1, Eden. Humans were given this amazing gift. Life in abundance, in the presence of the Creator. In this partnership to multiply and rule the earth in love and kindness as kings and queens.
What did we do? We TOOK this gift, and we decided how we would use it for good and evil.
We decided we were wiser than Wisdom.
And we live in the chaos and trouble of human rebellion.
So does your brother, sister, mother, father, children and neighbor.
This is what REST means...
“At just the right time, I heard you.
Do you hear people at just the right time?
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Do you help people on the day they need help?
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
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