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Big Changes

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Welcome

Intro

In our passage today, the Apostle Paul takes a stand against the attack on his personal character and his ministry. The newly formed church had already recieved one letter (1 Corinthians) that was very stern in nature, addressing the issues and misguided values that the Corinthians had. The fact that a second letter to the church was written is a good indication that the direction that was given in the first letter wasn’t acted upon. They were given instruction on matters such as:
Church discipline
Legal matters
Christian Marriage
Spiritual Gifts
Worship
The resurrection
While these various accounts of instruction may seem scatter brained, they were anything but that. Paul was known for his attention to detail, so you can guess that the church was not acting appropriately according to the guidelines set before them. So Paul had to try a different approach in his correction, he displays his deep adoration for the Lord.
Specifically in chapter 5, Paul writes in order to give an account of his ministry. At this point, he was commonly known at “too much”. The reason why is how he often dealt with matters of faith and addressing correction. People had been used to the law for generations, but Paul had experienced this thing called grace first hand and it radically changed his life. He would not tolerate passiveness or allow anyone to plea ignorance when it came to the Gospel or Christ.
It reminds me of how I parent my son. He is 4, so he is at the age where he loves testing boundaries. Well I played baseball most of my life, so I am a firm believer in the 3 strike system. I will warn you firmly twice, then on the 3rd strike, it’s ballgame.
I start out firm, but then I have to finish with love and softness.
Let’s take a look at how Paul deals with accusations of being too extra, while pointing towards truth.

Read

2 Corinthians 5:14–21 ESV
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 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.

Teach

1. His passion came from CHRIST (14-15)

2 Corinthians 5:14–15 ESV
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
One thing that Paul had never been accused of was being too passive. Looking at his life before Christ, he was crazy passionate about killing those that claimed Christ, then He has a wild salvation experience on the road to Damascus, then he is wild about building the church.
Paul writes in response to being accused of his extraness in Act 26:24. He is saying in this passage, not that God Jesus is the puppet master in the sky that is pulling all the strings of our life. But rather, that our love for Christ should be the controlling factor of our life that drives us to serve and honor him.
He is just simply stating that who he is has been born out what he has experienced and knows to be true, that a saving faith only came to us through the bloodshed of Jesus Christ and that is worth being passionate about.
We are called to live through Christ
1 John 4:9 ESV
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
We live with Christ
1 Thessalonians 5:10 ESV
10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
We live for Christ
2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV
15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
When I take a step back and I really think about the things that I am passionate about, this challenge from Paul wrecks me. It isn’t because I hate God or that I am actively choosing to run away from His will for my life. Rather, it’s because I believe Him to be the creator of the universe. I believe it was God that fashioned me in my mother’s womb. I know that it is only by the sacrifice of a sinless man on a cross that I have the hope of eternal life. Yet at the end of the day, my mind wonders more about my bracket that my bible.
I just want to be as passionate about Jesus today as I was the say that I was saved or I am during the chorus of “Do it again”. Do you remember the passion in your bones, when you understood that you were saved and you had to send a change of address for to satan to inform him that you weren’t going to be able to make it anymore? Man, I called family members that I hadn’t talked to in years to tell them. I am pretty sure I called the wrong number and told them too.
Paul wasn’t wrong for being passionate, He just understood what life’s about. It’s about more than diplomas, football, and even families. It’s about doing all that you can to make Heaven crowded. I want to be the guy that people look at and think “wow, he’s off his rocker” because I love Jesus so much.
On that note, let’s talk about the second thing that Paul talked about:

2. The Gospel changed his CHARACTER (16-19)

2 Corinthians 5:16–19 ESV
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 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.
Paul said, “stop talking about what used to be because it ain’t that way anymore”. (That’s bad grammer but good theology). But really, the people of Corinth were know for gossip and Paul urged the church to see people not for who they formally were, but who they are now. That is one of the most beautiful points of faith in Jesus is that we identify with His death, burial, and resurrection in the process of salvation, meaning that the old heart that was destined for sin and brokenness isn’t subject to those metrics anymore.
I don’t know who needs to hear it today, but if you have faith in Jesus, you are no longer constrained to the brokenness that held you. You are a new person with a new purpose in life. Satan isn’t clever, so he uses old things that we are ashamed of to try to hold us back, but I’m not having it.
Verse 18 says that God GAVE us reconciliation through Christ. What does that mean? We are reconciled, restored, and redeemed to our originally designed glory in the garden. We take on our new identity and we should take the neuralyzer from Men In Black and forget the chains. It is always good to remember where you came from because you can’t have a testimony without a test, but your past doesn’t get to hold you down.
It makes me think of an old dog that my grandpa used to have. The first 2 years of it’s life, it had an electric collar on that would shock it when it would get too close to leaving the yard.
Eventually, my grandpa took the collar off, but the dog was still terrified it was going to get shocked, that it would’t even get close to the edge of the yard.
So what: It was so familiar with the pain that it impacted the dog’s life long after the pain had been removed.
I & II Corinthians D. The Urgency of Reconciliation (5:16–6:2)

Paul explained the change that God had wrought in his life in terms of reconciliation. He repeated the Greek terms for “reconcile” and “reconciliation” (katallasso/katallage) five times throughout 5:18b–20, emphasizing his point. Reconciliation is the establishment of harmony and peace between enemies. Enemies are said to be reconciled when their hostility ceases and mutual love binds them together. Paul’s explanation of God’s re-creative activity in his life centered on this doctrine.

3. His salvation redirected his CALLING (20-21)

2 Corinthians 5:20–21 ESV
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.
Ambassador: a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign country as the representative of his or her own government and appointed for a special assignment
Consider some facts about ambassadors.
(1) Ambassadors are chosen, and Christ had chosen Paul to be His representative. Paul did not represent himself (see 4:5) but Christ. His message was the Gospel Christ had committed to his trust (1 Thes. 2:4). His aim was to please Christ and be faithful to the task given to him.
(2) Ambassadors are protected. An ambassador must be a citizen of the nation that he represents, and Paul (as is every Christian) was a citizen of heaven (see Phil. 3:20 where “conversation” is equated with “citizenship.”) The nation supplies their ambassadors’ every need and stands ready to protect them. Likewise Christ supplied Paul’s every need and stood with him in every crisis.
(3) Ambassadors are held accountable. Ambassadors represent their countries and say what they are instructed to say. They know that they must one day give an account of their work.
(4) Ambassadors are called home before war is declared. God has not yet declared war on this wicked world, but one day He will. There is a coming day of wrath (1 Thes. 1:10) that will judge the wicked, but Christians will be called home before that day comes (1 Thes. 5:1–10). The church, God’s ambassadors, will not go through the Tribulation.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992), 489–490.Respond
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