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Summary: We were made for something better that what a life destroyed by sin has to offer. God wants to restore His image in us. God wants to transform our lives.

“The Good & Beautiful God:

God Transforms Lives”

2 Corinthians 5:17

March 6th, 2011

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

Introduction:

> Last week we were greatly challenged to realize our powerlessness, realize our corrupted situation—that we are all weak and incapable of dealing with the sin issue in our lives.

> But, God dealt with sin and satisfied His nature to love by sacrificing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ so that the image of God could be restored in us, setting us free from captivity to our sinfulness.

> As we receive the sacrifice of Christ, and as we participate in the sacrifice of Christ, the image of God is restored in us.

> For this reason, I love our scripture today! It is a reminder to me that I am not what I used to be before I knew Jesus as my personal savior…

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

> When we receive the sacrifice of Christ Jesus as our source of salvation, when we give up the battle for control and power, when we embrace the fact that we are powerless and we need the salvation that is offered by our self-sacrificing God, then we become a NEW CREATION!

> These are beautiful words for the believer. We are no longer what we used to be! We are no longer sinners. We are no longer enemies with God. We are no longer hopeless, weak and powerless.

> NO! We are a NEW CREATION!

Quiet now, slowly, slowly, let it build! There it is, do you hear it? The grandstands erupt with cheers and applause! <>

> Where is the rejoicing and eruption of applause?

I’ll tell you were it is! For most of us here, we just don’t see it? If I’m a new creation, then why do I still struggle with the same old sins? Why is my life filled with the same old battles, and not only that, but many of them are intensified.

> In the Christian church we have resigned ourselves to be satisfied with occasional emotional hype at church if the music is loud enough and the jokes are funny enough, but we just don’t believe that church makes a whole lot of difference here below. The main reason for church and God and all that stuff is to guarantee our spot in heaven.

But, otherwise, it’s life as usual.

> Divorce is still rampant in the church.

Alcoholism is still rampant in the church.

Pornography use is still rampant in the church.

Being overextended financially is still rampant in the church.

Filthy talk and verbal abuse is still rampant in the church.

Drug addiction and prescription drug abuse is still rampant in the church.

> Families are still in ruin, lives are still a mess, and we say to ourselves, “well that was a grand experiment that didn’t work!”

> We just don’t see it. A new creation? Why isn’t my life any different?

> In fact, most churches have resigned themselves to proclaim that we are all just “sinners” to whom God has given a “pass card” because we have called out to Him.

> But sin still destroys us. So why would God want to give us a pass card to go on sinning!?

> As Paul said it best…

What should we say then? Should we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Of course not! How can we who died as far as sin is concerned go on living in it? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into union with Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, through baptism we were buried with him into his death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we, too, should live an entirely new life.

Romans 6:1-4 (ISV)

> We were made for something so much better than what a life destroyed by sin can offer.

> But many of us are like James Bryan Smith’s friend, Carey, a Christian who was struggling with the problem of Pornography. He had resigned himself to the narrative that He was just a sinner deep inside. Yes, he believed in Jesus Christ and wanted to do what was right, but he had accepted Satan’s lie that at the heart of his nature was fact that he was a sinner.

> I have found that the predominant narrative in Christianity is that we are all just sinners. You know, “we’re only human.” And we believe that there is nothing we can do about our sin.

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