Summary: A sharp rise in elective reconstructive surgery has been attributed to a "Zoom Boom." People don't like what they see on the outside. But have we taken a look inside?
A New Creation
2021 Summer Series / Hope; Faith / 2 Corinthians 5:14–17
• [IMAGE] “Zoom Boom” because folks have had to look at themselves on video calls a lot more this past year.
• It’s one thing to look in the mirror at a fairly static image but altogether something else when you are faced with your own moving image through the uncaring eye of the camera lens.
• Feels like every flaw and blemish is highlighted, etc.
• Even if no one else is judging, we judge ourselves.
• What we think of ourselves and our concerns about what other people think of us drive our behaviors.
• We’ll change our wardrobe, hide our smile, etc.
• Also true for our personal habits, behaviors. We worry a lot about what people think even when we don’t realize it.
• The overlap in our walk with Christ is affected as well. We’re concerned about being considered bigoted, judgmental, silly, unserious or even overzealous because of our faith.
• In Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians he writes a lot about his ministry and how he is perceived by others.
• His defense and explanation of the Christian life needs to be understood and adopted by all believers.
Whose Opinion Matters?
2 Corinthians 5:11–13 NLT
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.
• Who has the most influence in your life?
• It’s not that others should never have any influence, but we’re very likely to let another person’s perspective or opinions direct us more than Christ.
What’s the “Bottom Line?”
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 NLT
14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
• “Controls = “compels, guides, holds us steady, urges us on.”
Romans 6:3–5 NLT
3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.
• A big part of the life/death metaphor is to drive home the point that dead people aren’t concerned with anyone else’s opinion.
Galatians 2:20 NLT
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
• Living for Christ means a new way of perceiving ourselves.
• In contrast to living for the way others see us.
Our “New Look”
• We have a “new look” that isn’t based on any external factor.
• Old/New dichotomy.
• A fresh start.
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NLT
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. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
• Two parts to this “new look.”
• First, we have a fresh perspective on other people. We aren’t limited by their gender, ethnicity, economic status, social ranking, etc. They’re people who need a new life just like we did/do.
• Second, every shortcoming, sin, guilt or shame we have ever experienced is gone. That’s all part of the old.
Ephesians 4:23–24 NLT
23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Our New Purpose
2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (NLT)
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. 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.