Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When we accept Christ as our Saviour and walk with him in faith, we get an extreme makeover. God allows us to become new again. Beyond forgiveness, beyond cleansing, he makes us holy through Jesus Christ.

A few years ago, a story in a national American magazine described a couple who “adopted” two wolves. They discovered the wolves, still young and small, while making a movie about the caribou in Alaska. They took them to their home, raised them, gave them the kindest treatment, and for awhile the wolves behaved just like friendly dogs. Finally, however, the wolves turned on their masters, who barely escaped with their lives, and then fled to join a wild wolf pack. No matter how kind their treatment, the nature of the wolves was such that eventually they were bound to behave like other wolves. The wolf nature could not be educated out of them.

Our sinful nature is the same. It always stays the same. No amount of education, refinement, culture, counseling, psychiatric treatment, self-help courses, New Year’s resolutions or anything else can take away its selfishness and proneness toward sin. All of us have fallen, and our fall is not something in the past. It is something very much present right now. It is personal for each one of us. All of us come to a point when we want that which will be harmful to us. We stop listening to God and let the world tell us what to do! We change our loyalty from the Creator to the world.

Thankfully, there is a solution for us. A renewed Christian acts upon new principles with new ends and in new company. He received God’s version of a heart transplant. He loves God above all things. Redemption of a people who now live for Christ by living for others, affected by the Holy Spirit and the death of Jesus Christ, is the beginning of the new creation that God had planned to come during this evil age.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”. To be “in Christ” means to be incorporated in him, so that God sees us “in Christ” rather than on our won without Christ. This concept fits very comfortably with being united with and identified with Christ as the second Adam.

Our identity changed completely when we became a follower of Jesus, It changed from sinner to saint. If we stumble from time to time, our identity still does not change. God will still look at us in the same way. He will look at us in heaven-in Christ. God has made us into something new. He has taken off our old life. In Christ we are changed into someone who didn’t exist before. What we receive isn’t the point. What we do as a Christian doesn’t determine who we are-it’s who we are that determines what we do. Understanding our identity in Christ is essential to successfully living the Christian life. No one can constantly behave in a way that’s inconsistent with the way he perceives himself. Becoming a Christian changes a person completely. We are to look at others through caring eyes. We must make it a habit to put the best possible construction on any situation.

We have to retrain our brains to believe and accept that we are a new creation. Christ has given us a new life. The old one is gone, along with any horrible things we have done, said or even thought.

If we don’t surrender to God, we surrender to something else-moods, circumstances, fear, or our own self-concerns. If we do, we will be disillusioned. Surrendering to God will lead to the birth of everything-new soul, new relationships, new perspectives on life, new power to face life’s challenges and a new sense of certainty. Christians are to be judged as servants and ministers of Jesus Christ. The old Law cannot be applied to them. They are to be judged by the new environment into which God has brought them.

The simplest definition of taking up the cross or dying to self is “the submission to the will of God”. It requires submitting our will to God’s purposes and plans. That is the only way to kill our old, sinful nature. We can’t subscribe to a defeated mindset and expect a life of victory. Victorious living demands victorious thinking. In the words of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up”.

We, as children of God, are born again from death into life, just like Jesus was raised from death to life. When Jesus comes into our hearts, we accept the gift of righteousness through him. Our spirit was made alive. We were made worthy to partake of every promise and privilege that the Word of God has to offer. This is the treasure of the gospel-the promise from God that the world deserves to hear. It is the saving message of God’s good work in Jesus Christ –the forgiveness by which God overcomes all human divisions and brings in the new creation in Christ.

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