Summary: New life in Jesus Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 11-21.
• This week I cam across a child’s definition of a caterpillar?
• A worm in a fur coat.
• A Caterpillar is a prickly, lazy self-centred bug.
• Working hard to go no-where fast.
• Little boys love to quash them.
• Little girls run away with an irritating shriek to their voice.
• Yet something unusual happens to this creature;
• Known as metamorphosis:
• A thick film covers the caterpillar;
• And it entombs itself in its own flesh.
• During what’s called the Chrysalis period.
• A chemical reaction takes place that changes the physical make-up of the creature.
• And soon an emerging butterfly can be seen within the cocoon.
• And when the time is right it breaks free of its cocoon,
• Spreads it s wings and flies off; the old life as a caterpillar has finished.
• And it’s new life as a butterfly has just began.
• How many of you have read the book Pilgrim’s Progress?
• You all know that the pilgrim’s name throughout the book is…….Christian.
• Yet how many of you can actually remember what his original name was?
• Even though it is clearly stated in the allegory most people forget!
• It first appears when a character called Porter asks him; “What’s your name?”
• He replies; “My name is now Christian, but my name at the first was………..graceless”.
The reason his name was changed was because he experienced a metamorphosis:
• He experienced a change;
• His old caterpillar life (prickly, lazy self-centred, going no-where fast) was abandoned;
• And replaced by a new butterfly type life;
• That can fly to new heights and have limitless potential regarding changing its surroundings.
• The word "transform" comes from the Greek word "metamorphoo",
• From which we get the English word "metamorphosis".
• The New Testament uses the word to speak of an even more dramatic change:
• Ordinary people, sinners by nature and by action, transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
• That is the hope of every follower of Jesus,
• That they will increasingly take on the behaviour, attitudes, & character of Jesus Christ.
• But how does this dramatic transformation take place? I
• Is it something that God simply brings about in your life by his power,
• Or is something you do through your own sheer effort of the will?
• To that question;
• Is found in our key verse 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17:
“Therefore is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.”
• In this section of 2 Corinthians chapter 5;
• Paul gives us 3 encouragements about what God can do with our lives.
• This spiritual metamorphism affects us in at least three ways
• The first change that we receive is a new nature:
(1.) a new nature (verse 14-15):
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.”
• Christians are new people.
• At their conversion they were ‘born again’, and they are not the same anymore.
• Christians are not merely reformed, rehabilitated, or re-educated;
• They are recreated!
• God gives to every person who becomes a Christian;
• A new nature, the Spirit of Christ!
• At conversion, believers are not merely turning over a new leaf;
• They are beginning a new life under a new Master.
• Paul is saying that every Christian, is a new creation in Christ;
• And they no longer live for themselves, but for Jesus who died & rose for them.
• In my research on the metamorphism of a butterfly.
• I learned that the caterpillar is no help to those around.
• It does not eat other pests it only drinks sap form tress and plants (kind of parasite).
• It lives a self-centred life.
• One cold winter’s day a crowd of people stood in front of a pet shop window;
• And watched a litter of puppies snuggling up to each other.
• One woman laughed and said,
“What a delightful picture of brotherhood!
Look at how those puppies are keeping each other warm!”
• A man next to her replied,
• “No, ma’am, they’re not keeping each other warm—they’re keeping themselves warm.”
• They were looking out for themselves, making sure they were okay.
• And the Bible makes it very clear;
• That all human beings have the same problem.
• We too (naturally) live for self not for God.
• E.g. Majority of people will not wake up and thank God tomorrow for another day etc,