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Summary: New life in Jesus Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 11-21.

Quote:

• This week I cam across a child’s definition of a caterpillar?

• A worm in a fur coat.

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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.

Question:

• 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?

Answer:

• 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!”

CEV:

“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.

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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,

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