Summary: Purpose, Christ's Love, New Life, Ambassadors
4 QUESTIONS FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Can This Really Be a Happy New Year?
2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (p. 805) December 28, 2014
The Corinthians Church was filled with people who had a ton of baggage. And that baggage had a way of messing up spiritual health individually and in the church as a whole.
Remember what kind of people the Corinthians were before they were saved in Christ. Paul reminds them... “Brothers and sister, think of what you were when you were called!” (1 Cor. 1:26) He tells them “You weren’t wise, influential or of royal birth” and a few chapters later.
He reminds them that before Christ came into their lives many of them were sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterous, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunks, slanderers and swindlers. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
Corinth was a church filled with new Christians who were still thinking and acting a lot like the world they came from and lived in.
If you check out this first letter to the Corinthians...The Apostle Paul addresses a problem with favoritism and cliques in Chapter 2, plus worldly influences in their thinking. In chapter 3 he tells them they’re babies in their Christianity that still are on the bottle when they should be eating solid food by now. In Chapter 4 some of them have become stuck up and arrogant. In Chapter 5 he deals with “a man whose having sex with his father’s wife” and the church just looks the other way...and is proud of their “tolerance.” In Chapter 6 they’re suing each other...and so it goes...on and on, many of these Corinthian believers “are stuck.”
They aren’t being made “new.” They are calling themselves believers, but the past will not let them go...or they won’t let go of it.
I meet so many people in today’s world who are just like the Corinthians. Their past will not let them go...or they won’t let go of it. If you and I are to experience a happy new year then there are some changes that have to occur. We’ll have to climb out of the rut and start down a new path, by being honest to God and others.
I. HAPPINESS BEGINS WITH TRANSPARENCY
Paul says, “Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others...what we are is plain to God, and I hope it’s also plain to your conscience.”
God’s word says, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” (Proverbs 9:10, Ps 111:10)
You know what that means? It means that we are accountable first and foremost to God. He knows the truth of our sin, He knows our deepest secrets. “Nothing in all creation is hidden before the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account.”
This is where real wisdom starts...God knows...He sees...You can’t hide from Him.
But we still try don’t we? Like Jonah we run from Him. Like Moses we put on a veil.
In our foolishness we pretend we’re something or someone we are not to people, all the while ignoring the God who knows the truth.