Summary: When you take time to remember where you've been you can celebrate how far you've come... and see that God is at work in the lives of others as well.
Title: Neither forget where you’ve been, nor how far you’ve come, i.e.
Neither forget who you’ve been, Nor who you’re becoming
Text: II Corinthians 5:16-21
Thesis: When you take time to remember where you’ve been, i.e., who you’ve been, you can celebrate how far you’ve come, i.e., who you’re becoming. (May you see that to in yourself and others…)
We may not like it but ours is a superficial culture. We tend toward the shallow in our values. I read about a young man who was a mover and a shaker. He was on the fast track to success and he liked to show it off. He drove a BMW convertible and loved to be seen cruising with the top down and the wind blowing through his hair. One day he parked in front of his business and opened the door to get out and when he did a passing truck tore off the door to his new Beamer. Outraged he jumped out of the car and began to bewail the damage to his shiny new BMW. Then someone on the sidewalk said, “Hey buddy… I wouldn’t be worrying about your car – look your arm was torn off in the accident. He looked down and seeing his arm was missing began to weep, “Oh, my Rolex! Oh, my Rolex!”
A few years ago when America’s Got Talent was really hot, Great Britain also had their version called Britain’s God Talent. I was watching the night Susan Boyle came out on the stage. She was only 47 years old but looked very matronly. She was dressed kind of dowdy. She was obviously not your basic drop dead gorgeous starlet in the making. There was a certain cloud of doubt that filled the room. You could feel it and hear it in the audience. The judges and especially Simon Cowell were openly doubtful and in fact disdainful that Susan Boyle would have a modicum of talent. And then after all the jibes Susan Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream.” When she was finished the house erupted and she received a standing ovation. Any first impressions of Susan Boyle were blown away by what no one in the audience could see or hear. For some reason our impressions of others are often formed simply by what we see in a negative light.
One of the things I like about NBS’s “The Voice” is the blind audition. When a singer comes onto the stage and begins his or her performance the four judges are seated in four cushy looking chairs with their backs to the performer. They can’t see the performer. They have no clue what the performer looks like. They do not know the performer’s age. They can only hear the performer’s voice. Their first and only impression of a singer is the singer’s voice.
The trained ears of the judges may pick up on some nervousness in the voice but they have no idea if the singer is young or old or thin or fat or fastidious or frumpy or pretty or plain… they have no idea about any of those things we generally use in forming impressions of others.
We are all concerned about the impressions we make and leave with people. Was my handshake firm enough? Did I smile and maintain eye contact? Did I repeat their name enough times? Was I dressed appropriately? Did I show enough interest in them? Did I ask questions? Did I listen? Did I say something totally goofy or say something offensive? Did I hold in my gut and sit up straight? Did I maintain open body language?
We are all concerned about making good first impressions because we know that first impressions are often lasting impressions. Unfortunately, first impressions are often determined by things that are superficial.
Our text begins today with a rather bold statement: “We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.”
Almost every human point of view is likely to be superficial in nature… by that I mean we form impressions of people based on outward observations.
I. So much for superficiality… we need to see in people what God sees.
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! II Corinthians 5:16
We need to take a peek at II Corinthians 5:14-15 in order to have some insight into the context of our Scripture today. “Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 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 is now raised for them.”