Summary: This sermon demonstrates how god still accepted us even though "Once Upon A Time" we use to be whoremongers, theives, liers, homosexuals, drunks, etc. He still gave us a chance to repent of our sins and to come back to Him.
Looking at the sermonic theme of ‘Once Upon A Time,” I know you are probably thinking on the lines of the Grimmes Fairy Tales. One that comes to mind is the fairy tale called “The Three Bears.” Once upon a time there were the three bears. There was the father bear, the mother bear, and the baby bear. You know the story. You’re probably saying in your minds right now that Reverend McNeill has lost it because he is going to be expounding on the three bears. I could preach on the three bears because there is a lesson in it on family order because everybody stayed in his/her lane and that’s what makes a family a working and cohesive unit. That’s not where I want to go today, but if we look deep into our lives we all can say “Once Upon a Time.” I can safely say that because once upon a time none of us in this room were saved.
I don’t want to be too long this evening but if you will will bear with me I promise not to be too long winded. If we take a look at the text I see seven points but I will only speak briefly on two.
POINT NUMBER ONE: The New Man: Regeneration
The Encarta encylopedia says that regeneration is the ability of a living organism to regrow a portion of its body that has been injured or lost. The Encarta dictionary says that regeneration is to form again. The scripture, it says “Therefore is anyone is in Christ he is a new creation or creature. Just what does it mean for a man or woman to become a new creation or creature? Does it mean we will become as animals in this world or God will take us and remake us from the clay of the earth?
No! It simply means that man actually becomes a new creature or creation that represents his whole being. His whole nature, life outlook, thought patterns, and the behavior changes.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we were dead to God, but as a new creature we become alive to God.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we had no relationship with God, but as a new creature He has given us a relationship with God.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we were not sure about God, but as a new creature we are absolutely sure about God.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we never fellowshipped or communed with God, but as a new creature in Jesus Christ, we fellowship and communes with Him all the time.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we were living in sin an immorality, but when we became a new creature we now live in holiness and righteousness.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we had to face death, but when we became a new creature we will never die.
• Before we became hooked up with Jesus Christ, we were doomed to judgment and the eternal separation from God, but when we became a new creature we are destined to live forever in the presence of God.
Well preacher how do we become new creatures? Note the words in the scripture: “If any man be in Christ. It is being “in Christ” that makes a person a new creature. When a person truly believes in Christ, God places and positions him in Christ, in all that Christ is.
Christ lived and he died and he arose, so to be in Christ means that a person lives, dies, and arises in Christ. The person who believes in Jesus Christ is identified with Christ: that is, he is counted and considered to be “in Christ,” reckoned and credited as “in Christ.” Christ lived, died, and rose again from the dead, so therefore if we are in Christ, we will live, die, and rise again just as Christ did.
POINT NUMBER TWO: The Reconciliation of Man
In verse 18 it says, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
Webster’s dictionary meaning of reconciliation means to getting two things to correspond; or to change thoroughly. To change from enmity to friendship. When we look at this thing spiritually, it’s a bringing together or restoration.
The idea is that two persons who should have been together all along are brought together; two persons who had allowed something to come between them are restored and reunited.
The thing that broke the relationship between God and man was sin. Romans 5:10 says that men are said to be enemies of God , and the word “enemies” refers back to the fact that men had become sinners and ungodly (You can read Romans 5:6, 8).