Summary: Part 2 of 5

“Blueprints: A Study in 2 Corinthians”

Part 2 – The New You

NewSong Church – 08/10/08

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Background [s.1]

2 Corinthians 1-2 // Paul’s teaching on Forgiveness & Restoration

:: Chapter 3: Two Ways of Relating to God // Old vs. New

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 [s.2]

Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Ezekiel 36:26 [s.3]

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

2 Corinthians 3:7-18 [s.4]

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

:: Living in Freedom

• Not freedom to do what I want or live any way that I want to live

• The freedom – the ability – to live for Christ and to reflect His life

• When we believe and live out God’s commands, He begins the process of life-change

• What are you reflecting? What do people see in you?

:: Chapter 4 - Reflecting the Image of Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:3-7 [s.5]

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

:: Living in Light

• Preventions: Comfort zones, standards, social values, pride

• Hiding behind our veils – we do not want to be seen by the light of God

• We may be afraid of what will be discovered – what is hiding inside of us

• Psalms: Search my heart, O God… refine me, examine me, test me

• We can walk in the light – freely, boldly – when we are living in freedom

• When have been forgiven of sin – when we have embraced the new way to be

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 [s.6]

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

:: Living in Faith

• Paul believes that our experiences should be used to encourage others

• Recall last week – “reaffirm your love so that he does not become discouraged”

• We endure – live by faith through our experiences – because it can produce life in others

• What are you experiencing?

• What would our normal reaction to trying circumstances be? What changes with faith?

• How has your experience impacted your relationship with God?

• What is it doing for others?

:: Chapter 5 - The New You

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 [s.7]

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. 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 was raised for them. 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! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

:: Living for Christ

• The role of an ambassador: working on behalf of someone else

• Christ’s love controls us: becoming a representative of God

• Representing: in the workplace // in the home // in the community // in the church

• Jesus offers us a new way to be human

• Freedom in place of oppression, addiction, slavery to our human nature

• Light in place of darkness

• Faith in exchange for worry, anxiety, stress and fear

• Jesus’ way of life in exchange for our own way of living

What is new for you today?

What is God doing?

Where is he working?

What is he changing?

What is he blessing?

Call to Action: [s.8-12]

Walk in the fresh, new life that God has made available for you:

• Live in Freedom – Exchange your way of living for Jesus’ way of living

• Live in Light - Reflect the image of Jesus that is inside you

• Live in Faith - Use your experiences to bring you and others closer to God

• Live in Christ – Be an ambassador for God to others