Summary: New Year’s Resolutions are based on the idea that if I can only change this part or that part of my life, I can be a new person. Jesus says, that only He can bring about the new creation... find out why
OPEN: With Jan. 1st just around the corner, many people are thinking aboutNew Year’s resolutions.
An article a couple of years ago listed the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions:
#5: stop smoking
#4: make more money,
#3: improve relationships
#2: exercise more
#1 most popular New Years resolution… losing weight.
All these resolutions are saying one thing: I want to be different than I am. I want to gain control of an area of my life. And, if I could just get control of this one part of my life… I could be truly happy. I could be a new person.
The problem, of course with New Year’s resolutions… they are rarely effective. Somewhere along the line, our resolve to keep those resolutions gets buried under the press of time and our own lack of will power.
APPLY: Now Jesus has something to say about change - about becoming new inside.
Jesus said: “Behold, I make all things new….” Revelation 21:5
And Paul agreed with that “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I. What the Bible teaches us is: Jesus gives us the power to change.
The power to become a new creation. AND that power of change begins when we first become Christians.
Look again with me at Romans 5:6 –
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still POWERLESS, Christ died for the ungodly.”
What does Paul mean – we were powerless?
Before we became Christians, didn’t we have the power and the inner strength to change and improve our lives???
The problem was… all of the improvements we made to our lives were like putting new windows and doors on a derelict house. The improvements were great ideas… but they didn’t increase the value of who we were.
When Jesus saved us… He didn’t want to rearrange the furniture of our lives and repaint the walls… No! When Jesus saved us, He wanted to start from scratch.
ILLUS: A read about a man who was selling an old warehouse. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Gangs had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash everywhere.
As he showed a prospective buyer the property, he took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.
The buyer smiled and said “Forget about the repairs. When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.
II. That’s what Jesus is telling us here in Romans 5 & 6
He DOESN’T want the building we’ve made of our lives… He wants the site
He doesn’t want our cleverly constructed plans for our lives… He wants our heart
When we became Christians, Jesus started from scratch… from the ground up
Look again at Romans 6:3-4 “… all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
In order to be a Christian you have to die…
- you have to die to your past
- you have to die to the way you used to live
- you have to die to the way you used to think
And when you die to your past… then Jesus can raise you up and give you a new heart and a new mind. And He can give a new way of living and thinking
III. Part of the reason Jesus has to start from scratch is that…in our OLD way of living, we had a warped way of thinking.
Paul points that out when he asks the question:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Romans 6:1
Why would Paul ask that question?
Because he’d just got done explaining that because of His grace, God has forgiven all of our sins.
In other words, God loves us so much that He loves to forgive us.
And so – here in Romans 6 – he asks the question (my paraphrase thereof)
“If God loves to forgive us our sins… why don’t we sin a lot and make God really happy?”
That’s the way we would have thought in our old way of life.
For many of us, the object of life (back then) was to find out how close to the edge we could live w/o getting caught.
AND SO (we would reason) if I’m now free from the past… and God loves forgiving me… whyyyy I’ll can just go out live like I used to and whenever the guilt of life gets to far out of hand, I can just come back to God and get some of that forgiveness He likes to hand out.