Summary: A sermon to high light the power of the gospel to transform our lives.
The Power of the Gospel! Pt. 2
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Introduction: First, there is:
I. THE WORK OF TRANSFORMATION -- "...old things are passed away ..."
a. Our view of Jesus
Paul's view of whom and what Jesus was changed radically on the Damascus road and so will ours when we meet Him. This would include but not be limited to selfish, carnal views of Jesus. Jesus becomes more than a name in history, the name of a good teacher or moralist, a name used as a swear word. There are those today who would make Jesus less than what the Bible declares that He is the one and only Son of the living God, the creator, sustainer and governor of the universe.
b. Our view of ourselves
ILLUSTRATION... High Opinion, Our Daily Bread, July 3, 1989
Ill - A man who had a high opinion of himself stepped on a coin-operated scale that dispensed a card, giving his weight and comments about his personality. After reading the card, he handed it to his wife and said, "Here, look at this!" She took it and read aloud, "You are dynamic, a born leader, handsome, and much admired by women for your personality." Giving it a second look, she added, "Hmmm, I see it's got your weight wrong too!" We are egocentric and that changes in Christ. This egocentricity must be replaced by Christo centricity! We must die to self and self-interest, and be raised with Christ and be Christ-absorbed.
c. Our view of others
We live in a world where people look at others as objects to be used, manipulated, and then discarded when we get what we want. When Christ comes in that view has to go. When we become new creatures in Christ then we see all men as souls for whom Jesus died souls with value and worth and dignity.
II. THE WONDER OF TRANSFORMATION -- "...all things are become new..."
a. In the area of our purity
We are all capable of the worst kinds of conduct including various forms of impurity thinking and behavior. Paul gives a catalog of these "works."
Galatians 5:19-21 The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.
But that changes in Christ.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
b. In the area of our personality
We have all kinds of negative personality traits. We can be rude, selfish, judgmental, critical, harsh, and the list goes on and on. John Wesley was such a person. He was asked to leave the Georgia colonies by Governor Oglethorpe because he was difficult and hard to get along with. Later he wrote in his diary that he had gone to Georgia to convert the Indians and instead found that he was not converted! It was not until his Aldersgate experience where he felt his heart "strangely warmed" that the change in his personality began to happen. Many who profess to know Christ have negative personality traits that need to be submitted to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirt so that He can smooth off "the rough edges!" Every part of our personalities must be insulated by the love of Christ.
c. In the area of our priorities
Our priorities are the things that we spend our time, talent and treasure on. We often quote from Matthew 6:33 when we speak of priorities but when we come to Christ the Lord hits the "reset" button and completely rearranges our priorities.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Life Is Like A Jar Of Rocks
ILL -- A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2 inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. "The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important. "Take care of the big rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."