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Summary: Emptying ones life of bad stuff is just not good enough. No one can maintain an empty life. Something must occupy your space. Something will occupy your life. We choose what we let in.

This sermon was preached by Scotty L Killingsworth on March 7, 2004.

The Biblical text is taken from Colossians 3.

The sermon title is: When old ways end

Nearly everything Jesus did brought change to the world.

Nearly everything we do at Evergreen Church is about change.

We value celebrative worship; which means we want to change our approach to worship from ritualistic, dull and perfunctory worship to live, vibrant and authentic.

We value creative ministry; which means we are tired of limiting our expressions of faith to denominational or traditional. We want to get Jesus out of the “church” box and into lives even if it means we cross established lines or boundaries. We believe Jesus is relevant to every life.

We value compassionate service; which means we are not satisfied with Christian service that leave us untouched in the process. We desire passion in service that becomes catalytic for us and for those we serve. We want to authentically and powerfully give our faith away daily with passion. We want to live with passion and serve those Jesus loves with the same fire in our bones.

Listen to the passion of David on this subject when someone offered to relieve David from the burden of sacrifice. 1 Chronicles 21:24But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

If your expression of faith in Jesus doesn’t stretch you-you have settled for a poor substitute. Average faith is very costly in time, resources, focus, interest and life.

We want to become a community of fully devoted Christ followers; which means we are weary of self-aggrandizement and solo performances of our faith. We long for authentic community/team where our individual identity can become absorbed in something bigger and better than we could ever be on our own. We long for faith family. We dream of a destiny that includes brothers and sisters who are co-laborers in the harvest. We are tired of being alone. We want to be part of something that matters. That means we must change from doing everything in on our own and by our own strength. This goes against the way we have been taught. Change – Old ways must end.

We want to become fully devoted to Jesus instead of being fully devoted to ourselves. This transition means an end to an old way. It means the beginning of something totally new. This means swimming up stream the rest of our lives because the world screams “Me” and we reply, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:19-20 This is radical change.

Radical change is dangerous; especially spiritual change that verges on the extreme. A person can start a process of spiritual formation and find one worse at the end than at the beginning. Matthew 12:43“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Emptying ones life of bad stuff is just not good enough. No one can maintain an empty life. Something must occupy your space. Something will occupy your life. We choose what we let in.

Christians use terms that sometimes get blurred. One in re-dedication and the other is re-birth. The only way to have the change your heart is dying for is by a re-birth. You can re-dedicate forever and if you have not been re-born it is really a waste of time. There are times of beginning in the faith that a re-dedication is very appropriate and some here today need a re-dedication, but no one is in heaven without a re-birth.

So, if you are serious about making a change in your life:

You need a new plan

Galatians 3:1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God

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