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We love “new!” It’s exciting, fresh, in demand, different, unknown possibilities. New is…new! Car (image of 1987 Dodge Colt) technology (iPhones) babies (Micah) job (image of working woman on the phone)
Have you ever wondered, why does newness have to wear off? ENTROPY – everything in the universe is wearing down. Core to this process is the idea of “irreversibility.” Entropy is always increasing. Circumstances can accelerate the process, or slow it down, but entropy ultimately results in something’s end, termination, expiration…death. “New” doesn’t last, does it? This is obvious to all of us when it comes to life, our physical existence. If we’re honest and transparent with ourselves and God, it has probably happened in our spiritual lives as well. Think back to when you first believed in Jesus Christ, the joy and excitement you may have felt as you started your new life in Christ. How long has it been since you felt that way about your faith? As believers, at some time or another, and probably more frequently we would care to admit, we realize we have allowed our spiritual lives to be subject to this debilitating “truth.” It all too quickly gets sucked into this idea of ENTROPY. Like anything else that starts out as new, our faith can lose its appeal, excitement, freshness. I don’t believe it is intentional but we wake up most mornings and things don’t look different. They feel the same. We find ourselves as believers in Jesus Christ living a life that looks more like the way things used to be, and not growing towards the new life we have in Christ that Paul reminds the Corinthians about. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (I may or may not read through the whole passage here)
Paul reminds us of the NEW LIFE we have in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:16 - judge by human standards - thought of Christ by human standards - mortals, living lives that ultimately result in death - What changed? – Jesus’ resurrection, defeating the grave, changed everything! - 1 Cor 15:32, if there was no resurrection then we should live life however we want because everything would simply lead to death. Entropy would rule. - How differently we know Him now! 2 Cor 5:17 - belong to Christ, believed in His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins, the salvation of our souls - such a strong contrast in this verse between death and life - there is a song I listen to regularly because it has one of my favorite lyrics I’ve ever heard – I’m spoken for, no condemnation! - Meeting with a student who experienced this very truth in the last 6 months, we refer to it as his “Jesus birthday.” When’s your Jesus birthday? - Compare/contrast old life and new life – I went through a harder season in life that I had to remind myself and be reminded of this - This NEW doesn’t wear off either. Lam 3:22-23 remind us that God’s faithfulness, grace and mercies are NEW every morning. Earlier in this chapter, v. 1-5 Paul talks about our bodies wearning down. We have these spiritual lives that are hardwired for eternity and one day, gone will be these physical bodies of this world that remind us of the ENTROPY we are subject to because our new bodies will match the new life we’ve been given that never fades away or loses their new. - Galatians 2:20 Our new life in Christ is not subject to the rules of ENTROPY. Why not? Because Jesus defeated the grave. He doesn’t play by death’s rules. He doesn’t yield to ENTROPY. It can’t contain him! This is the source of the NEW LIFE, the One who defeated the grave! Not a car, not a phone, not a job. Yet we so easily slip into this subconscious mindset, living our lives like we one step closer to the grave, when we should live life like we are one step closer to the One who defeated the grave. 2 Cor 4:16 - renewed
By faith we are made new! By faith may we live new! We have been blessed with new life in Christ! Paul also reminds us of the NEW MISSION we have in Christ. 2 Cor 5:18 God gave us a gift God also gave us a task Christmas gift, $75 for our parents to go out to dinner Why do we eagerly accept the gift, but struggle with accepting the task? ENTROPY The spirit filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity, it is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people. –A. W. Tozer
2 Cor 5:19 - It is and always has been God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself through Christ - Gen 3:15, God the Father promises the reconciliation - Luke 19:10, Jesus came to deliver the reconciliation - Acts 1:8, the Holy Spirit is given to us to continue the reconciliation - 2 Cor 5:19, one of many reminders we have the privilege to join the Triune God we believe in on His mission of reconciliation - Sports analogy, we aren’t fans in the stands, we are on the team dressed and equipped – God tells us to go in and score a TD, dunk the basketball, hit the grand slam. To often, after this invitation, we walk back to the bench and never set foot on the field. We’re still on the team, but there is a “game” to play. 2 Cor 5:20 What is an ambassador – dad in the United States Army Band Pleads – urgency Come back to God! / be reconciled to God As a result of the New Life we have in Christ and the New Mission He’s given us, we shouldn’t ask “Why should I share my faith?” We should ask “Why wouldn’t I share my faith?” - God giving us the task and mission of reconciliation shouldn’t be viewed as we have to or because God said so (even though He is). It’s that we get to. NEW LIFE and NEW MISSION are BOTH GIFTS from God.
2 Cor 5:21 - Paul puts a beautiful bow on this whole passage – the Gospel So what do we do with this passage in 2 Corinthians 5?
CELEBRATE your faith story with OTHER BELIEVERS. (that’s what Paul is doing in this passage to the Corinthians) - Baptisms coming up October 6th, register this week - Become part of a community here by joining one of our groups @ grace. - I’d even encourage you today, with your spouse, with your kids, with a friend - over lunch, make a phone call, during the car ride home – recount and celebrate your faith story, your Jesus birthday, with each other and praise God for the new life we share in Christ. SHARE your faith with THOSE IN NEED. (that’s what Paul is calling us to) - Identify someone in your life who doesn’t know Christ - Write their name down and begin praying for them immediately - Proactively look for opportunities to share the Gospel with them and introduce them to this amazing, never-ending adventure of new life in Christ. By faith we are made new! By faith may we live new! BENEDICTION REMINDER – College lunch, Groups @ Grace 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.