Sermon:  All Things New

Summary:  Making a new year resolution is a common practice.  However, merely changing 
a bit here or there is not what Christ desires from us.  He wants a complete, total rebirth in 
mind and heart that is built on an understanding of the nature of the human predicament and 
what changes God wants from us in order to be reconciled to him.

Know:  God has given us a new perspective on life that we need to embrace.  This perspective
 involves an understanding of our place before God and the reason for it.

Feel:  Love for God

Do:  Reflect on the nature of our relationship with God and what God wants us to think and do 
concerning the Gospel, the brethren, and Himself.

Text:  2 Cor 5:11-19

Scripture Reading:  2 Cor 5:17

1.  New Year resolutions - Want to make a change
2.  Jesus spoke of change in Matt 9:16-17 in cloth and wineskin parables
	a.  Need more than changing a habit here or there
	b.  Try to put a new patch on the old garment, will result in a worse tear
	c.  New habit in an old wineskin will cause it to burst
	d.  Need a total change inside and out
		- 2 Cor 3:16-18 - We are being transformed into the image of God
		- 2 Cor 4:16 - Inner man is being renewed daily
		- 2 Cor 5:1f - We long for our new and final home in Heaven
3.  Text:  2 Cor 5:11-19
	a.  v. 17 - All things are new
		- Not just new patch of cloth on an old garment
		- We have become new creatures
	b.  All of our resolutions and resolve come from this transformation
	c.  Here are some "new" things we have in Christ

I.  (v.11-12) - New Urgency - The Fear of the Lord
	A.  Paul persuaded men because of the fear of the Lord
	B.  We often want to downplay the "fear" of the Lord here
		1.  Is this just talking about reverence or awe?
			a.  Sometimes "fear" means awe or reverence
			b.  Similar to way an electrician fears electricity
				- Treats it with respect
				- Fear keeps him from breaking the rules
				- Because he is not ignorant about electricity, he 
  				  doesn't run from it
			c.  Sometimes, when we talk about fear of God, it is like this
		2.  Context seems to indicate terror  
			a.  v.10 - Specifically terror of judgment 
			b.  Paul not persuade men just to make them better people
			c.  They would be lost in Hell if not hear and respond 
	C.  ILL:  Congregational preachers of the past knew this, such as 
      		1.  One was Jonathan Edwards.  
			a.  From a generation of Hell-fire and brimstone preachers
			b.  When preaching to lost sinners, they held no punches
			c.  Sermon:  "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." 
     			      preached at Enfield, CT in 1741
		2.  Excerpt:  The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a 
spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath 
towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; 
he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable 
in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more 
than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling 
into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; 
that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is 
no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but 
that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, 
since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of 
attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do 
not this very moment drop down into hell. 
      O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless 
pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and 
incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, 
with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; 
and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep 
off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, 
to induce God to spare you one moment. 
		3.  Edwards understood the "fear of the Lord"
			a.  To sugar coat it would be irresponsible
			b.  He pulled no punches
		4.  Some have cast preachers like him in a negative light
			a.  Perhaps some of those guys went too far
			b.  Many today have gone too far the other way
				- Some do not ever speak of it
				- Make it sound as if the need to obey the Gospel is 
 				   just so you can have a better life
	D.  Judgment is real and it is coming, it is guaranteed 
		1.  We don't know when
		2.  If you have not obeyed the Gospel, then it is coming on you
		3.  But this is not the only motivation….
II.  (v.13-15) New Motivation - The Love of Christ
	A.  Everything we do should be for the love of our Lord
		- The love of Christ shines even more brightly against the fear of 
		   the Lord
	B.  We learn a little about love here
		1.  It makes you "crazy" or "out of our mind (NIV)"
			a.  Makes you offer self for people who don't appreciate
			b.  Makes you go on journey to foreign places
			c.  Makes you talk about your God to other people
			d.  Makes you consider God in all your decisions
		2.  It is sacrificial
			a.  He went to a cross for us.  Imagine that!
				- It was considered shameful back then
				- Like saying - He took the noose, chair, injection
			b.  He demonstrated what love is through the cross
			c.  He wants us to demonstrate the same kind of love
		3.  It is the only thing that counts
			a.  Mt 22:37-38 - The greatest command is to Love God
				- Mt 22:39 - 2nd is to love neighbor
				- v.40 - Everything rests on these commands
			b.  1 Cor 13:1f
				- That why if no have love, it is all nothing
			c.  John 4:7 - God is love
		4.  Love makes all the difference in the world
	C.  ILL:  Story about two three people in a household
		1.  The owner, his wife, and the housekeeper
		2.  The housekeeper came faithfully every day to do her job
			a.  She swept the floors, dusted, washed, etc.
			b.  She did as much as her job required
			c.  Sometimes owner asked her to do something she didn't 
			    normally do, and she did it
			d.  Why did she do all of this?  -- Paycheck
		3.  The wife on the other hand did much more for the owner than 
		     the housekeeper
			a.  Most of what she did she wasn't asked to do
			b.  She did it willingly and gladly
			c.  Why did she do all of this?  -- Love
		4.  Wife worked harder and longer, and more joyfully due to love
	D.  This is what God wants from us
		1.  We need to do everything from the love of God
		2.  Consider all you do
			a.  It needs to be from the love of God
			b.  Your worship, your family, your job, your school, friends…
		3.  Need to see everything as a gracious gift that you can use to 
		      express your love for God

III.  (v.16-17)  New Perspective - According to the Spirit
	A.  We recognize no one according to the flesh
	B.  Means we see everyone and everything through God's eyes
		1.  That is probably what motivated Paul to persuade me
			a.  He could see their true condition without Christ
			b.  They were a lost soul doomed to Hell
			c.  Didn't matter how much of a good guy they were
		2.  We need to not regard each other according to the flesh
			a.  We all have friends that we share common interests with
				- In fact, that may be basis of friendship
				- Like to play ball together, same music, nerdy stuff…
			b.  There may be others we don't like to be around
				- We don't share the same interests
				- They may seem too nerdy, or too much like a jock
				- May keep distance, and even ridicule
			c.  That is regarding each other according to the flesh
		3.  We need to see each other as Christ does
			a.  The greatest thing we have in common is Christ
			b.  Reality:  He has brought us together as ONE body
			c.  This transcends all other interests
			d.  You are my brother, and you come before any 
			      unbelieving acquaintance 
		4.  Regardless of our interest, I should be able to have a 
		     conversation with you and we should be able to click
			a.  If not, then one of us or both of us may have a weak bond 
			     with our Lord
			b.  If my Lord is my life, my love, and passion, and he is also 
			     yours, that should bond us together.
	C.  ILL:  We did a skit years ago called greasy Shawn
		1.  Shawn was a slow dim-witted kid that no one liked in school
		2.  He visited the Youth Group, and eventually became a Christian
			a.  People mistreated him at school or ignored him
			b.  He was ignored the same way in Youth Group functions
			c.  A couple of times, they pulled pranks on him the same 
			     way they did in school
		3.  Shawn found he didn't fit in, and eventually fell away
			a.  He wound up getting involved in the wrong crowd
			b.  To him it seemed right - they accepted him there
			c.  He didn't see the Youth Group kids as any different than 
			     the other kids in school
		4.  The same thing happens among adults as well
			- This is regarding people according to the flesh
	D.  We need to regard people according to the Spirit
		1.  See them as God sees them
		2.  There should be no cliquishness or exclusiveness in the body of 
		3.  God wants all people, not just certain ones, to be saved
			- brings us to our next point…

IV.  (v.18-19) New Ministry - Reconciliation
	A.  Jesus came to reconcile us to God
		1.  He took our sins that separated us from God
		2.  He rose from the grave and overcame death
		3.  He showed us how to be reunited with our Father God
	B.  Jesus has ascended an entrusted it to us
		1.  Notice how God accomplishes it - God was in Christ
			a.  He could have sent another prophet
			b.  He could have had someone write more scripture
			c.  He could have had another Mt Sinai, or sent a vision
			d.  Instead - He came personally in Christ
		2.  Now he entrusted it to us
			a.  Eph 3:17 - Christ dwells in our hearts through faith
			b.  God wants Christ to be in us to reconcile world to him
			c.  He wants us to follow his footsteps
		3.  Our greatest work is to reconcile people to God
	C.  ILL:  We Care training has helped with this
		1.  A lady from Plattsmouth has taken this to heart
			a.  She makes opportunity to share Christ every chance she 
			b.  She has even gotten a couple of men to go to 
			     neighborhoods with her
			c.  I didn't realize she had some health problems
				- Her back, limited energy, etc.
				- You would never know
				- She is so happy and joyful to do this
		2.  Everything you do among the lost can be toward reconciliation
			a.  Paul was a tentmaker to support his ministry
			b.  You can do benevolent works, show kindness
			c.  You can become a friend to someone
	D.  There are many ways to carry out ministry of reconciliation

1.  So here is that you have that is new
	a.  If you haven't obeyed the Gospel, you don't have it (invitation)
2.  As we begin a new year, consider these things
	a.  I didn't list any specific resolutions
	b.  You know what you need to do
3.  Start with considering these things
	a.  Let your resolutions, or recommitment flow from these
	b.  For instance
		 - On New Ministry, you can resolve to share the Gospel 
	                     with at least one person a month.
		- On New Perspective, can resolve to build a quality relationship 
		   with someone in the congregation
4.  Take time to reflect on what changes you need to make in your life


Small Group Questions:  All Things New

Summary:  Making a new year resolution is a common practice.  However, merely changing 
a bit here or there is not what Christ desires from us.  He wants a complete, total rebirth in mind 
and heart that is built on an understanding of the nature of the human predicament and what 
changes God wants from us in order to be reconciled to him.

- If you were appointed as an ambassador, where would you like to be sent?

Explore:  2 Cor 5:11-21

1.  What are the motivations for Paul's ministry?  How do his various motivations fit together?

2.  What did Paul mean by not recognizing anyone according to the flesh?  What did he mean 
by not knowing Christ according to the flesh?

3.  In what ways are all things new for those in Christ?  How would not knowing anyone according 
to the flesh help someone to see these new things?

4.  How did God carry out his ministry of reconciliation?  What implication does this have for us?


5.  What would it mean for you to not regard others according to the flesh?  What would it mean for 
you to see them as God sees them?

6.  In what way are all things made "new" in your life because of being in Christ?

7.  In what ways would this perspective help you to carry out the ministry of reconciliation?

8.  What are some things God is calling you to think or do right now?