Thursday, February 21, 2019

Both H.E.A.R.T. and Ministry and Manners will be held today as scheduled.

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Walk in Newness of Life

This year’s theme for Mt. Zion Baptist Church is “Walk in Newness of Life.” With that theme in mind, it is important to understand the texts that are in the Bible that deal with God making all things new.

The Biography of every Christian – Part 1

People crave for new things today – new phones, new cars, clothes, hairstyles, and a new face. They want a new face – go for plastic surgery to get a new nose, a new face, etc. For the Christian, at the moment of salvation, God begins a work of making all things new in a person’s life.

Romans 6:3-4 (KJV)
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

2 Corinthians 5:15-17 (KJV)
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

For the Christian new life results in old things passing away. God is interested in bringing about good changes in our lives. For the Christian, year after year should not be the same. The Christian life is really about God making all things new. The New life is a better life. The New life is from the Lord. The new life is because of a new Spirit in us. 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 – is really a biography of the Christian’s life. The biography is the same for every Christian – “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.”

The biography of every Christian begins with a new drive or desire and that is to live his life unto Christ who died for him. Selfishness characterizes the old life, but selflessness characterizes the new life. In v. 2 Corinthians 5:15, the Scripture instructs the Christian that he should not live his life for himself, but rather to live his life every day for Christ. The biography of a Christian is that God makes the purpose for living different – to live our life unto Christ. Everything that we do, that we say, that we think, that we react to, must be done with the mind of Christ with a spirit of humility and selflessness.

In addition, the biography of every Christian is characterized by a new distinctive found in v. 16. This distinctive is how a Christian views Christ and others.

2 Corinthians 5:16 (KJV)
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

At one time Paul, as an arch-Pharisee, had judged Jesus Christ according to the flesh and found him to be wanting. To him, Jesus was a messianic pretender who pushed too far and got what was coming to him when he was condemned by the Sanhedrin and crucified by the Romans.

He would have said to himself, “What kind of a ‘Christ’ was it who would choose to be so obviously poor and so completely deficient of proper rabbinical training? What kind of ‘Christ’ would befriend publicans and sinners? What kind of ‘Christ’ would show such utter indifference to rabbinical tradition and to the ‘Oral Law’? What kind of ‘Christ’ would so obviously and repeatedly sweep aside all the rules and regulations that Judaism had devised to safeguard the keeping of the Sabbath? What kind of a ‘Christ’ would gather around Himself such a collection of ignorant nobodies from Galilee to be His disciples and heirs? What kind of ‘Christ’ could ever come out of Nazareth? What kind of ‘Christ’ would allow Himself to be arrested, bullied, beaten, and mocked without striking a blow in His own defense? Above all, what kind of a “Christ” would allow Himself to be handed over to the Gentiles to be crucified?” All Paul’s former Jewishness led him to reject such a “Christ.”

Paul simply means that before his conversion he had built up a mental image of the Lord Jesus.

He had “known Christ after the flesh” in the sense that he had formed an estimate of Him.

Now, he knew that the mental picture he had formed of Christ was wrong. Meeting the resurrected Christ changed his view of Christ forever. The worldly estimate he had entertained of Christ had to be discarded, and along with it, his improper evaluation of others.

He now thought of Christ as “the Lord from heaven,” risen, ascended, enthroned, glorified, the eternal, universal Savior of mankind. When a person is saved, they see Christ differently from that moment forward.

No one was more able to reflect on that transformation than Paul who switched from a persecutor of Christ to a proclaimer of Christ.

Acts 9:5 (KJV)
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:20 (KJV)
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Acts 9:22 (KJV)
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Philippians 1:21 (KJV)
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Becoming a Christian changes everything. It changes everything so completely that the believer no longer judges things according to the flesh.

Not only does a Christian view Christ differently, but he also sees men through different eyes than when he was without Christ. Paul after being saved, saw all men differently. He didn’t see them in their earthly bodies. He saw who they could become in Christ.

By nature our sinful hearts view others in fleshly ways: as rivals, as potential threats, as enemies, as dupes, as vehicles to satisfy our lusts, as suckers, as cripples, as ignorant, as repulsive, as foreigners, as perverts…as any number of things, all of which we fear or despise. But when we are “in Christ” such old patterns of thought pass away. Every individual, above all, is viewed as the object of God’s reconciling love.

May the biography of every Christian found in 2 Corinthians 5 be true in your life!

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