A New Creation


Author: Hannelie Parsloe Date: Sunday, October 4, 2015 Campus:

How did he survive prison for 27 years?

Maybe you know who I am talking about.

Yes Nelson Mandela. I thought about what ‘new creation’ means and the person that sprung to my mind was Nelson Mandela. How he changed from a man in prison to South Africa’s president.

Also it is the World Cup Rugby, so rugby is on my mind.

I thought about change or transformation, being a new creation, taking on a new identity. What I realise is that change or transformation happens all the time. It happens in sport, it happens in life (becoming a parent), it happens in careers (going from school into a job), it happens in nature.

It is also a core values of GUV, being loving, welcoming, transformational and being an active church. We want to be transformed to look more like Christ.

One of the images that I thought that display God’s grace in nature is the transformation of a caterpillar becoming a gorgeous butterfly.

Caterpillar is a prickly things. Lazy self-centred bug. Working hard to go no where. But in a grace moment, in some pre-ordained time. Something happens. A thick film covers the caterpillar and entombs itself in its own flesh. A chemical reaction changes the caterpillar's very DNA make-up of the creature. This is know as the Chrysalis period. Soon appears a very beautiful butterfly, it spreads it wings, begins to kick and leave his old life and starts a new life.

This life cycles is known as a metamorphism.

In our text today Paul is writing to the Corinthians and telling them that they went through a spiritual metamorphism. If you have a bible lets read CORINTHIANS 5:14-21

2 Corinthians 5:14-21New Life Version (NLV)

14 For the love of Christ puts us into action. We are sure that Christ died for everyone. So, because of that, everyone has a part in His death. 15 Christ died for everyone so that they would live for Him. They should not live toplease themselves but for Christ Who died on a cross and was raised from the dead for them. 16 So from now on, we do not think about what people are like by looking at them. We even thought about Christ that way one time. But we do not think of Him that way anymore. 17 For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun. 18 All this comes from God. He is the One Who brought us to Himself when we hated Him. He did this through Christ. Then He gave us the work of bringing others to Him. 19 God was in Christ. He was working through Christ to bring the whole world back to Himself. God no longer held men’s sins against them. And He gave us the work of telling and showing men this. 20 We are Christ’s missionaries. God is speaking to you through us. We are speaking for Christ and we ask you from our hearts to turn from your sins and come to God. 21 Christ never sinned but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.

The key verse in this passage is 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.”  

Paul is saying that in the life cycle of us with our sin, we are saved by grace, God works the miracle of a spiritual metamorphism in us.

Once we were useless caterpillars, and in a instant the Holy spirit comes into the cocoon of our hearts and begins a spiritual metamorphism and the end result is a gorgeous work of God that can fly to new heights and have limitless potential in changing it’s surroundings.

I would like to give you 3 encouragements from 2 Corinthians about what God can do with my life and your life… As I share with you, I would like you to be asking yourself at what stage in the life cycles are you in? The caterpillar living for yourself, or are you slowly letting God come into the dirty parts of your life and begin to do a new work within you. Or are you a full-blown beautiful butterfly designed to fly to new heights……...

This spiritual metamorphism changes us in at least three ways.

The first change that we receive is a

1.) NEW DESTINY ( a new life ).

SLIDE Look at verse 14-15 with me. 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 New Life Version (NLV)

14 For the love of Christ puts us into action. We are sure that Christ died for everyone. So, because of that, everyone has a part in His death. 15 Christ died for everyone so that they would live for Him. They should not live toplease themselves but for Christ Who died on a cross and was raised from the dead for them.

Paul is saying that the new creation, the new Christian does not live any longer for themselves. We live for Jesus who died for us.

In my research on the metamorphism of a butterfly. I learned that the caterpillar is no help to those around. It does not eat other pests, it only drinks sap from trees and plants. It lives a very self-centred life.

As Christians we will no longer live to just look after ourselves. We no longer live to make us look good.

Our new lives are to make Jesus look good.

One spring, sometime before the Civil War, a boy in search of work came to Worthy Taylor’s prosperous Ohio farm. The farmer knew nothing much about the boy except that his name was Jim, but he gave him a job. Jim spent the winter cutting stove wood, bringing in the cows and making himself generally useful. He ate in the kitchen and slept in the hayloft.

Before the summer was over, Jim had fallen in love with Taylor’s daughter. The father refused to let him marry her because he had no money, no well-to­do name, and a very poor future. Even though Jim was disappointed, he put his belongings in his old bag and disappeared.

Thirty-five years passed before Taylor one day tore down his barn to make room for a new one. On the rafters above the hayloft he discovered that Jim had carved his full name - James A. Garfield. He was then the president of the United States.

You know people may look at you and think there’s not much hope - no money, no name, too many wrong choices and bad mistakes, very poor prospects.

Jesus comes along, He sees the potential, He sees the diamond in the rough. He sees possibilities for all who will submit to Him. Jesus sees the potential in you if you submit to Him and make Him King of your life. Jesus saw the potential in a flawed life of Levi the tax collector, and Peter the fisherman and in Nelson Mandela the prisoner and Jesus sees your potential.

Jesus believed people could change and that you can change. He can take our flawed lives and make something meaningful and useful of them. Jesus gives us a brand new life.

The caterpillar once would look at a large rock as a block in the road. And would either have to turn around or walk around it. In his new life, as a butterfly, he looks at the rock as a nice landing pad to get a better view of where he wants to go next in life. He can now fly over and beyond his old obstacles.

God wants you to fly. Fly from yesterday’s failure and tomorrows fears. Fly!

The second thing this spiritual metamorphism gives you is

2.) A NEW IDENTITY ( new beginning )

Look at verses16-17, 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 New Life Version (NLV)

16 So from now on, we do not think about what people are like by looking at them. We even thought about Christ that way one time. But we do not think of Him that way anymore. 17 For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a newperson. The old life is gone. New life has begun.

and now look at 21 with me.

2 Corinthians 5:21 New Life Version (NLV)21 Christ never sinned but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.

Christ became sin for us that we may become perfect in front of God. We take on a new identity. Paul writes in Eph 2:10 “ For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good work which God prepared in advance for us to do!

The birds that once ate the caterpillar don’t even recognise the butterfly that shares the friendly skies with them. The caterpillar has a new identify. A new beginning. A fresh start.

If you have taken Jesus to be your personal saviour, you have a new identify. You can claim the promises of God’s word as your own.

Many of you may not feel like you look much like Christ, because the film of your old life is still laying across your life style. And daily habits.

But be encouraged. Right before or prior to when the butterfly will emerge, the chrysalis cocoon becomes transparent so that the butterfly can be seen within…. 

AND it does not matter that you see your wings only, but God sees the potential lying beneath the surface. If you do not feel that you are there yet, none of us are. It is a process, a transformational process becoming more Christ like.

But we can be assured from the Bible that God knows and sees the potential and you and I can know who we are from the promises God gives us in the Bible.

 

I have an new Identity. I am a new person. I have a new name written in God’ book of life.

The third thing we get in this marvellous metamorphism is

3.) A NEW ETERNITY ( new purpose )

Look at verses18-20 with me

2 Corinthians 5:18-20New Life Version (NLV)

18 All this comes from God. He is the One Who brought us to Himself when we hated Him. He did this through Christ. Then He gave us the work of bringing others to Him. 19 God was in Christ. He was working through Christ to bring the whole world back to Himself. God no longer held men’s sins against them. And He gave us the work of telling and showing men this.20 We are Christ’s missionaries. God is speaking to you through us. We are speaking for Christ and we ask you from our hearts to turn from your sins and come to God.

Paul is saying that GOD has a new purpose for our life and this new meaning hinges on every purpose of eternity.

Turn back with me to

2 Corinthians 5:2-6 New Life Version (NLV)

2 Right now we cry inside ourselves because we wish we could have ournew body which we will have in heaven. 3 We will not be without a body. We will live in a new body. 4 While we are in this body, we cry inside ourselves because things are hard for us. It is not that we want to die. Instead, we want to live in our new bodies. We want this dying body to be changed into a living body that lasts forever. 5 It is God Who has made us ready for this change. He has given us His Spirit to show us what He has for us.6 We are sure of this. We know that while we are at home in this body we are not with the Lord.

Paul has just been talking about how are bodies are groaning to go to heaven. How we were created to live in heaven.

This is our new purpose. Our new purpose is to set eternity in the hearts of other people. We all have the ministry of reconciling (explain) this rebellious world to a loving God that never left us in he first place. It was we who left. It was us that forsake our heavenly father. We went our own ways. We fulfilled the desires of our flesh…. We broke the heart of God…… But now, we have the ministry of telling others about eternity and the message that God won’t hold our sins against us.

God is calling us and all his children home…. He wants you home…….

Conclusion:

I don’t know if you have noticed that the three points make a acronym. D.I.E.

That is the irony of becoming a new creation. In order to live. I mean really live, you first must die. You must die to your old habits, die to your old ways. Die to your old life and only Jesus can do this.

He can breathe new life into you, He only can give you your new Destiny, your new Identify and your new Eternity.

So what STAGE are you IN today? Are you a slimy caterpillar, or are you longing God to help you break the cocoon of you old life? Letting God’s Spirit into your life so you can become a New Creation, a new you!

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