The Definition of a Christian

By Bobby Blakey on April 21, 2019

2 Corinthians 5:17


The Definition of a Christian

By Bobby Blakey on April 21, 2019

2 Corinthians 5:17

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:05] Everyone is looking for a hill to die. A place to plant your flag. Some search for it in the things of this world.

[00:00:19] Money. But there's always more.

[00:00:28] Some search for it in their family. And we should love our family. Look at that cute kid.

[00:00:42] Everybody is looking for that hill to die on that place to plant your flag. Until you realize one day you don't need a hill to die on. It's already been done.

[00:01:01] If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Your search for what this life is all about. Consider it done.

[00:01:19] Well, I hope you have a Bible and I invite you to open it with me to Second Corinthians, Chapter five. Hopefully you've got a copy of the Scriptures and you can open up to Second Corinthians, chapter five. It's page nine hundred and sixty six. If you got one of our Bibles here this morning and oh, we just went over Second Corinthians five on our Scripture of the day this last week, crews are out there reading this scripture of the day.

[00:01:46] Anybody reading a few people? So we decided we made this decision in September back when the school year was beginning.

[00:01:55] We made a decision here at the church that we were going to read through the New Testament together. And I've been a part of a lot of Bible reading programs at church. And if you started in September, by the time you're in April and it's Easter, when you say anybody out there still reading, you're like bringing it up to convict people that they stopped reading months ago. You know what I mean? Like, usually people are really still reading. But this has been so I've never seen a church come together around God's word and read the Bible together, like what's happening here at our church right now. And it's it's exciting for me to be a part of. Now, I said something that I didn't fully realize what I was saying at the time, but I said it to my brother, Pastor Bill, here at the church. And I said it on video to everybody here that we're gonna make a video for every single chapter of the New Testament. You ever make mistakes in life? Have you ever done that before? Have you ever said something? And you were, like, gung ho at the time. And then later you realize he really got ourselves in deep on this one. You know what I mean? Especially my brother Bill, who's editing all of these videos.

[00:03:04] I mean, there are now over one hundred and fifty videos because that's how many chapters of the Bible we've read together. And it's not. People are watching the videos. But that's not the thing that excites me. The thing that excites me is how many people come up and talk to me about what the scriptures say. I've had people come up to me and say, hey, by reading through the Bible, by really reading it, by really seeing what it says, I eyes that I needed to be saved by Jesus Christ. And I've seen people over these last eight months or so of reading through this. I've seen people get stayed because of the Bible is bringing a revival in their life. It's very exciting. What's happening is a rediscovery. We're realizing that we need to stop playing the telephone game. Remember how the telephone game works.

[00:03:53] You know, somebody somebody says something over here and it gets passed down and it gets passed down and then it's nonsense. By the time it gets over here. Right. Right. I'd like pepperoni pizza becomes pickles on your pizza later on over here.

[00:04:06] That's what's happened in Christianity, in America. A lot of pastors, a lot of people, they've said, well, this is what it means. This is what it means. This is what it means. This is what it means. And over time, the telephone game, we might be saying something different today than what the Bible actually says. And so we got to get back to the source material. We've got to get back to what God actually says in his scripture. It doesn't matter what I say here this morning. It doesn't matter what we at CompassHB Bible Church say. It doesn't matter what some other pastor says.

[00:04:41] Some other church says some Christian around you says the only thing that really endures forever is what God says right here in this book. And I get any men from anybody that can I hear and a man from the overflow room. Are you guys out there? Can we hear you?

[00:04:56] Well, hopefully they're there. You guys were there. You're interacting. All right. There's a lot of people over there. We need to include them.

[00:05:02] All right, because we want everybody to hear what God says. So we're going to read a pass in Second Corinthians, Chapter five versus 14 to 21. And this is what God says. And we're gonna find in here the definition of what it means to be a Christian. And I'm going to ask everybody in this room, the overflow rooms, if you will stand up as we read God's word together. This is the authoritative and inspired word of God that the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write this to the Corinthians Church so that we could learn about the power of Jesus Christ in our lives here this morning. Give this your full and undivided attention. Second Corinthians, chapter five. Verse 14.

[00:05:45] For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this, that one has died for all.

[00:05:53] Therefore all have died and he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him, who, for their sake, died and was raised.

[00:06:07] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

[00:06:17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

[00:06:22] The old has passed away.

[00:06:24] Behold, the new has come. All this is from God who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the Ministry of Reconciliation that is in Christ. God was reconciling the world to himself. Not counting their trespass is against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.

[00:06:57] We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God for our sake. He made him to be seen who knew no sin. So that in him we might become the righteousness of God. That ends the reading of God's word. Please go ahead and have a seat. And this is a mighty passage of scripture.

[00:07:21] And let's just try to get the whole context here. Let's get the flow of thought. And then we're gonna dove in and look at verse 17 specifically. But let's start in verse 10. Chapter five. Verse 10. He says, We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. And he starts with this idea of judgment that everybody is going to be held accountable. After we die comes judgment and we will be judged according to what we have done and what the Bible refers to, that understanding that God's going to hold you accountable for the way you lived your life. It calls it the fear of the Lord, and it says there in verse eleven, therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord. We persuade others, knowing that judgment is coming. We want to tell everybody how they can be made right with God through Jesus Christ. And in verse 14, he talks about what we already saw on Good Friday. If you were here with us on Good Friday, if you know, that's the day that we remember Jesus dying on the cross to pay the penalty of our since he was cast into outer darkness for three hours, suffered the wrath of God as he was the sacrifice for your sin to make you write with God. That's what it says. Jesus loved us. He died for all. Therefore, it's like we've all died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but we should live now for Jesus, who for our sake, died. And then here's our theme of the morning was raised.

[00:08:53] And that's the gospel of Jesus. And this is why it's such a big deal here at the church, because this is the week that the gospel is on the calendar, the death of Jesus on Friday, the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday. And that's what he says right there. If you really understand what Jesus has done. You now live your life for the one who died and was raised for you. And it changes your perspective. It completely changes the way you view life because you used to view things around you according to the flesh. That's what it says in verse 16. It says from now on. Therefore, there's a lot of there for us in this passage because it keeps making one point based on the other point. And if you know the gospel of Jesus and you have life in him, you don't think about Jesus the same way as you used to. You don't even think about other people the same way you used to.

[00:09:43] You don't regard people according to the flesh. We've got a big problem with that in America right now.

[00:09:49] If you live in America today, everybody gets a label. You get a label based on the color of your skin. You get a label based on your gender. You get a label based on your economical status. You get a label based on where you come from. We're really good at label and all kinds of people.

[00:10:06] And it says, Whittman, when you're in Christ, you don't see people like that anymore.

[00:10:09] You just see people as eternal souls in the image of God who need to be saved by Jesus. You start to see people as spiritual, not just physical for who they really are.

[00:10:24] And then after he's building all these thoughts, he says in verse 17, therefore another therefore case because of what Jesus has done, because you're now seeing things differently. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has gone.

[00:10:45] If anyone is in Christ. Anybody who has some kind of connection to Jesus. We like to say that Christianity is not a religion.

[00:10:53] It's a what? It's a relationship. That's what it's talking about here. This phrase in Christ.

[00:11:00] OK. If you are in Christ, here's what you are. You are a new creation.

[00:11:06] You have been made new in Jesus.

[00:11:10] That's what it's saying. It's going to say there was an old you. That old you is God. And can you look at you now? There's a new you that has come. You are a new creation in Jesus.

[00:11:20] Now, maybe you've got one of our handouts. Maybe you've got a pen. You want to take some notes here on an Easter Sunday morning. God bless you if you're doing that. And here's point number one that we got to really think through together. No one is born a Christian. That's what this is saying right here.

[00:11:37] No one is born a Christian. If the definition of being in Christ is that you are a new creation, that means that when it comes to being in Christ here in this world, no one is born that way. No one is born already in Jesus.

[00:11:59] And then maybe you hear people say things like, I've always been a Christian.

[00:12:04] That is actually not possible to always be a Christian, because when you're in Christ, you're a new creation. And the old has gone. So you couldn't have started out that way because it says that if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation.

[00:12:22] Now turn with me and let's just see what Jesus says about it. Go to John. Chapter three. One of the most famous conversations in the history of human beings happens at night between Jesus and this man named Nicodemus here and John three. It starts on page eight hundred and eighty seven. If you got one of our Bibles. And Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and he might meet some some funny guys in costumes out in the parking lot later trying to represent the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees.

[00:12:54] They were the teachers of God's Old Testament, especially the law. The first five books of the Old Testament. They were supposed to teach that to God's people. And what they ended up doing is they added all their own traditions and all these things that they shot that they thought they were supposed to do.

[00:13:12] And they started doing all these rules and regulations and they made it very burdensome for the people of God. And they were very proud and self-righteous and Jesus.

[00:13:23] He had a lot of rebuke for these Pharisees. But one of these Pharisees, he wants to come and talk to Jesus. He sees that Jesus is from God. And so they have this fascinating conversation.

[00:13:34] John, chapter three, here's verse one. There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher, come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him. So here's one of the guys. The Pharisees become the enemies of Jesus. They're the leaders of getting Jesus killed. But one of them comes to Jesus at night and he has to admit you are from God. I can tell, like no one could do the miracles that you're doing unless you've got God on your side. And so he comes and he acknowledges that to Jesus and Jesus does what he often does in conversation. He just cut straight to the heart, skips the small talk, skips the surface level interaction, and he just gets right to people's soul because Jesus, he sees everybody not as a body. He sees them as a soul.

[00:14:32] And he gets right to Nicodemus, his heart. Jesus answered him truly, truly. I say to you. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

[00:14:44] Nicodemus, you got it all wrong, it's not about how much of the Bible you know. It's not about how much of the Bible you do. It is about being a new creation or as he says it here. It's about being born again. You could translate it born from above.

[00:15:01] God has to do a work in you to give you his life.

[00:15:09] Right away, he cut straight to Nicodemus and look what Nicodemus says in verse four. He he's overwhelmed with it. He's asking questions. How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?

[00:15:25] No, I don't think Nicodemus is is actually implying that a grown man would go back into his mother's womb. There's an awkward picture for you to think about on an Easter Sunday right there.

[00:15:38] OK. I think what he's saying is, hey, I'm way down the path. Hey, I'm white. I'm one of the Pharisees. Seems like Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees of the Pharisees.

[00:15:46] Like he's one of the main teachers of God's people, like he's been living his whole life on knowing things and doing things. And now you're saying it's got to be this spiritual transformation. It's got to be this rebirth experience. Hey, I'm already old. I'm already so far down the path. I it's too late for me.

[00:16:06] My life couldn't change like that. I think that's really what he's saying. And see the Jews of the day, they're very similar to the Christians of our day. The Jews of the Day, the people that Nicodemus is representing. They thought that because God had chosen to deliver Israelites out of Egypt and to make them his people, to lead them into the promised land. They thought they were already right with God just because they were born a Jew. They thought they were already right with God, just because they went through the customs, the traditions, the writings of the Jewish people. Therefore, they were right with God based on how they were born, how they grew up and the things that they've done. I've met a lot of Christians, I think that same way. A lot of people claim that they're Christians because they were born. Even some I've heard think that they're Christians because they were born in America. I've heard people think that they were Christians because they were born into a Christian family and they just always heard about it. Always knew it. Always tried to do it. Therefore, they must be a Christian. And I and Nicodemus is saying, wait a minute, you want me to rethink the entire way I've been living my life?

[00:17:21] I've got to go back. Now, I'm old. I've been well down this path. And now I've got to go back and rethink if I've actually been born again, if I'm actually a new creation. Jesus. He makes it even more clear. Verse five. Jesus answered. Truly, truly, I say to you. Unless one is born now, he gets more specific of water and the spirit.

[00:17:42] He cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Now notice, what Jesus is giving us is an absolute statement.

[00:17:49] If you're not born again or now, more specifically, if you're not born of water and the spirit, you're not in the kingdom, you're not going to heaven. You're not spiritually alive. Like this, he says, truly, truly. I say to you when he's about to say something that's gonna be hard for us to believe, but he wants us to know this is the truth. Whether you accept it or not. And he's saying, hey, unless this born again is born of water in the spirit, this new creation. And the Bible describes it a lot of different ways. Unless this work of regeneration where you are transformed from the inside out.

[00:18:25] Your soul is made alive by God, unless that happens. There's no way you're saved. There's no way you're going to heaven when you die. You're not even really alive right now in Christ unless it's happened to you.

[00:18:38] And this is so hard for Nicodemus to accept, looked down at verse nine, Nicodemus said to him, How can these things be?

[00:18:47] I how? I mean, this is a hard thing because we're saying that salvation is a work that only God can do. There is nothing that you and I can do to save ourselves. There is nothing that we can do here at this church to save you. It's spiritual and God has to do it. And it's just blowing the mind of this man who's lived his whole life based on what he knows and what he does.

[00:19:11] And now he's got to admit that nothing's really ever happened because God hasn't done it in his heart. And he's saying he's just overwhelmed. How can these things be? Try that at your house later on this week. That's a great question. How can it be? How does this happen? And then Jesus says, and this is a rebuke. This is a correction. Are you the teacher of Israel? And yet you do not understand these things. Hey, Nicodemus, you should know this, Nicodemus, you're one of the leaders of God's people. You're one of the teachers of the Old Testament. And you don't know about being born again, about being born of water and the spirit. See, Jesus is implying that this is something Nicodemus should already know about, which means it must be revealed in the Old Testament and he should already be thinking this and teaching this. Turn with me now to the Old Testament as Zeke Hill, Chapter 36, everybody, if you've got a Bible, go to Zeke Hill, one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament.

[00:20:14] Page seven hundred and twenty four. If you got one of our books and we're just going to look at versus twenty five to twenty seven, this is a prophecy of the new covenant.

[00:20:25] This is God revealing to his people through his prophet how he is going to save people in the time of Jesus Christ, the time of the church, how he's going to save people right in the year of our Lord.

[00:20:38] Twenty. Nineteen. And look what it says, Nicodemus should have known this. Let's make sure we know it here today is he killed 36 verse twenty five.

[00:20:48] I will. This is God speaking here in the first person. I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. I will cleanse you and I will give you a new heart and a new spirit. I will put within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

[00:21:15] And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

[00:21:29] Anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. What does Jesus say? You have to be born again. You have to be born of water. And the spirit. Trace it back. Here's one of the places.

[00:21:39] Ezekiel, 36. Twenty five. I will sprinkle what clean water on you. There's the washing. There's the cleansing. Hey, your heart is full of sin. Your heart has fallen short of the glory of God. Here's God saying I'm going to come in and I'm going to give you that deep cleansing that your soul really needs. Then he actually says in verse twenty six, I'm going to give you a new heart. That's how messed up our hearts are, is we need a brand new heart. Like our hearts are hard. They're stone. They're dead. He's gonna give us a heart that's actually alive. And then God says something amazing here. Verse twenty seven, as if those first two weren't enough. He says, I will put my spirit within you. The Holy Spirit of the living God will come and live inside of your soul.

[00:22:29] And when the spirit comes in like he's going to change your life, he's going to transform you. He's going to cause you to do what God says. He's gonna make you. Careful to obey God's commands. So if you're taking no, it's one thing you might want to write down under point number one is regeneration is required. You want to be a Christian, you got to be a new creation.

[00:22:52] You want to be in Christ. You want to know the resurrection of Jesus and your own soul while God's got to do that work in you. He's got to cleanse you from a life of sin. He's got to give you a new heart. He's got to put his spirit within you. This is something that has to happen for your soul to be saved.

[00:23:11] Now, the reference you could write down is Titus, chapter three, verse five, where it again brings up these two things the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

[00:23:22] What does it mean to be a new creation? It means you've been washed, you've been made new, and you have God's spirit now alive in you.

[00:23:33] And this has not been made clear to everybody who's been going to church, to everybody who's been introduced to Christianity, that the only way that we can be saved is a super natural work of God in our souls.

[00:23:48] You know, over the years here in America, a lot of people, when they've come to a point where they wanted to respond, they wanted to be saved.

[00:23:55] They wanted God to do his mighty work in them. And they said, hey, what do I do?

[00:24:01] And they've been told and many of us have been told, ask Jesus into your heart. You ever heard that one before? Maybe we should have that whole time been telling people, ask Jesus for a new heart. That's really what you need. Your heart is fundamentally broken.

[00:24:18] Erit says it's a heart of stone.

[00:24:20] It needs this deep cleansing. It needs to be replaced, regenerated, made new.

[00:24:26] And then you need the Holy Spirit of God coming to live in you. And he's the one who will really cause you to live this life of Jesus Christ.

[00:24:37] It's a work of regeneration and it's something that only God can do while we're in this service right now.

[00:24:45] We just have a brand new Compass Bible Church in the Boise, Idaho area, and they are having their first Easter service while we're here right now, everybody. It's very exciting. I got to go out to Idaho this week, and we had a team that went out there for the whole week.

[00:25:02] They've been there. This is the eighth day they've been in Idaho there.

[00:25:06] And they've knocked now on hundreds of doors and invited people all in the neighborhoods around the church to come to this service. And so the whole week was designed. They were gonna have this big Easter egg event yesterday, on Saturday.

[00:25:21] And then today they're having this Easter service. And all week we're inviting people to come to these things.

[00:25:26] And more people showed up at the Easter Egg event yesterday than they could have imagined. I mean, it was overwhelming. How many people showed up? I don't know what's happening right now, but they're in the middle of their of their service. And when I was out there in Idaho, we had this time on Tuesday night where we gathered together our team and their church, and we all got together in one room and we were there for one purpose, to pray and ask God to save people, because before we even go tell them about Jesus and believing in his death and resurrection, we got to talk to God, because if God doesn't make them alive, if God doesn't make them a new creation, then we can talk to them all we want.

[00:26:08] It has to be a work of God. Can I get a man from anybody on that?

[00:26:11] God's the one who saves. This is why it's beyond us. This is like we're like, how can these things be? I can't figure it out. That's because it's spiritual. It's a god. And we prayed and I was with some people I didn't even know, people I'd never even met. And they were praying.

[00:26:30] I mean, they were praying for revival in Idaho, like we're praying for revival here in Huntington Beach, in Orange County and L.A. County. And they were just asking God to do things.

[00:26:41] And literally, when we woke up the next morning, first thing that happens the next morning, my brother is already telling me that somebody there in Idaho said, I want to be a Christian.

[00:26:51] That very next morning after we prayed later in the afternoon, my brothers called me well, and he's saying, hey, we just had another person who wants to be we haven't even got to the Easter eggs yet, you know what I mean?

[00:27:03] They're not even supposed to be showing up yet.

[00:27:07] We're praying way ahead of time on Tuesday and all of a sudden we got people saying, I want a new life in Jesus on Wednesday. Why? Because God's the one who does the work in our hearts.

[00:27:19] Have you admitted to God that you need a new heart?

[00:27:23] Have you managed to God that you are not enough, no matter how much you know or how hard you try, you'll never be able to do it until it's his spirit doing it in you?

[00:27:33] We need new hearts. To be a new creation. That's what we should be asking for.

[00:27:40] I go back to Second Corinthians, Chapter five, because we really want to think through or we're seeing that you've got to be made a new creation.

[00:27:48] And so whether you grew up going to church or whether you grew up out there in the world not knowing much about Jesus at all, when no matter how you have come to Jesus Christ, we all come this way of being regenerated, of being made new. And how do we get there? How do we get to this place of regeneration?

[00:28:08] Well, let's just think through. We're trying to break down every phrase of this verse. Therefore, if anyone, therefore, this applies to all of us who are Christians here, if anyone is in Christ, that's the person who's a new creation.

[00:28:24] So the new creation and being in Christ, these are kind of parallel concepts here in this verse. OK. So this phrase in Christ is one of the most important phrases in the New Testament. It is used so many times. If you tried to go to a Bible study you downloaded like that, that ESV Bible app or you went on that ESV English standard version, the translation we're using this morning, you go on their Web site and you start doing a search for in Christ. I mean, you're going to have all kinds of verses to read through.

[00:28:58] That's the position of the Christian person. That's what Jesus says. He says that we're like branches that have been connected to a vine. And he now abides in us. And we now abide in him to be a Christian. It's not just talking about a kind of person that you are. It's talking about a kind of connection that you have to Jesus that you are now in Christ and he's now in you. And that's the source of this new life that you have. This new creation work of God is because you now are in Christ. So if you really want to celebrate Easter and get excited about the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, will you have been placed into that? And so you should do a study of what it means to be in Christ. Let me give you an example of one of the passages you might see in Romans Chapter six, just a few pages over to the left here. Just a way for us to think about here today, OK? What does it mean to be in Christ? What does it mean to have a union with Christ is sometimes the way that we describe it.

[00:30:03] Romans Chapter six versus three and four is perfect for us to look at here on Easter here on the days where it where the death and resurrection of Jesus are on the calendar, literally on your Google calendar, it's going to tell you good.

[00:30:19] It was Friday and this is Easter here on Sunday. Well, it's not just something on your calendar. This is these verses are saying this is something that actually happens to you. Look at it, Romans six, verse three. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Do you not know, hey, this is how it works when you get baptized into Christ Jesus, you're baptized specifically into his death.

[00:30:54] Now, that word baptized there. It's a Greek word and it means two to play SINTA to immerse. And when you and I hear the word baptism, we think about what we do here at church sometimes where somebody gets dunked into water. Maybe you've seen a a Christian baptism before. And it's a beautiful symbol of their regeneration, of their new life. They get dumped into water, which symbolizes the cleansing from sin of their old life. And then they get brought back up, which symbolizes the rising to their new life, with their new heart, with the spirit of God in them.

[00:31:29] So it's a symbol. What we do in water is a symbol of the reality that's already happened when we've been placed into Jesus. That's what it means to be in Christ, literally in the in the spiritual realm. Your soul is put into Jesus. And when you're put into Jesus, you just like he died. You are placed into his death. Do you know that? That's what it's saying.

[00:31:54] Verse four. Look what it says in verse four.

[00:31:57] We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, we to my walk in newness of life.

[00:32:13] This is an amazing thing that I'm here to say to you this morning. I'm here to tell you. Not only should you and I celebrate the fact that two thousand years ago, Jesus rose from the dead, but we are here to celebrate that just as Jesus rose from the dead. You now have a new life. Can I get any men from anybody on that case?

[00:32:32] So we've got to move beyond thinking that the gospel is just information to believe in. The Gospel is also an experience of transformation that happens to us. Let's get that down for point number two. You become a Christian when the gospel happens to you. OK. There's some there's a something that happens where God places you into Jesus. He places you into the death of Jesus.

[00:33:01] So you're now just like Jesus died on the cross for your sin. You're now crucified with Christ and dead to your sin.

[00:33:08] And just as key phrase right there, just as Jesus rose from the dead, you now can live and walk in newness of life.

[00:33:19] That's an amazing thing.

[00:33:22] So I sure hope that you're here with us.

[00:33:26] I'm glad you're here with us and I hope you believe that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead 2000 years ago. And if you don't believe that Jesus actually died on the cross was buried. And then on the third day on Sunday morning, he rose from the dead. I would just ask you, why don't you believe that?

[00:33:42] Why does it make sense to you not to believe it?

[00:33:46] Because when Paul wrote about it in First Corinthians 15, Paul claimed that he saw Jesus after he rose from the dead.

[00:33:54] And he also said there were five hundred witnesses who all saw Jesus after he rose from the dead. And he says, hey, if you don't believe me, go talk to him. A few of them have died, but most of them are still alive. Go ask any of them. They'll tell you that they were there. They saw Jesus after he died on the cross. They saw him alive. 500 witnesses. Why would you reject the testimony that's been written down, preserved, passed down to us of five hundred witnesses?

[00:34:23] So that's one level we've got to believe the information, the death and resurrection of Jesus, the God man, the Christ, the son of God. But see then. The Bible also says the gospel isn't just something you believe the Bible says. The gospel is the power of God to save you.

[00:34:41] The gospel is something that then happens to you.

[00:34:46] You can't just believe that it happened with Jesus, has the gospel happened in your life? Have you been placed into Christ where you've died with Jesus? No longer the same person. And you've been risen with Christ. Now you have the same power of his resurrection.

[00:35:06] Now the same power is something that we Christians like to sing about. And we like to get our. Get our little gospel. Bob. Go on.

[00:35:13] On Easter Sunday with the choir where they were, they getting everybody to move a little bit. When you move in a little bit. I was moved and I've been singing a little bit of that song.

[00:35:22] Right. And they say that same power raise up here saying it, same power. They kind of start getting this move going a little bit, you know? I mean. Right. Many Christians love to sing about the same power of the resurrection. I've got a question for you. Do you live like you've got the same power of the resurrection?

[00:35:38] I mean, it's that's what it's saying we are. We are in Christ.

[00:35:44] We have the power of his resurrection, the new life of Jesus, that once and for all paid for sin, that once and for all defeated death that triumphed over Satan and all of the demons, the victory that has already been won in Jesus. You've got that same power in your soul right now.

[00:36:04] That's what it means to be a Christian.

[00:36:07] That you've died and you've risen in Christ. This is good news that we're here to share.

[00:36:15] Not just something that happened that we can believe, but something that is happening to people here among us.

[00:36:22] Something that we experience in our lives.

[00:36:26] And one of the things that people can get really hung up on in this moment of the sermon, we start talking about God doing his work of regeneration and you getting placed into Christ and you're dead to the old you. And you've now risen to a new life. A lot of people, they start talking at this point about, well, what is the moment that that happened in my life?

[00:36:47] There's a lot of emphasis on that.

[00:36:49] And that can be a big a big source of confusion and heartache for a lot of people. And what people do is they think, OK, well, if there's this moment, I was born again just like I've got a birthday. And maybe I know that the time and the place and there's a certificate saying I was born because I don't really remember it, but they tell me that's how it went down. Right. OK, well then when was I born again? And sometimes people can get so focused on the moment that they can miss the emphasis in the scripture is not on. When was the moment? Where was the exact time? No. Them. Emphasis here is on the reality that you're experiencing it in your life.

[00:37:28] So if you hear somebody share a testimony and they're like, I was at this place at this time and there were this many drops of sweat on my forehand and the heavens parted and the light shown down, and I would say, well, hey, if they've got a moment like that. Praise the Lord. If you don't have a moment like that. Hey, praise the Lord. Because it's about the reality that the gospel has happened to you.

[00:37:52] And you can see that in your life. There's really a deadness to sin. Sin doesn't have that power over you. You're not a slave to it. And there really is the same power of Jesus, the Holy Spirit of God working in you and causing you to actually live.

[00:38:08] New. That's what we're looking for, is the momentum of a new life. Not a moment of a new life.

[00:38:17] Make sure you really understand that, because some people, what they do is they get so zeroed in on a moment and they start saying, well, there was a day that I prayed this and there was a day I walked this aisle and there was a day I responded and then there life. Does it look very new? And their sin doesn't look very dead. But they're saying, I had a moment.

[00:38:38] And I think searching for a moment is not something the scripture directs us to do, searching for the momentum of a new life and Jesus that the gospel has happened to us and that we are experiencing this walk in newness of life. That's where the scripture directs us. In fact, if you want to study more about that, write down Colossians three one to four, it starts out. If then you've been raised with Jesus.

[00:39:05] If you've got this new life in Jesus, here's then how you're going to live because you've died and your life is now hidden in Christ. Your life is now in Jesus. You're now belonging in the spiritual realm, not just the physical realm.

[00:39:21] And so it starts to describe what that is like. And we live the rest of our life as believers put it off. That old self and putting on that new self. But go back to Second Corinthians, Chapter five, and look at it with me here one more time, because we've got these two parallel concepts. You're a new creation. That means you're in Christ, you've died and rose again. We've got those two ideas and then it says it. Now, a third way here at the end of the verse says The old has passed away.

[00:39:52] Behold, the new has come.

[00:39:59] So this is this is something that has been done in the Christian's life when someone is saved.

[00:40:07] The old dam has gone. And the new has come. And notice how it says B, hold by. Look at it like let it get your attention.

[00:40:18] There should be such a transformation when your soul goes from dead to alive.

[00:40:23] This the Bible always puts it like this. You're either one or the other. You're either dead or you're alive. You're either in the darkness or you're in the light. Right. That's the Bible says you're either one or the other.

[00:40:38] And since that. When that happens. Behold, you're gonna be able to see.

[00:40:44] Hey, this is this is what we really got to understand as Christian people living in America today, that if someone has had a work of God, a spiritual work of rebirth, making them a new creation, and if the gospel has happened to them where they've died, to their sin with Jesus and they've risen to a new life with the same power of Jesus. The idea that all of that would happen on the inside and you wouldn't be able to see it on the outside is completely ridiculous in the Bible. Now, maybe you think that's your experience. Maybe you think that's the experience of someone you love. But the Bible saying you'll know what kind of tree it is by the kind of fruit that comes off that tree. That's what the Bible says. Very clear. Jesus says, hey, you've got to stay connected to me. You've got to abide. You've got to remain right there in me. Because apart from me, you can do nothing. But in me, you will bear much fruit to the glory of God, my father. That's what Jesus says. People who have this work of God in their soul, you will be able to see it in their life. The new look at it behold the new has come. I mean, you just think about it like this. You're telling me that you've got the Holy Spirit of the living God inside of you. And you're still live in the same old way.

[00:42:14] That doesn't make sense. When we are made new in Christ. In the spirit of God is put within us. He causes us to live God's way. He makes us careful to obey God's rules.

[00:42:31] If you've got the spirit, there will be the fruit of the spirit, the holiness of the spirit, the teaching of the spirit. It's going to happen. A spiritual life on the inside will change your life on the outside. Let's get this down for number three. A Christian experiences the power of the spirit. That's something that every Christian can experience.

[00:42:55] And let me just make it very clear. I'm not saying that Christians will be perfect people. We have many Christians here among us. This morning, people who really have been made a new creation. People who've died and risen in Christ. Let me ask my Christian brothers and sisters, do we still sin?

[00:43:12] Yes, we do. OK, but here's the thing. There is now in the spirit in this new life, there's now a sense of power. There's now a sense of ability that I didn't have before.

[00:43:24] There's something more than me going on when I do sin.

[00:43:29] I can confess that sin. I can turn from that sin. I can say no to that sin. When I'm tempted, I can put it off now in a way I couldn't before. It used to have power over me. I used to be a slave to it. Now I say, no, I'm not doing that. And I turn from it and I go a new way. And even as I'm doing it, I'm thinking to myself, how am I doing this? It's not me. It's the spirit of God living in me.

[00:43:55] You will experience that. As one of the new in Christ.

[00:44:00] Go over to Galatians, Chapter five. I really need everybody to look at Galatians Chapter five. That's gonna be our our next book on Scripture of the Day here. When we finish with Second Corinthians, we're gonna get to Galatians Chapter five. And I need everybody to look at verse 16 on page nine hundred and seventy five with me. And what we're gonna see here in Galatians five is a contrast between somebody who's living in the spirit and somebody who's living in the flesh.

[00:44:33] And we saw a little bit of that in verse 16 of Second Corinthians five. It says, once you're in Christ, once you've died and raised with Christ, you no longer regard people according to the flesh. So just like we have a contrast between old and new. Another way you can say that is the difference between the flesh, the natural, the sinful nature and the spirit, the supernatural.

[00:44:58] This work of God playing out in our life. So let's really think this through what it's saying. Galatians five 16. But I say walk, conduct yourself the pattern of your life. That's the idea behind Walk. The way that you live, the manner in which you live. Walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. It's one or the other. You're living in the power of the spirit or you're still living in the flesh for the desires of the flesh or against the spirit. And the desires of the spirit are against the flesh.

[00:45:31] These are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

[00:45:38] But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now, that's so important. We got to stop and we got to talk about that right there. Here's one of the contrasts it's given us between the old and that has gone and the new that has come. OK. The person who's living in the spirit, who's led by the spirit, they've got the power of God working in them. They are not under the law, it says.

[00:46:03] See what? Living under the law. That's what the Jews were doing back in Jesus day. That's what a lot of people who call themselves Christians are doing today. Here's what it looks like to live under the law. It means I know some of the Bible. I know what I'm supposed to do, and I'm always trying to do it. I learned something that's the right thing to do, and I really try. We're talking about sincere effort. Hard work is I see this happen to a lot of people like Dave. They come to church, they hear something that's true. It convicts them. It works on them. And they think, yeah, I got to go do that. And they go and they try so hard. I got to stop this sin. I can't do this anymore. I've got to put this away. And they tried so hard to stop doing.

[00:46:46] And they even like they count the days in between the scene. They think, hey, I'm doing good. I haven't done it for seven days. I'm doing a lot better. Hey, I've got to. And they're always trying so hard. But it feels like they're under the law. Like they can never get up to it. They can never actually get to the place where they're doing what God expects of them. Well, God tells them to do. It feels like always trying, but never getting there. That's what it means to live under the law.

[00:47:11] And I don't want you to live that way. That's a burden.

[00:47:15] No, wait, wait. When you when you're led by the spirit. Here's what's amazing.

[00:47:19] When you when you have God's spirit working in you, you are able to to do what God says. And even as you're doing what God says, you're aware that it's not you doing it. It's the power of God working through you. Can I get a message for anybody? I mean, so here's somebody. I mean, they've got all their willpower. They're trying as hard as they can to do it and they can never get there. And then here's somebody who's actually able to do it. And while they're doing it, they're like, this is amazing. I was never able to do this before.

[00:47:52] Like, how am I even doing this right now? One of the examples it gives in Second Corinthians five.

[00:47:59] Is it says that when God was bringing us to himself, when he was reconciling us and doing his work of salvation in us. And he did it through Christ when God was doing that work. He then gave us the Ministry of Reconciliation.

[00:48:14] The reason that we're still celebrating Easter down here rather than there is because we're supposed to tell more people about how they can be made right with God through his work to be a new creation in Christ.

[00:48:29] And he says, when you go and you speak to people and you tell them about God and how they can be made right with God when you go, it's God making his appeal through you.

[00:48:43] And it's one of the most exciting experiences you're ever going to have in this life is when you're talking to somebody and you're way past the comfort zone of normal conversation. Right.

[00:48:54] I mean, you're talking about heaven and hell, death and eternity. You're talking about the real things of life, the things of the soul. And you're talking to somebody and you realize when you're talking to them that there's no way I would have really gone for this. There's no way I would be speaking this boldly and this clearly. This isn't even me. This is the spirit of God speaking through me to make his appeal to that person, to draw them to Jesus.

[00:49:22] And you're just like, praise the Lord. This is so far beyond what I would be doing right now. I'll tell you right now, if I didn't have the Holy Spirit of God speaking through me, there's no way I'd wake up on Easter wanting to be the guy speaking to everybody at church.

[00:49:36] I mean, it's it's the Holy Spirit doing his work with the Holy Spirit is really working in you.

[00:49:42] You're not thinking, hey, everybody, look what I'm doing.

[00:49:44] You're like, wow, how am I doing this? This is awesome.

[00:49:48] This is God in me not trying so hard, but actually able to do it.

[00:49:54] Being led by the spirit. Now, it's gonna give us here a criteria to help us see whether we are in the flesh or whether we are in the spirit. Look at verse 19 says the works of the flesh are evident.

[00:50:07] If somebody is still living in the flesh, you'll be able to see it if they're still in their old life of sin. It'll reveal itself. It's evident.

[00:50:17] And then it gives us a list of what this old sinful self, the flesh, what it looks like. The works of the flesh are evident. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalry's dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.

[00:50:44] I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

[00:50:53] OK, let's just break that down. Will not inherit the kingdom of God.

[00:50:57] That's talking about who goes to heaven when they die. If you do these things, if you do the works of the flesh, are you in the kingdom of God according to this verse? Answer. No, you're not.

[00:51:10] No, you're not. That's what it's saying.

[00:51:14] I'm warning you, and I've warned you before that if this is the way that you live, is this if this is your walk, your manner of life, if you're still a slave, if these things still have power over you. Hey, don't think you're in the spiritual realm. Don't think you're in the kingdom of God on your way to heaven if the flesh is still how you're live.

[00:51:35] And then he says these glorious words, verse twenty two bites the fruit of the Spirit. Is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Again, such things. There is no law. Does that sound like what we need in America today?

[00:51:55] Anybody?

[00:51:57] Anybody want to see a little a little love, a little joy, a little peace, a little patience? Can we use a little patience on the four or five freeway around here?

[00:52:06] Can we use a little patience?

[00:52:08] Probably. We could also use some fundamental driving skills as well. But but there would be patience. What would be helpful for a lot of us around here?

[00:52:17] I mean, I don't know how many people in America say that they're Christians today. I don't know. Even the polls that tell us how many people in America say they're Christians, I have no idea how where they get those numbers or how accurate they are. But I know that if everybody who said they were a Christian in America today was characterized by love, joy, peace, patient's kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we'd be living in a different country. If everybody who claims to be a Christian is really the definition of a Christian.

[00:52:49] We'd be living in a different America. We'd be living in a different church.

[00:52:55] So he says the fruit of the spirit is these things. If you have the spirit, he will produce this fruit on your tree. It doesn't tell you to do anything there. It says you should just walk in it. You should just keep in step with it. You should just let the spirit do his work in your life.

[00:53:13] And then he's going to produce a love for other people like you never had before, a love for Jesus Christ that you couldn't have in the flesh.

[00:53:20] You're going to have a joy. You're not going to be riding the roller coaster of circumstances. And you're happy when things are up and you're always sad when things are down. You're going to have an eternal joy that, you know, you're right with God, no matter what's going on here on Earth, you're going to have a peace that surpasses understanding.

[00:53:36] When everybody around you thinks you should be freaking out and hitting the panic button, you're going to have peace because you know God. So let's talk about the spirit will produce those things in your life.

[00:53:48] See, I grew up going to church and I heard about the deeds of the flesh, of the fruit of the spirit. And I don't know if it's the way it was taught to me or it's just the way that I heard it.

[00:53:58] But what I heard was, hey, do a little less of the bad stuff and try to put a little bit more of the good stuff in there. Could you just be a little less in the flesh and a little more in the spirit? Can we just all take note that that's not what this passage is saying?

[00:54:14] It's not saying do less of the bad and do more of the good. It's saying you either are the bad or you are the good.

[00:54:20] That's what it's saying. What kind of tree are you? What kind of fruits on your tree? That's what it's saying. It's an indicative, it's not imperative, imperative means go do this. That's not how this passage reads. It's indicative. You are this.

[00:54:38] And the Bible gets to tell us who we are and what it means to be a Christian, because this is the very word of God.

[00:54:46] When we talk about these things, when we open up the Bible and we rediscover what it actually says in the scripture, many times it is different than what people have heard from other pastors, from other churches, from Christians that they know and love. Many times what the scripture says is not exactly the same as the telephone game that's been going on. And so a lot of times when we're looking at the scripture, the the statements that come back, the arguments that are made against what we're preaching here this morning, they come from. But that's not how it happened for me.

[00:55:24] That's not how it happened for this person that I love.

[00:55:28] Well, that's not the way it's been for so and so and what I see a lot of people doing is they're arguing what it means to be a Christian based on their own personal experience or somebody else's experience and every single one of us. We're gonna have to make up our minds and decide for ourselves the definition of a Christian. Is it your experience or is what the scripture says? Which one are you going to listen to?

[00:55:55] Everybody's got to make their own decision on this one. Does God get to define your Christian life or does your own personal experience or somebody else's experience define your Christian life?

[00:56:08] And I understand if you've been live in a certain way for a long way and it's hard to rethink it, I understand it was tough for Nicodemus. I understand if you've got people that you really know and love, people that you really care about.

[00:56:23] And you're not sure then where they're at, if this is really true, if this is really what it says? It makes you wonder about somebody else. I understand that.

[00:56:31] But you've got to decide, is it experience or is it scripture? We've got to get back to the source material. We've got to get back to what God really says.

[00:56:42] And I just want to point out the tents. It says The old has gone past tense.

[00:56:49] The new has come like it's already done.

[00:56:55] Can I just talk for a minute to everybody in here who's been made a new creation to everybody in here where the gospel has happened to you and you have seen God deliver you out of the deeds of the flesh and you have seen the fruit of the spirit in your own life. You have the same power of Jesus Christ rising from the dead in your soul right now.

[00:57:16] Can I get a man from anybody on that? Hey, it's already been done. Everybody OK?

[00:57:21] We're here today to celebrate two resurrections, one that happened two thousand years ago and one that happened in your soul to the glory of Jesus Christ. Let me just tell you, it's not just Easter Sunday that you've got the same power of Jesus that now defines your life.

[00:57:40] That is who you are. That is the definition of a Christian. Let me pray for us. Father in heaven.

[00:57:47] God. We just want to confess to you right now in this moment together. That some of us have based what we think it means to be a Christian. Based on what happened in our life. Based on what happened in somebody else's life that they told us. And God, I just pray that we would base what it means to be a Christian based on what you revealed to us in your word. So, God, please renew our minds, transform our thinking. And let this idea that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.

[00:58:26] The old has gone. Behold, the new has come. Let that message spread far and wide.

[00:58:34] Let it be talked about not just here on Easter Sunday, but many days from now in many different places. That a Christian is someone who is in Jesus, who has died to their old life of sin and has risen again to walk in newness of life.

[00:58:54] And God, I pray for everybody here. That's experience. That work of regeneration that is connected now to Jesus that are seen through the momentum of a new life. God, let them praise the one who paid their debt and raise their life up from the debt.

[00:59:14] God, I pray for those that you've drawn to come here today, maybe somebody invite them and here they are among us, Sky. I know you're speaking to them through your word, and I pray that you'll open their ears to hear open their eyes to see that they, too, could be in Christ, a new creation. So God, do your mighty work here among us and let us give you the glory for the work that you alone have done. We pray this in the name of Jesus a man.