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Introduction: When I was in Elementary school, we moved around a lot so I went to a few different schools before I hit 3rd grade.
And it was always exciting to go to a new school because it was an opportunity for a new start.
I had a way of getting my foot stuck in my mouth early on (still do actually).
And with each new beginning, I would learn from the past but find new and exciting ways to make a fool out of myself within minutes.
I learned pretty early on that a new beginning doesn’t really matter if you are still the same person.
We can pretend to be anyone we want, but eventually the real you will come out.
And I guess the question becomes, what kind of person are you?
What are the things that you value?
How do you want other people to see you?
How do you want God to see you?
So many questions in our young lives?
But they never go away do they?
As we get older they are still there.
Who am I? And who am I becoming?
Transition to the text: Turn with me in your Bible to
2 Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to a church in Corinth Greece.
The Corinthian church was one of the most messed up churches in all of church history.
They are very much the kind of church that many of would warn a loved one to steer clear from.
But Paul loved this church.
The people had become very dear to him.
I love what John Calvin writes:
Among the Corinthians no slight number had gone astray; in fact, almost the whole body was infected.
There was not one kind of sin only, but very many; and they were no light errors but frightful misdeeds; there was corruption not only of morals but of doctrine.
What does the holy apostle—the instrument of the Heavenly Spirit, by whose testimony the church stands or falls—do about this?
Does he seek to separate himself from such?
Does he cast them out of Christ’s Kingdom?
Does he fell them with the ultimate thunderbolt of anathema?
He not only does nothing of the sort; he even recognizes and proclaims them to be the church of Christ and the communion of saints [1 Cor.
Paul wanted this church to get it right.
But how will he convince them that they are better than this?
He points back to a new beginning.
Let’s Read:
Transition to the Big Idea: So often I’m asked, what actually happens when I become a Christian?
What changes in my life?
The short answer is everything changes.
But specifically, it comes down to relationships.
Big Idea: A changed relationship with God leads to a changed relationship with the World
Transition to the points: Following Jesus is about looking at everything differently.
If we really want to change the world, we must first change our perspective.
Main Point #1: Change the Way you Look at your neighbors ()
Explanation: “From now on we regard no one according to the flesh.
Some translations so “according to worldly point of view.”
There are many ways that we look at people in a fleshly manner.
We look at the way they dress.
We look at their car.
We might look at their bank account.
Their influence.
Their friends or their power.
But in the long run, none of these things really matter.
What matters is not what you can see.
He gives the example of Jesus.
But this was probably very personal for Paul since before he became a Christian he looked at Jesus from a worldly point of view.
He saw him as a crucified criminal.
Not someone worth following let alone dying for.
But all of that quickly changed on the road to damascus.
The Corinthians lived in the center of a sinful culture.
The city of Corinth was so sinful that it made the rest of the Roman empire blush.
And the sinful culture was leaking its way into the church.
What the church needed was people of character who would stand firm for Jesus in the face of great cultural pressure to compromise.
The Church is not called to model culture, but to push back against the culture.
So we change he way we look at our neighbors.
It’s no longer rich or poor.
It’s no longer jew or gentile.
It’s not even male or female; 49er or Raiders.
It’s do you know Jesus or do you not?
Illustration: Amanda and I used to watch this show called undercover boss.
Basically owners or CEOs of companies would pretend to be entry level workers to see how their companies work.
It was usually an eye opening experience for the boss as they got to see just how hard the jobs were that people did.
My favorite parts were the people who really should be fired.
And they are invited to come to the office.
And the boss reveals himself to the people and they are like, oh no, I’m doomed.
Don’t look at people from a worldly point of view.
You never know who you are talking to.
David was a man after God’s own heart, but he didn’t have the look of a king.
In fact his brothers looked far more the part when Samuel came to visit.
But God reminded Samuel.
When I was growing up, they would always say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
I think that’s because all of the good books had boring covers.
Application: For many the first step in our Christian walk is to change the way we look at people.
We don’t envy the rich.
Or the powerful.
Or the famous.
Our the beautiful person.
What we should look for in people is character and most of all, we should be concerned with whether or not our neighbors know Jesus.
And then we should look for character and integrity.
Main Point #2: Change the Way You Look at your self.
Explanation: Now these first 2 points really go hand in hand.
The truth is that we so often look at ourselves through the lens of what the world values.
So if we think of others as something because of money, power, influence, popularity, etc…then we will so often establish our own value by the same standards.
But when you change the way you look at your neighbors, what basis is left on which to measure yourself?
I’m glad you asked.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I love this verse, because it is both an encouragement and a rebuke.
An encouragement that a new beginning is possible, but a rebuke that in light of that new beginning, you ought to be growing up.
However still it is one of the cornerstone foundational doctrines of Christianity.
However still it is one of the cornerstone foundational doctrines of Christianity.
We are all born into sin and we are sinful from the very beginning.
So at some point in our lives, a change must take place whereas we go from being outside of Christ to being in Christ.
The theological term here is regeneration.
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