“THE OLD AND THE NEW”                       By Pastor YAU

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:14-19                            February 22, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:        

1)   A new beginning in politics: Today, January 20, 2009, a new president is inaugurated to office. America and all around the world, people are expecting a new look with new policies from a new administration. In his inaugural speech, the new president outlined some of his hopes of new things: from foreign policy to war on the Islamic extremists, from worldwide economic reform to domestic changes on education, healthcare, job creation and many others. Over a million people participated in the parade with new hopes. Regardless of your political inclination, we all want to see the new president succeed in his new plans.

2)   A new beginning in calendar: January 1st is the first day of the year 2009. January 26th is the first day of the Luna New Year, the year of Ox. In the lobby of the Cordova Health Center, a big sign on the bulletin board posted a greeting for the new year: “A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU.” At the beginning of a year, many people will set new resolutions, goals to make life better, higher and healthier. In the olden days in China, people gave a fresh coat of paint to their homes, bought new clothes and shoes for their children and made new plans for their life, career and family. New Year brings new hopes and new dreams.

 

HERE ARE SOME OLD THINGS:

1)   The Old Covenant: “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:14) The Old Covenant based on the Law of Moses was given to help the Israelis acknowledge their sins. (Romans 3:20)But the Israelis misused the purpose of God in giving them the Law that blocked them from seeing the grace of forgiveness of sin in the Lord Jesus Christ.

2)   The old garment: “No one sews a new patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.” (Matt. 9:16)The old garment is the law of the Old Covenant. The new patch is the gospel of Jesus Christ. You cannot patch the gospel on the OT law and try to make them work together. But that was exactly what the Jewish leaders wanted to do. Because no man can be saved by the Laws of Moses. Therefore God sent Jesus to bring salvation by grace to the world. It is impossible to attach the Laws of Moses to the grace of God. No man may save himself by his work of the law but by the grace of God.

3)   The old self: “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” (Ephesians 4:22) The old self is the old nature we all were born with. That old self has been controlling our life and the way we live. That same old nature has hindered Paul from doing what is good and right. That same old self still tries to hold us down with the corrupted desire of the flesh. We have to fight this old self with the power of Jesus to gain control of the corrupted desires.

4)   The old heaven: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment and be discarded.” (Psalm 102:25-26)This is the contrast of the temporary nature of things of the world, including the heaven and the earth, and the eternal nature of God, the everlasting. With all the sins of men in this world, the old heaven and earth will be destroyed someday. Only God is everlasting. Therefore we need to seek God than seeking things of this world.

 

GOD DESIRES NEW THINGS: Many new things in the Bible.

1)    A New Covenant: “In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.’” (Luke 22:20) God gave the Israelis the Old Testament through the Law of Moses so they would know they had sinned. Jesus gave all His believers the New Testament through his blood so their sins could be forgiven if they believe. It is in this New Testament, we are given grace instead of laws, salvation instead of condemnation.

2)    A New Command: “A new Command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)The Israelis were commanded to love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind and all their strength. (Deut. 6:5)But the Lord Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment to love one another. He stressed the reason for giving this “By (doing) this all men will know that you are my disciples.” (13:35)Love one another is not the same as love God. But it is the outward demonstration of the inner love so people can see and believe that we are his disciples.

3)    A new creation: “Neither circumcision nor non-circumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)Circumcision was an act of the law on the outside that didn’t mean anything. A new creation is an act of grace on the inside: a new life created by the born again experience. Many years ago, God told Prophet Samuel not to look at a man on the outside because God looks on his inside. (1 Samuel 16:7)God cares who we are on the inside, not what we have on the outside.

4)    A new heaven: “The I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passes away, and there was no longer any sea.” (Rev. 23:1)Chapter 21 of Revelation is very close to the end of the Bible. In a vision, John saw the new heaven and new earth to replace the old one. This is the ultimate hope of the redeemed, the final act of God for His people to be with Him in the new heaven and new earth. Whatever pain and suffering we may endure, whatever injustice and unfairness we may have seen, they all will be gone and be replaced by the new condition where God is the true ruler forever.

 

SEEK THE NEW THINGS: (2 Corinthians 5:14-19)

1)    A new sacrifice: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died.” (5:14) The death of Jesus Christ is a new sacrifice for the redemption of all men. This new sacrifice is much better and lasts much longer than the sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament. This new sacrifice is not just for one man but for all men of the world in history. And this sacrifice was motivated by the love of God.

2)    A new purpose: “And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (5:15)This is about a new purpose for men to live: for Christ who died for our sins. In our natural life, we all live for our personal purpose and many times, selfish purpose. But since we have been saved by the death of Jesus, we now have a new purpose to live: we live for Him, his glory, his value and his purpose.

3)    A new point of view: “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so on longer.” (5:16) “Regard” means the “way” we see or recognize people or things. Many people still hold on to wrong point of view of Christ: he is a great philosopher, a great teacher, a great social reformer or founder of a religion called Christianity. But Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. It is very important to know Christ the right way in order to be saved by God’s grace.

4)    A new creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” (5:17)There are three important points in this verse: 1) in Christ. In order to be a new person, one must be born again through his faith in Christ. 2) This person is not a made over or reshaped or reeducated or reformed. His old life must completely dead and eliminated and be replaced with a new creation. 3) His old life and the way he used to live must be gone then the new way of life can come to live in his heart.

5)    A new relationship: “All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ.”(5:18)Through Christ we are reconciled with God and reconnected our eternal relationship with Him. No one may do anything, pay any price or claim any merit to path a way back to God except that provided free by Christ. We do not have a religion. We have a mediator who opened a door for the world to come back to God.

6)    A new mission: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has com-mitted to us the message of reconciliation.” (5:19)God saves us from the eternal loss from our sins more than just for ourselves. He saves us so we can reach out to save others. The mission in front of us is to bring the message of reconciliation to the lost world, one step at a time from our family to our friends to classmates and colleagues and all around the world.

 

CONCLUSION:

1.    Tear down something old: Many of us have old things in our life we always love to rid them out and leave them behind: old bad memories, unhealthy life style, bad habits, old sins and the list may add many other items. Since we are children of God, we need to clean up our “garage”, rid off the old baggage and burdens. Ask God to help you and strengthen you so you can live without excessive burdens.

2.    Build up something new: Start from the list Paul suggested we all build in our life from his examples in Philippians 4:8-9. Turn around your life in a new direction and a new purpose. Add a new dimension of life in your close walk with God. Adopt new purpose for your pursuit and new value of spiritual growth. Ask God to guide your future and be obedient to His lead.

3.    Begin a new life in Christ: No one can start a new life by his own power because we were born with an old nature. You have to ask God to remove the old nature before you can start the new one. Confess your sins of the past, ask God to forgive you, and invite Jesus into your life to your Lord and Savior. If you do all of these, you will certainly receive a new life you never know possible before.