2 Cor 5:17
INTRO: The cross had four points. One of them pointed toward heaven where God, in His great wisdom, made plans to redeem mankind to himself. One of them was buried in the earth and suggests to my mind mankinds tending to do things from such an earthly viewpoint. Then, they were the ends of the cross member. Those ends pointed in exactly the opposite directions, and Jesus was in the midst of it. The two ends of the cross member remind me of an old man and a new man! Two men who are completely different.
I. CONSIDER ROM 6:3-6
A. ... our old man ...
1. implication? there must be a new man
2. there is a change - a dramatic change
3. so, v.4 is newness of life
B. Whats different?
1. v.6b henceforth we should not serve sin
2. v.17a ye were the servants of sin
3. so, 180 degree change ... the degree of the ends of the cross member ... opposite
C. Fact: Jesus died on the cross to make new people
1. He did not die so that we could continue in sin
2. Rom 6:11-13 reckon ... yourselves ... dead
3. the word reckon is critical here ... we must think, think of ourselves as new
II. THEN, 2 COR 5:14,15,17,21
A. A passage full of the cross
1. His death; His being our sin offering
2. v.14 explains a needed fact: Jesus bled on the cross because all of us were dead in sins
B. But a passage noting our changes!
1. v.17 we are new creatures
2. but note, too, v.15 ... we no longer live to ourselves ... but to Christ
3. there it is ... change because of the cross
C. The changes depend on us to a great degree
1. v.19 God is willing to impute our sins to Jesus
2. but v.20 clearly notes that each has a choice to make
3. there is no magic in the cross ... there are decision, choice in the cross ... and decision and choice require change
III. AN OPPORTUNITY, THEN, FOR A NEW BEGINNING!
A. The past is erased by Jesus blood
1. Rev 1:5 - baptism because of the cross
2. guilt for sin and spiritual death are resolved in our favor by the cross
3. Heb 10:17!!
B. What we write on the new page is ours to decide
1. change - thats what must characterize what we write
2. none of self and all of thee
3. new thought processes which constantly take into consideration the wishes, will, word of God will result in changes in us
C. The future can be filled with hope
1. Jno 10:10 an abundant life
2. 1 Pet 1:3 unto a lively hope
3. but such a future depends both on the cross (the cleansing) and the changes in us because of the words being in us (Col 3:16 with 2 Cor 10:5)
CLOSE: Note 1 Jno 3:9. Because of the cross, sin must not be permitted into our lives. So, 1 Jno 2:24.
Cecil A. Hutson
26 December 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)