Can you remember what you were like before you were a Christian? Do you see the evil in the world around you? If you are a Christian, Jesus has begun a new work to change you to be more like him. Read and think of Paul before he met with God – changed from a murderer to an apostle. In 1 Tim 1:16, Paul says he was the worst of all sinners but God changed him.
1 Timothy 1:16 – ‘But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus.’
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (NIV) ‘What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!’ (NLT)
So we see that God’s solution to our sin is not that he gradually makes our old selves better, but that he births a new creation in us by his Spirit
Paul went to Corinth as described in Acts 18. Paul tried to speak to the Jews but had a hard time until the Lord reassured him in a vision and he stayed for a year and a half!
‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no-one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’
THE CHANGE FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW
Read Galatians 5:19-26 (as you read through these verses, get someone to act out all of these words as they are spoken – for example ‘being drunk’ your actor acts drunk.)
Galatians 5:19-26 – ‘When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.
Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’
If you are a Christian, it’s important to recognise that God is working in your life. You have to make a decision to let God have his way with you. Let God shape you, look at your life to see how you are doing, ask the Holy Spirit to search you and show you areas where you need to change (Psalm 139.23), thank God for what he’s done for you and to recognise exactly what has happened – see Titus 3:4-5.
‘God our Saviour showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done.’
WHO YOU ARE
As a Christian, it’s good to know who you are because of what Jesus has done for you. Jesus has paid a great price for you – his blood, shed on the Cross. Goods are only worth what someone would pay for them. Jesus could not have paid a higher price for you.
1 Corinthians 6.19-20 – ‘..So you do not belong to yourselves. You were bought by God for a price. So honour God with your bodies’
1 John 3.1 – ‘The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children
Matt 12:46-50 – ‘Anyone who obeys my Father in heaven is my sister and brother or father and mother.’
Remember, that God has made us a new creation and that are to go on allowing Jesus to shape us and change us into his likeness. When we look at Jesus and the things he has called us to and look at ourselves and our sin, it seems a bit hard.
Jesus showed us a great example and he is now able to really help us. Jesus also sent his Holy Spirit and gave us his Word to help, guide, encourage and correct us. (2 Timothy 3.16)
‘Because he (Jesus) himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.’
‘Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.’
‘I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid and discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.’
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Just before Roy Castle died of cancer (a famous TV presenter, musician and Christian in the UK), he had a vision of heaven. God showed him a beautiful garden in heaven. He said to his wife, ‘hey I thought I was a good gardener but the garden in this vision was amazing with the most beautiful colours..’
If you want some idea of heaven, look back to the Garden of Eden..
Gen 1 – Perfection. Man and woman made in the image of God; all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit; rivers; precious stones, pure gold, rare perfumes; every kind of animal; a perfect place with man and woman in perfect harmony with God.
Or look forward to the future..
Rev 21 – New heaven and a new earth; no tears; no death; no suffering; no crying; no pain; everything will be made new.