Do you remember when you became a follower of Christ? That understanding that God loved you, that you were forgiven, the joy, the sense of relief and the newness of it all? For some of you it was very recent, for others of us, it’s been years. Do you remember how utterly fresh and new and confusing it was? The “Now what” thoughts, the “Am I doing it right” questioning of yourself, the “What will others think of me” angst of it all?
I remember discovering, for the first time, that verse in 2 Corinthians and saying, “That’s it! That’s what’s happening to me.” Paul said what I was experiencing as a new believer; “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things passed away; behold new things have come”. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The truth is if you are a follower of Christ; surrendering yourself and accepting Christ’s love and forgiveness for your sins, then you are a new creation in Him. You are being transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ! While the newness of your walk with Christ diminishes over time, the truth of your transformation should become more real and more real to you and more greatly reflected in your life. This is the emphasis of 2 Corinthians; living out a transformed life authentically. As the Corinthians struggled with letting go of the old ways of living and embracing the new values in their day, don’t we have those same today?
Transformed is a series of messages in 2 Corinthians to help us live as new creations in Christ. Some of those themes we will explore are; Finding a Purpose in Pain, Understanding God’s Grace, Living for Jesus Authentically, Helping Others Discover Christ, Being Generous, and Recognizing Our Own Blind Spots. I hope you will join us, beginning March 4th, as we discover these truths together.
There isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t been criticized, bullied, or shamed for something we said or did. How do you face the critics in your life? You can try and avoid them, which never seems to work. You can try and attack them, which may make things worse. You can even try to live with it which makes your life worse. Is there a better way?
Ever been misunderstood? Don’t you find that it is even more painful to be misunderstood by the people who are closest to you? As a Christian you can count on being misunderstood. How we face that misunderstanding can be a matter of life and death to those around us.
Most critics will say that the church is only interested in your money. But more fundamental to the conversation is the question, “Whose money is it?” If God is the source of “every perfect gift”, James 1:17, then what does God have to say about what He’s already given us?
As the apostle Paul talks about the afflictions and trials we face, instead of explain the "Why", he answers the question of "Who".