Living in New Life
Nothing is quite so beautiful as life springing up in the midst of what you might consider lifeless circumstances. Today we are going to look at this in the life of Christians. It is a call to celebration, but at the same time a call to action as well.
Note from Kip,
I enjoy so very much when nature expresses the glory and truth in God’s Word.
You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:9-10 (CSB)
I was walking into church Sunday morning and saw a Brother in the Lord staring down at the foot of the steps leading from the down from the overhang for the entrance to our church.
I followed the direction where he seemed to be gazing and saw this.
There inches away from the first step rising out of the asphalt pavement was this beautiful flower growing. Now keep in mind that this was just this last Sunday so the insane heat of August was long past and this lil guy was a showing his stuff, with all the power and majesty that God had imbued him with.
I quickly grabbed my iPhone and took a picture feeling for certain that this was an object lesson that could be used later. I didn’t realize just how soon later would be.
Metaphor of the Pavement Flower
That little plant is a lot like Christians in many ways.
We are raised to New Life from seemingly impossible circumstances that logic and reason would tell us cannot be. If we were not dead, then all around us we faced elements that loomed with the certainty of our death and destruction.
If you are standing on this side of salvation, you have crossed from death to life. It is just that simple.
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death.
1 John 3:14 (CSB)
New Life, a life that was given to us by the Grace of Jesus Christ. We didn’t earn it. It wasn’t granted to us by birthright or our status. It didn’t take into account where we live or who we associated with. Prior to this, we were all death walking.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23 (CSB)
Not a man, woman, or child on this earth today is not guilty of sin. God the righteous Judge, abhors sin. His law says that if we are found guilty of sin the penalty is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (CSB)
Here is the picture in the pavement for the Christian, we were existing in death, rightly so because that is the penalty for sin, so our situation was much worse than bleak. The condemnation for that sin was resting squarely on our shoulders.
But something happened.
It’s called Grace. God’s Son, the only Son, lifted that guilt from us and placed it on Himself. God cast His judgment for our sins on His Son, because that guilt was upon Him.
In our place, Jesus took responsibility for our deviant behavior and packed it all in and took that load of sin that required death to atone for it, to Calvary. There, in our place, He died in our place, so as to purchase our birthright.
The birthright of every man, woman, and child living or dead.
They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:24 (CSB)
A birthright to New Life
His death wasn’t the end of it. It was part of a plan crafted before the first star was set into place. It was a major part to be certain. If it were not for that sacrifice on our behalf, we would have been without hope, consigned to eternal death.
With that sacrifice now Jesus had provided the means by which we could be totally absolved of sin and escape the penalty of death.
But what is a savior if He is dead, but a record of history.
Jesus took our sin to the grave and then three days later vanquished death and establishing a means for us to cross from that certain death we were destined for to New Life!
Our Savior Lives and He holds in his hands the birthright for all. The only thing we had to do was surrender our dead and dying shells to Him and in return, He gave us our birthright. The amazing thing about this birthright is that scrolled across the top in bold letters it says:
Birthright of __________, Child of the Living God!
With your name in the blank.
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (CSB)
But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 (CSB)
Thus far I’ve been talking mainly about Christians. The redeemed. Those who have claimed their birthright as gifted to them by Jesus, by simply surrendering our sin and guilt to Him and in faith trusting Him for our salvation. Relying on Him for our New Life by virtue of what He did on that cross for us.
But He has the birthright for each and every one of us.
It doesn’t matter what you have done, or how you have slandered God in your words and deeds, Jesus has your birthright and wants to give that right to you. He wants to give you the right to become a child of God.
What’s the catch? It’s simply this, when I say surrender, I mean surrender. I mean everything. Jesus in return for giving us our birthright demands that we surrender our old lives which were already surrounded by death so that we can have a New Life in and with Him.
It’s why He died for us, to give us this birthright and establish a relationship with us that never ends.
Somethings must change. It called repentance, because if we are going to walk with our new brother, Christ Jesus, then we have to change the destination we have programmed into our internal GPS. Those coordinates that will transport us to that New Life.
It is a commitment, but the rewards for that commitment are everlasting and available to everyone.
Living in the New Life
It’s taken a little time to get here but I wanted to fill in the background for the Christian and the one who has yet to surrender to Jesus, the significance of what our New Life is all about.
Unfortunately, there are many ‘Christians’ that are not “Living” their new life. They’ve secured a birthright, but are not exercising that birthright to the fullest extent. Instead, they have gotten off the route, stuck in some backroad, buried up to the hubcaps in the mud.
A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
John 10:10 (CSB)
Living in the new life is to fully embrace the life Jesus gives us. How tragic it is to see those who have given their lives to Christ and secured that birthright only to later be mired in the things of this world and its corruption.
There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12 (CSB)
These Christians who are not ‘Living the Life’ haven’t given up their old ways. They may have for a short time but have since resorted back to maybe not all but some things that used to be part of their prior existence.
Jesus called Himself “the Light of the World” and then He went on to tell us…
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (CSB)
His intent was for us to take the light and love that He’s placed in us and share it with all around us.
First, he calls us to be His Disciples and be Disciple Makers.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)
This is The Great Commission. It is the instruction Jesus gave to His Disciples before ascending into Heaven. He considers everyone who places their faith and trust in Him for their salvation to be his disciple. The only problem is that many of us don’t consider ourselves Disciples.
We walk about this New Life aimlessly. No real sense of direction or purpose. But Jesus made it clear what our purpose is to be. Our purpose is to be His Disciple and in turn, to spread His message of love and forgiveness to everyone making them Disciples as well, followed by providing them instruction in obedience to the commands of Jesus.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.
John 14:15 (CSB)
If we love Jesus as we should, then His love is in us. That Love isn’t to remain sequestered in us, or contained only in our houses of worship. That love is to be spread to all, so they might know the Good News Jesus brings and secure their birthright as well. The Birthright that allows them to cross from death to New Life!
Being a Disciple
What does it mean to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ? It’s pretty simple actually. A disciple is one who patterns their behavior and practice in unison with their teacher or master.
In doing so, they follow the teacher and listen to all that he says, they imitate his behavior and demeanor. In effect the disciple emulates the teacher as they learn from the teacher, thus working towards becoming a likeness of the teacher in every way possible.
So, we see that Jesus calls us to be His Disciples, we understand what a disciple is. He expresses, He wants us to do this through love and if we love Him then we will obey Him.
So what His purpose?
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10 (CSB)
“To seek and save the lost”, was his ultimate purpose. He’s done the heavy lifting. He purchased the birthright of all humanity with his death. So if we are His Disciples, we have only to seek and guide those who are still under the penalty of sin to salvation through faith in Jesus.
Being His Disciple isn’t demonstrated by sitting in a church pew a few times a week. It’s not expressed by song or praise in our houses of worship. To be certain praise, worship and fellowship with other believers is critical in a healthy Christian Life, but if we are going to be obedient to Jesus, we will become His Disciples and we will ‘Seek and Save the Lost’.
Our true service isn’t to be focused inwardly to our church but be engaged outwardly to the community around us. For His light to become visible to the entire world requires that His Disciples be out there shining, loving, and proclaiming the Gospel.
If we persist in keeping our focus inwardly to the church, we are ‘stuck in the mud Christians’ and ineffective. If our entire church body is made up predominantly of ‘stuck Christians’, then that church is dead to the purpose for which Jesus calls it to.
If that be the case, then it is time that this church embraces its mission, which was assigned to it by Christ and become outwardly expressive. Its membership must become Disciples of Christ, who not only accept their mission seeking and saving the lost but endeavor to do so with determination!
This is “Living in the New Life”, being His Disciples, in a Disciple engaged church.