"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 no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
John 3:1-16; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Is your church dedication to Christ's Sovereignty and Lordship?
Key point: We as a church are a part of the Kingdom of God. We are under God's rule; thus, Christ is our leadership and direction necessary to succeed in building a life, spirituality, and a church. We have His new life, we are born again; thus, we are then to exercise our God's "Lordship," and acknowledge Him as King. He is Sovereign; He is the absolute monarch of the universe. His rule is absolute. When we refuse to be governed and controlled, we will revert to our sinful nature in anarchy and chaos, causing harm to others and creating a church of dysfunction (Psalm 10:16--18; Dan. 2:44; 4:34; Isa. 9:6-7; Matt 3:1-12; 4:23; 24:14; 28:18-20; Col. 1:13; 28-29; Heb. 1:8-14; Rev. 5:9-10; 19:16).
Jesus calls us, be born of God anew! This also means leaders; we must keep the main thing the main thing. Always know and proclaim our Lord Jesus who gives us life and then calls us to new life.
To lead, we all need to ask ourselves, Is there a hunger in me for more out of my relationship with Christ? If so, what do I need to do to get there? If not, what is holding me back?
We are new, even though we may look the same on the outside. All is new in our soul on the inside. This is what gives us our new life, our purpose and reason for living and being. It is not just the entrance to the Christian life, it is the Christian life--our intimacy with Christ and dedication to His Sovereignty and Lordship. Our old nature has been swapped out, transfigured for Him. Our lives have been totally turned around from self-focused on Christ-focused, from carnal to the faithful, from prideful to loving, from self-interested to fruitful and obedient. We can't earn our favor with God, but we can run and live our lives for Him through His commands, nurture, and help. This is where not just our life comes from, but also our morality and ethics in decision-making and our righteousness for conformity to His will.
Our New Life means that Christ paves the way by building a new relationship, bearing the punishment of our sins on the cross, and covering us so we are pure in God's sight.
We may not be aware or be fully conscious of this new life; nevertheless, it is there. Our response is to yield to Christ as LORD out of our new life and obey Him. This does not come because of insistence or feeling, but of gratitude and faith. Thus, our character must reflect this new nature, and the leading of the Spirit, both publicly and privately. This applies in a higher sense in the spiritual union of believers with Christ. In Galatians, we see both the inward and outward means of this relationship, in faith (Gal. 3:26-28).
This wondrous magnitude of intervention gives us and our people, our place of Hope and endurance.
We who are in Christ cannot be condemned either in punishment or judgment! Not only do we have our sins forgiven, but God saved us with a new life, not a new law.
Our new life in Christ removes us from darkness and the penalty of death into an intimate relationship with Him. This is not by birthright or ethnicity or by human will or works; rather, it is a gift of God, and we receive it and build on (John 3:3-8).
We are secured by who and what Christ did on our behalf. His life, death, resurrection, and His intercession is all for you and me because of what we cannot do on our own. Romans, Chapter 8 closes with a statement that cannot be matched in power and scope, how much He loves us: "Nothing shall separate them from the love of God through Christ."
We are saved and have hope beyond our comprehension, because we will be delivered. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is supporting our prayers, and thus rendering them acceptable to God! The great verse of comfort, "All things work together for the good of those who love God, as called according to his purpose," which tells us our great hope and a glimpse of how God works by predestination. We are secured by who and what Christ did on our behalf.
The great, incomprehensible gift of grace that we have received is free; but, this gift is no good if it is not being used and passed on.
Because of grace, we should be responding in gratitude. The quintessential way to please God, grow in faith, and handle difficulties is to live out our gratitude. The new will see a life improved by our character development. There should be nothing more important to us in our psychological and spiritual development than our pursuit to please Him (Matt. 6:33).
Pleasing God takes place in the crucible of our growth and understanding of our Lord and relating that picture through our lives to others. This is character in action. The outcome is that we become blessed people who are joyful because we are doing and partaking in what we are called and made for, as we should. The problems and trivialities of life are mere shadows to our real purpose and call. The picture of an authentic new life develops with a more beautiful and stronger image as it is passed amongst the world (Matt. 6:34; Rom 12).
Is my faith real? Am I born again?
The answer to the question of whether our faith is real or pretend requires us to be discerning, to see if our heart is receiving His Word, and if we are only looking to ourselves. Is life all about "me," or is it all about Him? If it is all about "me," then there is a good chance your faith is a fake, or, at the least, needs a lot of work. If your motivation is all about Christ, there is a good chance you are a real, authentic disciple of our Lord, and are applying His Truths into your life (Matt. 7:21-29).
Do you realize the freedom and liberty you have in Christ? Do you realize the hope He gives you, because He delivered you?
Our new life is perhaps one of the most liberating and encouraging themes in the Bible, telling us He gave us New Life! We have worth, satisfaction, enrichment, entitlement and purpose because of Christ. We have a reason to press on in life and service. We have no condemnation as His children. Because of this great comfort, why would we desire to live away from His presence?
When we keep our mind on Christ as LORD, we attain a magnitude of peace and a glimpse of His glory that helps empower and give us confidence in all situations. Since the Spirit of God is living in us, we must be on guard against our lust and evil desires so our mind is on Christ and not on our selfish desires. We cannot do this on our own; this is why we must also rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us. Do we want the peace of Christ and to be His joint heirs, or do we want the turmoil and death of our sins by being His enemy?
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/