Andrew Fountain - How the cross and the resurrection changed everything

  • Union with Christ is the single most important idea in the whole of Christianity.
  • If you truly understand what it means, and get a really firm grasp of it, then it will affect you profoundly.


Sermon Outline - How the cross and resurrection changed everything


That you get a really firm grasp of the single most important idea in the whole of Christianity.

  • I didn’t understand this at all until 15 years after I became a Christian and it changed my Christian life.
  • But first a recap:
  • Summary of last three sermons

1. What God is like

  1. How God is different to us
  2. Qualities we share with God
  3. Our experience of God

2. God and the Spirit World

  1. The Different Kinds of Beings in Existence
  2. The Pagan world view and avoiding it
  3. Evil & Suffering—It’s Origin & Destiny

3. How the World got Broken

  • Virtually everyone will agree that something has gone very wrong with this world…

How the cross and resurrection changed everything

  • How the World got Broken (recap)
  1. Solution: The New Creation
  2. How it works: Union with Christ Col 2:8–23
  3. What this means for us

How the World got Broken

  • The universe was beautifully and carefully constructed
  • A place of order, harmony, beauty and perfect love, but surrounded by chaos
  • The first human’s task was to spread this harmony over the whole earth
  • The stability of this reality depended on them maintaining their allegiance to God
  • This enabled his life to be constantly flowing into them
  • They were given a very simple thing to mark their allegiance—don’t eat from a particular tree
  • Very important point—it was not eating this fruit that was the problem in itself,
    • it was a symbol of stepping out of dependence, which broke the flow of order, love, harmony & power
  • Another being in the universe came onto the scene and suggested to them that
    • God did not have their best interests
    • He could not be trusted
    • They did not need him anyway
  • The choice can by symbolized like this

Outside God’s Will

Outside God's Will

  • This sums up sin, and in a simple picture applies to every choice we have
  • When Eve and Adam made this choice, it broke the carefully constructed universe they were in
    • We don’t understand the details, but the harmony was smashed, and this extended to the animal and plant kingdom as well
  • Led to shame
    • Led most of all to a broken relatinship with God which resulted in brokenness everywhere
    • But there is still beauty everywhere
  • Problem is often framed in terms of individial sin
    • Story of teaching kids in my early 20’s – scales



Image source: johnny

  • But I had a problem finding very many verses that expressed it like this
    • By his stripes we are healed” -Is 53:5
  • So how does the Bible most commonly frame the problem and the solution?

1. Solution: The New Creation

The Plan

  • The whole fabric of the universe is now damaged
  • It is beyond simply patching up.
  • To rescue us God has to do something radical.
  • The plan is this: God would make an entirely new kind of reality that is perfect, and invite everyone to become part of it.
  • “The new creation”
  • God offers to freely give us this new life.
    • Just as we entered this world by being born,
      • we enter the new reality with a new kind of “birth”.
  • Jesus called this new creation the “Kingdom of God”. He explained this to a man who came to him:

New Creation/Kingdom – John 3

  1. “I tell you the truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    • The man was confused by this and replied
  2. “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?”
    • Jesus explained that this creation begins inside us in an invisible way—it is “spirit” rather than physical.
  3. “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  4. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’”

Two Creations

  • We have bodies of flesh because we are born into this world.
  • We enter the new reality by being “born from above”
  • God puts his Spirit in us, making us his children. (more about this next week)
  • Right now this new reality is just inside us, but one day the physical world will also be renewed.
  • Jesus taught that when this world comes to an end,
    • those who are part of his new creation will receive new bodies,
    • like the new butterfly emerging from the old cocoon.
    • Sickness, suffering and death will be gone forever.

How did Jesus do it?

  • Jesus came from heaven taking on a human body,
  • died in his physical body,
  • and then was raised from the dead as the very first human of the new creation.
  • That is why he was called “the firstborn from the dead” Rev 1:5
  • If we are joined to him, the same thing happens to us

Outline of 2:8–23

  • (8–10) Beware of being cheated—because you have everything
    • (11–14) United with Christ
  • (15–23) So don’t be cheated—because you have everything
  • Read the passage:

Click link to Colossians 2:8–23

  • The heart of this passage:
  1. In him you were also circumcised
          with a circumcision made without hands,
          in stripping off the body of the flesh,
    in the circumcision of Christ,
  2. buried together with him in baptism,
    in whom you were also raised together with him
          through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
  3. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
    he made alive together with him,
    forgiving us all trespasses,
  4.       wiping out the record of debt against us with its decrees,
          that which was hostile to us, even this he has set aside,
    nailing it to the cross.

Explain the verses

  • death pictured as circumcision
    • Even in the Old Testament, circumcision was a picture of a new beginning
    • It was done on the “8th day”, the first day of a new week
      • picturing the start of a new creation
    • Israel were told that their hearts were to be circumcised
      • they were told this mean to have a new and living heart
  • bury—raised
    • death—life
    • “Together with him” Paul has actually coined new words here
  • when someone was crucified, they would nail a list of their crimes to the cross
    • Our crimes were nailed to Jesus’s cross
    • Not transferred to him, as a separate entity
      • but he put his arms around us and said “let’s do this together” and then he did it all
  • The core message of the gospel is union with Christ
    • Once I used to teach the Gospel in terms of scales
    • I once made a pair of scales to teach this to children
    • In one side goes our sin (heavy stone) and the other goes our good works (no substance)
      • Then we take the righteousness of Jesus and it balances it out
  • However much truth there is in this image, it is not how Paul presents the Gospel
    • Not a cold, legal transaction with scales,
    • but union with a living person
  • This is the same as being “born again” (=born from above)
    • The life of God is now in you
    • You are literally his child, born from him (although not a God)
  • Joined at the shoulder
  • Implications of being united with Jesus
    1. Our destinies are inseparably connected
      • Story of the sinking supertanker and the helicopter
        • Let’s illustrate this with two people
      • we are totally secure
    2. We actually have died
      • and we have been raised something else

3. What this means for us

Look at verses 8–10

  • things they have to do, rituals, ceremonies, particularly from the Old Testament
    • many of these things were not wrong in and of themselves, they just belonged to a previous life
      • Sorting stuff out I found an old library card from when I lived in England
      • A tax form was sent to my old address, years after I had moved here—no longer relevant
  • Look at Paul’s answer: it sounds like he is almost saying we are divine
    • He is not, of course, but we are a new kind of being
    • filled with the fullness of Christ, who is fully divine

Quick Look at verses 15–23

  • When someone dies, all their legal obligations are wiped clean, all their convictions etc.
    • Lawsuite against a criminal is instantly dropped if he or she dies

The Torrey Canyon Disaster

  • 18 March 1967
  • Jesus died by crucifixion—the most painful way to die known to the Romans.
    • Yet the physical pain was nothing compared to what he suffering in his spirit.
  • When Jesus died, he took on the guilt of a humanity in rebellion.
    • He paid the price, and brought peace with God.
    • It was what was needed for our forgiveness. That is how much Jesus loved us!

Romans 8

  1. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
  2. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
  3. Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
  4. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
  5. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
  • How much he loves us to do this for us!

Updated on 2019-06-02 by Andrew Fountain