The New Creation (An Introduction)
The New Creation (An Introduction)
— 1 John 3 & 4
- Andrew Fountain —
- How many people here made New Year’s resolutions?
- Apparently less than 10% are kept
- Why is that? —talk about it later
- God never patches up the old
- He always does something new
- And then invites the old to come in
- e.g. trying gradually to renovate my house
- But if God was renovating a house, he would completely rebuild it from the inside
- He would not simply patch it up, but everything would be renewed any perfect
- All the people of the earth were corrupt except one family (Noah)
- God decided to start again with just that family
- All were invited, but only 8 went into the ark
- The old world was destroyed and a “new world” began
The Nation of Israel:
- The Nation of Israel became hopelessly corrupt
- God took the whole nation into captivity
- Then invited all those who had a heart for him to return to start a renewed nation back in Palestine, with a new temple
- Only 42,000 accepted the invitation
The New Creation
- God ultimately will not patch up this creation
- He has started something new in Jesus
- And is inviting us to join Jesus
- We all have preconceptions that we bring to life
- like lenses on our eyes which pre-define how we are going to look at things
- We cannot avoid preconception, but they make a huge difference
- e.g. Story of Larry Crabb and his home being robbed
- Traditionally evangelicals have had the pre-understanding that the big story of Scripture is forgiveness of sins
- That is certainly one of the most important parts of it
- But it is inside a bigger story—the new creation!
- Once we have the right glasses on, everything will come into focus.
- Sabbath: God created in 6 days, then rested
- “Rest” was to enter into the pleasure of his creation (not because he was tired!)
- “And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working.’” John 5:16-17
- Not resting in the Old any longer, but working on the New!
- God was working on something New and so was Jesus
- Promised Land
- Abraham was promised the land, but he never actually owned the physical land
- By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
- By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
- For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
- There was something more that he was looking for, that this physical land was just a symbol of
- For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world (kosmos) did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
- Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
- So look at the word used: world (kosmos) —not just Palestine, but a whole world
- Another symbol used is that of Rest
- Promised Land was a picture of rest
- Picked up in Hebrews
- Jesus said “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Mat 11:28
- On the 8th day, the 1st day of the next week! (Lev 12:3)
- People with Leprosy were to be cleansed on the 8th day (Lev 14:10)
- So what does circumcision symbolize?
- “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Gal 6:15
- But one of the strongest images is being “Born from above”
- and the Kingdom
- Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (orig: from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
- That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
New Creation defined
- Jesus was raised as the “firstborn”
- We enter by being “joined” to him
- As the Old was made of dust, the New is made of the Spirit of God
- Because of this, we are “born of God”, his own children
- We bear his family likeness: God is love
1 John 3:1-2, 13-14
- See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God;
and so we are.
The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
- Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.
- Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
- We know that we have passed out of death into life,
because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love abides in death.
Living in the New Creation
- Two things characterize this New Life
- Trust in Jesus
- Following his command to love
1 John 4:7-17
- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
- Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
- In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
- No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
- By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
- And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
- Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
- So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
- By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
Faith and love
- For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Gal 5:6
- These two seems to be intertwined —why?
- because we cannot love without dependence
- vine and the branches
- A lot of things we do, e.g. the way we worship, are dependent on the New Creation
- even though we may not realize it
- Story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria
- The reason worship is different now is not because God has never been interested in the temple etc.
- Jesus said “the time is coming and now is...”
- something new has happened, the age of the Spirit
- This same pattern of old and new transforms all of the Old Testament system into the New
- We have too low a view of what God is wanting to do
- a “bolt on” Christianity that says “you will have a much nicer life if you accept Jesus”
- God wants to do something far more radical with us
- So how do we live in the new rather than patching up the old?
- more next week
- but for now—you need to depend, every moment, on the new life of the Spirit within you
- constantly pray for his power
- This is why our resolutions fail —they are trying to change us in our own resolve, our own strength
Updated on 2012-01-10 by Andrew Fountain