Sermon Reflection from January 22, 2023 | A New You
One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Baptism like Communion is an outward expression of an inward change. The first step towards that New You is repentance. We need to confess our sins and recognize our need for a Savior. That repentance leads to an open heart that is ready to receive Jesus and believe in His death, resurrection and power to save! He came to redeem us, by us back from the powers of sin in our lives. I love the connection between belief and trust and the power God gives to live for Him. Following Jesus leads to a desire to tell others and make a public profession of faith through baptism.
Does baptism save us? NO! But the profession and confession as part of what is described by Paul in Romans 10:9-10 “ If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Saying something out loud and not just in your head requires a belief and commitment. Making our belief known by our mouths is very important. When one is baptized the pastor always asks, do you believe in Jesus and do you want to follow Him? This is the public declaration with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and comes from your heart.
What happens after you profess that Jesus is Lord? The transformation begins in earnest as the Holy Spirit works His miracle of rebirth and sanctification within you. It is not done in a day or two but starts when you profess Jesus as Lord and will continue within you until you are with Him. What happens to you during this sanctification process? The Holy Spirit seeks to mold and shape you into the one Christ sees you to be in Him. As you yield more and more to His Holy Spirit you will see character change as described in Galatians 5:18-23.
It is a putting off of the world and its values and putting on the things of the Spirit and God’s Kingdom. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Paul tells us we will recognize the world and its actions and because of our love for Jesus we will seek to be fruitful in our lives for Him. It will result in a change of character! As Stephanie mentioned it will result in a new heart, Ezekiel 36:26-27 “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” With the new heart will come a desire to look into His Word and follow God’s ways.
Lastly, we see that belief and trust lead to confession and transformation. All these are worthless without commitment to Jesus. Our lives, our faith need to be more than lip service to God. He knows our hearts and knows when our faith and repentance is sincere. Sincere faith leads to obedience. True obedience to God rises from a heart that loves and trust him and responds to His wonderful grace. How are you doing with true obedience? Is your heart right with God? What do you need to put off in this New Year that is leading you away from God? What do you need to put on that will lead you to a closer walk with Him?
Look again at 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” God promises a New You; you are His New Creation! Step out in faith and claim the New You in the New Year! God is faithful and will not disappoint those who follow Him. Isaiah 49: 23b “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
A New You | A New Yout
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Sermon series, "A New Community " Today Stephanie Soltero share how Baptism creates a New You
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