Brand New

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“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV/NKJV

Those who are in Christ, they believe in Jesus Christ as the way the truth and the life. If you are in Him, you may be in a place of danger and temptation, and may fail in many ways, but the Lord Jesus has redeemed us.

Old things have passed away. Now that we have trusted Christ. We no longer identify with Adam. We are no longer bound to sin. We are no longer people of the world. We were born into a sin nature, that has passed away.

We are a new creation.

Too many people have never approached God with the concept of “new”. Most have resigned themselves that God will just improve their messed up sinful life. The New Year is a reminder for Christians that we are defined by newness.

So this New Years weekend, let’s talk about the new things that we have when we become a Christian, when we are in Christ.


A Christian is Defined by Newness

1. NEW BIRTH

Jesus was having a conversation with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a deeply religious man. What he was looking for was someone powerful enough to overthrow Rome and build a kingdom.

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  John 3:3 NIV

Jesus interrupts Nicodemus to tell him, you don’t know about the kingdom I’m building. I’m not here to overthrow a government, I’m here to overthrow what’s condemning you. God doesn’t intend to change the old nature. It can’t be changed.

God isn’t in the self-help business. He’s in the new life business.

New birth is necessary because we need a new nature. Why try to patch up an old life when God can give you a new one? Just like you didn’t have anything to do with your physical birth, only God can give you a new birth.

2. NEW HEART

Some of you used to have a hard heart. God doesn’t only soften your heart, he gives you a new heart.

“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.”  Ezekiel 36:26 NIV

3. NEW LIFE

The hardest thing to give someone is something they don’t know they need. God says, “I want to give you a new life.” We don’t think we need a new life, because we have a life. God says, “I’m saddened that you call that living.”

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Romans 6:4 NIV

The believers power over sin and the ability to lead a new life, stems from identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. From God’s perspective, Jesus’ death to sin is ours as well. His rising to new life means that we also begin to lead a new life. And in the future our bodies will also be raised.

This is why the New Testament commands to baptize by immersion, to be buried in the water. Baptism symbolizes the death and burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolizes resurrection to new life with Christ.

If we think of our old sinful life as dead and buried, we have a powerful motive to flee from sin. We can choose to treat the desires and temptations of the old nature as if they were dead.

4. NEW DESIRES

Isn’t it amazing how after you identify yourself with Christ, just naturally, things that you were okay with, you’re no longer okay with?

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 NIV

You have new desires. This passage in Galatians talks about walking in the Spirit. We learn to walk by trial and errorPeople want more & more seminars on the Christian life; thinking the more they learn the less they’ll fall. You’re still going to fall. You need to step out and lean on the Spirit of God and fulfill the new desires. Get up and start again.

5. NEW FAMILY

When you give your life to Christ you have a new family. God created everything so he could have a family. Now when I say that, I’m not saying God was lonely. Before God created anything, there was God existing three in one. The trinity. God wasn’t lonely. He had everything He needed. It was so good, He decided to create the Church to share that connection.

Jesus: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35 NIV

In God’s kingdom, one’s true relatives are determined not by blood, but by a faith relationship. God’s family is accepting and doesn’t exclude anyone. Although Jesus cared for his mother and brothers he also cared for all those who loved him. Jesus did not show partiality; he allowed everyone the privilege of obeying God and becoming part of his family.

6. NEW FOES

When you get close to God, some people will not like it. You might get treated differently or get laughed at. They’ll treat you like Jesus. Some people will not like you. They’re going to say weird comments. They’re going to say offensive things.

Jesus: “Everyone will hate you because of me.”  Luke 21:17 NIV

In this passage, he’s telling his disciples that you’ll even get killed, but in the end not a hair on your head will perish. By standing firm you will win your souls. It echos of David in the Psalms saying, what can man do to me?

“In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”  Psalm 118:5-9 NLT

7. NEW SERVICE

We serve from a new motivation. Before, under the law, there was no joy. The flesh had no desire to follow the law.

“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”  Romans 7:6 NIV

We’re joined to the living Christ. We are to serve Him, not on the motive of we must do this or ought do this, but on the motive of wanting to please Christ. We’re set free and in love we give ourselves to Jesus. We serve him because we love him.

When Jesus talked to Peter, do you love me? Peter said, you know I love you, but you know what a failure I am. Jesus said, you’ll bring forth fruit, feed my sheep. Peter is the man who opened the door to the Gentiles and preached the first sermon at Pentecost.

God has a lost world, what will you do with Jesus who died for you? You can serve Him.

8. NEW STRUGGLE

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”  Galatians 5:17 NIV

Your old nature is going to want to do things. You can’t get rid of your old nature this side of heaven. John says if we have no sin we deceive ourselves. We have two natures. The flesh warring against the Spirit and the Spirit warring against the flesh. They’re in conflict. Have you experienced that? You know that hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” Do you ever feel it?

We’re prone to wander and we’re prone to worship. But praise God for the struggle. Some aren’t struggling today, they’re fine with wandering. They’re fine with doing whatever they want.

Freedom isn’t doing whatever you want. Freedom is being able to do what is right. Freedom is the choice to do what is right.  It is not doing whatever you want, because there is no guarantee that what we want is good.  Freedom is the choice to do what is right. To do what is good.

9. NEW MERCIES

His mercies are new. You can’t outrun, they never tire or become old.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”  Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

Jeremiah was down when he wrote this, but he saw one ray of hope, the mercy of God. Maybe you are down and you think God’s grace and mercy has run out on you. You can’t exhaust the mercy of God. It’s a new season, it’s a new day.

10. NEW HOPE

God’s not in the escape plan business, He’s in the restoration business. In fact, in the end we don’t escape earth and go to heaven. God is going to purify the earth with fire and bring heaven to earth. The earth will be perfect.

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”  2 Peter 3:13 NIV

What are you looking forward to? We can joyously look forward to the restoration of God’s good world. Whatever limitations you have on your body, you will not have those forever. Whatever sickness you’re fighting, you will not fight that forever. We have a new hope, the return of our king, Jesus Christ.


Grow Your Faith in 2019

In the next couple of days we’ll start making resolutions, goals, plans and budgets for 2019. What’s your plan to grow in your faith? If you want to grow in your faith, Rock Brook has a plan in place to help. 

KNOW GOD  |  WEEKEND SERVICES

Everything begins with a knowing relationship with God. That you Know God. We want you to have a real encounter with a real God. That’s the goal of our weekend services, to help you Know God, and if you already know Him, that you’d know Him better.

FIND FREEDOM  |  SMALL GROUPS

Once you know Him, He wants to help you with areas that hurt so badly. Areas of addiction. Areas, that don’t only disappoint God, but they disappoint you. Areas where you feel trapped and hopeless and the old things haven’t passed away.

Some people have this inverted, they think they need to get it all together before God will ever accept them.

You don’t change your life to get to God, you get to God to change your life. He accepts you just the way you are. Once you know him, the power of God comes in your life to Find Freedom.

This is why we love Small Groups. They’re not mini-bible studies. Not mini-church services. You’ve already had that, it’s an opportunity for you to connect, encourage and grow together. You need people that can help you and you need to help others.

Life change happens in the context of relationships.

DISCOVER PURPOSE  | GROWTH TRACK

You can’t see what your life is about because all you see is the old. Once you settle that, the lights come on and you see the new. Yout can stop looking through the lens of yesterday and start looking through the lens of tomorrow. You begin to realize you’re here to do something.

You’re not an accident, no matter what narrative your parents or someone has put on your life. Growth Track is a great way to help you with this. We can begin to connect the dots of your personality, gifts and passions to find out your purpose here on earth.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE  |  DREAM TEAM

Do something with your life that brings about the new. You can make a difference in Jesus name. Many people want to make a difference, but it only lasts if you do it in Jesus name. One of the most fulfilling things you’ll do is help someone. You cannot do what you do, on your own. That’s why we have the Dream Team, where we serve together.

Here’s the issue:

When I don’t see God’s vision for my life, I’m in danger of settling for an earthly counterfeit.

Everything God does, the devil creates an earthly counterfeit. It makes some promises, but never delivers. The devil will offer you everything and deliver you nothing. He offers you a counterfeit to God’s vision. It looks something like this.

Instead of Know God, I want to Know MeI’m going to make it about me. I just need to find myself. I just need to live my best life.

Instead of Find Freedom, we want to Find Fame. We build our own name. We want to be famous in this building or this company.

Instead of Discover Purpose, we want to Discover a Platform.

Instead of Make a Difference, we want to Make a Dime

It’s a promise that is so empty. We don’t want you fall for the counterfeit. We offer ways for you to take these spiritual steps.

Lean in this year and see where it takes you. See if 2019 is your best year yet.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on Restoring Joy? How did trusting God’s plan, letting go of resentment and following God’s light one step at a time affect your Christmas joy?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

Too many people have never approached God with the concept of “new”.  Most have resigned themselves that God will just improve their messed up life, but they could never be their best. The New Year is a reminder for Christians that we are defined by newness. A Christian is defined by newness.

  • New Birth (John 3:3)
  • New Heart (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • New Life (Romans 6:4)
  • New Desires (Galatians 5:24)
  • New Family (Mark 3:35)
  • New Foes (Luke 21:17)
  • New Service (Romans 7:6)
  • New Struggle (Galatians 5:17)
  • New Mercies (Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • New Hope (2 Peter 3:13)

Application

  1. Which of these ten things that are new, stood out to you the most?
  2. Have you identified yourself with Jesus Christ through baptism? (For more information about baptism, visit rockbrook.org/connect/baptism)
  3. Do you feel the struggle that Galatians 5:17 describes in your life? How so?
  4. How have the people in your life responded as you’ve started growing closer to God? Have they been supportive? Have they been perplexed or frustrated? Discouraging?
  5. Where is your hope today?

Tell Someone Else

Who can you encourage with hope as a result of this message? Who needs to hear about the new life that Christ offers?

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Week 5: Shaped to Serve

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Have you noticed that God likes variety? Just look around, every human being is unique. God makes every person an original. He could have made us all alike, but He didn’t.

“God shaped man from the soil of the ground and He blew the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7 (NJB) 

God custom shaped you and there’s nobody else shaped exactly like you. 

“You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old.”  Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Before you were even born God made you, formed you, saw you and shaped you. God planned every day of your life. You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. God chose two people to be your parents, because God knew they had exactly the right DNA to create you. God was more interested in creating you than He was in their parenting skills.

“Your hands formed and shaped me…”  Job 10:8a (GN)

God was intricately, intimately involved in creating you.

After God made you, He broke the mold. Nobody will ever be like you. When you get to heaven God won’t say, “Why weren’t you more like ___________?” God will say, “Did you become the person I made you to be?” You could search the entire world and never find anybody with your thumbprint, your footprint, your voiceprint or your eye print. You are unique.

Most people start off as originals and end up as carbon copies. If you’re here, it means that God has something you can contribute that no one else can. Only you can be you.


For over twenty years at Rock Brook we’ve been using an acrostic called SHAPE to talk about the five things that make you, youYour shape determines what kind of friends you should havewhy certain things frustrate you, your ideal work environment, the best ministry for you and where you will live and succeed. 

When you are working in the area of your shape it’s fulfilling and fruitful. God says we were made to make a difference for Him, a Kingdom difference.

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The Bible teaches that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, God gives you spiritual gifts. There are over twenty spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. Everyone who has trusted Christ is gifted by God with one of these gifts. The spiritual gift you are given, is one of the factors that determines your life purpose.

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There are things you have a heart for and are passionate about. What are you excited about? What is it that gets you up in the morning? Some people have a heart for kids, for teens, for adults or for the hurting. Your heart determines your ministry.

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The average person has over 600 abilities. You have abilities you haven’t even discovered yet. If you want know God’s purpose for your life, find the abilities God has given you and put them to use for His glory.

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We all navigate life differently. Some of us are very competitive and some are very cooperative. Some of us are extroverts while some are introverts. Some of us love variety and others love routine. Has he designed you to work on a team or work alone? Your personality will help determine your purpose.

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God can use the positive and the painful. What experience in your past do you want to hold back? God challenges you to let it come out for His glory. Your most powerful ministry may come out of your greatest hurt, because God never wastes a hurt.  


Why Should You Care About Your Shape?

  • Because your shape reveals God’s purpose for you. 

The way you find out what God wants you to do with your life is to discover how He shaped you.

“Before I shaped you in the womb I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day I had holy plans for you: A spokesman for the nation, that’s what I had in mind for you.”  Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) 

God had something in mind for you before you were born, but God won’t force you to do His plan. God gives you the freedom. You can use your life on personal, self-centered things and totally miss God’s plan for your life.

  • Because your SHAPE equips you to serve Him.

“God formed me in my mother’s womb to be His servant and He commissioned me…”  Isaiah 49:5 (NLT)

There is a life mission that God has for you that nobody else on this planet can do.

  • Because life is a test.

You need to know your shape because this life is preparation for eternity. God is testing you to see what you will do with what you’ve been given on earth to determine what He will give you to do in heaven for eternity. One day you’re going to stand before God and He’s going to ask you two questions.

What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ? 

God sent Him to earth to be your Savior by dying on the cross for you. Did you accept that or reject it? Did you accept the forgiveness, the salvation, the ticket to heaven that Christ offered you. If the answer is, “Yes, I accepted Jesus, your Son, as my Lord and Savior. I accepted Jesus and what He did for me.” That is the question that gets you into heaven.  

What did you do with what you were given? 

This question determines not whether you get into heaven, but what you do after you get there. Jesus told a number of stories in which He said that your rewards in heaven and your role in heaven and your responsibility in heaven will be based on what you do with what you’ve been given here? That is the question you need to be prepared to answer. 

“From where He sets God overlooks all of us on earth.  He has shaped each person in turn and now He watches everything we do.”  Psalm 33:14-15 (MSG)

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.  If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches?”  Luke 16:10-11 (NIV)

  • Because it shows God’s glory.

When you use your shape and do what God made you to do it not only feels good to you, it also makes God smile. When God sees someone using the spiritual gift that He gave them for His glory, He smiles.

Everything you have in your life is a gift from God. It can be either used or it can be abused. God says, “I’m testing you to see what you do with what I gave you. There are eternal consequences for everything you do. Rewards, roles, responsibilities.

“Bring Me all the people who are Mine whom I made for my glory.”   Isaiah 43:21 (NJB)

When people fulfill their purpose they bring glory to God. You were made for God’s glory. That’s why you’re alive. Even people with little contribution to our society matter. God wants them alive, because He just wants to love them. They’re alive to teach us to love unconditionally. God says He loves them and He has numbered their days before they were born. God wants them here and has a purpose for them. Maybe the purpose is just for Him to love them and for us to be unselfish and love people who can’t help us back.

The Bible says God loves the weak, the infirm, the needy. We need them in our lives to learn to love like God loves. We must always protect the sanctity of life from the unborn to the elderly. Because you are valuable no matter who or what you are.

“The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord.’”  Exodus 4:11 (NIV)

What are you doing with what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to compare you with anybody else. He is going to compare you with your potential though. How did you use what you’ve been given?


How Should You Respond To Your Shape? 

  • Acceptance: Believe that God knows best.

Acceptance means that I believe that when God made me, He knew what He was doing. It all comes down to a matter of trust. When you reject yourself you are rejecting God because He’s your creator. 

My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why He shaped it the way He did.’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

Whenever we doubt God’s love and whenever we doubt God’s wisdom, we always get into trouble. The root behind all of your problems is you don’t believe God really loves you. You don’t believe He has your best interest at heart. You wish He had made you different. As a result there’s a spirit of bitterness in you that keeps you frustrated and keeps you from being all the man or woman God meant for you to be.

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

He wanted you alive so He let that conception happen. He wanted you and He loves you.

  • Salvation: Receive God’s love.

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation exactly as You promised.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Even the most desperate and tragic situations show us God’s love for us. God can always bring good out of bad. You are loved by God and the cross proves it. Jesus Christ died for you. God made you. God saved you and God has a plan for you. He wants you to fulfill the purpose you were shaped for here on earth in this life and for eternity in heaven. That cannot happen apart from salvation.

  • Refocus: Develop what’s inside not outside.

In our society we are obsessed with outward appearance. People spend millions of dollars to work on the outside, but they don’t spend any time on the inside of them.

“The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance. But the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

God wants you to take the time and effort to discover your SHAPE. All of the stuff inside of you determines what God wants you to do with your life. Satan is doing everything he can to keep you from using your SHAPE, because if he can keep you from discovering and deploying your SHAPE, he can rob you of your rewards in heaven and he can rob God of His glory.


Check Back

Which question and reason for work did you focus on last week? In what ways did you make progress? What are some next steps you can take to continue your progress?

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Can you identify the 5 elements of your SHAPE?

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Application

1. ACCEPTANCE: Believe That God Knows Best

“My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

What do you need to accept about your SHAPE that you have been resisting?

2. SALVATION: Receive God’s Love

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as You promise.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Have you received the forgiveness and salvation that Christ offers you in every area of your life?

3. REFOCUS: Develop What’s Inside Not Outside

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

“By the grace of God I am what I am.”  1 Corinthians. 15:10 (NIV)

What part of your SHAPE do you need to discover and develop more fully?

Tell Someone Else

Acknowledge your SHAPE this week. Think about who God has put in your life that needs to understand their value before God. How can you help them find their value by discovering their SHAPE?

 

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