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 4: How Does the World End?

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On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about How the World Will End.


It’s a great question. How DOES the world end? It’s one of the questions that the disciples asked Jesus.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'”  Matthew 24:3 (NIV)

The disciples wanted to know “when” it will happen and the warning signs. For 51 verses in Matthew 24, Jesus lays out what is going to happen. He gives us the “what” and the warning signs, but He doesn’t give us the “when”.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.”  Matthew 24:36 (NIV)

One of the most crucial signs that the end is near is found in a statement that Jesus makes:

“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

The Greek word for nations is the word ethnos which doesn’t mean a geographic boundary of a nation, but ethnicity or people group. There are more people groups than there are countries. The UN lists around 190 countries on the planet. But there are lots of ethnicities, distinct people groups all over the world.

We are the first generation in history that is about to take the gospel to every people group. We are on the verge of completing the Great Commission.

There are still a lot of small people groups in remote places that have not heard the Gospel. There are people groups that do not have a single believer, a Bible in their language or a church in their culture.

In the year 2000, there were 3,000 unengaged people groups. This year, there are 1,061 unengaged people groups. We are closing in on fulfilling the Great Commission.

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7 (NIV)

Verses 5-7 are referring to the creation account in Genesis where God picked a day and said, “Let there be…” and the heavens and the earth were created by God. It’s also referring to Noah, the ark and the flood. God picked another day and said, “I’ve had enough of these evil people.” And He destroyed the world and everyone and everything on it, except for Noah’s family and the animals they had in the Ark. By the same word, God is going to pick a day, that only He knows, and destroy the earth by fire.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

Jewish scholars believe this verse is referring to what they call a Seven Day Earth. If a day equals a thousand years, and there were 7 days in creation, then the earth is going to last 7,000 years. There were 4,000 years from Adam to Christ, 2,000 years from Christ to the present, that would mean you’ve got another 1,000 years left.

So many things leave us feeling uncertain, but here is one thing we can be sure of,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Picture it like this: God is sitting on His throne with Jesus at His right hand in heaven. God looks down at the earth and sees all the wicked things going on and He turns to Jesus and says, “Go get the church out of there.” Jesus jumps up because He is ready. The church is His bride this is His wedding day. Jesus gets on His white horse to come get us, the Church, and then God says, “Wait! Wait a minute. I see some more people we can reach, so let’s just wait.”

God is not in a hurry to judge people. He is patiently waiting for people to come to Him. 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”  2 Peter 3:10 (NIV)


What Will Lead Up to the World’s Destruction?

  • People will be distracted with life.

We all need to ask ourselves, “How much of this world am I focused on? How much of heaven am I focused on?” Don’t get distracted with the things of this world to the point that you aren’t ready for the end of your life.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”  Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV)

People in Noah’s day were distracted with life. They weren’t paying attention to what was happening around them. 

  • People will forget God.

Today in China, over 35,000 people a day are coming to faith in Christ. The Gospel is surging in China.

The Gospel is surging in places where it has never been heard before. But in places that have had the Gospel for a long time, it’s declining.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”  Matthew 24:12 (NIV)

Because of this wickedness, you have to guard your heart, your marriage, your kids, your faith.

  • People will not be ready.

“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Matthew 24:40-42 (NIV)

“For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)

The book of Revelation tells us what to look for in the end. People look at the book of Revelation and feel overwhelmed, but let’s break it down into 10 events.


Ten Events in the book of Revelation

1. The Church Age – Revelation 2-3

This age started with the birth of the Church in Acts chapter 2 and it continues into the end times.

2. The Rapture – Revelation 4:1

The Rapture is when God snatches all the Christians off of the earth.

3. The Rise of the Antichrist – Revelation 6

The Antichrist is the one who brokers a deal and signs a treaty with Israel to rebuild their temple. The Jews are ready to go. All they need is a signature on a treaty from the Antichrist.

4. The Tribulation – Revelation 6-19

Most of the book of Revelation is about the seven years of Tribulation. This is where the world falls apart with plagues, famines, wars and death. God will bring His judgement upon the earth. There will be people who believe in Jesus Christ during this time, but it’s going to be very hard for them.

5. The Second Coming of Christ – Revelation 19

Praise God! Jesus is going to come back and make everything right. He is going to defeat the enemies of God and win the victory!

6. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19

At this point, Jesus is going to take Satan and the Antichrist and bury them in a bottomless grave. With them will go all addiction, depression, pornography, deceit, depression, confusion, anxiety, greed and destruction. Then Jesus is going to throw a party. 

7. The Millennium – Revelation 20:6

This will be a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. We’ll get to see what it’s like to live on earth with Jesus as Lord of all!

8. The Last Rebellion – Revelation 20:7-10

God will let Satan out of the bottomless pit to one more time test the earth so that people born during the Millennium will have their chance to choose or reject Jesus.

9. The Great White Throne Judgement– Revelation 20:11-15

If you’re a Christian, you won’t be a part of this. Your judgment happens at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where everyone living and dead who rejected Jesus will have their day in court.

10. New Heaven and New Earth – Revelation 21-22

The new heaven and new earth will be much like the garden of Eden. We will get to live there and work there and do incredible things.

The incredible things you will get to do in heaven, will depend on how you live your life on earth.

The real question when studying the end times is, “How does it change my life?” You can have the most accurate end times chart, but if it doesn’t affect your life, it’s worthless. Whenever the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus would quickly switch the conversation to evangelism. He wants His follower’s primary focus to be on their mission in the world.


So What Should We Do?

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First, we should think clearly in light of the end times.

“The end of all things is near therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”  1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)

Prayer is what helps you to stay clear minded. Prayer unleashes the fruit of the Spirit so you can be self-controlled. Why do I need to think clearly about my life?

“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”  Philippians 3:18-21 (NLT)

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Next, we should focus on relationships.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9 (NIV)

We focus on relationships because people are the only thing you’re going to take with you to heaven. People are the only thing that will last through out eternity. Everything else is going to burn up with a fervent heat.

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We should also focus on making a difference here on earth.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

You are gifted! When you became a believer, God gave you a spiritual gift that He wants you to use in the church and serve others. It’s not a self-serving gift, it’s a gift to serve others.

Your spiritual gift is the delivery system that God uses to get His grace to the world.

So God wants you to discover your spiritual gift. He wants you to develop and deploy your gift so that it benefits other people and builds up the church.

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

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Finally, we must receive God’s grace if we are to effectively make a difference with the days God has entrusted to us.

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  2 Peter 3:11-18 NIV


Check Back

Review what you talked about last week on the topic of navigating seasons of life.

What priorities did you adjust for the season of life you are in? How were you able to help others this past week with the season they are navigating?

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Application

Read 2 Peter 3:3-11

Living in the Last Days: With which of these dangers of the last days do you struggle?

1. People will be distracted with life.  Matthew 24:37-39

2. People will forget God. Matthew 24:12

3. People will not be ready. Matthew 24:40-42     1 Thessalonians 5:2     Matthew 25:1-13

It is not by accident or oversight that the Bible does not define the “time” of the end. What it does describe in great detail is what our lives should be like when we live out our last days on this earth.

So What Should I Do?

1. I should think clearly.  1 Peter 4:7  Philippians 3:18-21

2. I should focus on relationships.  1 Peter 4:8-9

3. I should make a difference.  1 Peter 4:10-11

4. I should receive God’s grace. 2 Peter 3:11  Isaiah 55:6-7

What does it mean to be “eternally focused”?

What changes can we make in our lives to assure that we are investing our lives, not just spending them?

Have you received God’s grace for your last days?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

How can you be an effective dispenser of God’s grace in your relationships this week? Who could you point to Christ?

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