The New Creation; the Essence of Christmas -
The New Meaning of the New Year
New Year’s Eve Service, Dec. 31, 1997
I think it is interesting that the New Year’s celebration follows Christmas. Christ was born as a baby. Babys are brand spanking new. They are unadulterated, clean, shiny, fresh, unscarred, unblemished, unassuming, unpretentious, beautiful, full of promise, and sinless from the standpoint of having not (yet) performed sins of the consciousness. Is there a message here to us from God? I believe that one of the reasons Christ came as a baby was to show us the effect of faith in him. Like it says in 2Cor. 5:16-21 -
16 ¶ So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So what is the worldly point of view? That Christ was a man just like us. It is true he was just like us. He had to be to become an acceptible sacrifice for sin. But he was also far different. He was sinless. He was like a sinless baby who grew to maturity without losing any of the qualities that made him perfect, new and lovable. And by faith in his sacrifice for sin in which his perfect life is infused into ours by the mystery, mercy and merit of God, we can start every day our like a baby without sin - brand spanking new. That is the meaning of the phrase, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view -” That is, when we are in Christ, neither are we a person just like we used to be. We become like he is. The passage goes on to tell us that we are not to keep this amazingly good news to ourselves. The good news is, “- that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Brand new - that’s what it’s all about! The new year is ahead of us to believe it and apply it - not a worldly point of view, but a Christ centered point of view. We must continue to apply the message of Christmas to our faith and way of life to have victory in the coming year. The message of Christmas is the message of Christ. Let us take another look at the meaning of Christmas - the meaning of Christ for the coming year.
Christmas means that:
1. He descended that we might ascend.
Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever escape the gravitational pull of the world and its will to ascend to the heavens by the will of God where Christ came from and now is. Christ came down that we might not stay down. He got up that we might get up.
2. He became poor that we might become rich.
2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Jas 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
Mt 5:3 ¶ "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever hope to exchange rags for riches. The ones who are truly poor are those who believe the rags they possess are true riches. Those rags will be as rich as they will ever get. True riches only come from the One who is the true King.
3. He was born that we might be born again.
Joh 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Joh 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
Joh 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever reenter his existence. Most people will only live the first offer of life they had no choice about, having been born into the world in the way of mankind. Then, sin bent, hell bent, they proceed to destroy that life through bad choices, having no power to make different choices. At the choice of God, the birth of Christ offered us a choice about life, the choice to live, to be born in the manner in which he was born, perfect - perfect , holy, sinless by faith, righteous by faith, brand new by spiritual birth.
4. He became a servant that we might become sons.
Php 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Ga 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, <"Abba>, Father."
Ga 4:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever hope to obtain royalty. That is because Christ paid the ‘royalty’ (rights) for our royalty. He had to come and crawl through the gutters, the sweatshops, the places of our sin servitude to find us. He had to pay off the slavemaster who would only be satisfied with blood, sweat and tears. God desires to have many spiritual children. He spared no expense. Royalty is worth it.
5. He had no home that we might have a home in heaven.
Mt 8:20 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever escape homelessness. You see, the home we may have here is quite temporary. In the same way that you can become homeless from flood, tornado, or fire, there is an end to your earthly home when they haul out your body and bury it. Pretty tight quarters there. But no matter, you ain’t movin’ much. A pretty homely place, the casket. But not heaven. If heaven’s not my home, O Lord what will I do? I’ll rot and rot and rot some more and spend eternity through. But O the riches of heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. Christ became as truly homeless as we are in order to show us the way home. He has invited us over to his place for a ‘while’.
6. He was hungry that we might be fed.
Mt 4:2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Joh 4:32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
Joh 6:50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever feed his soul. There is life beyond food even as necessary as food is in this life. Christ fed primarily upon spiritual nourishment from God that sustained him to the limits of the body’s endurance in order to show us the reality of God’s care for the body and the soul. There may be ‘no free lunch’ in the world’s eyes. But Christ already picked up the tab for any that would join him at his table. Both manna and Christ came down from heaven, more than enough for all.
7. He was thirsty that we might be satisfied.
Joh 19:28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."
Mt 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Re 7:16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever get enough to drink. The water he gives can bathe those holy hidden places in the heart like nothing else. The human soul thirsts for righteousness, but there is no water on earth that will satisfy it. Christ thirsted on the cross that we might find it - the fountain of youth, the spring of life, at the well of righteousness. Drink deep and take your fill.
8. He was stripped that we might be clothed.
Mt 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,
Ga 3:27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever stop worrying about what to wear every day. One size fits all - the salvation won by our Lord is enough for anyone and enough to go around. The color is white - none other needed for righteousness. No need for laundry - he will never become stained. Put on Christ. Don’t put it off.
9. He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken.
Mt 27:25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
Mt 27:26 ¶ Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Mt 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, <"Eloi, Eloi, lama> <sabachthani?">-- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mt 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever be sure of his stand with God. He took his stand for us on the cross in a place we could not stand, and yet in a place where we are now able to stand as we take up our cross daily because he has already been there. He will never leave nor forsake us. We have his promise. He understands how it is. Your sin has been paid for at his expense. So neither will God the Father ever turn away from you.
10. He was sad that we might become glad.
Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever truly rejoice. Why? Because the Lord is near. He is near to us because of the cross and by his Spirit. He said the Spirit would not come unless he went away. The Comforter gladdens our hearts by the Spirit of his presence even though he is not physically present. The Spirit testifies to us of his forgiveness, and that should certainly make us glad.
11. He was bound that we might go free.
Mt 27:2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
Joh 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Joh 8:33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"
Joh 8:34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
Joh 8:35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.
Joh 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever go free. It is like walking away from a crime scene in which you were the major perpetrator, bound in the chains of sin. Christ, as the Judge, paid the penalty himself. That’s the truth, believe it or not. If you believe it, you’re free. If not, you’re not free. The simple truth is that sin is slavery and sin’s penalty must be satisfied in order for your slavery to be abolished.
12. He was made sin that we might be made righteous.
2Co 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever have the righteousness of Christ. God put our sin to death by placing it upon Christ in order that we might have his sinlessness upon us. But we must be ‘in him’ to receive it.
13. He died that we might live.
Joh 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Joh 5:25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever obtain eternal life. Have you heard the Word? Do you believe it? Then you are on your way over the bridge from death to life. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. You may be spiritually dead, but by faith in his Word you will live. You may become physically dead, but by faith in his Word you will rise again just as he did.
14. He came down that we might be caught up.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1Th 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Only one who is made new in Christ can ever hope to fly. And fly you will upon chariots of clouds driven by the wings of the dawn at the call of Christ in the perfect hour to the hope of heaven.
Because of Christ at Christmas, we shall ascend to great heights, have untold riches, get to start over from birth, become sons of God with a home in heaven, eat and drink the very food of God, be clothed in the raiment of righteousness, never be left alone, forever rejoicing in our deliverance from sin, having the sinlessness of God, having the hope of eternal life and the trip of our lives. Sounds like something new to me! (Rev. 21:5-7)
Re 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Re 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
Re 21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.