Nobody Does New Like Jesus!

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Nobody Does New Like Jesus!

1 Corinthians 3:1-15

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 6, 2013

*We call it a new year, but for most people, it really doesn’t seem new: Same routine, same troubles in the world, and pretty much the same me when I look in the mirror. If we really want new, we have to go to God! He loves to do new things in people’s lives.

*In Psalm 40:1-3, King David said:

1. . . I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.

2. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.

3. He has put a new song in my mouth -- Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD.

*In Lamentations 3:22-23, the Prophet Jeremiah said:

22. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

23. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

*In John 13:34-35, Jesus said this to His followers:

34. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

*In 2 Cor 5:17, Paul said this about everyone who receives Jesus: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

*And in Revelation 21, the Apostle John gave this great testimony:

1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

2. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

4. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.''

5. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new.'' And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.''

*Nobody does new like the Lord Jesus Christ! -- And in 2013, He wants to do new things in our lives. But God gives us a part in the process.

1. First: We have to get serious about spiritual growth

*God wants us to grow in our Christian life. There is no doubt about it in vs. 1-4. Here Paul was speaking to Christians who were not growing like we should. So the Apostle said:

1. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.

2. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;

3. for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

4. For when one says, "I am of Paul,'' and another, "I am of Apollos,'' are you not carnal?

*Obviously here, God wants us to grow-up in Christ. We are born again as baby Christians, but the Lord wants us to grow. And the good news is that we can grow.

*Greg Warren once asked some people of all ages to share a few words of wisdom. And I like these quotes, because they show that we can grow over the years:

-A 7-year-old shared this wisdom he must have learned from experience: “You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.”

-Age 13: “Just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up.”

-Age 29: “Brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

-Also age 29: “Wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there.”

-Age 44: “I’ve learned you can make someone’s day simply by sending them a little card.”

-Age 52: “You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles three things: “A rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

-Age 58: “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”

-Age 61: “If you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage.”

-Age 66: “Whenever I decide something with kindness (in my heart), I have usually made the right decision.”

-Age 73: “It pays to believe in miracles. And, to tell the truth, I’ve seen several.”

-Age 82: “Even when I have pains, I don’t have to BE one.”

-And age 92: “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.” (1)

*The good news is that we can grow as believers. The problem is: Sometimes we don’t. That was certainly the case in Corinth. And we have to pay attention to our growth, because our Christian growth is not automatic. Lack of Christian growth can keep us from having the best 2013, both in our personal lives, and in our church life.

*We have a wonderful church. I thank God every day for our church, and the blessing we have of serving here with you. But no church is perfect. And it can help us to look at the problems in Corinth. This is very important, because there are dead and dying churches all around us. And most of them have had the same kind of problems we see here in Corinth.

[1] One of those problems was poor leadership.

*Somebody was giving poor leadership in Corinth, so Paul had to step in. Somebody was leading those people to split into groups that were fussing and fighting with one another.

*I mention this to you, because I am your pastor today only by the grace of God. And I want to be the leader that God wants me to be. So, please keep praying for me. That’s the best thing you can do for me.

-One problem at Corinth was poor leadership.

[2] Another problem was selfishness.

*Those people were fussing and fighting in vs. 3&4. They just refused to get along. Please listen again, as Paul said:

3. . . You are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

4. For when one says, "I am of Paul,'' and another, "I am of Apollos,'' are you not carnal?

*There in vs. 4, Paul went back to something he had said in chapter 1:

10. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.

12. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul,'' or "I am of Apollos,'' or "I am of Cephas,'' or "I am of Christ.'' (1 Cor 1:10-12)

*Can you see the problem in that last verse? -- It was “I, I, I, I.”

-Those people thought that church was “all about me.”

*The problem was selfishness pure and simple. And we want to grow out of that! God wants us to grow out of that. So in 2 Peter 3:18, the Apostle challenges us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . .”

*God wants to do new things in our lives this year, but we have to do our part.

-So get serious about spiritual growth.

2. But church: We also need to find more ways to work together with God.

*In vs. 5-9, Paul talks a little about the great privilege we have to work in partnership with God Himself. Here Paul said:

5. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?

6. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

7. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

8. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.

*Christians: “We are God's fellow workers!” -- Or as the KJV says: “We are laborers together with God.”

-This means we are part of the greatest team in the history of the world!

-We are on the same team as Paul and Apollos.

-We are on the same team with the greatest men and women who have ever lived.

-But best of all, “we are laborers together with God!”

*And it is extremely important for us to do our part. Back in vs. 6, Paul said: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

-What good would it have done for Paul to plant, if Apollos never watered?

-And what good would it have done for Apollos to water, if Paul never planted?

-We all have to do our part.

*One of the people I am looking forward to seeing in Heaven is a lady named Katie Finley. Mary and I got married on Valentine’s Day in 1975, and we lived in a little apartment in West Monroe. Miss Katie lived in the apartment below us.

*In October of that same year, I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. We really didn’t know Miss Katie at the time. But later we learned that she had been praying for us every day for 6 months. Miss Katie faithfully prayed that God would help us find a church where we could worship Him together.

*Would I have gotten saved if Miss Katie hadn’t been there to pray for me? -- I can’t answer that. But I can tell you that she did pray for me, and I did get saved. I believe with all my heart that her prayers made a difference, and I will be forever grateful for the prayers of Miss Katie Finley!

*This is just one example. There are many opportunities for us to serve the Lord. Find out what the Lord wants you to do, because it is extremely important for us to do our part.

*God wants to do new things in our lives this year, but we have to do our part, so find more ways to work with God.

3. And have faith in God’s foundation.

*There is only one foundation for our eternal life, and His name is Jesus Christ.

-The Apostle Paul makes this truth clear for us in vs. 10-11, where he said:

10. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

11. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

*Paul knew that Jesus Christ is the only foundation for a life worth living. And the reason why is because Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was born as a man to die on the cross for our sins. And He rose again from the dead.

*Jesus will be your foundation. He will give His mercy, forgiveness and everlasting life to all who trust in Him. Jesus wants to give you eternal life.

*But the only way was for Him to give His life. Listen to some of the Lord’s suffering from Psalm 69. These prophetic words were written by King David a thousand years before Christ was born.

-Verses 3&4:

3. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

4. Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it.

-Verses 8&9:

8. I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children;

9. Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

-Verses 20&21:

20. Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none.

21. They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

*Matthew 27 tells us that this last verse was fulfilled when Jesus suffered and sacrificed Himself on the cross for our sins. We can understand the Lord’s sacrifice a little in the story of a 34-year-old Israeli soldier named Zev Traum.

*Zev was born in New York City, but moved to Israel when he was 19. On his last morning in this world, Zev kissed his wife goodbye and looked in on his children. Then, he slung on his weapon and headed for his duty station. Two hours later a bullet rang out from the shadows and pierced Zev’s head.

*Zev was rushed to a hospital in Jerusalem, but he was found to be brain dead. Then, in an amazing act of grace and kindness, Zev’s wife, Brenda, kissed her husband goodbye, and walked across the hall to sign some papers. Those papers allowed the doctors to take Zev’s strong, beating heart, and give it to a man who was sure to die without it. That man was an enemy, a Palestinian enemy was given life. But it came at the highest cost for Zev and Brenda Traum. (2)

*Christians, we were enemies too: Enemies of God. And our eternal life came at the highest price to Him. But Jesus rose again! -- So in Romans 5:10, Paul could say: “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Our crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christ is the only foundation for eternal life. And we must place our faith in Him.

*That Palestinian man would have been so foolish to reject the new heart that was offered to him. But we would be infinitely more foolish to reject the life that Jesus offers to us all. Don’t reject the Lord’s offer of eternal life. Receive the Lord’s offer of eternal life by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

*God wants to do new things in our lives this year, but we must have faith in God’s foundation.

4. We also need to stay focused on our future.

*There is an indescribable future in store for all who trust in the Lord, and it’s going to be a rewarding future.

*In vs. 8, we see a reward for spiritual fruit. Here Paul said: “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” Paul was talking here about the spiritual fruit of souls saved, and lives changed by the good news about Jesus.

*And Paul talked about rewards again down in vs. 12-14, when he said this:

12. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13. each one's work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.

14. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

*God is going to give a great reward to every Christian who builds good things on Jesus Christ. But remember: Jesus is the foundation of our salvation. So in vs. 15, Paul went on to say: “If anyone's work is burned, (i.e. any Christian’s work is burned) he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

*If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, if you have a personal relationship with Him, then you are saved. You are going to Heaven. And no one can take that away from you. This gets us to the greatest reward, and that is to see the one who died on the cross to give us life.

*King Duncan tells the story of a 90-year-old man who went up to his pastor one day after worship. This old man had been blind from birth and he told the pastor he wanted “to see him” (the only way he could). He ran his fingers over the pastor's face, and then he began to cry.

*The old man said, “When I open my eyes for the first time, you know who I will be looking at, don't you?” -- The preacher replied, “Yes, you will be looking at Jesus.” Then the blind man said with joy, “Pastor, it is worth being blind for 90 years to know that the first time I open my eyes, I will be looking at Jesus!” (3)

*That man knew: The best reward of all is Jesus! And Jesus will give us the best year ever, if we will build our future on His firm foundation.

*Nobody does new like the Lord Jesus Christ!

-But Christians, we need to get serious about spiritual growth.

-Find more ways to work together with God.

-And stay focused on our rewarding future.

*But if you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you need to start by receiving the Lord.

-Put your faith in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross.

-You are hopelessly lost without Him.

-But you can build your future on His firm foundation.

*Call on Jesus to save you right now as we go to God in prayer.

(1) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Greg Warren

(2) Original source unknown

(3) PROCLAIM, July-September 1994, p. 15 - Source: / Dynamic Illustrations download - Christmas 2001

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