This morning, we’re continuing our new message series filled with hope and encouragement inspired by History Channel’s American Restoration entitled, “Christian Restoration”. We’re learning that no matter how broken and hopeless we, or our circumstances, may currently be, God is fully able and willing to restore and renew us!
This morning, we’re going to look specifically at how God is able to restore life.
Some people reach a point in their lives where they grow discontent. A feeling arises that causes us to be unhappy with the mundane routines of life sensing that there is a greater purpose and that there is more that we can do with our lives.
Some people become overwhelmed by the consequences of past mistakes. We long for a giant reset button in life that would allow us to start all over again and do things better.
Thankfully, when we submit ourselves to God and turn to Him, He is able to give us new life! Through this new life, we are given a divine purpose and clarity of mission. All of our past mistakes are forgiven and God works them together for our good and His glory. This all begins with a simple choice that we all have the opportunity to make; accept Jesus as our savior!
An amazing thing happens when we first accept Christ’s salvation. We come alive! Until that time, we thought that we were living. However, we didn’t realize just how dead in our sins and transgressions we truly were. It’s only in the contrast of the new life that only Jesus gives that we realize just how dead we truly were before finding this new life. Before this new life, we were sort of like zombies. This contrast is sort of like that popular Passenger song:
Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go
Not only do you receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, but you also receive the Holy Spirit, which gives life to your own spirit, which has been dormant until that point. This is what Jesus was referring to in John chapter 3 when He confused the Pharisee Nicodemus by telling him that unless a man is born again, He cannot see the Kingdom of God.
This new birth is a spiritual birth. Though we were once dead in our sin, we are now alive in Jesus! The life that we now live, we no longer live for ourselves. Rather, we choose to live our lives for Christ. We know that the life that He gives is far greater than any life that we could have built ourselves. We know that the sacrifices that we make and the good works that we do through the Spirit’s empowerment are gaining for us rich rewards and treasures in Heaven that nothing can ever steal away from us!
This new life is true life! It is a life of freedom! Though we once were powerless over Satan and sin, we now live a life of POWER over the enemy and over sin. We’re no longer slaves to sin, we’re free in Christ! We’ve escaped the corruption of the world and have been granted restoration through Christ. We are literally a new creation in Christ, the old person is gone and the new person has come!
God’s grace has not just forgiven our sin, it has empowered us to live a life free from sin. It is through this same grace of God that we’re equipped with the spiritual gifts along with everything that we need to live a life of godliness.
This new life is made possible through a cooperation. It’s a cooperation between the Holy Spirit and ourselves. Through this cooperation, not only are we built up spiritually, but we also have the divine opportunity to work together with God to build up others. Salvation is a free gift that cannot be purchased nor earned. However, we will give an account for our lives on that day that we meet Jesus face to face and stand before Him at the seat of judgment. The degree of our cooperation and the quality of the work that we do here determines whether we receive the red carpet treatment into the Kingdom of Heaven or if we just sneak in barely escaping the flames of Hell.
1 Corinthians 3:9-16
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
Once we’ve accepted Christ’s salvation and are given new life, our bodies become a tent, a building which houses the Holy Spirit. We are the temples that the rich presence of the Holy Spirit dwells! However, what type of building are we building for Him?
We know just how quickly even the most solid and beautiful buildings begin to break down if they are not properly maintained. Even if they are built of stone or brick, they can quickly become empty shells if someone isn’t doing their job to maintain that building. Whenever someone purchases a building (and has all of the resources needed to restore it and build it up) and yet abandons it and leaves it deteriorate into ruins, it is to their shame. That person quickly looses respect and credibility in the community which that building sits.
It’s just as foolish and shameful for us to be made new at salvation, then to allow ourselves to break down spiritually and then to go back to our sins. However, if we do not do our job at building ourselves up, that is exactly what will happen. We have access to the resources of Heaven. If we do not use them to build ourselves and others up, if we just live our lives no differently than we used to after we are saved, then just like that unmaintained building, we will break down. Listen to what scripture says about such a person:
2 Peter 2:20-21
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
We are co-workers not only with each other, but more importantly, with God. We have been called to live our lives to a higher standard. Not to shame us for who we currently are, but because we have the opportunity and have been enabled to live our lives to their full. We have the resources available to us to build up our lives to be far greater, far more valuable, and to do more incredible things than we could ever think or imagine.
2 Peter 1:3-11
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just like a building is constructed, so this new life that we have been given needs to be constructed. This construction project never ends until the Lord calls us home. There’s an infinite amount of room for expansion and additions to be build in our lives! These projects are fully funded and the building materials are available in an abundance to build a godly life.
We start by pouring the footers and firm foundation of Jesus. It all starts by putting our faith in the salvation provided by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Thankfully, there’s not need for an inspection of this work. Our Heavenly Father, the Great Inspector, has already approved the work of Jesus once and for all as a foundation firm enough for anyone who chooses to build upon it.
Next, the framework is constructed for our initial building project. Our spiritual framework is constructed using the solid doctrines and teachings of the Bible. Although each person’s layout will look and function differently and will be trimmed and decorated differently, this framework all needs to be the same. This doctrinal framework of Biblical truth needs to be in place to be able to provide strength and structure to our lives and the ministry which we all are called to do.
This framework is a standard which any of us can build upon. Whenever God calls us to minster and build together, having these standard frameworks will make building far easier and keep us moving in unity. Whenever we begin to hang drywall, we won’t miss our mark because we’ll know exactly where those studs are. Whenever we build, we build line upon line and precept upon precept, no matter what purpose the building will serve or what the building will look like. We can disagree on certain points and have our opinions about many things, but there are a few truths that must be consistent as to bear the weight of the rest of the building. Without this weight bearing framework, the building will come crashing down!
These core truths are what enables us to work together in cooperation with other churches in our area to build up our community. This framework consists of truths such as:
– The scriptures are inspired by God
– There is only one true God who reveals Himself as three persons; Father, Son, and Spirit
– The deity of Jesus, that He was both human and divine
– That man willingly fell to sin
– That every person can have restored fellowship with God through salvation
– That Christ is coming again and a final judgment will take place
– That those who accept Christ’s salvation will inherit eternal life
– That those who reject Christ’s salvation will be cast into Hell for eternal torment
These are just a few core doctrines revealed by scripture that form a framework for all Christians to work together and build upon.
Buildings in the natural can possess all sorts of qualities and attributes. Some are homes designed for families to dwell and grow within. Some are designed to bring your automobile in for repairs and service. Some are designed to kick back and enjoy a meal within. Some are designed to be centers for shopping. Some are designed to host thousands for entertainment’s sake.
The list goes on and on, however, there are some attributes that all buildings possess.
The same goes for us spiritually. Our life purposes and callings from God will all vary. How we approach ministry will look different because we are all different parts of Christ’s body. However, there are qualities that we all are called to possess and add to prevent us from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are to:
add to our faith (which is our foundation) goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection;
and to mutual affection, love.
Of course, we know the the greatest thing that we can possess that builds us up and helps us to build others up is love.
This morning, I want to encourage us all to embrace this new life that God has restored to us. If you haven’t started with the firm foundation of faith in the salvation provided by Jesus, now is your chance to do exactly that.
If you have, now is your chance to make sure that you don’t grow ineffective and unproductive in building up yourself and others with goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love in an ever-increasing measure!