Sept. 15th, 2014 | Series: The Beautiful Journey

2 Corinthians 3:1-18 This is the opening sermon to our “The Beautiful Journey” series. In it, we explore what actually causes transformation in a person’s life. We learned the difference between Old Covenant and New Covenant Christians.

Sermon Content

Father, in our time in your scriptures, would you lead us to that mountain of mercy? God, to the crimson flood of your grace that washes over us as your redeemed. And Lord, may we see Jesus, because we know if we see Jesus, we’ll be changed. Help us see him, please. It’s in the name of Jesus we pray.

Amen. Amen. I absolutely, maybe like you, hate Packing. Really packing of any sort. Packing to move is excruciating, it’s terrible but packing even to just go on a road trip, I don’t know if you’re with me on that but just getting ready to go anywhere, especially if you have three young kids.

is terrible. The staycation sounds better every year. We need couples counseling before we get in that car after spending a day or so packing. And we usually get to this point when we’re packing to go on a trip where we’re walking out the door and Kelly goes, I hope I didn’t forget anything. And my general response is we are going to a civilized place.

I’m sure there’s a target. So whatever we need, it can be purchased there. And then as we’re pulling out of the neighborhood, she says, Did I turn the toaster off? Did I turn the coffee pot off? Did I turn the oven off? Inevitably, we ask this question and I respond the same way every time. If you didn’t, the house will burn down and we just keep driving, right?

Because at that point in time, We just need to go. Getting ready to leave, packing, it’s the worst. It’s the worst. I thought everybody traveled like my family before I got married. My family, here’s the way we used to travel growing up. My mom would go to the store and she would go to the snack aisle And she would just get our shopping cart and pull everything from the snack aisle into the shopping cart.

She would have her own cooler of Diet Coke up in the seat right next to her. As if we weren’t gonna pass the gas station like every 10 miles for the entire trip to California. And we ate our way. from Colorado to California every single summer. And regardless of what time we passed our first In N Out burger, you better believe we were stopping, right?

If it was 2 in the afternoon and we’d just eaten lunch, we’re like, In N Out burger! Errrr! Needed a snack anyway. And then I went on a trip with Kelly’s parents. The exact opposite. See, our theory growing up was, we’re not doing anything today, so we might as well eat the entire day. Kelly’s family’s theory growing up was we’re not doing anything today, so we don’t need to eat.

So we’d stop at a gas station. I learned this within the first few hours. I’m like, where’s the snacks, did you guys bring any chips? What are we gonna do to pass it? So we go to the gas station and I load up and I get all my little snacks and I’m back in the car and I’m the only person eating.

But people were jealous.

Won them over. I won them. Have you ever noticed getting packed, getting ready to go anywhere. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge. And in many ways, the quality of the destination is determined by what you bring. The quality of the destination is determined by what you bring. And the point you end up at is determined by how you start.

Over the next few weeks, here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to invite you into a section of scripture. A chapter of scripture that’s just absolutely burrowed its way into my heart. And the last few months. It’s one of those things where haven’t been able to shake it and we’re taking a break that we plan from the book of Acts to just create some on ramps for people at South.

And so we’re going to do a four week series that we’re calling the beautiful journey and in it I want to paint for you a picture as best I can of the way that God designed you and I to live and the journey that he is inviting us I want us to go on together. I don’t know if you know this, but God is into journey.

He’s a part of it. And He invites you and I. Hey, come walk with me. And He has a destination in mind. Look at the way that He says this in the book of 2 Corinthians. Chapter, er, Chapter 3. If you have a Bible, you can turn there. Verses 17. And 18, you guys helped me out for some reason, that’s not working.

Next slide. Verse 17, it says this, and now the Lord Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Might sound familiar, you just sang about it. And Paul goes on to write about this church in Corinth, and he says this, and we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the Same image from one degree of glory to another for this comes this transformation this journey, if you will, of God taking us from one place to another one kind of person to another one nature to another, he says, this journey, this transformation comes from the Lord.

Who is Spirit? See, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but God wants to do something in your life. He wants to work in your life. He wants to take you from one place to another. We’re calling it the beautiful journey over the next few weeks. This journey of transformation. And you say but Paulson, where’s the word beauty in that passage? Will you go to the next slide? Here, look at the way that he says this. From one degree of glory to the next, but I don’t know if you know this, but the word glory is a pretty weighty word. Pun intended, it means weight. But you could also translate it, beauty.

Read verse 18, or listen along as I read verse 18, and see how it sounds, maybe just a little bit different. Paul writes, And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the beauty of the Lord, are being transformed. See, as we see His beauty, we’re being transformed from one degree of beauty to another. This comes from the Lord, who is beautiful.

See, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but God’s desire, God’s longing, God’s hope for humanity is that He would transform His people into the image of His Son. That He would transform His people into the image of His Son. I thought about calling this series, Beautiful People. But then I thought you might be afraid that I’d go get plastic surgery or Botox or something like that.

And so I decided, no, we’ll just go the beautiful journey. It’s a little bit less threatening. But what God wants to do through faith in Christ as the Spirit dwells in you is make you more and more beautiful. Glorious, even. And so that may sound a little bit like, I think that might be heretical, Paulson.

That’s not God’s intention. Just, that’s what the scriptures say. He wants to transform you into the image of his son. Look how far Paul will go in the book of Romans to make this point. He says, for those whom he foreknew, this is God, people he knows will have faith, he also predestined, and that’s a word that’s scary to a lot of Christians, but listen to what he predestined followers of Jesus to do.

What he determined beforehand about their destiny. He predestined us to be conformed into the image of his son. In order that he, Jesus, might be the firstborn among many brothers. That Jesus might be the prototype for what you eventually become like. It’s crazy. Beautiful journey. But we have some holdups with that, don’t we?

We have some holdups. See, a lot of us, we don’t even realize that’s God’s intent. We don’t realize that’s what He wants to do in us, is to transform us. Some people, our relationship with God is pretty standoffish, and we may not even, at this point, consider ourself to be a follower of Jesus.

And we’re going, God, I don’t know if I even want you to transform me. I don’t know enough about this Jesus to know that I want to look like Him.

Some of us were just stalled. It’s like we packed up the car, and probably because we had the wrong stuff in it, We’re just along the side of the road on this quote unquote beautiful journey, and you look at me and you go beautiful journey I think not. It’s a journey that’s riddled with guilt and shame and trying harder and failing all the time What’s beautiful about that Paulson?

Many of us would go beautiful journey knowing Jesus this beautiful journey this Transformation we’re going well beautiful journey is great, but I want the beautiful destination. Hey here newsflash friends This beautiful journey. You’re on it your whole life. You’re on it your whole life. And some of you are frustrated you’re not moving faster or farther.

And I think what Jesus wants to say to us this morning is, Will you come to me? Will you come to my word? Will you receive from me? And make sure you got the right stuff packed for this journey. Because I want to do some great things in your life. And you might need to let go of some stuff, and you may need to pick up some other stuff.

But if you’re frustrated with the Christian life, the beautiful or not so beautiful journey, this series is for you. See, we love stories about transformation, don’t we? We love it. It’s almost as though God designed us to love it. We, it’s so widespread, it’s so universal that we attach onto these stories of people that are transformed.

Right? The phoenix rises. Cinderella emerges from the shadows to become the queen. The frog turns in to the prince. The beast turns in to the king.

The scarecrow. The scarecrow, he gets his brain. The cowardly lion, he gets his courage. The tin man gets a new heart. Many of us, we read those and we go, Myth, fable, stories for three year olds. And yet something in our heart, doesn’t something in our heart go, but man, I wish it was true. I wish it was true.

Here’s the good news. They resonate in you because they’re the story God is telling. They resonate with us. Universal, all of humanity loves that story because it’s the gospel that God is taking and transforming a people through his spirit, faith in Jesus, making them beautiful and putting them on display for the world.

You are the light of anyone? The world. But here’s the thing, here’s the thing. And this just, it pains me that we get this wrong. I think what happens is we start on this journey of walking with Jesus and we start at the wrong place and we have the wrong stuff packed with us and so we eventually get to this place where we’re just frustrated and we’re burned out and we wish that things were different and they’re just not.

I want to invite you over the next few weeks, this morning in particular, I want to invite you to start at the right place. Because if you don’t start at the right place, if you don’t have the right stuff in the proverbial backpack or car, as you load up on this journey, you’re never going to end up in the right spot.

And for some of us, it may mean circling back to the beginning, emptying everything out of the car and going, Alright, Jesus, what do you want me to carry with me on this journey? What do you want me to take with me? And before Paul writes anything about transformation, he lays this beautiful foundation.

And I want to, what I want to do this morning is I want to unpack. Okay, and here’s what he’s going to do. He’s going to make a distinction between two covenants. Okay. One is the old covenant, and then the other is the new covenant. And here is my thesis for this morning, if you will. That unless we understand and know and plumb the depths of the reality, that we are new covenant Christians, we will never walk In the way that Jesus intended us to walk.

Now, some of you are going, Hey, Paulson, I needed to borrow a Bible. I didn’t even know where 2 Corinthians was. I needed to use a table of contents. By the way, that’s why it’s there. And I have no idea what an old covenant or a new covenant is. Who’s covenant? What is a covenant? All great questions. Let me give it to you as easily as I can.

The old covenant. Think of covenant as rules of engagement. Rules of engagement. In a broader sense, it means promises. But in this, for our intention here, it’s really, it’s rules of engagement. The old covenant was God’s rules of engagement before Jesus. The new covenant is the way that God interacts with people.

After Jesus, people who have faith in Jesus, they’re transferred from an old covenant into what Paul’s going to call a new covenant. And he thinks this is so important, Paul does, that he spends almost a whole chapter unpacking what’s the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The way that people interacted with God before Jesus and the way that we’re invited to interact with God.

So if you’re following along in your bulletin outline, on the back of the fill in the blank side, there’s just a little table. I’d invite you, I’m gonna walk through this, I’m gonna walk through this passage, and I’m gonna try my best to draw to the surface, for you and for I, what the difference is between the Old and the New Covenant.

Now, it’s gonna be in verse 5, that he actually starts, in verse 6, that he says, and this covenant distinction is what I’m talking about. But just know, as we start to read in verse 1, this whole passage is about that. So if you have your Bible, follow along with me. We’re gonna look at what the distinction is between the Old and the New Covenant.

Because it is absolutely, will you look up at me for just a second? It’s foundational for our journey with Jesus. It’s foundational. It’s the beautiful beginning. It’s the right stuff in the car to make the road trip. The journey. What he intends for it to be. Verse 1. Paul’s having to defend himself against other people that have come in and questioned his authority and questioned his intent.

And he says this. Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts to be known and read by all. Hey, I’m getting a hint. Paul’s saying, Something happened to the hearts of people who believe this new covenant, who have faith in Jesus.

As you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered for us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but tablets of human hearts. So here we go. We have tablets in the Old Testament, or Old Covenant, hearts in the New Covenant. So Paul said, he said, formerly in the Old Covenant, this law of God was written on tablets.

He’s referring to Moses going up on the mountain, receiving these ten commandments from God. And he goes, they were written on stone, but now, the New Covenant written on hearts. Verse four. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ towards God. Now just, I’m not writing anything up on the board for that, but that’s just awesome.

That’s great. Here’s what Paul said, because of what happened in our heart, we have confidence through Christ to stand before the throne of God. Verse 5, Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything is coming from us, but our sufficiency comes from God. So there’s this sufficiency and by implication, not sufficient.

Verse six, he’s made us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit. Okay, letter, old covenant, spirit, new covenant. Because the letter kills, right? It goes on, the letter kills. Death, but the spirit gives. Anyone following along? Excellent, thank you.

Verse seven. Now, if the ministry of death, talking about the old covenant, carved on stone, letters of stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze on Moses face because of his glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the spirit have even more glory? So here’s what he says.

This had a lowercase g glory. The Old Covenant did, and the New Covenant has a uppercase G, glory. He’s gonna go on to say, this glory’s so bright, that one really doesn’t have any glory in comparison. I mean it has some, but it’s, For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, Okay, so

condemnation, righteousness.

Listen to it. It’s great. The ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. He goes, hey, the reason this is an uppercase G glory is because under the new covenant you are people.

Just a quick side note. One of the reasons I wanted to do this series so bad is because many of you don’t believe it.

He goes on. And he said, Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all because of the glory that surpasses it. He goes, Hey, it was like the old covenant was holding a little flashlight with two double A batteries. And the new covenant is the sun. Did the battery flashlight have light?

Sure. Not in comparison to the sun.

For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, how much more will that’s permanent have glory? Temporary.

And then he says, since we have such a hope. See so here’s the thing with Paul. Paul goes if I were to summarize all this, I’d say that’s quite the hope. As followers of Christ, as followers of Christ. As people who carry the name of Jesus. And were very bold. Not like Moses, who’d put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.

But their minds were hardened. For to this day when they read, The Old Covenant, the same veil remains unlifted because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day, whenever Moses has read the veil over their heart, the veil remains over their hearts, but when one turns to the Lord, the veils remove.

Now the Lord is spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is, everybody, freedom. So by implication,

that’s where we start.

Here’s the trouble, here’s the trouble. We forget which covenant we live in often. So we pray for things. Righteousness. God, give me your spirit. Give me your holiness, God, for, forgive my sin. Now, I’m not saying that repentance and confession is a bad thing. I’m just saying that if we repent and confess and wonder if God’s answer is, you’re forgiven holy saints before me, then we don’t understand the new covenant.

And here’s what I’d like to do over the next 15, 20 minutes that I have with ya. I’d like to point out, there’s four things in here that just caught my heart and soul as we read through it that I’d love to point out to you. New things that God does in us through his new covenant that I’m convinced, friends, will you just look up at me for just a second, if this isn’t where we start the journey, Then it’s not a beautiful journey.

And we don’t end up in the place and the destination that God wants us to end up in. And we don’t ever get to just slow down and run along the side of the road, and just pull over, open up the door and just take it in. It’s beautiful. He’s doing something great, but so many of us are on this hamster wheel of religion.

We never get the chance to do that, and the journey isn’t beautiful at all. So here’s what Paul writes about you, about me, and about this church in Corinth. Listen again to what he says. I’m going to skip down to verse 3 because that’s really where he makes this point that I want to drive home. He says, and you show, talking about this church, you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us.

He’s talking about the church. He goes, listen, Christ is all over you. So if anybody questions my authority as an apostle, he goes, they just need to look at you. Because you’re, you forgive people. You love the unlovely. You’re filled with the spirit. You embody the DNA of who Jesus was. All they need to do is look at you.

Written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God. So God’s done something in you. He wrote something on you. Not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. Here’s what as this journey, this beautiful journey of transformation begins, As

You have a new heart. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have a new heart. Here’s the thing. I know there’s some of you that you’re like, listen, Paulson, I know my Bible. And I know Jeremiah 17 9. Oh, here, let me help you out. Even if you don’t. Here’s what it says.

The heart is, what’s the word? Deceitful above all things. And desperately sick. Who can understand it? That’s where you were going, right? Governor Paulson, we don’t have, we don’t have good hearts. Let me just ask you, which covenant is that in? Oh, it’s in the old covenant. And I would definitely agree with you.

Under the old covenant, we have evil, desperately wicked hearts. But let me respond by asking you a question. Did what Jesus did on the cross work?

Did Jesus accomplish what he set out to accomplish when he died for the sins of humanity? I

hope your answer’s yes. And here’s what the prophets foretold would happen under the new covenant. Here’s what Ezekiel says. This is what the prophets hundreds of years before Jesus were looking forward to. That when he would die for the sins of humanity, something would happen inside of us. We’d be given a new heart, new affections, new longings.

Listen to the way Ezekiel puts it in chapter 36, verse 26. He says, I will give you a, what’s the word? Turn to the person next to you, if you’re a follower of Jesus, and say, I have a new heart. Because what Jesus did on the cross worked. It worked. He accomplished what he set out to accomplish. And I will put a new spirit in you, Ezekiel says.

And you see all these themes that he’s gonna talk about. You see right here, Paul just drew them out for us in 2 Corinthians 3. And I’ll remove from you a heart of stone, and from your heart of flesh I’ll give you a heart of flesh. Some of you might be going that’s just one verse. No, actually it’s all over.

The pages of scripture all over you’re different if you’re following Jesus, you’re different. And hey, the reality that you don’t act different may be determined by the fact that you don’t think you are. So let me just wash scripture, some scripture over you. You don’t have to write this down and just follow along with me and just hear gospel spoken over you.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3, verses 15 and 16, that yes, to this day, whenever Moses has read, a veil lies over their hearts. But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil over their hearts, removed.

2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, Therefore, if anyone’s in Christ, he’s a newish creation.

New. New. The old has, what, passed away as if it’s gone. That’s his point. And the newest come verse or Galatians chapter 6 verse 15 for neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision. Paul’s going, come on, it doesn’t matter if you’re circumcised or if you’re uncircumcised.

He goes, what counts is this, that you’re a new creation. That’s what counts. Colossians chapter 2 verse 11, in him, you, You were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, putting off the body of flesh. Some translations will say the sinful nature.

Now see, if I were to do a poll and I ask even just followers of Jesus, Do you believe you have a sinful nature or a righteous nature? My guess is most people would say I have a sinful nature. Not according to the scriptures, you don’t. We could go on and on. The scriptures say that you are, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, that His Spirit lives in you and that you are holy.

It’s the new covenant. I love the way that John Piper puts it and I would love to think that he put his arms up like this when he said that. In the new birth. Our dead, stony boredom with Christ is replaced by a heart that senses the worth of Jesus. We’re made alive to Him.

It’s the new covenant. You’re a new covenant Christian. You’ve been given a new heart. In my humble opinion, one of the most devastating teachings of the church today is that you’re just sinful. You’re just a, you’re just a sinner. You might sin and I know you, you do. So do I. But that’s not your nature anymore.

Your nature is you’re a saint. You’re made righteous. You’re made holy. You’re different. Does it mean we don’t struggle anymore? No, it means we do. It means we do. The old nature didn’t struggle. The new nature does. The new nature does. See, only the new nature engages in war with the old nature. And if the old nature is all there isn’t a fight going on.

But there’s a fight. Inside those who follow the way of Jesus. But here’s what the Bible doesn’t teach. It doesn’t teach that you are your sin. It doesn’t teach that’s your identity. In fact, here’s what Paul writes to the Romans. Reckon yourself. Consider yourself. Remind yourself that you are dead to sin.

Why? Because it has this way of rearing its ugly head in our lives. And if you don’t combat it with truth. It’s not who I am. It’s not my identity. That’s not my nature. That’s not what I have loaded up for this journey. What I have loaded up for this journey is a new heart.

Then, we’ll never walk in the way of Jesus. So let me just ask you some questions that might help you clarify where you’re at. Do you doubt yourself and your motives often?

Do you find it easier to consider yourself a sinner or a saint?

Do you associate your identity with your sin or with what Jesus has done on your behalf on Calvary?

See, I think a lot of us This conviction isn’t a part of our journey. And so we’re frustrated, we’re disappointed, we’re fed up. We’re ready to probably check it in, just call it quits because if God doesn’t do this in us, if he doesn’t give us a new heart, we know that we don’t have the power to do it ourselves.

So he says, that’s where this journey begins. New heart. New nature. Verse four, such is the confidence that we have through Christ towards God. So Paul goes, that’s a big deal. That whole new heart thing, big deal. Not that we’re sufficient in ourselves to claim anything is coming from us. So lest you hear me saying you’re awesome, let me clarify, what the scriptures are saying is that what God has done in you is awesome.

The applause always goes to him. We don’t walk out of here going, man, aren’t we great? No, it’s the new covenant. It’s what God has done on our behalf. Isn’t God great? It’s the story that we sing, okay? Verse six, who’s made us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter of the spirit, for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

And so Paul draws out this second thing. He says, for those who follow the way of Jesus, there’s this new sufficiency the Greek word sufficient comes from, it’s a derivative from this word to reach out and to grasp, to lay a hold of. And so what Paul says is that when we lay a hold of Jesus, when he’s in our sights, when he’s in our hands, when our faith is in him fully, he’s enough for us. That’s what his point is.

My dog Sherpa, we have a yellow lab. And he has it really good. We’re two meals a day, but we go above and beyond. It’s you get a treat in the morning, a treat at night. Occasionally, we’ll let you sit next to us on the couch, right? And not only that, but he gets to clean up after a three year old and a one year old every meal.

And I can’t figure it out. I can’t figure it out because I can’t imagine how to make it any better for him. But every time the latch on our gate is left just a little bit open, he pushes his nose on that and he’s gone.

And the last time he did that, I’m like, what’s the dog’s problem? What more could we do to win his affection? Nice bed, warm house, occasional pets, kids to pull on his ears, which he secretly loves, I’m sure. And I just sense God saying to me, Hey, Ryan, I asked the same thing about you. What more could I do to earn your affection?

I’m completely sufficient. You have all that you need in me. And yet you run to the applause of other people. And yet you run to your bank account and everything that the world would say, this is how you do it. And some of us, we run to religion and we go, alright God, I’m gonna work my way up to you.

I’m gonna make it so that you love me because of how much I do. And he goes, I don’t know. That ladder was for me to climb down, not for you to climb up. It wasn’t sufficient for you. Paul goes on. I love the way that Jim Cimbala puts this, and he says, The most mature Christian is not the person who struts around and knows everything, but the one who leans on Jesus.

That’s maturity in a follower of Jesus. Paul goes on. And he says this, Now if the ministry of death carved in letters on stone came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze on Moses face because of its glory, just a quick time out. We’re going to camp out there a little bit next week, okay?

Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Here’s what you have, a new righteousness. Good thing, because Jesus said you needed it in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Your righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees.

And here’s what Jesus says back. And I’m gonna take care of it all. Don’t worry about it. Cause you can try and try all you want, but you’re still gonna be imperfect. And that’s the righteousness you need. And so here, let me pay the whole bill. You don’t even need to leave the tip.

Taking care of it all. My life, death, burial, resurrection, paid it all. Paid it all. And see, here’s the thing, here’s the problem. Is that if I were to ask you, the problem isn’t just the phone going off. The problem is, that if I were to ask you, Am I under condemnation or am I under righteousness? A lot of us would answer, No, I’m under condemnation.

And so we’ve had this rhetoric, this sort of verbiage in the church for a long time, where we’ve said see, God sees you as righteous. As if he puts on these rose colored glasses, and disconnects from everything that’s real, and looks at you and goes, oh, they’re righteous.

That’s not, friends, that’s not the gospel. The gospel isn’t that he sees you as righteous, period. The gospel is that he sees you as righteous because he makes you righteous. That’s the gospel. He changes you. He changes you that you, the old covenant says that there was this ministry of condemnation and then it makes this point and that was glorious, says Paul, because it pointed out that we were people in need of redemption.

That’s what made it glorious. That’s what made, when you looked at it, it was beautiful because it took this gauge of our heart and told us we need help. But it wasn’t the help. It simply told us we were dead. It couldn’t make us alive. It would be like the cancer patient going back to the biopsy and looking at the tests over and over again and hoping that just looking at them would heal them.

He goes no, that’s not the New Covenant. That’s not the New Covenant. The New Covenant is way better than that. The New Covenant is that that for our sake He made Him, Jesus, to be sin who knew no sin, that you and I might, what’s the word? Become the righteousness changed

you your difference in the reaffirmation of the new covenant in our New Testament scriptures. The book of Hebrews chapter eight talks, talks all about it. Write that down. It’s a great sort of cross reference for a time together this morning. But in chapter eight, verse 12, God says to his people, I will be merciful towards their iniquities and I will remember their sin no more.

Can I just tell you, I think we spend a lot of time and energy remembering something that Jesus has already forgotten.

A lot of our prayer meetings even revolve around, let’s remember how terrible we are.

And Jesus goes but remember what I did? Remember who I made you to be? You’re righteous. You’re holy. You’re blameless. You stand right before me. Now, what if I really believed? What if you really believed that God wasn’t mad at us? What if we really believed that as the scripture said, what if we really believe what he says, that he remembers our sin no more?

How would it change things? My, my thought is it might just make the journey a little more beautiful. My, my thought is maybe we’d spend less sideways energy, in guilt, in shame, in despair. And we might, like Paul, approach the throne of grace with boldness, confidence, and hope.

See, what you have with you as you begin the journey will determine the journey.

Finally, he says, in verse 17, I’m going to skip down to that. Now, he says the veil has been removed, which is just awesome, really good news. We’ll talk about it more next week. And now the Lord is spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Here’s what he means. My son and I, we had the chance a few weeks ago to go to the golf tournament that was hosted here, the PGA tournament.

And I love watching golf on TV, and my son, even at the age of five, has gotten into it with me. And he loves Rory McIlroy and Ricky Fowler. And as we’re walking in, he’s just like a kid in a candy store, he’s just like taking it all in. We walk over to the putting green. I’m holding his hand, I go down on his level and he’s looking at Rory putting.

And he looks at me with all sincerity and he goes, Dad, he’s real.

Like I could reach out and touch him. He’s a person.

And it was as if this veil of the TV was removed, and he was brought right into the presence, and he goes, Oh he’s real.

And that’s a picture Paul wants to paint for you. Face to face. With the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Where you just get to stand in his presence, and go, Oh. He’s real. And the freedom to see that, and the freedom to be there, and the freedom to live out of that, to have that with you on your journey, that freedom brings your freedom.

Because here’s what as you look at him, as the veil’s removed, and you look at the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Lamb of God slain on your behalf, you know he loves you. You know he’s for you. You know he’s going, hey, I want your freedom. It’s actually, it’s for freedom that I have set you free.

And as New Covenant Christians, it’s where we start.

It’s where we start. See friends, distinctively Christian growth only happens as you recognize that this is where you live. And it only happens as the, these are the things that we bring on our journey. And it’s so easy to oscillate back to old covenant or just religion. But I’m here to tell you this morning, that Jesus is way better than either of those.

More glorious, more beautiful. And as we walk with him, his desire is that these would sink deeply into our souls in a way that would make us glorious or beautiful. But so many of us have loaded up our sort of proverbial backpacks for this journey with the wrong stuff.

And I want to invite you this morning back to the beginning, because here’s the truth of the matter. The beautiful journey begins with right belief about who God’s made you to be and who God is. And if we don’t start in the right spot, if we don’t have the right stuff with us, if we don’t have the right convictions with us, we’ll never end up in the place God wants us to be.

Transformed, changed from one degree of glory or beauty to the next. This morning’s sort of foundation, it’s just a beginning, it’s a starting point. But what I’m gonna do over the next few weeks, and I hope that you’ll choose to join us, is unpack how we really walk this journey with Jesus. Would you stand with me as we close our time together in prayer?

And Father, we’re gonna believe that there’s freedom. The veil’s been taken away. That any veils left are really just ours.

And Lord, we’re going to pursue you face to face. It’s our desire. Lord, as we begin this journey together, I pray that we start at the right spot, that we’d have the right things with us, that it would truly be a beautiful journey. One where you transform us from one degree of beauty to the next. This, we believe, is from you.

It’s from you and it’s in your name. Jesus, that we pray. Amen.