Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem.
Today is the second clip from the sermon, first preached on October 22, 2017. Paul says it very clearly in 2 Corinthians 4.4, The God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is in the image, who is the image of God. The God of this world has blinded their minds. To be firmly settled in deceit requires a persistent suppression of truth, a persistent suppression of information that is available to us, but I am going to deny it, I am going to ignore it, I will suppress it because if I were to acknowledge God, that would get in the way of my life and my agenda and my pleasure and their heartened hearts.
Thomas Nagel is an American philosopher, he is professor emeritus at New York University and he wrote in 1997, he wrote the last word published by Oxford University Press. I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and naturally hope that I am right in my belief, it's that I hope there is no God. I don't want there to be a God.
I don't want the universe to be like that. There's the issue. He's not talking about evidence, is he?
There's plenty of information. What he's dealing with is what he wants. He doesn't want there to be a God. You see, that is being firmly settled in deceit, the deception of one's own heart and that is the condition of one who lives in the dark prison cell of self preeminence. Number four, in the dark prison cell of self preeminence, you live only for fleeting satisfaction. Look at verse 19 with me. And they have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. And in verse 22, the apostle refers to it as deceitful desires. Instead of finding my satisfaction and my pleasure in God and what he has for me, I'm going to chase after all kinds of other things that I believe are going to be better for me than God is. And yet, they will leave one thirsty and dissatisfied and always looking for more. And that's the life in the dark prison cell of self preeminence. But what does he say at the beginning of verse 20?
What's the first word of verse 20? But. That means there's a contrast coming, isn't there?
But. In other words, the apostle is calling us. He is reminding us that the Lord has called us out of that dark prison cell of self preeminence. He has opened the door. He has turned the light on.
What light is that? I want you to know this verse, 2 Corinthians 4 6. For the God who said, let the light shine out of darkness. What is he referring to in Genesis 1 when God said what? Let there be light.
And what? There was light. That infinite, sovereign, omnipotent God who spoke light into existence, has spoken light into your life and mine to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He's turned the light on. The light is now shining.
The door is open. What reason do we have to stay in that dark prison cell of self preeminence? So with the newness now that is ours in Christ, with the light that has been turned on, the apostle calls us to enjoy freedom in the light of new creation. Freedom in the light of new creation.
Four truths about that from this text. Number one is in verse 23. We have a new heart and a new mind. Now those of you who are astute listeners, you're thinking Rich you skipped verses 20, 21 and 22. Hold your horses.
We're going to get there. Number one, the freedom of the light of new creation means we have a new heart and a new mind. Verse 23, be renewed in the spirit of your minds. Seven different references in this text alone to the mind and what we do with the mind.
And the problem of the unregenerate is what they do with their minds. And the fact that we have a new heart and a new mind means that we are not left to mere human reason and imagination, but we have revelation. God has made himself known to us. And that gives us then perspective. That gives us power.
That gives us life. And with that new heart and new mind, we are no longer calloused. The prophet says in Ezekiel 36 that God promises on the new covenant, I will take out your heart of stone. Stone is hard and unfeeling.
There's no life in a stone. And he says I will take that out and I will give you a heart of flesh, mean warm, alive and can sense, can feel. God has given us that in Christ. And we are now sensitive to God's transforming truth.
I've mentioned Xiao Feng before. He came to Christ about a year ago. For about a year and a half, he came to our Wednesday night midweek worship and our Bible study.
We had the chairs up here in a square and we were studying the Gospel of Matthew. And he came to that about a year and a half, asking questions, part of the discussion, didn't know Christ. And then God worked in his life.
He actually brought a little bit of adversity into Xiao Feng's life. And with that, he got his attention. And Xiao Feng entrusted himself to Jesus Christ in faith.
And then Andrew and I invited him to our house for dinner. And he said to me, he says, you know, Rich, all that time studying, he says, it was difficult for me to understand the scriptures. He says, but now that I've trusted Christ, he says, the word of God has just opened up to me. That's the new heart and mind. A heart that is sensitive to God and his self-disclosure. God's transforming truth. The freedom in the light of new creation is number one, a new heart and mind. Number two, it's a new identity in Christ. A new identity in Christ. And again, this is not an identity that we have achieved. It is one we have received. We are accepted.
We are favored. We are beloved by the one whose opinion counts. He says in verse 24, and to put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. That's not something I've achieved. It is something I have received in Christ. So that's this new identity.
With it, I can sing I'm no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. And I don't have to strive to affirm and have you affirm my identity. I have an identity in Christ and it's his opinion that counts and he loves me and there is nothing that can change that.
It's a beautiful thing. Thirdly, freedom in the light of new creation means I have a new affection. Verse 24, look at that again. Created after the likeness of God in true righteousness. New affection means true righteousness. In other words, the righteousness that comes from the affections of my heart. Not a righteousness that is just simply a put on, but stuff I truly desire. Because my heart and mind are made new in Christ. True righteousness focused on God's perfections and because I am focused on God's perfections, I know what is good and what is right and what is beautiful. And I will not be drawn away by what is not. And I desire God's perfect character and I measure everything against his good purpose.
You see, that's a new affection. That's true righteousness. And then number four, a new satisfaction. Once again, verse 24, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Holiness true holiness. This is a new satisfaction.
What is that? God creates in me the longing for his purity and his purpose. Because that's where I find my satisfaction and I'm not going to settle for lesser things. Being things. Things that will consume me.
Things that will destroy me. I don't find my satisfaction there anymore. My satisfaction is in his purity and his purpose. So Paul calls us to enjoy the freedom in the light of new creation with a new heart and mind, with a new identity, a new affection and a new satisfaction. Now, let me pause here and give a couple of disclaimers. Because if you were to read this paragraph, a superficial and an unregenerate reading of this paragraph might lead one to misunderstand what the Apostle Paul is saying here. Because there's a contrast going on, right? He is saying, this is darkness, this is light.
You were this, now you are this. And to read this outside of the context of the grace of Jesus Christ. Here's the first disclaimer. What Paul is not saying is to develop an us versus them attitude. This is not about us versus them.
It's not a versus thing. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 14:18:50 / 2023-01-17 14:23:10 / 4