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A Brand New Way of Life! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2024 6:00 am

A Brand New Way of Life! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 5, 2024 6:00 am

To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.

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Following Christ should give us this kind of a perspective. You see, all too often we are looking at the immediate in our lives and not the ultimate.

We're looking at how hard the road is right now instead of considering where that road is ultimately leading. Heaven, I can get through this. There's glory beyond this. All of these things change our vision in different ways. Faith in Jesus changes our view as well, radically, drastically, and eternally. We'll hear a teaching from Pastor Skip titled A Brand New Way of Life. It's part of our current study in the book of John, Believe 879.

But first, let's find out more about this month's Connect with Skip resource offer. The best biographies contain the kind of intimate details that make you feel like you're getting personal access to the person you're reading about. From timeless icons to contemporary celebrities, it's exciting to learn about influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest, the biography of God.

Here's Skip Heitzig. There's this vast, unfed hunger to know God personally. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes, and mystery central to God's being and remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. There's something uniquely elevating about focusing not on me, but on God. It will do something to you. Skip's perspective shifting book is our thanks when you give a gift of $50 or more to help keep Connect with Skip Heitzig on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give securely online at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Turn in your Bibles to John chapter 13 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message, a brand new way of life. You may have heard about the two New Yorkers. These guys had lived in New York City their whole life.

They've never really gone out of Manhattan. All they knew was the big city. But one day with all the traffic in town, they just said, we've had enough, and they decided to buy a ranch in Texas and become ranchers. They knew nothing about ranching except what they'd seen on television. So they sold everything, moved out to Texas, were on this land, and they decided the first thing they needed to do was buy a mule.

They thought we have to plow the ground. They must have seen old movies, but they thought we've got to get a mule. So they went to a neighboring rancher and asked if he had a mule for sale, and he just said, I reckon not. So they were disappointed and about to leave, but then one of them spotted a stack of honeydew melons leaning against the barn. And again, they didn't really know what they were, so they just said, well, what are those things?

And by this time, the rancher, the neighbor, saw these two guys are just hopeless city slickers. So he said, those are mule eggs. You buy one of those, take it home, it hatches, you'll have your mule. So they said, okay. And they bought one, they put it in the back of their truck, they're driving down that bumpy country road, it bounces out, it hits the pavement, it opens up, bursts open. They see it in their rearview mirror and they start turning around. In the meantime, a Texas jackrabbit hops up, starts eating the honeydew melon. By the time those two New Yorkers come up and see this long-eared creature, one of them said, look, our mule egg is opened up, there's our mule, let's get him. So they started running after this jackrabbit, to no avail, they couldn't catch it, it's hopping everywhere. Finally, these two city slickers plop on the ground and one of them says, we lost our mule. The other guy says, yeah, but I don't think I wanted to plow that fast anyway.

Hopeless, right? The disciples that were gathered around the table with Jesus were as naive about their future in discipleship as those two New Yorkers were about ranching. I've discovered a lot of people are naive when it comes to defining, following Christ, being a disciple. A lot of people just think that when you follow Jesus, you add him to your already complicated life, your structured life. Oh yeah, I need to get religious, so I'm going to add Jesus as a component to my life.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible says, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold, all things become new. A Christian is a brand new person, made new by Christ with a brand new way of life. Now we're going to discover some of those truths that I mentioned in John chapter 13 beginning in verse 31 down to verse 35. When I was a young believer, someone that I knew walked up to me and said, Skip your brainwashed.

And I said to him, you're absolutely right. Jesus washed my brain. And then I said, hey, who washed yours? At least I know who washed my brain. Who's washing your brain?

Now let me give you a little background so we can hop right in. This is the Last Supper. This is the upper room discourse. Beginning in verse 31, now that Judas has left the room, Jesus concentrates on the remaining authentic disciples and tells them what is going to be new about their future. There's three things that are new. They're to have a new perspective. They're going to have a new relationship with Him. And they are given a new commandment. I'm going to unpack these verses, but let's read them beginning in verse 31. So when He had gone out, Jesus said, now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him.

If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and glorify Him immediately. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me. And as I said to the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come. So now I say to you, a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another. The first thing that a new believer recognizes when he or she comes to Christ is a new way of looking at life.

I'll never forget hearing a phrase for the first time. I had asked Christ to come in my life. It had been several weeks. I had never read the New Testament before. I just prayed a prayer and I knew I felt different.

I knew life was different, but I didn't know how to describe it. And I'll never forget when a friend of mine came up to me not knowing what had happened to me. And he wanted to witness to me. He goes, Skip, have you been born again? And I said, Where did you get that phrase?

He said, Excuse me? Where did you get that phrase, born again? Where does that come from? I've never heard that before. That's perfect.

That's exactly what happened to me. He said, Well, that's what Jesus said in John chapter three. A man must be born again. I said, Well, he couldn't have come up with a better description because everything new, the way I look at life, the way I look at friends, the way I look at plans, all different.

It's all new. Verse 31 marks a change in the tone of the room that evening, as well as what he's about to tell them. He has been talking about being betrayed by Judas Iscariot and about the betrayer himself.

In verse 31, the betrayer leaves the room and the dynamic changes. So when he, Judas, had gone out, Jesus said, Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. What is he talking about? When Jesus speaks about being glorified or his glory, what is he speaking about?

Well, he's speaking about a couple of things. First of all, he's looking after the cross when he will be received up into heavenly glory. He's thinking about what's going to happen after the cross. Soon, Jesus will be arrested later on that night. He'll be brought before trial. He'll be beaten, mocked. They'll drive spikes through his hands. He'll be crucified on a cross.

But after that, it'll be over. All of the pain that mankind could give to him, all of the horrible way they could treat him, it'll be over and he'll be home. And so the last thing Jesus on the cross says is, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. And all of that suffering was past tense and he was in glory. So Jesus looks beyond the suffering that he's entering into, into future glory, he's going home.

The writer of Hebrews in chapter 12 of that book, verse 2, said, Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and now has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. I want to make a point with that. Following Christ should give us this kind of a perspective. You see, all too often we are looking at the immediate in our lives and not the ultimate.

We're looking at how hard the road is right now instead of considering where that road is ultimately leading. Heaven, I can get through this. There's glory beyond this. Have you ever heard somebody say, oh, you Christians, you're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good.

Well, the reverse can also be true. You can be so earthly minded you're not doing anybody any good. And a key is to walk through this world responsibly but get the view ultimately.

The glory that will be revealed afterwards. I'll tell you about a person that you know of whose whole life has been changed by this kind of a gaze, a heavenly gaze. Her name was Joni Eareckson. It's now Joni Eareckson Tada. She lived most of her life as a quadriplegic. She was in a diving accident as a young swimmer. Paralyzed, quadriplegic, she's able to look past the wheelchair with joy because of this truth. And she will often quote Romans 8 where Paul said, For the suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

She's waiting for that and marching through this life. So Jesus is looking beyond the cross. That's his perspective.

But something else. He's not just looking after the cross. He's looking at the cross as being glorified. And so often when he spoke about being glorified, the Bible says he's speaking about his death on the cross. Now why would that be a picture of glory?

It's simple. As horrible as that is going to feel and be in his life and the separation from the Father and the physical pain, by that event he'll open a door of salvation. And as it says also in Romans 12, bringing many sons to glory.

So that was the glory. That'll bring glory to the Father because that was the plan of the Father in sending the Son. So now a door is open for salvation. So Jesus looking all the way through history 2,000 years, seeing you and you and you and you and all of us who believe come to him and enjoy heaven with him.

That was glory to him. I want you to turn two chapters, a few chapters ahead, turn over to John chapter 17. Look just a couple verses with me. He puts all of these truths together as he's praying to the Father. This is after the upper room. This is right before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, John chapter 17, verse 4.

Look what he says. I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. And now, oh Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory that I had with you before the world was. Let's Skip down to verse 24 and notice this. Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me.

Who's that? That's us. Well, that's the disciples and everyone through history, including us, who are his disciples, his followers. I desire that they also whom you have given me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which you have given me for you love them before the foundation of the world. Part of the joy that was set before Jesus was being able to look down through history and see all those who would believe. And he first tasted that when he was even on the cross and said to one being crucified next to him, today, today, you'll be with me in paradise.

So here's the principle. As followers of Christ, we need a new perspective, a new gaze, thinking all the way down to the future, to our glory, and a new goal. While we're living on this earth, we don't make it about us but about him and his glory. It's not about my happiness, it's about his glory. It's not about how this makes me feel, it's about does this magnify him. That's the new perspective. I'm going to read something to you that I read this week.

It's quite convicting, written a few years ago by Calvin Miller. He writes this. Many Christians are only Christaholics and not disciples. Disciples are cross bearers. They seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana.

Like drug addicts, they're trying to drop out of their depressing world. There's no automatic joy, writes Calvin. Christ is not a happiness capsule.

He's the way to the Father, but the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which all we do is sit and do nothing until we're whisked through a variety of spiritual sensations. We need a new perspective. The gay's future, the goal to glorify God here and now. That's number one, a new perspective.

Number two, a new relationship. Now, before I read the verse, do you notice how often we as evangelicals speak about having a relationship with God? We do that a lot, don't we? We tell people it's not religion. It's a relationship, a personal relationship with the living God. Now, as true as that is, and I still believe that, you've got to admit it's a very different kind of a relationship than we have with anybody else. When you have a relationship with a person, you sit across the table from them and have a conversation with them and eat lunch with them. You're hearing their voice audibly. You're seeing their body language as they communicate, their facial expressions. That's the kind of relationship the disciples in that upper room have had with Jesus for three and a half years. All of that is about to change, and they're not quite ready for it. Verse 33, little children, pause right there.

How cool is that? The only time recorded in the gospel where Jesus said that is here, little children. He's the host of the Passover meal. He's acting as a father would act toward the children in his family, but this reveals the tender care and compassion of Jesus. He calls his followers, little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek me, and as I said to the Jews, where I'm going, you cannot come.

And so now I say to you. What does he mean by a little while? Well, in about two hours, he's going to be arrested. The next day, he's going to be crucified. Three days later, he's going to rise from the dead.

Forty days after that, he's going to ascend into heaven, and they're going to see him no more. In fact, when they're on the Mount of Olives and Jesus ascends into heaven, you know what the disciples are doing? Well, you know what they're doing.

They're doing this. They're just gazing up. So an angel comes by and goes, hey, you men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? The same Jesus whom you saw go into heaven will come back in like manner. Okay, hold that thought.

Hold that thought. If the disciples in the upper room would have really known what Jesus was saying, they would have blown a circuit. If they would have understood that Jesus will die, that's not what they expect. They expect a kingdom.

That's why they're arguing who's going to be the greatest in the kingdom. We've told you that before. If they knew that Jesus was going to die and ascend into heaven, and for the next 2,000 years, they and everyone else is going to be waiting for him to return, they would have just gone... That's so not what they wanted to hear. That's what Jesus is telling them. I'm only with you a little while longer, and you'll see me no more.

And where I am going, you cannot come. Now, he'll explain a little more of that. We'll pick that up next week, but that's what he's saying to them.

Here's the point. They're entering into a new relationship with Christ, yes? So far it's been in the flesh.

Now it's going to be by faith. Now, he reinforces this thought throughout the evening's meal and throughout this upper room discourse. In chapter 16, for example, Jesus says to these same men, it is to your advantage that I go away. Can I just say if I was in that room, I would have said, pardon me, excuse me.

That's not true. It is not from my advantage that you go away. It's from my advantage that you stay with me always, just like this, where you can work miracles, and I can hear your voice and see your face and have meals with you. But he said, it's to your advantage that I go away. And he continued, and he said, unless I go away, the counselor, the Holy Spirit, cannot come, but if I go, I will send him to you.

Now, think what that means. Up to this point, the presence of Jesus was localized. Wherever Jesus was, that's where he was.

Isn't that profound? In other words, if he was in Jerusalem, he wasn't in Galilee. If he was in Galilee, he wasn't in Jerusalem. But by him going back to the Father, he can send the Holy Spirit to live inside every believer. In fact, he promises the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will all take residence within every believer so that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. He is universal rather than localized. It is to your advantage that I go away.

My point is simple. The relationship of a disciple is one not of sight but of faith. 2 Corinthians 5, for we walk by faith and not by sight. Now, admittedly, we long for what the disciples had. We long for sitting around a table with Jesus and being able to hug him and see his expression and hear what he's saying. And one day, we'll have that.

But until then, he's going to wean us off of sight, off of what we're leaning on, and onto a life of faith. I read an article this week about lobsters. You say, why were you doing that? Lobsters don't keep one shell. They molt about every year. They discard their old shell, and they grow a new shell.

Now, if they were to stay in their old shell and not abandon it, it's protective, it protects them, but it would become a prison, and in fact, it would become a casket. They have to get rid of the old, and they grow a new one. But in that in-between vulnerable period of time when they get rid of the old shell and they're growing the new shell, they're very vulnerable.

They're tossed by the currents of the sea, cartwheeled through the ocean. There's things like coral that are very sharp that could cut them to pieces. There's schools of fish that would love to make them part of the food chain. But they won't grow unless they get rid of the old shell and grow a new one. I bet the first time a lobster loses its shell, if it could speak, it would say something like, I miss that old shell. Things look pretty good in that old shell.

I want my old shell back. But they'll never grow unless they discard it, though unprotected for a period of time and grow something new. We're a lot like that. We get tossed and tumbled through life, and it can be very scary, and we want the protection, and we want to depend on someone or something to hold us up, to prop us up, and God is all about weaning us off of those props and onto just trusting Him by faith. That's the new relationship, new perspective.

So many great things to consider. The conclusion of a brand-new way of life is coming up next time. We're glad you've joined us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to bring more people into God's family and connect listeners like you to His unchanging truth. That's why we make teachings like this one today available to you and others on air and online.

If they've helped you connect with Christ today, would you consider giving a gift to help others around the world connect with Him in the same way? Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you.

So why should we love the people around us? Find out next time with Skip Heitzig right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing.

Cast your burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. A connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-05 04:07:23 / 2024-05-05 04:16:40 / 9

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