Follow up post from Joe Lechners Sermon on 2 Corinthian 5:16-6:2 as a part of our True Gospel Ministry series.
Living with NEW EYES and a NEW PURPOSE, Paul’s goal is to see men and women RECONCILED to God.
Three main points to Paul’s Message – New Eyes, New Purpose, Reconciliation
I. New Eyes
The reality of death and judgment and this deep, personal awareness of the love of Christ – gave Paul NEW EYES… new eyes with which to see the world; to see people.
Brothers and sisters, this is an exceedingly important point to understand.
See, Paul is saying, at one time people were just people… some I liked, some I didn’t, most I didn’t give a second thought about. They had their lives, I had mine, and we just try and peacefully co-exist together without getting in each other’s way too much. People are people – nothing special – no big deal – the world is full of them.
But NOW in light of the reality of death and judgment and this deep, personal awareness of Christ’s love – there is a radical change in Paul’s perspective toward all people – he does not regard them according to the flesh; from a worldly point of view – he sees them with new eyes. People are not just people anymore.
Every single person you meet, you know, you talk to, you see – every single person you come across and that exists on this planet is either going to spend eternity in heaven as an object of God’s mercy or they’re going to spend an eternity in hell as an object of God’s wrath.
That is what new eyes see. In addition, what makes the difference where someone will spend eternity is what they do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And THAT transforms how I see people.
That person across the street, that person at the other desk in the office, that person in your class, that person in the car behind you at the intersection, the person sitting next to you right now – no mere mortal! That person is an immortal soul that is going to live forever somewhere – nobody is ordinary in that sense – and their minute will come when they will join the next 100 people to enter eternity and stand before God. Every minute it happens, and the ultimate difference maker in people’s destiny is what they do with Jesus Christ in the brief life they have on this planet.
How are your eyes? What do you see when you see people? Your neighbor, your co-worker, your sibling, the guy on your soccer team or who lives across the street, the woman who lives three houses down or in the car beside you, or the person sitting next to you right now – what do you see when you look at them? Do you view them from a worldly perspective (just a person, taking up my space, breathing my oxygen) or an eternal perspective (immortal soul that will live forever somewhere)?
Paul makes this somewhat curious statement in the second half of v16 – “Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” What does that mean and what does it have to do with what he is saying?
When Saul first looked at Jesus, he saw him as a Messianic Pretender – a False Messiah – a crucified loser – because God’s word says everyone who hangs on the tree is cursed and that is exactly how he saw him.
But not anymore… he sees him like this: he sees Him as the One who loved me and died for me and was raised for me (v.14,15); I see Him as the One through Whom God is reconciling the world to himself not counting the worlds sins against it (v.19). He sees Him as the One who was made sin for me so that he could be made righteous before God (v.21) – He sees Him as the One in whom there is salvation (6:2).
Paul is saying the same kind of radical transformation that happened in how we see CHRIST – has happened in the way we see ALL PEOPLE. The way our eyes were opened to see CHRIST differently is the way our eyes have been opened to see people differently. We see CHRIST with NEW EYES and so we see PEOPLE with NEW EYES! They naturally go together – that if you see Christ with new eyes you SHOULD see people with new eyes. Therefore, it is true for you too. If you are in Christ – you are a new creation. The old way of LIVING is past (v.15) – And the old way of SEEING is past (v.16)
Why? (v.17) The NEW has come! I am a new creation in Christ – and the new creation has given me new life and it has given me new eyes – and those new eyes have given me a new perspective on how I see people. I do not view them for a worldly point of view any longer – there is an eternal perspective with which these new eyes now see things.
Therefore, brothers and sisters – How are your eyes? What do you see when you see people? If you are a new creation in Christ, are you living with new eyes? However, it is not just NEW EYES Paul’s living with but as the flow of the argument goes he is also living with NEW PURPOSE.
II. New Purpose
Here is the new purpose of our life: It is a ministry to bear witness to the message of reconciliation between God and man (the gospel of JC) as God’s ambassador so that He can make his appeal through me.
We have a new calling – a new purpose, we have a ministry, and we have a mission: we are ambassadors for Him (the One I fear, the One who’s loved me, who’s made me new, who’s reconciled me, forgiven me, saved me). We represent him now. We are on His mission now, as His ambassador He has entrusted us with a message, and he has called us to bear witness to it so that He can make His appeal through us.
It should completely reorient our purpose in life. We are now, officially his ambassadors. When he made you a new creation in Christ – he gave you a new purpose in life.
You look up the word AMBASSADOR – and it is defined as: an accredited diplomat sent by a country, as the country’s official representative to a foreign country.
When it says all this is from God… part of “all this” – is that God has made us diplomats of his heavenly country SENT by Him into the country of this world to officially represent him with the message of reconciliation that He has given us so that He can make his appeal through us.
Some might ask “Well, is this true for all of us or is this just true for Paul? Isn’t Paul just specifically talking about his own unique call and ministry to the Corinthians – am I really to apply this to myself in the same way?”
We, brothers and sisters – ALL of us are His ambassadors – and therefore we are ALL sent – sent by Him, sent to represent Him, and sent with the message He has given us… We are ALL therefore, in that sense, MISSIONARIES… every last one of us.
What comes to your mind when you hear that word ‘missionary’ – perhaps, that’s just a word that you reserve for those who pack up their bags and head to Africa and India to be missionaries on that mission field…
Living with NEW EYES, it is now the NEW PURPOSE for which we also live. Brothers and sisters – do you think of yourself as an AMBASSADOR? Do you think of yourself as a MISSIONARY? Do you understand who you are in Christ? That this earth is not your home… but you’ve been sent into the places in which you live (the schools, the work, the neighborhoods) by the King of the heavenly country – to represent that country, to represent that King, entrusted by Him to deliver the message he has given us so that He might make His appeal through you?
Having given us NEW EYES – it is the NEW PURPSOE for which He has called us to live. it changes everything.
Every place you go becomes a context for gospel mission – every class, every job, every relationship are mission fields where God has sent you as His ambassador…. grades, degrees, career, money, education, employment – it’s all secondary to this calling as an Ambassador; secondary to bearing witness to Christ in every word, every action, every place and every relationship.
All of life is now about gospel mission. Why is that? Because you have a new purpose – you are an ambassador (That’s your job title; that’s the degree your after) – you are a missionary – you have mission fields – right where God has sovereignly placed you. Go out those doors – pull into your drive way – show up for work on Monday – head to class on Monday – and ask yourself: How did I get here and what in the world am I doing here?
If you are a Christian – you were SENT there! How did you get there? What are you doing there? You were SENT there by the Sovereign One. You are an Ambassador and that is the foreign country that you were sent to represent your King and His country. You are a missionary and that is the mission field you were sent to so that He might make His appeal through you. Why? What is the great GOAL of it all? RECONCILIATION.
The relation that naturally exists between God and men is one of enmity and hostility. We are opposed to God in our sin, and God is opposed to our sin in His holiness. Left in our sins there is no peace between us and God, just war. (You will lose – die in your sin – die separated from God)
Reconciliation – Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. We have been reconciled to God and given the mission of being ambassadors of God preaching the reconciling message of the gospel.
ONE – An appeal to see the world; to see people with NEW EYES? Many people are just one relationship away from coming to Christ – and so often, those relationships start by seeing people with new eyes. How do you see people?
TWO – Secondly, an appeal to live with a NEW PURPOSE in this world. To live conscious of the fact that you are an Ambassador for Christ (Do you know that you’re an Ambassador? An Ambassador has no other agenda than to represent the one who sent him) – a Missionary sent to the mission fields He has sovereignly placed you in.
Is that how you see your purpose in this world? Are you conscience of the fact that every day you live in mission fields that God has sent you to as His Ambassador and His Missionary? (You are there every day – do you recognize it)
Do you realize he has entrusted to YOU the message of reconciliation and that through YOU he is – he can – he will – make His appeal through you?
Brothers and sisters, let us live with NEW EYES and NEW PURPOSE and with those NEW EYES and that NEW PURPOSE may our ambition, our desire, our GOAL be to see men and women reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior.