It’s a New Year. Whenever we get to a New Year, there is always a looking back at the old year to evaluate our successes and failures. We want to see what lessons we can learn so we can do better in the coming year. Many make New Year’s resolutions generally either to break bad habits or to adopt new and better habits. These resolutions are not about becoming a new person, but essentially they are resolving to make some specific incremental changes in our life to become a better person.
This morning, we are not going to consider small incremental changes in our lives that sometimes take the form of New Year’s resolutions. No, what we will do is look at what the Bible says about the complete transformation of a life. If you have a bulletin, you can see the series of pictures on the front of it depicting the transformation of a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful monarch butterfly. Underneath the pictures is the Bible verse that states that in a similar way God transforms people’s lives. Notice in the verse it says…
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
God doesn’t just wipe off the dirt and put some new clothes on the person. No, He completely changes him from the inside outmaking him into a brand new person. Also, notice that the agent for this change is Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that this dramatic transformation takes place.
So, we will see what God says are the problems of a person without Christ. We’ll see Jesus’ claims to be the ultimate solution for these problems. Then we’ll see how Jesus dramatically transforms the life of each person who comes to Him.
If you have been attending here for several months, you know we have had a series of sermons on the parables in which Jesus used the physical properties of ordinary objects and events that were well known to his hearers to teach them about deep spiritual truths.
Now, we’ll see how Jesus uses the physical needs of a person to teach about the deep spiritual needs of every person who is without Christ? Jesus claims that He, and He alone is able to meet these spiritual needs. He accomplishes this when someone becomes a true Christian. The transformation that takes place is referred to as regeneration or simply being born again.
The first condition we’ll look at is “Hunger”.
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.
12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”
13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. John 6:5-13
New Life in Christ
||I am the bread of life
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Just as Jesus fed the 5,000 till their bellies were filled and they were physically satisfied, He also feeds the souls of His children so that they are spiritually satisfied.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
· No more emptiness and hopelessness, Jesus satisfies completely.
1 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.
6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,
7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. John 9:1, 6-7
||I am the light of the world
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”
40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, ” We are not blind too, are we?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. John 9:39-41
In God’s economy, one must…
Die to Live
Mourn to obtain joy
Be the servant of all in order to be great
Be Humble to be exalted.
Become poor to gain true riches
When it comes to gaining spiritual sight, you have to acknowledge that you are blind.
The Pharisees were far too proud to do this, so they therefore remained spiritually blind. When they asked in verse 40 if they were blind too, Jesus’ answer was a resounding, “YES”.
The next condition that Jesus addresses is Helplessness and sheep are the perfect picture of that.
3b the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Sheep are dumb. Without the gracious protection of the Good Shepherd, they would be easy prey for predators. Apart from the shepherd’s leading the sheep couldn’t even find food for themselves. They are really helpless. Just how committed is the Good Shepherd to protecting and providing for His sheep? Jesus says …..
||I am the Good Shepherd
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Jesus’ sheep couldn’t have it better! He provides them with blessings overflowing so that they might experience a truly abundant life.
Jesus next demonstrates His infinite power in raising Lazarus from the dead.