Monday, February 28, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

Intro.: Sometimes life does not make sense.

  1. We think we have something figured out – but then when when we put it to a test - “OUCH”

  2. I remember more than one math class where I was certain I understood all the concepts. But then came the test. Nothing would work and when the paper was corrected, it was clear that I had missed something.

  3. Or, most of you followed my wife's illness last fall. Test after test came back with no results – other than she was okay. It did not make any sense.

  4. Sometimes, life does not make sense.

  5. Sometimes even scripture does not seem to make sense. For example, lets look at today's passage.

Read: I John 2:7-11


Trans: The focus of this passage is found in the verses that precede it and that follow it.

  1. Love – the mark of the Christian

  2. It is the glue that holds Old and the New together.

  3. It is what sit here, each of us from very different backgrounds, and worship God.

  4. It is what ties us to the believers that lived before us and that will live in the future.

  5. It is love that allows John to say that what he is writing is both an Old Commandment and a New Commandment.

T.S. John makes it clear why he is saying to his listeners is both Old and New – lets take a few minutes to examine this concept.

  1. As we study the words of John, we have realize that he is giving his listeners something they have heard all their lives.

    1. At some point we know what God expects of us.

    2. As young people, we may have asked questions such as, “What is God's will for my life?”

    3. For John the answer is very simple – whether the decision to follow Jesus is recent or whether it was made years ago - “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.”

    4. And it may not be you – it may be a family member, a grand child or a great grand child. Or it may be a high school student or a college student who happens to cross your path. Or you may face the decision yourself as you consider the future – it is a good question, “What does God want me to do?”

    5. The surprise for most people is that we know most of His will – read the 10 Commandments, read the book of Mark, read the book of James. What God wants from us will be very clear.

(Ill.) During the first half of the 20th century Dr. George W. Truett was considered one of the great preachers of the day. He served as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention during some of that time. For 37 years he had the annual practice of taking several weeks off to work with the cowboys who lived in western Texas – taking the Grace of God to men who had no pastor, who had no place to call home and hence no church home. Dr. Truett understood the will of God – as he preached you could often hear him give his congregation “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement. The will of God is not always easy, but it is always right.”

    1. It is true for others – but it is also true for you and me.

  1. As we study the words of John, we have realize that he is giving his listeners something they have never heard.

    1. The question then becomes – what is new. I mean, you have just said it is OLD – now you are saying it is new – what gives?

    2. Let me suggest two things.

      1. Like John, every preacher is faced with a similar truth. Each generation has to rediscover the truth of God's message for themselves.

        1. As I prepare a message, I consult a number of resources. Some are relative new, others are very old. But in some sense they serve no purpose at all; For, unless, God's word has meaning my life, it has no meaning at all.

        2. I cannot rely on someone else's understanding of scripture to be the foundation of my life. When scripture begins to shape my life, it becomes new again. As scripture begin to shape me, it begins to change my world.

      2. Though the truth is old – it also has a new foundation – the foundation of Jesus Christ. The newness comes not in the content of the message – but in its purpose. That new purpose is the light of the world – Jesus Christ.

    (Ill.) A number of years ago I would make fairly regular visits to Dayton, OH, for three and four day courses at the University of Dayton designed for those of us who taught Computer Science at the college level. Dayton, OH, was the home of the Wright brothers When the Wright brothers first began experimenting with flying machines, they accepted as fact the data and conclusions that were available in the theory of aviation. As they experimented, however, their own experience provided different conclusions. They began by doubting nothing, yet grew to disbelieve everything about accepted aviation theory. Finally, disregarding all they had learned, they relearned through personal investigation. This led them to build man-carrying gliders in which they spent hundreds of hours over Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. In their Dayton bike shop they built a custom wind tunnel and tested over two hundred different wing surfaces. With minor refinements, their wind tunnel became the prototype of the one used today, and the control system they devised is still used on fixed-wing aircraft. So many people accept the word of another for the reality of Christ, or for a teaching that is supposed to be in the Bible. In reality, they base their faith on the faith of another—which might be real and true; but again, it might not. The only way to know that you are seeing Jesus personally, Jesus really, and Jesus alone, is to have a personally investigated faith. Study his word—let God speak for himself. His Word deals with the intellect and with morality, with the brains and the emotions, with thoughts and behavior.2



1Hobbs, Herschel H. My Favorite Illustrations. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1990.

2Hurley, V. (2000). Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations (electronic ed.) (52–53). Dallas: Word Publishers.

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