This morning, we’re continuing our message series entitled “Reclaimed” which is all about becoming who you were created to be. This series begins our focus on the work of the Holy Spirit and His ministry, the third core value of New Hope.
1 Timothy 1:15 (ISV)
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves complete acceptance:
To this world Christ Jesus came,
sinful people to reclaim.
We were each created uniquely and intentionally by God. We were created on purpose and for a purpose. The process of being reclaimed is all about reaching that full potential that we were created for.
Have you ever seen a really cool reclamation project, try it yourself, and end up totally failing at it?
Well, you’re not alone! Check out some of these Pinterest fails.
God doesn’t want us to end up with something that looks like any of these things with our lives. No, He wants to set us up for success so that we become like the original Pinterest posts. He wants to cooperate with us and do a creative work in and through us so that our lives become examples that others want to model after.
In just a few short verses, God has given us simple instructions that teach us how to reach our full potential that we were created for and how to help others do the same.
Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
1. Hear the truth about Jesus
It all begins with hearing the good news about Jesus. We call it the gospel. It’s hard to believe to some, but there are people all around us who have never heard about Jesus. Perhaps worse than not ever hearing the gospel is also the lies that are also believed about Jesus and Christians.
God reclaiming a life begins with hearing the truth about Jesus.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
This morning, I want all of you to look down. Do you see those feet? Those are the beautiful feet of a person who has been sent to share the good news about Jesus to anyone who will listen to it.
We all need a reminder about the simplicity of the gospel. Though this message about our salvation is simple, we should also deepen our knowledge, understanding, and application of the truth about Jesus. We should have an insatiable desire to explore the fullness of this salvation that we’ve freely received!
2. Throw off your old self
If we don’t make changes, nothing will ever change.
If we ignore our GPS and just continue going our own way, we’ll still be lost.
If we continue to cut ourselves, our wound will never heal.
Love requires a choice and God will never take our choice away from us.
Being reclaimed is a cooperation between us and God. On the cross, an exchange took place; the sinless life of Jesus paying the price for our sinful life. God’s end of the deal remains an open invitation to any willing to receive it. The conditional part lies with us and our choice.
In the end, God does not reject people and send them to Hell. God simply honors their decision to reject Him.
When we are saved, we exchange control of our lives for His salvation. We exchange our opinions for His thoughts. We exchange our plans for His ways. We exchange who we are for who He created us to be.
We throw off our old self so that God can begin to heal us. We throw off our old self so that God can begin to restore us. We throw off our old self so that God can renew us and repurpose us and repair us and do all of the awesome things that He does.
We lay down our lives into the hands of Jesus and He raises us up into new life!
Isaiah prophesied it about Himself, Jesus stood up and quoted it, claiming that He was the fulfillment of this prophesy, and I firmly believe that Jesus has now commissioned you and I to also be the recipient and then also the fulfillment of it.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
Trading good news for poverty, healing for broken heartedness, freedom for captivity, release for the imprisoned, favor and comfort, and provision, beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair. Jesus freely offers this exchange to you and I and has sent us to offer it to others as well.
3. Let the Spirit renew your mind
God reclaims a life starting from the inside out. He begins to do a work in the inner parts of our lives that no one else knows about. Transformation is a work of the Holy Spirit from the inside out.
It begins in our mind. After all, our attitudes and our behaviors follow the lead of our thoughts.
Proverbs 23:7a (CSB)
for as man thinks within himself, so he is
The message that Jesus first preached that continued to be the theme of His ministry continuing on to you and I is, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Unfortunately, the word repent has generally become a harsh word used to condemn people’s behavior and telling them that they need to change so that they might be found acceptable by God.
This message is contradictory to the gospel message that Jesus lived and preached.
The word repent (Greek metanoeō) means to change one’s mind for the better. That’s why Jesus would teach things like “You’ve heard it said, but I tell you.” That’s why Jesus said, “he who is without sin, throw the first stone.” Jesus showed people tangible evidence of the kingdom of heaven and His call to repent was not a call to change their behavior, but to change the way that they thought. Of course, behavior follows.
The Holy Spirit wants to renew our minds so that we see things from God’s perspective. He wants to breathe His breath of life into His word so that it takes root in our lives and transforms us.
This step is all about letting go and letting God. It is all about surrendering ourselves and allowing God to have His way. It is about our faith being expressed through trust.
4. Put on the new nature
The last step is back on us. If you recall, step 2 had us throw off our old selves. Well, God doesn’t want us running around in the nude spiritually. In this step, we replace what we threw off with the new self that God has given us.
2 Peter 1:3-4
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
We were born with a sinful nature. No one has to teach a toddler to steal that toy off of the other kid who has it now, even if they don’t want to play with it anyways. No one has to teach a toddler to throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way. No one has to teach a toddler to hit and kick and bite and scream. Can you imagine what Sesame Street would look like if that were the case?
Nope, toddlers need to be taught to share with others and to be kind to one another and to be patient and to say, “Please?” and “Thank You!”
This step is where people begin to see a change in our lives that mark that we are disciples of Jesus. This is where they see things in our lives that are void in theirs. This is where selfless, sacrificial love is evident along with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. These fruits of the Spirit are all parts of the new nature that God freely offers us.
None of these are not part of our sinful, human nature, so they must be taken out of Heaven’s closet and put on to our lives.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
These things act as a type of armor that guard the new hearts and minds that are still being transformed and allow the healing work of God to continue in our lives. As you may recall, just because you were transformed into a new creation when you were saved, those around you were not. In fact, the more that you change into God’s potential for you, the more that others might become hostile.
Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; forgiving others as Jesus forgave you. Though others may bite and stab and gossip, you will be guarded and it won’t damage your heart the way that those things may have in the past. Like armor, you will still feel their sting, but they won’t cause deadly injuries as they used to.
They will act to both preserve your life and also to point people to Jesus. After all, it is only He who could do such a thing in a life as He has done for you and I. Hopefully, those who oppose will have a change of heart and give their lives to Jesus as well!
The best part of having a life reclaimed by Jesus is not the awesome benefits that we receive, but the honor and privilege of help lead others to be reclaimed themselves.
So, don’t let your life become nothing more than another fail meme. Let God reclaim your life and enable you to reach the full potential for which you were created! These failproof steps will ensure that you head the right direction in life – toward Jesus and inviting others to join you, too!
1. Hear/Share the truth about Jesus
2. Throw off your old self
3. Let the Spirit renew your mind
4. Put on the new nature