Lesson 1 of 4 in The New Normal Series
This series is meant to take a look at the new life Jesus promises. It is meant to serve as a reminder, maybe even a warning, that it is not necessary to settle for less than Jesus’ promises. “There is no need to hitch church attendance onto a life of “quiet desperation” (Thoreau) and call it ‘Faith’”. We are meant to experience so much more!
2 Corinthians 3:8-11 (NLT) Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
It seems there are three ways people seek to live their lives, the World’s Way, the Old Way, and the New Way.
Neither The Old Way nor the New Way is like the World’s Way.
God’s people made bricks in Egypt. They were shepherds before Egypt. They lived in the ranges and pasturelands of the Land of Canaan. In Egypt, they did what they were told. They were made, like the bricks they formed each day, to fit in to the life of Egypt. But, God wrecked Egypt and delivered His people. The brick makers were shepherds once again. There would be no more “fitting in”. They were free. God’s gift of freedom is from the World and its way.
Colossians 2:20 (NLT) You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.
The New Way is also freedom from the world. It is, however, a bit more extreme. In the New Way God didn’t destroy the world, rather he crucified us with Christ. In Christ’s death, we died to the world, our old life, and to the law. We are free now from our version of Egypt, the World.
The New Way is Not like the Old Way.
Hebrews 12:19, 21 (NLT) For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking… 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
The old way was shadows, symbols, and separation. The Voice of God really frightened the early Israelites. Can you imagine someone rejecting the Voice of God? The great tragedy of Mount Sinai (Hebrews 12:18) is that when the fire, smoke, trumpets, and dust settled, they had a book and a couple of stone tablets. Has it ever occurred to us just how far that is from God’s desire for us? Didn’t God create Adam to walk in the Garden with Him? And, what happened to Enoch, the man who walked with God? (Genesis 5:23-24) God wanted relationship, they settled for a rulebook.
We cannot use the old way as a template for the new way. Jesus once challenged a group of Pharisees in regard to fasting. They were trying to make Jesus fit into their Old Way.
Mark 2:22 (NLT) “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
Jesus was doing something NEW. He inaugurated a Time of God’s Favor! That was and still is a new idea to so many people who live under God’s scrutiny. The New Way does not FIT INTO the Old Way. They are different things.
The New Way is Better than the Old Way.
Hebrews 8:6 (NLT) But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for He is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
It is better in every way… It is better than the World. (Seriously how many broken promises, wrecked vows, and ruined finances are we willing to endure.) It is better than the Old Way with its rules, prophets, and punishments.
Hebrews 12:24-25 (NLT) You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. 25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking.
The Word of God isn’t just something we read. It is something we hear. Just because God wrote a letter (The Bible), doesn’t mean that He wouldn’t prefer to talk.
Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of CHRIST.
The New Way is a Walk with God. It is an ongoing conversation between the Divine and the Individual. It’s not rules, it’s real connection with God.
The New Way is getting Better.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
The New Way is a life filled with More Jesus, More Glory, and More Confidence. What if Christ’s life in you is more than the life labeled by Thoreau as “quiet desperation”? Was Jesus’ Life desperation? NO, His life was PURE freedom. His life was real
God wants to talk to you. God wants to be with you. When do you think you will have the time?
- Review 2 Corinthians 3:8-11. Underline key words in this passage. What are your thoughts?
- What do we mean by “the World”? How is the “World’s” way different from God’s Way?
- Review Hebrews 12:19-25. Discuss the two Mountains named. How does this passage help understand the differences in the Old and New Covenant?
- What does it mean to Walk with God? What did it mean for Adam? Enoch? You?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation. (What will you do about it?)