“Jesus Makes Everything New!” – 2 Corinthians 4 – 5
Pentecost Sunday – May 20, 2018
Introduction: Old Made New
Has anyone ever taken something old and made it new? (restore an old car; refinish old furniture;
polish up old silverware; restore an old tool) Ask for a story…
Common theme in Bible
Revelation – God will make all things new. That’s in the future, in heaven, but even now… Put
off the old (nature), put on the new (nature); Jesus: “Don’t put new wine into old wineskins.”
Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 paying attention to the idea that Jesus makes
everything new. But we will start with some newness in the Pentecost story in Acts 2.
1. Pentecost: New (promised) Power
In Acts 1, before He ascended into heaven, Jesus had advised His disciples to stay in Jerusalem
and to wait for a gift from the Heavenly Father. He said, “You will receive power when the Holy
Spirit comes on you.” This would be a new power, a promised power. Ten days after His
ascension, on the Jewish festival of Pentecost, that power – the Holy Spirit – was poured out on
the disciples. We heard that the Holy Spirit’s coming was accompanied by a sound like a violent
wind, a sight like tongues of fire, and a sign… the ability to speak in other tongues.
This power of the Holy Spirit would have significant effects on that particular day, as the
disciples declared the wonders of God in some 15 languages represented by the people in
Jerusalem for the Pentecost festival. Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus made these previously
fearful and hesitant and uneducated men into bold and powerful proclaimers of God’s message.
And that message had its own power as 3,000 people were molded to its truth and believed in
Jesus as Lord and Christ.
The story is told about a little boy who was flying a kite. It was a windy day, and the kite kept
going higher and higher. Finally it got so high that it was out of sight. A man passed by and saw
the little boy holding onto the string. The man could not see the kite, and he asked the boy, “How
do you even know you have a kite up there?” The boy replied, “Because I can feel it.”
Although we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we should be able to sense the power of the Holy Spirit
working in our lives to change us into the image of Christ, and working through our lives as we
both live out the fruit of the Spirit and demonstrate the gifts of the Spirit.
2. New Creation
Now, let’s look at the new things that Jesus accomplishes through His Spirit as Paul writes these
two chapters in his 2 nd Letter to the Christians in Corinth.
First, Paul says – and this is a pretty famous and memorable Bible verse – “If anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” So, here is this theme of old and new
again. The Holy Spirit makes us an entirely new creation as we come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you notice any difference at all between people who are Christians and people who are not?
In what ways would you expect becoming a Christian to make a big difference in a person’s life?
Should life become easier or harder? Would there be fewer problems or more?
Those questions really lead us to conclude that in many ways, you can’t tell the difference.
Christians don’t have a slight visible phrase on their forehead that says “follower of Jesus.”
Christians sin and struggle with temptation just like non-Christians. Christians experience
diseases and accidents and tragic death in the same way as atheists. Some atheists are genuinely
nice, caring people who might just appear to be a Christ-follower. In some ways life is harder,
and there are more problems for a Christian because the devil doesn’t really care about atheists –
they are already in his camp. But he is interested in creating as many problems, hardships and
doubts as possible for those who trust in Jesus so that by all means he may damn some.
What makes a Christian different is a couple of things. First and foremost, our relationship with
God is different. We don’t ignore God, or run away from Him, or try to keep Him out of our
lives. We believe in Him and trust Him in every part of life. A non-Christian, on the other hand,
doesn’t have a relationship with God as anywhere near a priority for his or her life.
A second thing that is different is that we have a new start… really every day we have a new
start, we are a new creation. That means that every day our sins are forgiven. The way Paul said
it in 2 Corinthians 5 is that we are reconciled to God through Christ. Or, in one of my top 5 Bible
verses: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the
righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Does anybody know anything about computers? What happens when you format a hard drive?
Yes, you erase everything!! You start over, from scratch, and install whatever you want on that
That’s what God does to us – at least to our sins – every day. He erases them… as if they weren’t
ever there in the first place. And He starts over with us, creating us, bit by bit, day by day,
character by character, to be who He wants us to be… A new creation!
3. New Treasure
Another thing that Paul says in chapter 4 is that we have a new treasure, a treasure in jars of clay.
He speaks of this treasure using various phrases: the Word of God; the truth; the Gospel (of the
glory of Christ). Then he says that he and other preachers of that Gospel preach Jesus Christ as
Lord. That’s the essence of the Gospel, and that was what Peter – full of the Holy Spirit –
preached on Pentecost Sunday. He said to the people gathered in Jerusalem that God had made
this Jesus, whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ. He’s the Saviour! He’s the King!
He’s the Messiah!
Paul called Jesus God’s light. He wrote, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’
[that would have been in reference to creation – that God who made the sun, the moon, the stars]
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Christ.” The sun, moon and stars light up our daily physical existence, but the face of
Christ, the knowledge of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ light up our daily spiritual existence.
That’s the new treasure that we have.
When Martin Luther explains the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in his explanation of the
Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed, he says that the Holy Spirit calls me by the Gospel – that’s
When Paul says that we have this treasure in jars of clay, that’s a curious image. It was
customary in Paul’s day to conceal valuable things in clay jars, which had little value or beauty
and did not attract attention to themselves and their precious contents. If someone had a finely
ornamented pouch of expensive purple cloth, you might expect there to be some valuable jewelry
inside. But a clay jar… that would normally be carrying some common item of little value.
I remember my I guess unromantic nephew telling me how he proposed to his wife. It seems they
had casually discussed the possibility of getting married. Then one day he threw down in front of
her a paper bag – I think from MacDonald’s – and it had the ring inside. That would be the
equivalent of a clay jar.
Paul compares himself and the other ministers to clay jars, for their lives and their bodies were
frail and common and unworthy. And yet they carried around within them the treasured Gospel
of Jesus Christ – forgiveness and salvation offered in and through the sacrifice of Jesus on the
cross of Calvary.
We, too, have this new treasure of the Gospel. Each one of us who believes in Christ, carries this
Gospel message in our hearts and on our lips, no matter how common and unworthy we may
appear. If the treasured message could only be delivered by royalty or celebrity, then most
people would think it isn’t for them. But because you and I – normal people – can talk about
Jesus to others, they can know that the treasure of the Gospel is for them, too.
4. New Ministry
And that takes us to the other new thing. At the beginning of 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says that
“through God’s mercy we have this ministry” and in the next chapter he clarifies what that
ministry is… God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in
the Garden of Eden, humankind has been separated from God – broken relationship, unfriended,
at odds with one another. That’s the Big Problem. But the Big Story, the Big Solution is that
Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world – that includes you! The good news is that
through faith in Jesus Christ you are united with God once again – reconciled, restored,
When you know that you are dearly loved by God (and you are!), and fully forgiven by God (and
you are!), and really reconciled to God (and you are!), then you are sent to others to tell them
that in Christ God has loved and forgiven and reconciled them, too! Loved and Sent. We who are
the recipients of divine reconciliation have the privilege of now being the heralds and
instruments in God’s hands to minister the message of reconciliation throughout the world.
5. New Office
And we do that through a new office. You know how, sometimes in parliament, an MP will be
deployed into a new office / portfolio – maybe from Department of Agriculture to Department of
Fake News (which often has an agricultural smell to it).
Paul says that as we take this message of reconciliation to others, we do it through a new office –
that of ambassador. An ambassador is a representative of one country to another country. As
such, he or she speaks on behalf of the head of that country, and with the authority of the one
who sends him or her.
When we carry the message of reconciliation from God to others, we are representing Him, and
we are speaking on His behalf, and we are carrying His authority. Still today, God is reconciling
the world to Himself through Christ – not counting people’s sins against them, but counting their
sins against Jesus and making them the very righteousness of God.
That Pentecost-Day gift of Jesus – the Holy Spirit – fills us with the message, the authority, the
boldness to take God’s reconciliation to others, even though we may consider ourselves to be
common jars of clay. The truth is… the moment we call on Jesus as Lord and Christ, the moment
we become a new creation in Christ, Jesus makes everything about us new – a new heart, a new
mind, a new present, a new future, a new hope. We are deployed into that new portfolio of being
an ambassador of Christ, taking the new treasure of the Gospel in our hearts into the lives of
others. For that new ministry, we need the old fire and wind power of the Holy Spirit – directing
our lives, guiding our lives, blessing our lives, speaking through our lives so that we will truly be
what we are – ambassadors of Jesus Christ. Amen.