Sermon: Spiritual Renewal
Paul admonishes the Corinthians (II Corinthians 12:20-21) to resist contentions, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, backbiting, whispering, slander, conceit, and agitation, all characteristics of the world. When a child of God receives the down-payment of God's Holy Spirit, the positive results from the fruits of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22) drives out these deadly carnal pulls. As Christ lives in the children of light through the Holy Spirit, they attain the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:12-16) becoming a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17). That new creature possesses (1.) a new situation (salvation) with new legal rights, justified through Christ's redeeming substitutionary sacrifice, (2.) a new self—born from above—adopted into the family of God, (3.) new steps—behavioral changes in which they habitually walk by the spirit rather than the flesh, and (4.) reconciliation—or a newly restored relationship with Almighty God. As God's people cling to the vine (John 15), bearing fruit and undergoing pruning, they attain a new nature, a newly regenerated heart upon which God's Laws are engraved, ultimately a new name, totally matured in the Fruits of the Spirit. In short, they become part of the First Fruits, symbolized by the Pentecost harvest.
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