1 Peter 1:3-9

I have here some number plates.  Where are they from?  Why do I have them in my hand and not on my car?

Yes, I have had to change the number plates on my car when we changed states.  Really, we have given our car a new identity.  The old plates are now useless, invalid and cannot be used to identify the car; the new identity plates reveal and correspond to the new reality that the car now belongs in and operates in New South Wales.

We also take on a new identity when we move states.  Who here has moved to a new state?  You would know well then, the changes that come about with such a move.  It could be seen as a beginning of a new life; a new birth into a different world; a different way of living and thinking; a different way of doing things and different ways of speaking.  Words no longer have the same meaning.  Port is no longer a fortified wine, it’s a case you carry; who would have guessed.  And no one knows what fritz is.  Grant becomes GrAnt and dance becomes dAnce.

Yes, when we move state, its really like being born into a different world.  The old ways of doing things and the old ways of thinking are no longer valid in this new world.  There is no point telling country energy the stobey pole out front has just been struck by lightening, they have no idea what us ex-South Aussies are talking about. We must take on and conform to the new world we find ourselves.  Like the car’s new identity, we now live according to the new world we find ourselves.  Simply by being in NSW, we inherit the life, the values and benefits of this state; a new world passed down and given for us long before we got here.

Jesus’ resurrection from the grave ushered in a new world; a world completely different to what we have now.  A world in which there is no condemnation over sin, there is no death, no fears or suffering.  Revelation, a book which describes this new world says ‘There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” The old world, the world we live in, has been surpassed and a new world of the resurrection is now in place.  A world born out of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; born out of his suffering, born out of his punishment for sin and is therefore no longer part of the old order of things; the way we see and experience things now.

Peter talks about the new resurrection world as being eternal; it cannot die away, spoil or fade.  It is a world different to the world we know and live in, where everything eventually dies.  Sounds wonderful doesn’t it.  Want to be part of it?  Want to move to this new state; (power point) The state of NSW… the New Saviour’s World?  I don’t know anyone who would not want to move to a state where the two truths of this world ‘death and taxes’ no longer exist.  I don’t know anyone who would not want to live in a place where tears are a thing of the past and suffering is unheard of.      The state of the New Saviour’s World

Unfortunately, this is not the case.  In fact it is quite the opposite, many people are actually opting out of the new world.  They no longer believe this world could possibly exist.  No longer believe that Jesus rose from the dead to be the first born of many to enter into this new world.  And what is so sad, is many of our friends and family cannot comprehend such a place and so reject it as wishful thinking.

Why is this?  Why is it that so many want to miss out on such a state as the New Saviour’s World?  Why is it, WE sometimes feel as if the new world does not exist? Is it because the Saviour’s New World is too different, too hard to comprehend; too unbelievable?  Is it that we and many others in this world, only know suffering, only know death, and only know happiness and contentment in the things we have; material happiness and so think there can’t be more to life?  After all, we conclude, nothing much changed for me after Jesus’ resurrection.  We still die, we still suffer, we still need to find our own happiness.

Perhaps that is the key to our problem, we are hanging onto the old world, we have yet to grasp faith in the new; we are yet to know what it means to believe.  Perhaps we still base our faith on what we see around us, and not what is unseen and what is yet to come; perhaps we don’t understand what it means to take hold of a promise from God.  We see and experience almost a complete opposite to what the New Saviour’s World is supposed to be and so, based on this, we decide the new world can’t be real; we are like doubting Thomas ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

That sort of thinking s not faith, as Jesus said ‘blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Faith is as Paul writes ‘we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’  The resurrection of Jesus ushered in the new creation, the second creation if you like; the beginning of a new state, a new world which is now encroaching on this world.  The New Saviour’s World, yet to be realized, yet to be revealed, yet to be seen, but is never the less, it is real.  And it is making a difference now and bring changes to people’s lives now.

In faith we believe this to be so.  As Christians we are believers;  believers in the new world; that is, we believe in the resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of a new world order.   Peter writes ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade– kept in heaven for you.’

By faith we are born into the state of New Saviour’s World; a world that will never perish; a world where we will live eternally with God.  Faith is trusting in the promise of God that there is such a place as heaven; a place given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus; a place Jesus began when he rose from the dead, never to die again.  Our baptism is where we were born again into this world.  We became citizens of New Saviour’s World; a place where we never die.  And this has an enormous impact on the way we now live in this world.

When we change states in Australia, like from SA to NSW, we leave behind the old ways and conform to the new world we find ourselves.  As heirs to heaven, we have a new identity, a new birth into a new world. We now live according to the new world we find ourselves.  We inherit the life, the values and benefits of this state; a new world passed down and given for us by the grace of God through faith Jesus Christ.

As children of the New Saviour’s World, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.  And this hope colours and changes our world now.  Our life here on earth is the beginning of a new life eternal; we have a different way of living and thinking; a different way of doing things and different ways of speaking.  So let us show that we live in this new state by our actions towards one another.  Let us show others that the resurrection has made a difference to us and can make a difference to them.

Yes, by the power of the resurrection, and by the power of your baptism, you are a citizen of heaven; you are in the New Saviour’s World.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

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