New Hope Notes

The Great Divide
Defining Moments

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
June 8, 2008 - W0823

There are four great divides that I want to tell you about. The first is the Continental Divide which is a line of elevated terrain from Alaska to the Rockies to Mexico to the Andes that determines the flow of rivers. Rivers to the west of the divide flow to the Pacific Ocean. Rivers to the east flow to the Atlantic Ocean. The second is the Mason-Dixon Line which divides Pennsylvania and Maryland but is generally considered the symbolic cultural border dividing the Northern and Southern states. The third great divide is the philosophical divide between peoples. One example would be the divide between Al Qaida beliefs and U.S. foreign policy. Another example would be the difference between Israeli policy and Palestinian policy. But the fourth and greatest divide is the divide between man and God. This can be an eternal divide. Unless it is crossed or bridged, it is forever.


We have all heard that the wages of sin is death. Death can be translated as cessation of life or separation from life. Basically, sin causes separation from God. Solomon wrote of various things and activities “under the sun”.  He meant things and activities apart from God. It should be noted that the great divide between man and God is because of man’s choice. God is always trying to reach man. God did reach man through the cross. As the Bible says, “Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to Him because of the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). So …





When Jesus bridged the gap, we became new believers. As it is written, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). This was not man reaching God but God reaching man. When you become a Christian you receive the heart of God. With a new heart comes a new philosophy. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things are new(2 Cor. 5:17). When we become a new believer, we are also forgiven. But remember …





187 people in New Hope came across the chasm last week and became new Christians. They have a lot of new things to learn but they also have a lot of old things to UNLEARN. Many of them may be streetwise but they are not Heaven wise. In other words, they may know how to behave in ways that get them by in man’s world but it is not God’s ways. A new believer must grow or he will die. Each one must make the choice: God’s heart or my heart? Will I do what God wants or what I want? Life is hard when we do not submit to God’s heart. Just as a newborn is vulnerable and susceptible to disease and cold and so must be fed and carefully taken care of, a new Christian has to be carefully fed daily. The new Christian has to do his daily devotions and Bible readings to feed himself daily so that he can grow spiritually.


How many of you believe that God knows the future? Since He does, then you also should know that he knows what wisdom that you will need for next week. So God will highlight wisdom for you in the scriptures you read in your daily devotions. You will come across scripture that has special meaning for you. Journal and pray on this gem of wisdom. This is the Holy Spirit guiding you. You will find that perhaps next week that the lesson learned from this scripture will be very significant to your life. When you do your daily Bible reading, see how God and Jesus respond to certain situations and use them as your guide in your own life. Sometimes it seems we are not studying the Bible – the Bible is studying us because it is changing us. So “Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). As they grow in the Bible readings, they will be growing Christians.





A growing Christian will be developing God’s heart within him and so will be consistent in his decisions and not indecisive. His heart will lead him to do what pleases God. As the Bible says, “…we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men … but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15). As growing Christians, we begin to understand God’s promises.





At this level we begin to believe but also transform the belief that if God is for us, then no one can be against us. As God works miracles in our lives, we will develop a kind of faith in Him. While it is a good belief originally, it can lead us to believing that God is FOR ME and not that we are for Him. We erroneously come to believe that God is there to serve us rather than we are here to serve Him. If we remain at that level we will become self centered. This is a huge divide when we are thinking that God exists to serve us instead of the other way around.


So remind yourselves, “You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures” (Heb. 5:12). We study the Bible not simply to stockpile knowledge but to transform ourselves into Christ centered Christians.


There are self centered Christians who serve God only if it does not inconvenience them in any great way. Many people are stuck at that level. However …





As a Christ centered Christian you realize that you exist for God’s purposes, not yours. As it is written, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus …” (Acts 20:24). The Bible says that we have been crucified with Christ. As Christians, Jesus lives in us.


America has about 370,000 churches and spends about $70 billion a year on church related items but we still have crime, poverty and drug addiction. What is wrong? We need more Christ centered Christians. We have too many self centered Christians. We have to submit our plans to God’s plans. We all must become servants of the most high. How many believe that God wants to forgive them? If you believe that, then can God forgive someone through you? Are you willing to let God help someone through you? Are you willing to let Jesus heal someone through you?


We need to become the servants of God’s purpose, not servants of our own purposes. Our eyes should become His eyes. We should see other people and the world as He sees them. We cannot let our minds think what our flesh wants. We need to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ. We will not have the power to do that if we are self centered Christians. We must be Christ centered Christians.


We need to submit to Jesus, and then we can receive His eyes, heart and mind. We should want to become more than simply involved with church – we should want God to be able to help people through us. When we become a servant of the most high, His purpose becomes our purpose.


Jesus bridged the great separation between man and God with His sacrifice on the cross. Salvation was a gift from God. But all new believers in Christ still have to grow. The mark of a growing Christian is consistency and stability. But remaining at that level can lead to being a self centered Christian. Christians should become Christ Centered Christians. When that happens they will see God’s purpose as their own purpose.





1.      Why is salvation considered a gift?

2.      What does growing in Christ look like to you?

3.      How can you be more consistent and stable in your decisions and emotions?

4.      Describe where you are in your progression from being a self-centered to a Christ-centered Christian.

5.      How is God helping someone through you?

6.      How can you see more through God’s eyes?