A Copernican Revolution

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 17
Subject: World View; Salvation; Changed Life

A Copernican revolution is a colossal reversal of thought and belief after a conceptual revelation.

At the point of death, Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) challenged the geocentric model proposed by Ptolemy of Alexandria, with his heliocentric model. In other words, Ptolemy and those who followed his thinking believed the earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus proposed the sun is the center of the solar system, a revolutionary idea, indeed.[1]

Galileo Galilei’s (1564-1642) observation of the night sky with a telescope in 1611 confirmed the theory of Copernicus.[2] Then, in 1687, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), arguably completed the Copernican revolution with the explanation in his book titled Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"(1687).

Robert Booth shares the following in an article titled, “Generation Y speaks: it’s all me, me, me."

The latest generation of graduates – Generation Y – shows the most extreme traits of self-absorption . . . Baby boomers and members of Generation X were like dogs – treat them right and they will be loyal. But members of this latest generation, Generation Y, are more like cats: they just go where the money is.[3]

The genuine believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has a Copernican revolution from holding an egocentric (man-centered) worldview to holding a Theocentric (God-centered) worldview. A worldview is our frame of reference or point of view. It is how we see the world and how we fit in to it.

Paul the Apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Allow me to point out three thoughts from our text.

I. Please note the Evangel of Salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17a). “Therefore. . .”

Someone quipped, “When you come to the word, ‘therefore,’ in the Bible, find out what it is there for.” To interpret a verse of Scripture with accuracy, it is important to read it in context of the paragraph or unit of thought, or chapter and book.

Therefore, let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the word evangel comes from the Middle English evangile, from Anglo-French evangeile, from Late Latin evangelium, from Greek euangelion good news, gospel, from euangelos bringing good news, from eu- + angelos messenger.”[4] Evangel is another word for the Gospel. Maybe you ask, “What is the Gospel?” Paul the Apostle also writes in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) comments, “There are many points and particulars in which the Gospel is offensive to human nature and revolting to the pride of the creature. It was not intended to please man. How can we attribute such a purpose to God? Why should He devise a goal to suit the whims of our poor fallen human nature? He intended to save men, but He never intended to gratify their depraved tastes.”[5] I am indebted to Rev. Spurgeon for the next two points, which I adapt from his message based on our text, titled, “Christ the Maker of all Things New.”

II. Please note the Essence of Salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17b). “. . . in Christ. . .”

Paul the Apostle writes, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ. . .” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” Some like to think there is a third category. You will never find a third category in the Bible.

In a message titled, “The New Gospel for old Adam?”, Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) laments, “The Gospel has been revised and streamlined to please modern man instead of calling on him to be reconciled to God. This new imitation brand of Christianity is more dangerous than outright infidelity. The true Gospel has never been popular and never will be. The natural man does not receive the things of God for they are foolishness to him. One might as well talk nuclear physics to a monument in a city park as to talk the deep things of God to an unregenerate man. Old Adam is under the sentence of death. He must die and a new man must be born through faith in Jesus Christ.”[6]

Dr. C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) concludes, “A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save.”[7]

In a message titled, “Accepted in the Beloved,” Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon shares the following lines:

Once in Christ, in Christ forever,

Nothing from His love can sever.[8]

III. Please note the Extent of Salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17c). “. . . all things. . .”

Paul the Apostle writes, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Peter proclaimed to Cornelius, “Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36).

Dr. Samuel Marinus Zwemer (1867-1952) nicknamed, “The Apostle to Islam,” makes a sobering statement about the lordship of Jesus Christ: “Unless Jesus is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.”[9] After sharing this statement, Dr. Roger Willmore comments, “This is a challenge to all Christians to bring every area of our lives under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. In our lives there should be no rivalry for His throne.”[10]

Paul writes in Philippians 2:5-11, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” When “every tongue confess[es] that Jesus Christ is Lord,” it will be eternally too late for many. Confess Jesus Christ as Lord now! Paul writes in Romans 10:9-13, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Remember, confessing Jesus as Lord is more than just saying words. Jesus warns, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) Jesus asks, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)


Augustine of Hippo (354-430) observes, “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Henry G. Bosch (1914-1995), founder of Our Daily Bread, shares, “The story is told that when Augustine was still without God and without hope, the Holy Spirit convicted him on the basis of Paul’s words in Romans 13:14, ‘But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.’ Augustine acknowledged his sinfulness, accepted Jesus as his Savior, and became a different person. His entire outlook on life began to change because of his new nature. One day he had to attend to some business in his old haunts in Rome. As he walked along, a former companion saw him and began calling, ‘Augustine, Augustine, it is I!’ He took one look at the poor, disreputable woman whose company he formerly enjoyed, and he shuddered. Reminding himself of his new position in Christ, he quickly turned and ran from her, shouting, ‘It’s not I! It’s not I!’ Augustine had found the secret of Paul’s words: ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me’ (Gal. 2:20).”[11]

Maybe you remember John “Sonny” Fleming, who was well-known for his career in entertainment. He was a member of a group called Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers, who joined the Navy in 1944 in an entertainment division. They appeared on the “Meet Your Navy” radio program.[12] Fleming “sang on the Don McNeill ‘Breakfast Club’ program and later became a staff musician for ABC TV.”[13]

Fleming had a cascade of experiences. According to the Free Dictionary, the term cascade means, “A succession of stages, processes, operations, or units, or a movement downward.”[14] Recently I read the following in an unattributed clipping, “The Buccaneers, were presented to sing the ‘hymn of the day.’

John ‘Sonny’ Fleming, one of the Buccaneers, opened his mouth to sing the solo part. But no sound came out. He trembled, fearful that he was about to flub the song on the ABC network.

Finally, the words came, although to ‘Sonny’ a few seconds seemed like hours. A few moments later when Don McNeill asked the audience to bow in prayer, Sonny’s head dropped. ‘God please don’t let me flub up again,’ he begged.

Still feeling jittery, Sonny left after the show to try and calm his worries with drink. But that didn’t work so he decided to catch a bus to his home in west-suburban Chicago.

At the station he waited impatiently for his bus to be called. Suddenly he caught sight of a woman whose face reminded him of the song he had almost flubbed: ‘Peace in the Valley.’ She was reading her Bible.

Sonny walked to her and asked, ‘Are you a Christian?’

She nodded.

‘Please listen to me. I need help.’

As the woman listened, Sonny told her of the warning signals he had been receiving that his life was headed towards moral disaster. He was a chain smoker. He drank too heavily. A good income and an entertainment career had not solved his life’s problems, and a few hours before he had almost flubbed a song on the air. He concluded by asking, ‘Can God help me?’

The woman nodded and quoted, ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’ (II Corinthians 5:17). Then Sonny’s bus was called. As he left the woman promised to pray for him.

Walking home from the bus stop, Sonny came to the point of surrender. He prayed for forgiveness and peace came. He went home and within six weeks his entire family of six had become Christians.

Today, Sonny Fleming testifies, ‘Life for me began at 40.’ He recently left the ABC radio-television network to conduct a full-time evangelistic ministry. Hundreds of people have heard ‘The Voice of Conversion,’ as Sonny calls himself. Many have found new life.”[15]

In the Valparaiso, Indiana, newspaper called The Vidette-Messenger, we read about his call to evangelism. In an announcement for a meeting scheduled at the Portage Community Church, “On January 31, 1964, ‘Sonny’ announced to his television partnership, a corporation of which he was vice president, that he was terminating his 20 years association, to be a full-time evangelist.”[16] Evangelist Fleming traveled all over the country sharing the good news of the Gospel, as evidenced by another announcement in the Florala News, on January 13, 1975. He spoke in Florala High School in Florala, Alabama, and several other high schools in the area at that time.

David R. Enlow features the testimony of John “Sonny” Fleming in his book titled, Men Made New. Fleming was featured on UNSHACKLED! A radio broadcast of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois.[17]

Dr. Michael A. Guido (1915-2009), the late evangelist from Metter, Georgia, known for his “Seeds For the Sower,” broadcasts, shares the following in a message titled, “What’s New?” based on our text, “Before I gave my life to the Lord, I played for burlesque shows, the dance, night clubs and theaters. But on turning to the Saviour I found myself turning from sin. Wanting to please Christ within, not the Christless crowd without, I drew up four codes of conduct.

1st. Is It Helpful? . . . (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23) . . .

2nd. Is It Habit-Forming? . . . (1 Corinthians 6:12) . . .

3rd. Is It Hurtful To Others? . . . (1 Corinthians 8:13) . . .

4th. Is It Honoring to God? . . . (1 Corinthians 10:31) . . .”[18]

Have you experienced a Copernican revolution?

[1]Accessed: 10/03/13, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_Revolution

[2]Accessed: 10/03/13, http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/scitech/display.cfm?ST_ID=225

[3]Robert Booth, The Sunday Times, (London, UK), “Generation Y speaks: it’s all me, me, me,” February 4, 2007

[4]Accessed: 10/03/13, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evangel

[5]Charles H. Spurgeon, The Present Truth: A Collection of Sermons Preached at Metropolitan Tabernacle, “A Mournful Defection,” (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1883), 296

[6]Vance Havner, “The New Gospel for old Adam?” Sermon Notes, (2 Corinthians 5:17)

[7]C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 216

[8]Charles H. Spurgeon, “Accepted in the Beloved,” Sermon Notes, (Ephesians 1:6), accessed: 10/05/13, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons08.xlii.html

[9]Samuel Marinus Zwemer, The Solitary Throne (London: Pickering and Inglis, 1937), 1

[10]Roger D. Willmore, “The Lordship of Jesus Christ,” Sermon Notes, (Philippians 2:5-11), accessed: 10/05/13, http://www.uu.edu/centers/rglee/fellows/spring03/willmore.htm

[11]Henry G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread, “A New Creation,” (2 Corinthians 5:17), (Grand Rapids, MI: Radio Bible Class)

[12]Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers, accessed: 10/05/13, http://www.hillbilly-music.com/artists/story/index.php?id=12294

[13]The Vidette-Messenger, (Valparaiso, Indiana, November 19, 1964, page 7, http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/44636574

[14]Cascade, accessed: 10/05/13, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cascade

[15]Guido Gardens Library, 2 Corinthians 5, #677.pdf, “The Singer Who Almost Flubbed Out,” accessed: 10/04/13, http://library.guidogardens.com

[16]Vidette, page 7

[17]UNSHACKLED! Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago, Illinois 04/20/08, Program #2988, accessed: 10/05/13


[18]Guido Gardens Library, 2 Corinthians 5, #694.pdf, “What’s New?,” accessed: 10/04/13, http://library.guidogardens.com

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com



fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210 / © October 6, 2013 All Rights Reserved