Can you believe it? Today is February 17, 2019! I can remember being in my early 30s when I first came to this church. We had the old posts and the old benches that we always joked were held together by the termites holding hands. Mark and Shirley were just starting a family and their first-born little Shemie used to sit with her toys, on a blanket, in front of them in the front row. Now they have three grown children and four grandchildren.
We had a private school here for 14 years and now they have all grown up. Many are married now and have their own children! How did all that happen so fast!
It’s almost a mirror image of our spiritual growth…lots of “renovations”…tearing down the old, ugly stuff and putting in brand new. Having many changes and seasons, some good, some tough, some time consuming, never-ending challenges, no matter what your age.
So, you ask what in the world could the New Year bring for me? That is a question that many people are asking now...
• Will my marriage survive?
• Will my child be healed?
• Will I get a job?
• Will I be able to repair my car?
• Will I be able to rebuild my savings?
• Will our country be at war?
• Will there be a nuclear holocaust?
• Some even ask, “Is the Lord coming soon?”
I certainly don’t have the answers to those questions, and neither do you. And that could certainly dampen your spirit to say the least…but should it?
For those in Christ, the New Year should be an exciting time--
• A time to see our God in action.
• What profound changes shall occur in our lives in Him?
• Where shall He take us in personal and corporate ministry?
But, for so many, it’s all about them and not about HIM! We dream, we plan…not bad things to do, but we so often do it without prayerful consideration with Him at the center, without Jesus as the director and planner of all actions.
We do our best or what we see fit, or just have a knee-jerk reaction to what comes our way, or even worse, some just “let life happen” to them. Some prosper; some fail…life goes on.
And that’s reality--without God in Christ, you can live a good life here.
• You can be prosperous, you can be healthy, and you can have a semblance of happiness.
• You can think all “religions” are equal and all belief systems are valid. In all likelihood, you won’t die because of those beliefs. But where will you be when you do die?
• Some think that God is so good that He’ll just love everybody and they all go to be with Him.
• Or if their good works outweigh their bad ones, they’ll be with Him.
• Still others think there is or isn’t a God, and this is all there is. They just die and that’s the end of it. Yuk…that’s a redeeming thought, if I ever heard one!
So, what is really TRUE? That’s what our pursuit needs to be, for what is TRUE…not comparing religious ideology, from which you pick what suits you and your lifestyle.
So, this morning, let’s look at this brand new and pristine 2019, untouched by our crummy, stained hands and broken philosophies and see what GOD may have to say.
When God talks about “new”, we need to go a bit deeper…
The Greek word for “new” in the Bible is “Kainos” which means:
• New, as in that which is unaccustomed
• New, as to form or quality
• New, as in fresh
Now that’s the “new” we are all looking for! We long for the bright, the fresh new breeze in our lives. And, sometimes, it’s right here before our very eyes.
But we just get so bogged down with all the details of living life and just keeping our heads above water that we forget all the “NEW” God has for us!
• We argue over heaven and hell, the religious tenets of one group or the other, forgetting all the time that our “thinker, wanter and feeler” that we are born with is BROKEN.
• And that thanks to Adam, whose disobedience to a real good and loving God, separated us and passed down a broken nature.
• And the adversary applauds when we use that brokenness to make our decisions, define our desires and swirl within our emotions.
The rescue, the “new” we are unconsciously looking for, is Jesus. His nature IN us brings the mind, will and emotions of God…and they are perfect, not broken.
He comes in only by invitation though. He will never kick down your door…that would be spiritual assault! You have to invite Him in. Many have invited Him in, but they put Him on a shelf while they browse other entities of life. Be careful. God doesn’t take kindly to that. Oh, you won’t get annihilated by Him, but you won’t live in His anointing either.
So, as we wade into this new year, new season, new time, new epoch…let’s see what God says about “new”.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19: Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
There are two areas I want to talk about that will hopefully again give us the refreshing, the excitement and sense of mission on this earth:
• The NEW things that the gospel says are ours
• NEW things that are yet to come
Matthew 26:26-28: And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant (the new covenant), which is to be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
EVERY TIME WE EAT OR DRINK—WE CAN REMEMBER THIS NEW COVENANT…THIS GIFT FROM GOD TO HIS PEOPLE…THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS!
John 13:34: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
• Forgiveness, long suffering, mercy—give a little elbowroom to each other to grow!
• Remember some of that Greek meaning for “new”—“unaccustomed”—“new quality”—“never partaken of before”—we have to dive in folks. With the help of His Spirit we can do this! But HOW, you say…listen to this…
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.
• Some people need to take Him off the shelf they’ve put Him on and embrace Him anew.
Ephesians 4:24: and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
• Not what YOU think, not what YOU believe, but what the truth is.
That REALLY helps explain the next verse…
Ephesians 2:15: by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.
In other words--
• We have an Adam nature that tries to obey the Laws of God but is born NOT TO!
• This conflict is usually met on our part by excuses as to why our sin is not sin!
• So, what do we do? We make more laws, and then break more laws, then make more laws…all to obey God’s 10!
• It is a futile effort because when you are in the flesh only sin can abound, and you will find some sorry way around the sin and error.
• But if you walk by the Spirit you CANNOT walk by the flesh…therefore—the death of Christ was the word picture of what would happen if you are of Him—the death of the rule of YOUR flesh to sin.
The Laws He wants us to obey are now the Laws we WANT to obey because we are NEW in Him.
To top all that off—God even says there is more to come!
New name – Revelation 2:17
New song – Revelation 5:9
New Jerusalem – Revelation 3:12 and 21:2
New heaven and new earth – Revelation 21:1
Let’s make this a great New Year but let’s do it God’s way…and remember what God says in Revelation 21:5, “I will make all things NEW.” And that includes YOU.
NOW GO LIVE IT!
[Live recording of sermon.]