Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year - New Beginings

About a month ago my pastor asked if I would be willing to fill in for him bringing the message on Sunday, December 30, since he and his family would be out of town. I jumped at the chance; not that I am much of a preacher, but I do very much enjoy preparing a sermon.

When I told my wife Jane that I would be doing the sermon, she suggested the subject of new beginnings, since it was so close to new years day. As a typical husband, I immediately rejected the idea. Then as a typical christian husband, I started to reconsider, and soon had an outline in my mind.

Rather than post the entire sermon, I thought I would give a brief summary, because if you are like me, then the spare time you have available for reading blogs is pretty limited.

We began by looking at the first "new beginning", that is creation, in the book of Genesis. I spoke a little of the great beauty that we can see in the world that God created. I also pointed out that as breathtaking as the world we see today may be, it is still likely a dim version of what it was before Adam sinned and brought a curse upon us and everything under our dominion. (Genesis 3: 17-19 )

Then we turned to Revelation 21: 1-5 and looked at another "new beginning"; the new heaven and new earth. At that time the earth will be returned to its former glory. It will be what it was before Adams fall, maybe better. Among the many other things that will be new in that new heaven and new earth, one great thing that will be new for us is that we will finally be completely free from sin! (Revelation 21:27) Isn't that what we are longing for?

The third "new beginning" that we looked at was the new man as seen 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. I stated that there should be some evidence of this new man. If all things have become new, there will be changes to your life.

We turned to John chapter 3 and considered the fact that in order to enter the kingdom of God you "must be born again". We spent a little time looking at how we cannot see the new birth or its source, but we can certainly see and hear the effects of it as stated in John 3: 8. I stated that no matter what nuance there might be to a correct understanding of when and to what extent the kingdom of God has arrived, I was 100% sure that when the new heaven and new earth arrive, the kingdom of God will have been realized in its fullness. The new birth is a prerequisite to entering into that new heaven and new earth.

I will end this with the same suggestions I ended the sermon with. As we enter the new year, if you are looking for some new years resolutions, then consider these: Spend more time reading the bible and contemplating God's word. Spend more time in prayer. Pray for your church more often. Pray for you pastor more often. I think this kind of "new year resolution" is the best kind.

(Oh, one more new beginning. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to preach in a couple years and the first since we joined Valleyview Baptist this summer. I praise the Lord for what a blessing it was to me.)


Joe Blackmon said...

Great suggestions for some new years resolutions that are definitely worth keeping. I have been working on expositing Matthew and as I read over chapter 4 where Jesus quotes "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" it struck me that I had not read through the Bible cover to cover in some time in addition to studying it. I have resolved to do that this year. Thanks for the encouragement.

St.Lee said...

Thank YOU for the encouragement Joe. When I got to the part about resolutions, I really was preaching to myself (as the old saying goes). As much as I need to spend more time in the Bible, my need for more time spent in prayer is even more pressing. And guess what our pastor preached on this past Sunday. Yup! Prayer. The Lord is so gracious in feeding us not only from the Bible directly, but also by way of pastors he has placed in our lives.