2 Corinthians 5:16-21
The terms new, new and improved and renewed are often used in advertisements, promotions and introductions. They usually denote a product or service that has been altered and is, supposedly, better than the previous or old version.
This is done in many other areas of life. In politics, for example, we have the New Democratic Party, renewed federalism, etc. Religion also has been using these terms; New Age is a term used to promote certain types of religious books, music, and a way of life. Even Bible translations use the word new; for example, New King James Version, New International Version, Revised Standard Version, etc.
The Bible is full of stories about people, churches and nations who experienced new beginnings in God’s revelation of His purpose in their lives. New beginnings come at all stages of life.
• Adam and Eve were given a new beginning outside the garden.
• God put a mark on Cain and sent him to the land of Nod for a new beginning.
• Noah built an ark and God gave him and his family a new beginning.
• God told Abraham to go from his country, relatives and family to an undisclosed place, saying: “I will make you a great nation” (Genesis 12:2).
Nothing is so permanent and fixed that it cannot be enriched with new beginnings.
God’s greatest miracle—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus stands out as the eternal testimony of God’s willingness and ability to provide new beginnings. Repentance opens the door to new beginnings. Faith brings the resources of God’s grace to our needs in new beginnings.
We all need new beginnings. We need something to release us so we can walk away from the sin of our past life into a new life.
When Lazarus became ill, died and was buried, Jesus wasn’t there. Sometimes it seems that God is not there when we need Him. And in our emptiness we panic or despair. But Jesus came, and Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, told Him how they wished He had come earlier. Jesus went to the grave and called Lazarus from the dead. He revived him and gave him a new beginning!
God has the power to bring us out of the deadness of our past, the emptiness of our present, and the vanity of our future, if we are willing to trust Him and totally rely on Him. Jesus came so our lives might be new and full again. He wants all those who believe in Him and accept His gift of a new life to be freed from their past and start a new beginning. He wants to bring a living resurrection, a revival in your life.
We are called to live the resurrected life, which has the potential of new beginnings regardless of our current circumstances. Revelation 21:5 declares: “He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new!”
We have been promised a new life here, and the hope of the new resurrection life in heaven with God!
If God sent His son Jesus to become sin, taking our sins on Him, and to give us desperate people a new beginning, and if God would invest this much in you and me for a new beginning, how grateful and thankful should we be? And what should we do, then, with this gift of life? If God is in everything I do, then everything I do becomes sacred and holy.
There is no greater need in our country and world today than a spiritual rebirth. Our new beginnings come with a price, though. The price is our will, our pride and sinful nature. But think of all the new things Christ will bring to us, including a new nature and eternal life.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus concluded his letter to the Church at Laodicea by saying: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Jesus is at the door knocking so He might bring to us our new beginning. He said “I will come in.” In other words, Jesus wants to come into our lives and revive us.
If Jesus wanted to come into the church, how and when would He come in? Well, Jesus comes to church in your experiences and mine. He comes to church with insights and teachings of the Bible, in the person of the Holy Spirit. Listen and see if He is knocking at the door of our church.
Do you take Him to church with you or do you come looking for Him? So often we go to Church to find Jesus and speak to Him. But, actually, we ought to bring Jesus to Church with us so others can find Him through us. Jesus should be with us all the time.
The question is not what the church is giving you, but rather what you are giving to others through the church. We need to share ourselves in an open, loving way and reach out and touch lives that need to be changed and revived.
Remember that, through Jesus Christ, we become new people with a new nature and new values, and members of the body of Christ, the Church. And the Church, as God’s new creation, is the power, force and instrument of the Holy Spirit, with a mission. All of us are missionaries with a holy mission!
Do you think that we as a church, as individuals, need a revival, a renewal of our commitment to God and His Service? I believe we do!
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian