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New Beginnings

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away, behold, all things are becoming new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

As the calendar turns toward a” new year" many people begin to focus on “New Year's Resolutions". Many resolve to “lose weight", “exercise more", “spend more time with their family", and many other various and different resolutions. The great evangelical expository preacher, Dr. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, said in the mid to late 1950s, that the most significant problem facing the Church today (circa 1958) was “its superficiality”. (Preface to studies on The Sermon on the Mount) If that was true then, it seems to be even more true now. Many churches have all but abandoned the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. They have instituted programs which seem to be an attempt to attract the ungodly. Many churches have totally abandoned the great hymns of the faith and have opted for some form of “contemporary” music. 

Dr. R. C. Sproul has pointed out in a 2003 study of the arts, that music, as opposed to noise, is made up of melody, harmony, complexity, and rhythm, among other things. Frequently, contemporary music has virtually no melody, very little Harmony, and focuses primarily on what can loosely be described as “the beat". Many of these songs which pass for “contemporary music" are sensual in nature and frequently involve only a few words or phrases repeated over and over again. Shouldn’t we be seeking to use our BEST music? Is this giving in to the culture? Superficiality?

 

It is time for the churches in this nation to think about a genuinely “new creation". A genuinely “new beginning". Jesus came not just to help men and women “become better" but, rather, to make dead men live! Jesus brings about “a great awakening". The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Church at Ephesus, “and you have been quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins…", thus, accurately describing the condition of the non-Christian. Dead in trespasses and sins! It is only the Lord God who can make “dead men live". As we see in the passage of scripture quoted above from Second Corinthians Chapter Five, “if any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away, all things are becoming new". It is this “new creation" that is needed by everyone. When the Word became flesh, God sent forth His only begotten Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. It is in Him that the scriptures say, “and of His fullness have all we received, and Grace for grace." (John 1:16) Jesus is our All Sufficient One. It is the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, but it is also the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ which is God's power unto sanctification to all who have surrendered their will to the Lord Jesus Christ, in true repentance, and placed their trust in Christ alone for their salvation. What about you? Have you done that?

 

  1. RECONCILED TO GOD:

 

How can one conquer the fear of death? This is a fear that grips many people, and, in fact, most people have a fear of death at some time during their life. The spirit of the living God directed the writer of the letter to Hebrews regarding the fear of death when he said the following:

 

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He (Jesus) Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." (Hebrews 2:14-16 ESV)

The fear of death is described as being so strong that many, because of this fear of death, have been subject to lifelong slavery! Now we know that neither philosophy nor slogans can conquer this fear. Only the Lord God can conquer this fear of death in any person. Only the Son of God, who came into this world for the sole purpose of saving His people from their sins, can destroy the one who has the power of death, as we see above, which is the devil. Through the death and resurrection of the Son of God – and nothing less and nothing else – Jesus destroyed the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and in so doing He is able to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery!

 

How does this happen? If we would be free from the fear of death, we must receive the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16) The faith to receive the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is a sheer gift of God. The repentance necessary for salvation is also a sheer gift of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance is from the Greek word metanoia, which means literally the change of one's mindset. We must surrender our will to the Lord's will in true repentance, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, which is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, in order to conquer this fear of death.

 

In the Gospel of John, Jesus told Nicodemus that one must “be born-again". God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16 and following) Despite this great and good news many simply will not come. God's Word tells us that many will not come “because they love darkness more than they love light (Jesus is the light of the world) and their deeds are evil. In the Gospel of John in the 40th verse of the 5th Chapter Jesus says, “you will not come unto me that you might have life". What a SAD state.

 

Paul is a bond servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and described himself as an ambassador for Christ. This message of reconciliation to God is different from anything else in the world.

 

  1. THE NEW CREATION:

 

All those who hear and receive the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ by repentance toward God and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are changed. In the Second Chapter of Paul's epistle to the Church at Ephesus, he describes the condition of the entire world apart from Christ as being “dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) Thus, while mankind is in sin there will always be wars and rumors of wars; there will always be evil; and, there will always be quarrels and fights among us. That's what sin does. In the Book of James, in the fourth chapter, we find the following:

 

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not for this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet it and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you asked wrongly to spend it on your own passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:1-4 ESV)

The glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ changes us from the inside out. We are a “new creation". Only God can create! God works in his people through the mighty and glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to create them anew. To make them “born again". The glorious business of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not to make bad men clean up their act. It is not to modify their behavior. It is not to clean them up a little bit so that they don't think quite so badly; the glorious business of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to make dead men live! How does this occur? Through receiving the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is God who works in you  works both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. It is God who does this to us, we become a new creation. God makes us alive in Christ. We are his workmanship. The passage of scripture quoted as the title from Second Corinthians Chapter 5 makes it clear that one cannot come on his own terms. One cannot know God by one's own efforts. It is God alone who makes us a new creation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance toward God. We become a new person. We are born-again, and this gives hope to everyone!

 

Because salvation and the conquering of the fear of death is not based on one's own abilities, this is not just “an improvement", not merely a modification, but a rebirth! A new creation! No one is precluded. It is God who does this great work in you. It is not based on your merit or your record. It is our record that we need saving from. Because that is in fact the case according to the Word of God, no one need despair because they think that they have sinned too much; too greatly; or too grievously. This truly gives hope to everyone because salvation is a new creation by the Lord God alone, who works in you.

 

When we become a new man or a new woman, i.e. a new creation, we think in a new way. This is not just joining a new club or a new social group, we are a new creation," old things have passed away, all things are becoming new!" Thus, as Paul says in the first verse of the 5th Chapter of 2nd Corinthians, “for we know that if the tent which is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Therefore we can say, even as the Apostle Paul said, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain". Thus, in order to conquer this fear of death which has made many “subject to lifelong slavery", Jesus calls everyone to repent and come to Him in faith alone.

 

  • Ambassador for Christ.

By being born-again and made anew by God Himself, who made us from the beginning, we too can become ambassadors for God. The Apostle Paul says, “all this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled unto God. For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 ESV) Therefore, we can say even as Paul said, “henceforth we know no man after the flesh". This new man sees his savior everywhere. Indeed, Christ never leaves us nor forsakes us and enables us to conquer the fear of death. This is real! No slogans. No philosophy. No cleaning up our act. It is God who works in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Have you been reconciled unto God? If not, you can do that by surrendering your will to the Lord's will in true repentance and placing your trust in Christ alone for your salvation. If you have been reconciled unto God, you are an ambassador for Christ. So you should be telling everyone that you know, of Jesus who is mighty to save. Implore them on behalf of Christ for them to be reconciled unto God. Pray that that they would be enabled to say “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

 

CONCLUSION

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 24:25 ESV)

Your friend and brother in Christ,
William Gray 

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