In this three week series Derek looks at God’s creation: the new man created in Christ Jesus. God offers every man a new beginning in life, but it is up to each individual to accept it. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. What He starts in us He is perfectly capable and willing to complete.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you keys to successful living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
My theme this week is A New Beginning. I’ll be sharing with you how you can step out of your past into a totally new way of life.
But first, I want to say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write even if it’s only a brief personal note.
Now back to our theme: A New Beginning.
How many times we hear people say such things as: “I wish I could start all over again” perhaps it may be in reference to marriage, or to the raising of their children, or to the choice of a career, or they might say, “I wish I’d never done that, or said that, or met that person,” and other things like that. Or perhaps they’ve made a New Year’s resolution and it’s gone down the drain almost before it was out of their lips. Or they vowed to turn over a new leaf, or in some cases to give up a specific evil habit such as smoking, or overeating, or the use of bad language.
All such expressions that people use indicate a longing for A New Beginning.
In this series of talks, I’ll be sharing with you two vital interrelated facts. First, we all need a new beginning. Second, God offers a new beginning to all of us.
Interestingly the Bible culminates with God’s promise of A New Beginning to everyone who will meet the conditions. It’s almost as if in one sense this is the crown or the culmination or the summit of the Bible’s message. In Revelation chapter 21 verses 5 through 8, we read these words out of the vision that was granted to John on Patmos:
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (NIV)
Let me interpolate there. I think when John heard the One on the throne saying, “I am making everything new,” somewhere inside him there was a reaction, “Could that really possibly be?” And the Lord who knows what each one of us is thinking, let alone what each one of us is saying, then responded to that reaction in John, and said, “Write this down! These words are trustworthy and true. You can rely on Me and what I’m saying.” Now I continue reading in verse 6:
“He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’” (NIV)
Let’s look at the following facts about those remarkable words. First of all, the promise to make everything new comes from the One seated on the throne. And that throne is the throne of government over the entire universe. So the One who makes that promise has total control over everything that takes place in the universe, including our lives. It’s not just a suggestion. It’s a statement of Divine authority. “I AM making everything new.” And the statement comes from the throne. It’s an edict. It’s a declaration of what is going to take place that will affect and encompass the entire universe.
Secondly, as I’ve already pointed out, the One who sits on the throne Himself guarantees the statement. He says, “Write this down. For these words are trustworthy and true.” If I may say so reverently, it comes with a written guarantee. A written guarantee from the Lord. He’s going to do it.
And then third, we need to see that the One who makes that statement and offers with it the guarantee is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I’m sure that most of you are aware that Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega the last. So, in saying that He says, “I encompass everything.” And then He makes a perhaps more specific, “I am the Beginning and the End.” In other words, “Whatever I set in motion, I am able to bring to completion.”
The thought that’s come to me many times recently is that God never started anything that He wasn’t fully capable of bringing to completion and consummation. It’s true in our lives personally. And we read elsewhere in the New Testament, Jesus is the Author and the Perfecter of our faith. In that sense again, He’s Alpha and Omega. What He starts in us He is perfectly capable and willing to complete.
What are the requirements on our side? What is needed from us? I would suggest two things both of them very simple. First of all you have to acknowledge your need. You have to acknowledge that inner longing that you have for a new start. You can’t cover up. You mustn’t seek to excuse or change the facts about your past. If your past is really not so bad, then why do you need a new beginning? That requires I believe humility. Many of us, perhaps, are confronted by this opportunity, and we turn it down simply because we’re not willing to acknowledge our need.
I remember many years ago when I was confronted by this. I remember how I was torn between my pride and my sense of need. I thank God that by His grace eventually I sense of need won out over my pride.
And then secondly, to appropriate what God has promised you have to respond with faith. Scripture says that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” There is no way to enter into this offer of God until we set our hearts and minds to believe God. And it may surprise you, but I really believe that ultimately faith is not a matter of the mind or of the emotion. It’s a matter of the will. You have to decide that you’re going to believe God. Set your will to believe Him.
I need to say just a few more things about God’s offer of a new beginning. It has two results. First of all, when we accept God’s offer of the new beginning, it produces in our lives a different kind of character, a different kind of ability. We become able to overcome. We no longer need to be defeated by sin and by every kind of opposition and frustration. God Himself injects into us His own ability to deal with situations and problems. And so the promise is, “He who overcomes will inherit all of this.”
So the second result of accepting God’s offer of a new beginning is that it makes us heirs of everything. To me that’s dramatic, that’s exciting! “He who overcomes will inherit all this everything that’s been unfolded in the purposes and councils of God for His people is open to the overcomer. But the overcomer is the one who accepts God’s offer.
Now, let’s look for a moment at the only alternative if we turn down this offer for a new beginning. What is the alternative? I would say I can state it very simply. The alternative is continuing in slavery to sin. And sin is the root of our problems. Sin is the real reason why we need a new start. Sin is the thing that frustrates us, makes us ashamed, defeats us. So that’s the only alternative continuing slavery to sin. And continuing in slavery to sin will in turn cause our rejection by God. There’s is nothing between being received and being rejected. God will receive the one who receives His offer. The one who becomes an overcomer He’ll make an heir of everything. But if we reject this offer, then we have no other alternative, but to continue in slavery to sin and to face ultimate, final, eternal, rejection by God.
Paul sums up I believe the alternatives very clearly in Romans chapter 12 verse 21. Let me leave this clear statement of the issues before you. I’d like you to meditate on it until you listen again tomorrow. Romans 12:21:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NIV)
There is no third possibility. Either we continue to be overcome, to be defeated by evil, or we overcome evil. There is nothing in between those who overcome and those who are overcoming. And in order to over come, we must avail ourselves by faith of God’s offer of a new beginning.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. The theme of my talk tomorrow will be Encounter with Christ.