Tag Archives: New creature

Kel Hammond on Faith, grace and works

Kel Hammond

Faith, grace and works.

As I understand it, it is by faith that we enter into grace (Rom.5:2). That is, we are now in Christ, having put on Christ by faith and baptism (Gal.3:26-27), and thereby enveloped in grace … having been saved by grace through faith, and not by our works (Eph.2:8-9).

Baptism in the first place represents death of the old man. It declares this principle (Rom.6:3-4, Col.2:12). It means that we bring no virtue to God – only a conscience influenced by the gospel message (1.Pet.3:21). We are thereby saved by faith through grace, which is God’s free gift to us (Eph.2:8-9). Having now ALSO risen with Christ, we are to walk by faith, which keeps us in grace – that is, we must now stay true to the things received by the preaching of the gospel, firm to the end (1.Cor.15:1-2).

We have been created anew in Christ, and by faith we are to walk in newness of life (Rom.6:4, Col.2:12), having been born again / created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph.2:10). These works that come AFTER baptism into Christ demonstrate that our faith is alive, and therefore James says

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James.2:26.

In this context, James has already presented two examples from Abraham’s life to show what he means. One is drawn from early on and the other from much later. Early on, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Gen.15:6). Later one, Abraham was faithfully obedient when he offered up Isaac (Gen.22:16-18), and his “works” demonstrated that his faith was alive and had grown.

By this we “see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says,

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”” James.2:22-23 ESV.

Now ponder James 2:24 in this context –

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”

Martin Luther, the ‘great’ reformer, was not happy with James’ epistle and tried to remove it from the cannon of Scripture. He called it ‘an epistle of straw’. Luther, because of his misunderstanding of how God saves in Christ (i.e. his belief in penal-substitution), was not able to understand James.

Peter also speaks of the need for spiritual growth in the following words –

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;..” 2.Pet.1:5-10

We will let the apostle John have the last word, where he later writes –

“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” 1.Jn.3:7

 

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Preceding articles

  1. The works we have to do according to James
  2. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  3. Luther’s misunderstanding
  4. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  5. Our life depending on faith
  6. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  7. Is Justification a process?
  8. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Letter to the Romans, chapter 3
  11. Letter to the Romans, chapter 4
  12. Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans
  13. Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4
  14. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  15. James 2:14-23 — Justified Dynamic Faith & works
  16. James 2:24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
  17. James 2:25. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
  18. Paul giving notice of the works we have to do

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Additional reading

  1. Risen With Him
  2. The way of salvation
  3. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  4. God works faith
  5. Faith is the belief that god will do what is right
  6. Christ’s ethical teaching
  7.  Being Justified by faith
  8. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  9. Faith Requires a Basis
  10. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  11. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  12. Thought for those who think it is not necessary to do any works any more
  13. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith
  14. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  15. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  18. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  19. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  20. Faith and works
  21. Sharing your faith
  22. Bearing fruit
  23. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  24. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  25. Be holy
  26. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  27. Chief means by which men are built up
  28. Not to play at Christianity
  29. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  30. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  31. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  32. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Rom 10:13-15 MKJV  For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (14)  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching?  (15)  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”

For they who do not believe should come to hear and should receive an opportunity to get to know the grace given to all people. People can only call on the Name of God when they do believe. Only then when we call onto God’s Name, Jehovah, shall we be saved. This is a condition to become saved which too many do forget. Also they who do not believe the Gospel as the record which God has given of his Son are missing a lot, and those who do believe are responsible for that, when they do not make the effort of preaching. But those who go out into the world to tell the Good News are recognised as people doing beautiful work, because how can others hear without preaching? Naturally there can only be preached rightly by those who believe and by those who are sent, showing others their faith and gladly willing to share the Good News they themselves heard and got convinced of.

The apostle turns from the responsibility of the seeker after salvation to emphasize the role that believers are intended to have in God’s plan for preaching the gospel. Calling on the Lord is meaningless apart from some assurance that He is worthy of confidence and trust, that He has something to offer that guilty sinners need. Calling on Him and trust in Him are two sides of the same coin. The verse suggests that calling on the Lord continues to be a mark of the believer, not simply the first step in the direction of establishing relationship to him.

1Co 1:2 MKJV  to the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called out with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

One must hear the gospel before a person can be expected either to receive it or reject it. Without people preaching there can be no hearing. Without witnessing there can be no thought or consideration about what could be true or not, or people would not get to know. Certain King James Versions have “without a preacher” – which may be misleading, in that it implies (or it may be inferred there-from) that there is a special office of preacher. This is of course not the case at all: all God’s children are (or should be) preachers!

People do need to hear about Jesus, the son of God. They should come to know what that Nazarene man has done and who his heavenly Father is and for what that eternal Spirit is so important for mankind. Those who do believe should know the importance of their knowledge and out of love for the others they should want others to know that truth as well. When a person believes unto righteousness with the heart he shall be glad to be able to confess with with the mouth unto salvation not being put to shame knowing that when he calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Saint Peter preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs

Saint Peter preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The apostle Paul rightly observes that it all goes back to the preaching of the gospel, and preachers, those who profess the Word of God, must be sent – both by God and the Christian community at large. It does not have to be special university people, but men and women willing to share the Gospel in Jesus’ name. God’s “normal” way of bringing people to Jesus Christ is through the preaching of the gospel, which has to happen through faithful people who follow the example of Christ Jesus and do what he had demanded his disciples.

God’s cursing or blessing is upon us, also according to our faithfulness in preaching the Word. God has committed unto us, in our ministry, the word of His reconciliation.

2Co 5:17-21 KJV  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (18)  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  (20)  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  (21)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

When we choose to become baptised in the name of Jesus we wanted to become in Messiah reborn, becoming a new creation. From then onwards our shyness in the world should be gone having the old things having passed away. Shyness refers to passivity, emotional arousal, and excessive self-focus in the presence of other people ( Jones, Cheek, and Briggs 1986). It also frequently involves negative self-evaluations, social avoidance, and withdrawal. (International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family, 2003). Being reborn we have received a new soul (being) not focusing as such on the self, but on the totality of union in Christ. Arousal and heightened self-consciousness in response to social threat can be put aside when one is confirmed about the truth and its value. The experiences of shyness are often sufficiently unpleasant to lead to withdrawal from or avoidance of many social situations, but they also compound the distress of shyness by distracting from skilled and self-confident social interactions. When a person his faith sits deep in him it will give him enough assurance to conquer that shyness to witness for Christ Jesus and for his heavenly Father, the only One God.

Facing all those new things which are from God we want to share with others that in Jesus Christ the Messiah Jehovah God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us.  We are by the baptism in spirit taken away from the doubt and fear from man and therefore should want to be ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were making His appeal through us.

The apostles and members of the first communities begged the community members on behalf of Messiah, to be reconciled to God and to share the Good News with others.  Though it was not easy, because many had seen what had happened to Christ Jesus, and knew that there were fierce opponents of the teachings of this master teacher. It was the Most High Almighty Elohim Who made the Sent One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. By his offering we are bought and are now facing freedom, if we want. It is not by deeds of righteousness which we had done ourselves, but because of God His mercy. It is by the blessing of Jesus his offering that we can become saved through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing of the Ruach ha-Kodesh,  whom Jehovah abundantly poured out on us through Messiah Jeshua our Saviour, so that being set right by his grace, we might become heirs with the confident hope of eternal life!

Tit 3:5-7 MKJV  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  (6)  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  (7)  that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The Messiah or Christ was a man who did not want to do his own will but preferred to do only the will of his heavenly Father. He love God’s ecclesia and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26). Like Jesus took care that the dirt of the earth was washed away by the Word of God we also should where we come try to wash away the dirt of this contemporary world.

At baptism the believer becomes a part of Christ’s new “creation” (Ephesians 2:10;  4:23-24; Collosians 3:10). That new creation is so incredible and presents such a magic future we do not want to keep it for ourselves alone. Real believers in Christ do want to become like Christ sharers of the Good News. Being washed… sanctified, we are prepared to do the work for God. It is the will to get to know the Word of God better which should bring us to read it more and to share it with others. It is not be going to a special college reading lots of human writings and philosophies that we shall get more knowledge to bring people to God. God has given everything we need in His Word. All is there in that Book of books, the Bible, God His infallible Word which says all.

Without the faith in Jesus we shall not be able to succeed. We need to have faith in Jesus so that we can call on Jesus. And we need to call on Jesus because calling on Jesus, searching for Jesus, crying out for Jesus is what brings us salvation. Through calling on Jesus, we are saved.
So why do we preach?
So that we may be saved.

We need to be saved from our own captivity. We all need to be set free from something that may keep us away from our loving heavenly Father, the Divine Creator.

The world has to know what God provided. they should come to know that there is a possibility of real peace. But they also should get to know that it will be God Who rules.

Isa 52:7-10 MKJV  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, making peace heard; who brings good news, making salvation heard; who says to Zion, Your God reigns!  (8)  The voice of Your watchmen shall lift up! They lift up the voice together; they sing aloud. For they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah shall bring again Zion.  (9)  Break out, sing together, waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.  (10)  Jehovah has bared His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

As in the time before Christ Jesus it was nice to see the messengers of God bringing good tidings. Now it is our time to bring such good tidings. We have hear them and we should be convinced of the importance of them.

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Sout...

4 days of Evangelism Training in Southern California provided by LivingWaters Ministry. Obeying the great commission of Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone” Mark 16:15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Good Tidings publishes peace and brings confirmation about the sent one from God, who is the Messiah and fulfilled his duties here on earth. God reigns and has given Jeshua the authority to prepare His Kingdom and to reign on earth. We are looking for that Kingdom of God and belief that it is a reality which can be there for much more people than it is at the moment. Therefore we should be willing to show the way to Jerusalem, the physical but even more the spiritual Jerusalem. More and more we can see how the Plan of God gets shape and how we come closer to the execution of that Plan.

The freedom that awaits us has to be spoken off. But first we need to liberate us from our own weaknesses, bad things we are burdened with. We must see that we can make ourselves free from the bad things of this world first. There  may be things which are holding us captive. There  may be many things holding onto us.

Andy Burns, who believes the goal of life is to get so close to that light that we are breathing in the light and exhaling it out into the world, writes:

Maybe you’re dealing with a very real kind of captivity like addiction. Maybe you have an addiction to a physical substance-alcohol, drugs, those kinds of things-or maybe you’re addicted to something more abstract-your work, money, maybe you’re addicted to other people’s approval of you. And this addiction controls when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you eat, where you work, where you go after work, how hard you work. You’re not free.

Or maybe you deal with an intensely personal problem like low self-esteem or self-doubt or depression. And maybe this controls you in ways that surprise you-you want a certain job but you don’t believe you can do it. You want to speak up but you don’t believe in yourself in enough to find the words. You want to get to know someone, but you don’t believe they could ever like you. You’re not free.

Or maybe you deal with some pain in your past. Maybe you’ve been seriously hurt-either physically or emotionally by their words or both. Maybe it was a parent, a friend, a spouse, a child. And maybe this old would is holding you captive, keeping you from enjoying life, making you avoid certain situations and people. You’re not free.

See, I think all need to be freed from something. We all need freedom and transformation in our lives. And according to Paul in our passage, this is the message that preachers are entrusted with. This is the reason we preach here. Preachers preach so that people can hear about Jesus. People need to hear about Jesus so that we may have faith in Jesus. People need to have faith in Jesus so that they can call on Jesus. And people need to call on Jesus so that we may be set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the message that we proclaim every week. This is what we all need to hear and what we all need to be reminded of, week in and week out. You can be free in Jesus Christ. {Stuff My Church Does I: Preaching}

People do have to hear about Jesus and each believer in Christ should take care of that. We do have to go out into the world and tell about the marvellous gift we received. We do have to invite others to share with us the grace which has been given to us.

What would it look like if we invited others here to hear the freedom of God proclaimed in the Word of God? What would it look like if we all brought this Word out into our community and saw it as our job to proclaim this freedom that everyone needs to those around us? Just think of the transformation that would happen. I think it would look pretty amazing. {Stuff My Church Does I: Preaching}

Let us all joining and be workers for the Lord, going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to everyone. (Mark 16:15 )

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Preceding articles:

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Preaching by example

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading:

  1. Where is the edge
  2. Remember the day
  3. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  4. Counterfeit Gospels
  5. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  6. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  7. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  8. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  9. Hearing words to accept
  10. Atonement And Fellowship 2/8
  11. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  12. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  13. The Right One to follow and to worship
  14. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  15. Hope by faith and free gift
  16. Showing by the scriptures that …
  17. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  18. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  19. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  20. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  21. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  22. Breathing to teach
  23. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritually
  24. Belgian Christadelphians 2013 & 2014 in review
  25. Stepping Toes 2014 in review
  26. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  27. A prophet to restore
  28. Imitate prophets and Paul
  29. Oratory Style
  30. Counting sands and stars
  31. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Bringing Good News into the world
  34. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  35. Holland Week of billing
  36. Faith and trial
  37. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  38. How should we preach?
  39. The Rapture Wars
  40. Not many coming out with their community name
  41. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  42. Jehovah can make him stand
  43. Our openness to being approachable
  44. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  45. Glory of God appearing in our character
  46. A Society pleading poverty
  47. Good or bad preacher
  48. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  49. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  50. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  51. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  52. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs

A New Year and a New Person

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.”
Every time a new year rolls around, folks begin to think about things they can change in their lives. Some people say that they are going to lose weight and start eating healthy. Others say that they are going to go back to college or get out of debt. Some say that they are going to write a book or start their own business. And others commit to getting organized or spending more time with family and friends.
The start of a new year is indeed a great occasion to make a change in your life. Such time markers we can use as a way for us to stop, look back at our lives, and identify things that we can change for the future. However, many people focus on making only outward changes — changes that will improve the way they look, improve their standard of living, or improve how others see them.
The best change you can make is a change from the inside out — a change of heart, spirit, and mind. In other words, a change that brings about a new you for the new year. For there cannot truly be a New Year for you if there is no new you for the New Year.
In Second Corinthians chapter 5, Paul is writing to the Corinthian believers about the implications of Christ’s death. He emphasizes that Christ died for “all men”, so anyone can have a new life through Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s death, salvation was not limited to the Jews, but was opened to everyone. This is good news for us today because it lets us know that anyone can have a great change in their life through the power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many people have found new life in Christ. When they say
“I am a Christian.”
What do they mean with that? In what way do they want to accept Jesus and how much do they want to ccept the clear words from the Bible which say he was the son of God? do those Christians also want to believe God has a plan and do they relaise what that plan is?

Though Tony Dungy said

“You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Is he willing to accept that Jesus was really a man of flesh and blood who died for all our sins? Are you willing to accept that?
Many people are like Kirsten Powers who said:
“I don’t really feel like I had any courage when I became a Christian; I just gave in. I wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe but I just couldn’t avoid accepting Christ.”
What is it that we want to believe, the fairy tales of people or the truth as it is written down in the Book of books?
How much do we want to change our selves and our way of living?
Were do we want to put our focus in our life?
What do you want to do now when you have made the decision to go for Christ and become a a Christian?
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross said,
“There are many meaningful verses in the Bible, but the one I say to myself most often is, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ That’s my favorite because on the track, I am usually trying to do things that have rarely been done before. I know that it’s only God that gives me the strength to accomplish these things.”
Having come in the new year we can have a lot of dreams for 2015, but are you really willing to make also a new you of of yourself?
To be able to become a new you for the new year, you must be “in Christ.” Verse 17 begins with,
“therefore if any man be in Christ…”
The Greek word for “in” means to be in a ‘fixed position’ or to ‘dwell within set limits’. What does it mean to be in Christ? Being in Christ denotes the standing of a believer after he or she has accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Unless you are in Christ, you cannot have a new lifestyle or a new mentality.
The term ‘in Christ’ or ‘in Him’ is used several times in the New Testament to describe the position and benefits that the believer has. Notice Ephesians 1:7. This verse tells us that
‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…’
We see here that if you are in Christ, your sins are washed under the blood of the lamb. By Christ’s death, and because of God’s grace, you are redeemed or delivered from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell, or ending up in ‘sheol’ the grave.
When  you chose for Christ and got baptised did you know that by undertaking such action you also could receive many blessings in this life?

Ephesians 1:3 states that God

“hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…”

If you are in Christ, you have spiritual blessings that you would not otherwise have. Please notice here that this is not talking about material blessings. Being in Christ does not mean you will have a big house or an expensive car. But you will have spiritual blessings such as peace that passes all understanding, joy unspeakable, confidence in the midst of the storms of life, and the hope of heaven in the midst of despair.Matthew Henry said,

“Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings; with which we cannot be miserable.”

Now, notice Colossians 2:10:
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
What does it mean to be complete “in Christ”?
The Greek word for “complete” means to ‘be made full’ or to ‘fill up’. In other words, if you are in Christ, you have everything you need to live the Christian life. You have everything you need to be considered righteous in God’s sight. You have everything you need to pass from this life on earth to the next life in Heaven.
So, we see that being “in Christ” means that all of our sins are washed under the blood and we are delivered from the power of sin and the punishment of sin. Being in Christ means that we have obtained spiritual blessings because of Jesus Christ; and being in Christ means that we are not lacking in anything that concerns our salvation and life.
Being “in Christ” is the first step to having a new you for the new year.
To have a new you for the new year, you must realize that you are a “new creature.”
Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”
There are many Christians who live miserable, unproductive, and defeated lives simply because they do not realize and embrace the fact that since they are in Christ, they are new creatures and it is time for them to put away the old ways and begin living according to their standing as a child of God.
Imagine a young man who is homeless, disheveled, unclean, and poor. He walks the streets begging for coins just to get a bite to eat every day. One day, a man comes looking for him as he is sitting on the street corner begging. This man tells him that he is actually the son of a wealthy business owner and that his father wants him to come home, get his life on track, and get an education. He tells the young man that there is plenty of room for him at his father’s mansion and that everything he needs — food, clothing, and money — would be taken care of from that point on. Now, imagine if that poor young man refused to take his father up on that kind of offer and decided to remain a homeless beggar.
Of course that is ridiculous. Yet, that is what many Christians do each and every day. They do not live according to their status as followers of Christ.  We may not forget that there are many adversaries of God still living in this world. The Bible even tells us they are in charge of this world now. We should realize that they are capable to
“block the effectiveness of a Christian if he can deceive you into believing that you are nothing but a product of your past — subject to sin, prone to failure, and controlled by your habits.”
The adversary of God (Satan) cannot do anything about your position in Christ, but if he can deceive you into believing what the Scripture says isn’t true, you will live as though it isn’t true.
If you do not realize and embrace the fact that you are a new creature in Christ, then you will never live as Christ intended for you to live. You will not have the powerful, victorious life that you can have. Your “new year” will be the same as your “old year.” No matter how hopeful and optimistic you feel about the New Year, and no matter how much you determine to make the new year different, the ‘devil‘ will remind you of every failure you had in the past year and the years before. He will burden you with your sins and mistakes at the onset of the New Year and if you accept his lies and believe that that is just the way you are, then you will go through another year of not living up to your full potential as a child of God.
We do not have to be in bondage to sin. You do not have to go through another year of making the same mistakes and committing the same sins. You can have a new you for the new year if you realize your standing as a new creature in Christ.
To have a new you for the new year, you must put away all “old things.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that
“if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. That is true. And if you want different results in the new year, you have to stop doing the same old things over and over again. The Bible says that if you are in Christ, and if you are a new creature, then old things should be “passed away.” What are the old things in your life that you need to put away in the new year?
Did you lie this past year? Did you neglect prayer and reading the word of God this past year? Did you cheat and connive to have your way this past year?
Wives, were you disrespectful to your husband this past year?
Husbands, did you fail to love your wives as you should this past year?
Children, did you disobey your parents this past year?
Whatever you did in the past year that got you bad results, you need to put away in the new year.
Notice this verse from Colossians chapter 3:
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”
If you want to make the new year a great year, you must put away all of the old things that you did in the last year and in past years that made that year a bad year. Give your past to God through Jesus Christ and He will take care of it for you.
Let us encourage you to not only put away the sins and failures of the past year, but to learn from them and forget about them.
You won’t accomplish much of anything in the new year if you allow your mind to dwell on the sins, troubles, problems, and failures of your past.
In Isaiah 43:18, God commanded the children of Israel to forget the things of the past. He said:
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
In fact, God himself does not remember our sins. A few verses later in the same chapter he says,
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
So, if God does not remember our sins, don’t you think it is best for us to do the same?
Dennis DeHaan wrote a little poem that goes like this:
Look not back on yesterday
So full of failure and regret;
Look ahead and seek God’s way–
All sin confessed you must forget.
My friend, put away the old sins and failures of your past. Learn from them and then forget about them so that this next year can be a great one, because there will be no new year for you if there is no new you for the new year.
As we close today, I want to speak to those of you who have never accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour. In other words, you are not “in Christ” right now. I want to show you how you can get in Christ. This is the only way you can change your life from the inside out.
Many great people of the past and present have spoken of Jesus Christ and the impact he has had on their lives.
The great French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte said,
“I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself, Caesar, and Alexander should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant — Jesus — should be able to stretch His hands across the centuries and control the destinies of men and nations.”
Dear friend, you can let Jesus Christ be in charge of your destiny as well.
Basketball great Julius “Dr. J” Erving said,
“The purpose of life is to be found through having Christ in your life, and understanding what His plan is, and following that plan.”
Former President George W. Bush said,
“Christ is the greatest philosopher: He changed my heart.”
Theologian and historian Philip Schaff said,
“Without Christ, life is as the twilight with dark night ahead; with Christ, it is the dawn of morning with the light and warmth of full day ahead.”
The great Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson said,
“When Christ came into my life, I came about like a well-handled ship.”
The British writer and media personality Malcolm Muggeridge said,
“I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.”
NFL quarterback Sam Bradford said,
“I really don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I mean, not only was He the greatest human being to ever walk the earth, He’s everything that I want to strive for. He’s everything that anyone should ever want to strive for.”
World-famous evangelist Luis Palau said,
“One encounter with Jesus Christ is enough to change you, instantly, forever.”
Jesus Christ wants to change you today.
Jesus his heavenly Father will grant us such change if we do not mind asking it in the name of Jesus. God wants to make you a new person from the inside out. Jehovah said in Ezekiel 36:26: A
“new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
God wants to bring about this kind of change in your life. That is why he sent His Son Jesus Christ so that we can be saved from sin and the punishment of sin. The Bible says in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Let me show you how you can accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today.
First of all, you must understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 says
“the wages of sin is death”
How can you be saved from this death? Romans 10:9,13 says:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the wooden stake for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer:
Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I have broken your laws. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
Jesus Christ said in John 10:9,
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
See the door to the better world, the Kingdom of God. Be willing to change yourself so that you may be granted the entrance through that small door.
God loves you! We love you! May God bless you, and have a great New Year!
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