A NEW BEGINNING
By Bill Glover
Most of us wish we could go back and live our lives over again but this time with the knowledge and experience we have gained. We realize that we were too immature and stupid the first time around to make wise choices, which do not backfire on us and cause real grief.
Most parents wish they could reduce all their experiences and knowledge onto a computer chip and somehow insert that chip into their children’s brain so they would not have to make the same mistakes we made. But it does not work that way - - does it?
I vividly recall a serious talk I had with one of my children in her late teens. Thankfully she was not trying to justify her shortcomings. She simply stated “Well, Dad, I guess I just had to learn my own lessons my own way!” That pretty well sums up the human experience, doesn’t it? We all seem to have to learn our own lessons in our own way! A parent can offer guidance but there is no assurance the child will take that guidance or use it. A parent can tell a child that the stove is hot but it seems the child must actually touch the hot stove to realize that it is truly hot and that it will burn.
I am reminded of the story Jesus told about the prodigal son as recorded in Luke 15. This young man thought he knew all the answers. He felt his father was preventing him from having all that “fun” that he wanted to enjoy so badly. So, he demands that his father give him his inheritance so he could enjoy life while still young. So his father gives him his inheritance and the son leaves home and squanders everything. Finding himself broke and destitute he finds a job with a pig farmer and is sent out to feed the pigs. But he was not given any food for himself so he had to eat the feed given to the pigs if he wanted to survive. Talk about a REALITY SHOW - - this was a good one! It did not take much of this “reality” to wake him up. He realized that the servants in his father’s house were cared for one thousand times better than his current condition.
He decides to swallow what tiny bit of pride he may have had left (remember he was destitute) and return to his father and beg for a job as a servant in his father’s house. His father sees him coming [his father most likely was watching for him hoping he would come to his senses and return - - A parent’s love is very deep and lasting] and rejoices greatly and immediately ordered that he be cleaned up and dressed in the finest garments and ordered that a banquet be prepared to celebrate his son’s return. The father said “My son was dead and now is alive!”
This prodigal son thought he could have a new beginning in his father’s house AS A SERVANT. But his father had something far more glorious than that in mind. This fellow was still his father’s SON. The father knew that from then on his son could and would use the knowledge and experience he had gained during his wayward days that would make him AN EVEN BETTER SON AND HEIR!
Why do you think Jesus gave us that example? This example ties in and illustrates what God is doing with us in this human existence. God knew that we humans would initially blow our chances for a good life by following our own selfish ways. The first humans (Adam and Eve) turned from God’s laws. But, God even provided for this waywardness through the death of His son, Jesus the Christ. God the Father wants us to understand that He has provided for us A NEW BEGINNING provided we can follow the example of this prodigal son and return to our Father and REPENT in true humility and contriteness (study Psalm 51).
The Apostle Paul summed this up quite well in his statements found in Acts 17. As verse 25 states, “And He (God) is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything (from humans) because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Then verse 27 states “God did this so that men would (hopefully) SEEK HIM, AND PERHAPS FIND HIM though He is not far from each one of us.”
The primary story of the Bible is God allowing His human creation to “burn its own fingers” by learning through experience that the stove is actually hot. God intends that mankind learn the hard way that going the way of mankind leads to DEATH (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25) - - ultimate cessation from life. God intends that each human who has ever lived get “his belly full” of eating with pigs so to speak. When each one of us COMES TO OUR SENSES and realizes that life is available ONLY IN OUR FATHER’S HOUSE (only through Jesus Christ - - Acts 4:12) we can then repent of our wayward ways and return to our Father and He will accept us back as this father did the prodigal son. This father of the prodigal son gave his son A NEW BEGINNING. That then sets the tone for this message - - A NEW BEGINNING.
Before we get into this NEW BEGINNING God is offering us we must fully realize what this prodigal son realized. He realized that the ONLY HOPE he had was WITH HIS FATHER. That if he did not return to his father - - where he was sure he could and would find at least some mercy - - that he would merely die with the pigs and even be eaten by them and thus suffer an ignominious end. Let us put it in graphic language we should all be able to understand. He could see that he would soon end up as nothing more than PIG DUNG. We each need to dwell on that thought long enough to get the point. If we personally and individually do not return to our Father and gain His mercy and allow Him to clean us up and dress us in His spiritual garments then our ultimate fate will be nothing more than refuse to be cast away for all eternity. There is only one way we can go from the pigsty we have carved out for ourselves and return to our Father’s house and that way is Jesus the Christ (see Acts 4:12).
It is imperative that we remember that this father would not have accepted his prodigal son back had he not had a total change in attitude and behavior. This change in attitude is called REPENTANCE. God says that if we come to our senses and HUMBLY ask Him to grant us repentance that He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON us for all our sins. Let’s read what God Himself says in Isaiah 55:6-9: “Seek the Lord while He can be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked (all prodigal sons) forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him RETURN unto the Lord AND He will have mercy on him and to our God and He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON. For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts your thoughts.”
Let us at this point return to Acts 17:30 where we find: “And the times of ignorance (our time of being that prodigal son) God winked at (was willing to overlook) but now COMMANDS ALL MEN EVERYWHERE TO REPENT.”
If we repent then God WIPES OUR PAST SLATE OF SINS CLEAN. Once we come under the blood of Jesus the Christ then God the Father regards our past mistakes AS IF THEY NEVER HAPPENED. The slate is clean even if our sins are as red (bloody) as crimson. Please study Isaiah 1:18-19. Notice that verse 19 states we must be both “WILLING and OBEDIENT” to receive that mercy.
Once we have come to this point of total surrender to our Father then He gives us the chance for A NEW BEGINNING. We get to start out all over again but this time with a lot of experience and knowledge under our belts. This ties in with what Jesus taught about BEING BORN AGAIN. This is the same as a NEW BIRTH but this time a birth of the spirit - - THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
In other studies we have covered the laying on of hands for the receipt of the Holy Spirit. This laying on of hands for the receipt of the Holy Spirit is not some meaningless “ritual.” If we have truly repented and accepted Jesus the Christ as our Savior then a SPIRITUAL IMPREGNATION occurs within us. God’s Spirit is UNITED with our mind and spirit and forms A NEW CREATION. Let us read this for ourselves as found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if anyone is IN CHRIST he is a NEW CREATION.” This clearly means we are given A NEW BEGINNING if we are truly in Christ. We are afforded the chance to BEGIN LIFE ANEW with our slate wiped clean. Yet God allows us to keep all our experiences and lessons so as to hopefully avoid the same mistakes again. On the other hand, if we do not allow this spiritual embryo to grow it will die a spiritual death since there will no longer be a sacrifice for those sins (Hebrews 6:4-6).
What a privilege it is to have our Maker say, “Look, the time of your ignorance as a prodigal son I am wiping out your slate of sins and giving you A NEW BEGINNING. I am willing to let you start all over again and allow you to benefit from your past mistakes even though I have forgiven them!”
King David initially had this type relationship with God. Then he allowed his human lusts to drag him down and he committed horrible sins against God. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David with his sins. Psalm 51 shows David’s total repentance of his sins. David recognized and acknowledged that he had broken off this personal and intimate relationship with His Maker - - his Father. He realized that this would place him in the same category as the prodigal son and that he too was of no more value than mere refuse. That if he did not get right with God he would merely cease to exist for all eternity. I recommend that each of you take your Bible and go to your private place and read Psalm 51 word for word aloud before God and apply this passage to yourself. Each one of us has sinned and cut ourselves off from God EVEN AFTER BEGINNING THIS NEW LIFE and we, like David, need to bitterly repent and plead for God’s mercy. We have been given this NEW BEGINNING in Christ and we dare not let it slip. We must work out our own salvation WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING (Philippians 2:12-13).
As we find in 2 Corinthians 1:22 “He anointed us (with the Holy Spirit) and SET A SEAL OF OWNERSHIIP ON US and put His spirit in us as a deposit guaranteeing what is to follow (our salvation).” The bottom line is that once God the Father has chosen us, called us, granted us repentance, impregnated us with His Holy Spirit we are His SPIRITUAL PROPERTY. We have been moved from the physical realm into the spiritual realm. We no longer belong to ourselves as we now BELONG TO GOD (Romans 12:1). And He will hold us accountable for this calling.
We must remember what Jesus clearly taught as recorded in John 6:44. He said plainly that NO
ONE CAN COME TO THE SON (JESUS) AND BECOME A TRUE CHRISTIAN UNLESS THE FATHER CALLS THAT PERSON. No one can “talk” you into becoming a Biblical Christian. You can only come one through the TRUE JESUS CHRIST OF THE BIBLE
Therefore, if you happen to be one of those God the Father has chosen to be among His firstfruits - - one to whom He has granted A NEW BEGINNING - - then it is imperative that you grasp what God is holding out to you. He is giving you A NEW BEGINNING so that you can become a son of God, an heir to God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-17). He is allowing you to move from a condition that leads to death(A PIG PEN) to a condition that leads to life eternal.
Now let us read what God says in 2 Peter 1:1-11 “To those [the called and the chosen ones] who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus the Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. His divine power HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE AND GOODNESS THROUGH OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIM WHO CALLED US by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us great and precious promises, so that through them YOU MAY PARTICIPATE IN THE DIVINE NATURE and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith GOODNESS and to goodness KNOWLEDGE, and to knowledge SELF CONTROL, and to self control PERSEVERANCE, and to perseverance GOODNESS. And to goodness BROTHERLY KINDNESS, and to brotherly kindness LOVE. For if you possess these qualities IN INCREASING MEASURE they (these qualities of God’s character) will keep you from being [spiritually] ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does NOT have them he is [spiritually] NEARSIGHTED AND BLIND and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his sins [has forgotten he has been given this NEW BEGINNING]. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE. For if you do these things you will never fall and you will receive A RICH WELCOME INTO THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.”
Please notice that what truly counts with God is CHARACTER ISSUES. Some believe that mere token obedience to the Sabbath and holy days, tithing and other points of the law is all that God requires of us. As Jesus made plain in Matthew 23:23 these are things “YOU OUGHT TO DO” but we dare not LEAVE UNDONE THE WEIGHTIER [more important] MATTERS OF THE LAW such as MERCY, JUDGMENT AND LOVE” - - character issues!
We dare not overlook what God reveals to us in Ephesians 1:12 where we find “In order that we [God’s prodigal sons], who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Then verse 13 states “Having believed you are MARKED [as God’s redeemed prodigal sons] in Him with a SEAL, the promised Holy Spirit.”
Then verse 14 states “Who [which] is a DEPOSIT GUARANTEEING OUR INHERITANCE until the redemption of those who are God’s POSSESSIONS - - to the praise of God.” Going back to verse 4 we find, “For He CHOSE us in Him BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD to be HOLY AND BLAMELESS in His sight. In love he PREDESTINED us TO BE ADOPTED as His sons through Jesus Christ.”
God has offered to each of us A NEW BEGINNING - - the chance to become His sons. Are we taking advantage of this offer? Have we really begun this new spiritual life with Christ? Are we cultivating this life? Are there specific fruits in our lives that establish this? If not, why not? Remember that the Bible says the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents - - one who takes advantage of being given a NEW BEGINNING.
Brethren, God is real. His purpose is real. His calling and His cleaning us up is a real process. We should all be well on the road in this NEW BEGINNING. If we are not well on this road then we need to rectify the situation without hesitation.
This witness ministry is here to help God’s people get out of the PIG STY and get on and stay on the path to salvation. We are here to serve you! Let us hear from you. Request the free material we offer. May each of us fully realize how gracious our Father is to grant us this NEW BEGINNING! And may we take advantage of the opportunity of being called out of a worthless way of life handed down to us by our forefathers (1 Peter 1:13-19).
A MESSAGE TO THOSE CLAIMING TO BE MINISTERS
It is truly amazing how many men and women (especially in Kenya) who claim to be ministers when they have no idea what a true minister MUST be like.
The first major point we must consider is that God makes I clear that NO MAN OR WOMAN CAN “TAKE THIS HONOR TO HIMSELF” - - a person must be called of God to this position (Hebrews 5:4). Paul further explained that he was giving these instructions about who should be ministers “. . . so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves IN GOD’S HOUSEHOLD, which is THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Paul had just given the SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS of a minister in verses 1-7. Please note these requirements carefully as we review them. A TRUE MINISTER MUST:
1). Be above reproach
2). The husband of one wife
3). Temperate (meaning self restraint and never taking sides)
4). Self Controlled
5). Respectable and respected
7). Able to teach (the truths of the Bible rather than false religious doctrines)
8). Not a drunkard (one who drinks too much liquor)
9). Not violent (physically or mentally and emotionally)
10), Gentle (see 2 Timothy 2:24-26 for specific instructions)