This is a New Year, most folk gather together at the beginning of a New Year.
Yet for many the start of a new year is the toughest 24 hours of their lives. For those people New year's day serves only as a dim reminder & loss. It will simply mark the beginning of another year of failure.
What will this year be like for them?
They may appear to be happy enough. They may be passing out smiles & New Year greetings just like everybody else. But inside they may be hurting, they may be disappointed, or they may even feel like they can't go on.
If so All that can change in an instant. They can start their life over again & make this year the most joyful year of their life.
How many times I wonder have they said to themselves, "If I could start over again, I'd do it all differently."? That doesn't have to be an idle wish. Jesus Christ has actually made it possible.
That's His present to them. He paid the price for all their sins. He paid the penalty for all their mistakes.
That is the reason He came to earth. That is the reason He was born just so they could start over again.
They may look at their life & say "But I've made some terrible mistakes, I've done some despicable things." That doesn't matter Jesus paid the price for them all.
They could be wondering how they could make a new start Rom 10:9 says That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus & believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.
Oral confession declares, confirms,& seals the belief in the heart. So really it is as simple as saying "Jesus I'm turning my life over to you. From this day forward I'm Yours."
Every person, with no exceptions, will one day stand before the Lord & give an account of his or her life Rom 14:22) I want you to encourage them not to live like there is no tomorrow, because tomorrow always comes.
Jesus will come for us when we least expect it, & then it will be to late do to all the things we intended to do, but never got around to.
One of the spiritual laws we see throughout the Word of God is that we reap what we sow. Galatians says very clearly that we are not to be deceived & misled, for whatever man sows that, & only that, only is what he will reap.
Salvation is a gift from God; it is given by His grace & is to be received by faith. We do not get into heaven because of our good works, Rev 22:12 teaches us that our works will be judged & rewarded according to what we have merited.
Our works are not even judged by what we have done, but by the motives behind them. Works done for impure motives will be burned up. If we give money or things, but so do so to be seen by men & admired & well thought of, then we should be sure that satisfies us because that is all the reward we will ever get.
God sees what we do in secret & will reward us openly. Everything that is now done behind closed doors will one day be brought into the open, so we should be sure that we realise that nothing is eternally hidden. The day of reckoning will come.
Some people might think :" Well, As long as I am going to heaven, that is enough." If this is their only motive in life, then they are living selfishly. We should live for God & His glory. We should realise that we are alive for a purpose & part of that purpose is to be used by God to reconcile others to Him.
We are actually created for the good works that God prepared for ahead of time (Eph 2:10). It is God's desire & will that we do the good works, we are to them because He love us, not to get Him to love us or impress Him.
Rom 10:1-13 Teaches: The word believe in the Greek is Pisteuo it means to trust, to have faith in, to be fully convinced of, acknowledge, rely on. Pisteuo is more than credence in Church doctrines or articles of faith. It expresses reliance upon & a personal trust that produces obedience. It includes submission & a positive confession of the Lordship of Jesus.
Vv 9 & 10 is the most foundational lesson in the importance & power of faith's confession found anywhere in the Bible.
The principal is established at the very beginning of our life in Christ. Just as salvation that is God's righteous working in our behalf is appropriated by heart belief & spoken confession. So His continuing working in our lives is advanced by the same means.
The word confess in the Greek is homlogeo has a connotation of a binding public declaration by which a legal relation is contractually established.
In V 14 Paul asks "How shall they hear without a preacher, this does not mean that we must enter public ministry to preach the Gospel.
The Greek word used here for preacher means one who heralds, proclaims, or publishes.
Clearly every believer is assigned a personal pulpit _In the home, the community, at the office or in school- from which to show &tell others the Good News.
Jn 3:1-8 NLT)
here was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
When Jesus said the words born again to Nicodemus? He was talking covenant talk. He was telling Nicodemus what it meant to have a covenant with God.
Let me paint the picture. Imagine a baby, a little baby born to an unwed mother. No one knows who is the father is & no one wants to know.
He is a child that nobody wants. He doesn't belong to anyone.
Now picture the best kind of family you can think of. A family that loves God. The man has a good job. They are blessed financially. They're givers & lovers of people, & they fall in love with this baby. Before long they adopt him.
What happened is the baby was reborn, He got a new set of parents. Through adoption he has become an heir. Not because of anything the baby has done. Those parents didn't say, "I want you to look at that baby, I'm so impressed what he has done for us, he has certainly earned our love & respect.
No, it's a baby. He couldn't have done anything to earn his new life. This man & this woman agreed together out of love in their hearts & bestowed grace on that child. Now he has access to everything they have.
When they offer him a bottle, he doesn't knock it back & say "I'm so humble & undeserving, just give me water."
Of course not. The baby acts like part of the family-& not just part of the family But the best part of the family. Because in Jesus' day a covenant or adopted child had the same birthright as the first born son.
That's what Jesus was talking about when He said "You must be born again". He was talking about grace, He was talking about a new relationship of favour. A new family. A new authority. A new power.
If you feel unworthy to receive the rich blessings God has for you, think about that. Meditate on it, so instead of worrying about & struggling with the needs in your life, you can just walk boldly into the throne room of your Father-your Heavenly Father & receive help to get those needs met. Then you will discover what it really means to be a blood brought child of Almighty God. & you'll discover what it means to be born again.
2 Cor 4:1-7 N L T)
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We need to handle God's Word diligently & with great care. Be careful not to read your own ideas into His Word. Ask God to enlighten his Word to you.
AS God is a gentleman meaning that He doesn't save anyone against their will, you may be wondering does it do any good to pray for people who consciously refuse to receive Jesus as Lord?
Yes, yes, YES it does!
You see in spite of the fact that most unbelievers who have purposely refused to receive Jesus as Lord think they have made that decision of their own free will, the truth is, they haven't.
The Word of God says they've been blinded by satan. He's blocking their perception of the truth.
That's important for you to grasp. Because through the prayer of intersession, you can interfere with satanic forces & help take those blinders off. You can also change circumstances with your prayers & help create situations that will bring them into contact with the Lord. You're well within your spiritual rights when you do that.
Matt 9:38 says we can pray that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers forth into his harvest.
Your prayers will interfere with the forces of satan which he uses to blind unbelievers. Jesus will create the circumstances to bring them in to the kingdom.
Don't sit by & let the devil take your friends & loved ones without a fight. Pray, pray, PRAY. Come against the god of this world. Take off the blinders & open their eyes to a glorious gospel of God.
2 Cor 6:2 AMP)
The word time in the Greek is Kairos which denotes an appointed time or season, rather then a certain length of time. The right time to receive God is now.
Heb 3:7 & 8 tell us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit & not to harden our hearts & ignore Him.
Regrettably when people do not get what they want, or when they go through trials & tests, many of them choose to harden their hearts.
This is exactly what happened to the Israelites when they made the trip through the wilderness. God led them into the wilderness so He could prove to them That He would do good for them & that they could trust Him (Duet 8:2 & 3).
He had great things planned for them, but He tested them to see if they were going to believe Him. That Is why He tells us not to harden our hearts as they did . He has great things planned for us too, so we must keep our heart soft & tender before Him.
Did you know that Jesus has unlocked the prison doors of guilt that have kept them captive? It doesn't matter who they are or what they've been. It doesn't matter if they have a prostitute, a thief, a drug dealer, or a churchgoer who's never made Jesus Christ the Lord & Saviour of their life. The Bible says that today is the day of salvation.
A New life is only a prayer away.
I discovered that many years ago, someone said that not even a sparrow falls without God's knowledge. (Matt 10:29). So I thought that if God knows & cares when the sparrow falls, then He must know the terrible shape my life is in right now.
Now I didn't know anything about the Bible or even if God would let me start over, again But when I stated to speak to Him & told Him that I wanted Him to take over my life, something supernaturally started to happen. I was born again
My journey was a long one simply because I couldn't find a Church with the teaching I wanted But when I did I never looked back.
When you have been born again & made a new creature in Christ that past doesn't matter any more.
Let me put it this way, If I was to take a baby in my arms, just a few months old & said "Oh isn't she pretty, cute & precious? But what about her past?" You'd think I was crazy & say what past? She doesn't have a past!
Well it's the same with us, once you've been born again, we don't have a past. Your life begins again the day we made Jesus the Lord & Saviour of your life. Then when satan comes around trying to remind you of our past, we must tell him he's knocking on the wrong door.
God's plan for our lives has been established in the spiritual realm since before the foundation of the earth, & it is a good plan, as we seen in Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts & plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts & plans for welfare & peace & not for evil, to give you hope for your final outcome".
Ps 139:16 tells us that before we were even born, God planned our days. However, satan has worked hard to destroy the Lord's good plan in many of us, & he has had a high success rate.
God sent Jesus to redeem us & to restore all things to proper order. He has written down His will for lives, & as we believe it & confess it, it literately begins to become reality.
Some people believe for a greater number of things, but see very little manifestation of them. Perhaps this is because they are believing but not confessing or speaking. They may see some results of their faith but not the radical results they would experience if they had bought their mouths in line with their hearts into God's service (Rom 10:9 & 10)
Some people are trying to live in the blessings of the Lord while still talking to the devil. We must not make that mistake. We will not see positive results in our daily lives if we speak negative things.
We should remember that we are speaking, what we are calling for. We are reaching into the spiritual realm & drawing out something according to our words. We can reach satan's realm, the realm of curses, & draw out evil negative things, or we can reach into God's realm, the realm of blessings, & draw out good, positive things. Words are like containers they carry creative or destructive power.
Some have been kicked around long enough, there’s no need to wait any longer. The prison doors are open encourage others to walk through to Jesus & let their life begin afresh to day.
Acknowledgements: Kenneth Copeland.