A New Beginning

A fresh start or a new beginning - it’s something we all need from time to time. So this Easter, as we revisit the greatest turnaround ever (Jesus’ victory over death), let’s do so not only looking at what happened that day, but also at what Jesus offers us when we desperately need our own fresh start or new beginning.

We read in Matthew 28:54, "And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."

It’s one thing to fall down, and all believers do from time to time…but sadly, there are many today who never get up. They remember how it used to be with them and God, and how they used to go to church and live their life, but somewhere along the way they fell and didn’t get back up.

One of the biggest factors that keeps many from serving God like they should is not peer pressure or lack of desire, but guilt. I have talked to many people who have done something in their past that they are totally ashamed of. Or they fell out of church years ago and would be embarrassed to return.

The problem is we are looking backward instead of forward. Jesus said, in Luke 9:62 "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

 Philippians 3:13-14 "13 …this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

You may have fallen, but I have good news today: You can get up! And you must now go forward.

Just do this—tell God you are sorry and then start over. Once you have received His forgiveness – get back up and serve Him with all your heart. He does give fresh starts. When my kids do wrong, they are punished and get forgiveness, and after that we all move on and strive to do better. When I mess up and end up in the dog house, I tell my wife that I’m sorry, then I do all sorts of penance, and eventually am granted probationary status once again! Don’t let Satan keep you from living the Christian life because he keeps bringing up your past. Just respond to God in the present and change your future. The past has passed and can’t be changed, but your future is unwritten.

Proverbs 24:16 "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." You’re not a failure because you fall…only if you don’t get back up If you get up just once more than you fall then you’re a success! That’s called “failing forward.”

God loves you just as you are – and he loves you too much to leave you that way! [that’s the kind of unconditional love we should also have for OUR children, our spouses, and for each other in the church].

Want to talk about an ultimate mess, and an incredible turnaround?  Just look at Jesus’ time on earth. Talk about turnarounds. Jesus came to earth to personally solve our sin problem. Yet he was rejected by the masses, betrayed by a friend, deserted by his followers - then tortured and killed. At that point, humanity’s destruction was not only justified, it was sealed. It was a damnable Friday.

Then suddenly, everything changes. Jesus is alive and well! You can’t keep a God-Man down! Instead of judgment, his crucifixion brings us forgiveness. Instead of a dead martyr, we have a living Lord who intervenes on our behalf. Instead of a cause for shame, the cross becomes our greatest source of pride. And then that damnable Friday becomes Good Friday.

Whether it’s for our whole life or just one part of our life, the requirements for a successful turnaround are exactly the same. . .

2 Corinthians 5:17 "17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

A fresh start is not a head start. It’s starting over.  When Jesus died the message that came to the disciples heart was, "Jesus defeated." But 3 days later, the fog cleared, and the message they received was, "Jesus defeated Satan." When Jesus died it was a moment of sadness. But 3 days later when He rose from the dead, it was a moment of gladness. Christians around the world celebrate the glorious truth that Jesus Christ arose from the dead. And you may have fallen away from God, and it has led to sadness, but the victory that God has purchased for you still applies, and you don’t have to feel defeated… you can get back up and have a clean slate!

There are no stains on the pages of tomorrow. You can have a fresh start today! Maybe you’ve failed…who hasn’t? Just don’t fail to be saved! Pick up the broken pieces, and bring them to the Lord Pick up the broken pieces, trust in His Holy Word. He will put you back together, and make your life complete Just lay the broken pieces at the Savior’s feet.

Be saved, get right with God, and get back into church regularly. God is calling us to make a decision right now…a fresh start!

Adapted from a message by Jerry Shirley with credit to Dr. Larry Osborne.