"A NEW BEGINNING"
Intro. The thought of a new beginning is often intriguing. Words like, "Let's start all over." "Let's get a fresh start." "Take it from the top." There is always that hope that maybe we can do a better job the next time. We now have a little more experience, hopefully we have gained from that experience.
I. A FRESH START IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE.
A. You can't always erase the past.
1. When the Jews came to Pilate concerning the inscription on the cross which read, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, and asked him to change it to, He said He was king of the Jews. He responded, "What I have written, I have written." This is true of our lives, what we have written, we have written.
2. We would like to do a rewrite on history, but that is impossible what has been done, has been done.
B. Many times a person declares, "I am going to change." In fact this time of year, new years resolutions are in vogue. But they have also become a joke, for we know that changes are not always easy to effect.
C. We know that real changes takes more than just declaring it. It takes more than just desire. More than hoping.
D. There are issues in our past that the Bible calls sin, it has left an indelible blotch on your life, and is gradually destroying you.
1. There is absolutely nothing you can do to erase it.
2. If you should do nothing but good deeds the rest of your life, you cannot change what has already been done.
3. All personal and corporate ills of the world result from this little word sin.
a. Think of how many lives that you know that have been or are now being destroyed by sin. Maybe your own.
b. I think of how many small children are being scared psychologically by some usually older member of the family who is sexually molesting them.
c. I think of how many lives are being destroyed by gang violence. We read of all of the people killed by shootings and we think of the pain and sorrow inflicted upon the families of the victims.
d. From this scene of pain and sorrow, the suffering caused sin, let's look at another scene.
II. WORD HAS SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE GALILEE REGION THAT THERE IS A MAN WHO HAS BEEN ABLE TO EFFECT MARVELOUS CURES ON SICK PEOPLE, IT SEEMS THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE HOW SERIOUS THE SICKNESS MAY BE. BLIND ARE SEEING, LAME ARE WALKING, DEAF ARE HEARING, AND EVEN THE DEAD ARE COMING BACK TO LIFE. HE WAS CALLED JESUS AND HE WAS FROM NAZARETH.
A. There was a group of men who were real buddies, put them together and they were a real riot. They were a crazy lot that would do anything. A fun loving bunch, but one of them contracted that oriental disease known as palsy.
1. It was a disease that attacked the joints of the body much like arthritis. Palsy would cause a contraction of the joints, and was extremely painful, and besides, there was no human cure.
2. These fellows decided to take their buddy to see this fellow Jesus to see if maybe He could do anything for him. They got a stretcher and the four of them carried their pal to the house where they heard Jesus was staying.
3. Upon arrival they found the crowd was so great around the house that there was no hope of getting into the house with the stretcher, but true to form, these fellows decided to climb up on the roof and remove a few tiles, and let their buddy down in front of Jesus where He was teaching.
4. Inside the house as Jesus was teaching, they heard this racket up on the roof, and suddenly this man lying on a stretcher is being let down on a stretcher held by four ropes.
B. I can imagine that Jesus chuckled when he saw this sight, He said to the man lying there at His feet. "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee."
1. This brought an instant mixed reaction from the crowd.
a. For the buddies who had gone to such extremes to get their friend to Jesus, it was probably dismay. Look Lord, we didn't bring him here for you to clean up his act, we want him to be able to run with us again.
b. To the Pharisee's who were in the crowd it was outrage, their thought was that this is audacious, the height of blaspheme, no one can forgive sins but God.
c. To the man that was lying there, I believe that it was a great relief. What a joy, to be forgiven. "Oh how happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Your guilt is gone, your past is forgiven. Your slate is clean.
2. Jesus addressed Himself to the reaction of the Pharisees. He asked, "What is easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or rise, and walk?"
a. It would be easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven." for that is an inward action that would be almost impossible to prove or to disprove.
b. To say rise and walk would give immediate evidence of the true power or lack of power in your words, for the evidence would be immediately forthcoming and observable by all.
c. To prove that His words had power and that His declaration, your sins are forgiven carry weight, He then said to the man who was sick of the palsy. "Arise, take up your bed and go home."
d. And he arose and departed to his house.
III. WHICH OF THE STATEMENTS DID THE MAN THE MOST GOOD?
A. Many would assume that the second statement was of greatest value, for now he could resume a normal life.
1. There are always those who wrongly place a greater emphasis on the material rather than the spiritual. They prefer the short term benefit to the long term gain.
2. If the man was only healed of the palsy, he might have instant temporal relief from the torment of the palsy. But if he was not forgiven of his sin, he would still be facing an eternal torment of hell.
a. Paul said that we look at the things that are not seen, but the things that are not seen, for that which is seen is temporal, but that which is not seen is eternal.
b. You may see the man sick of the palsy taking his stretcher and walking home, that was temporal.
c. What you don't see is the cleansed life, the blotting out of the past, the forgiveness of the sins, that was eternal.
B. This man received from Jesus, a new beginning. The past sins were forgiven, and he was able to start over again.
1. This is what Paul was talking about in the scripture reading in Corinthians, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away, and all things become new."
2. This is what Jesus was talking about when He said to the ruler of the Jews, "You must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven."
3. Jesus gives to you a new life, a new beginning.
4. Just to forgive our sins is not sufficient, I need the power to live a new life free from sin. That is what comes by being born again by the Spirit.
5. If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.
Just now your doubting give o'er
Just now reject Him no more,
Just now throw open the door.
Let Jesus come into your heart.
C. What a glorious way to begin a new year. Old things passed away a whole new start. All things new.