Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church All Things New: 2020 New Years message To hear this message and others download our free app @ the App Store. Search The Gathering connect.
Something New Matthew 2:1-12
Christmas day always brings new things doesn’t it. New clothes, new shoes, a new winter jacket, new pajamas and slippers, new toys, games and gadgets. There are so many new things as we move into the new year…except for you! With few exceptions, by the next Christmas all of these wonderful new things will be old and a new list of wants will take their place under the tree, but what about you? Is there anything new in you? I’m not talking about new years resolutions to lose that weight, give up that bad habit or accomplish that lofty goal. I’m talking about something much deeper than that. I’m talking about a spiritual newness that only takes place as Christ takes hold of you.
A new job can make a difference in your income, your financial abilities and in your availability for other things. A new phase in your relationship like an engagement, a marriage, a breakup or even a death can make a difference in your motivation and inspiration. A new physical look can give you a temporary lift, that is until something else physically falls or fails to give you that satisfaction. A new travel destination or vacation can certainly rejuvenate us if everything goes well. It can also wear you out for your resuming routine once you return. But again… I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about a spiritual newness that bursts forth like a shining star and ever increases as you move towards it.
Let us consider the Magi for a moment in regards to my point. Those so called “wise men” from the East who journeyed to Jerusalem to bring three gifts to the prophesied “King of the Jews.” (Three are assumed because of three gifts, but there could have been two or many more). The Bible calls them Magi or magicians (A title for an Eastern astrologer or mystic in a kings court). These men were received by king Herod and made a “disturbance” in Jerusalem when they arrived. The disturbance would have been because of the entourage of slaves and security that accompanied them. The fact that Herod received them and accommodated their search shows that they were emissaries or ambassadors from another kingdom and therefore financially well off. “East” would have been the vast area of Mesopotamia. So their travel could have ranged from 400-700 miles depending on the region (three weeks to a month by camel and more if traveling only at night in order to follow the star).
Why would men make such a difficult journey unless they were compelled by an inner longing for something “new”? These men had everything that an earthly soul could want. They ate at the king’ table, enjoyed a high position in society, had many fine things and lived comfortable lives. There is no doubt that they had many new things in every new year, but something deeper called to them. Is that something deeper calling you too?
Follow Jesus Luke 18:18-27, Romans 6:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Lamentations 3:21-25, 1 John 1:8-2:1-2
There was a certain ruler who once asked Jesus for something new. He wanted eternal life. That is the something that is new every morning and constant. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, asked the man.
Jesus first reminded the man that he was talking not just to a teacher as many thought, but to God in the flesh: “Why do you call me good?” “No one is good but God alone”, said Jesus. When we ask Jesus for something we must remember who He is. He is God who came down so that we might know Him. He is our Savior who offered up His life for our sin so that we could be forgiven and live in the newness of the life that He gives to those who call upon Him (Romans 6:4-5). He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. He desires to give us eternal life (resurrection) and make all things new within us. It is Him who says: “If anyone is in Christ the new creation has come: the old is gone and the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 If God said it then it is settled. We are made new in Christ and can look forward to His promises and compassion. We are promised newness every morning! (Lamentations 3:21-25)
The rich ruler analyzed his life and decided that he had kept all the commands of God since he was a boy (wow!). The Apostle John said that if we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). The rich ruler had obviously overlooked his need for forgiveness and was mistaken to think that his good works would bring him newness. Nothing that we can do will ever bring newness to our life. We will always be left wanting. Only God brings newness through a relationship with Jesus. He alone atones for our sins. He alone can make our scarlet sins as white as snow! Isaiah 1:18
Jesus tackled the mans unreasonable lack of humility with a truth test. “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come and follow me,” He said. The ruler, unable to let go of his wealth sadly left Jesus. The lesson here is not to sell everything you have and to give to the poor, but to “follow Jesus” above all other pursuits. It is only in following Jesus that newness of life comes. Only He can give abundant life as He Himself said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Into The New Isaiah 43:18-19
The Magi left everything to follow the star that led to Jesus. God directed them and protected them along the way, but they chose to follow. The rich ruler chose to follow after his wealth which would never give him the newness of life that Christ brings. “The thief” comes only to steal, kill and destroy.” The devil ripped him off! Don’t you be ripped off this year. Forget the past, God desires to do a “new thing.” Follow His way.
As we embark on a new year let us put following Jesus as our highest priority so that life can be lived to its fullness. The magi were wise to follow the star to see the Savior so long ago. It is wise for us to seek Jesus first in all we do today too. Put Jesus first this new year and see what a difference He makes. What seems impossible with man is possible with God!
Wise men still seek Him.