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New Beginnings

by Weldon Hebert


Jesus has a GREAT gift He wants to give to you as well as eternal life! A New Beginning! We can experience New Beginnings if we can leave the past and press toward the future with Jesus! These New Beginning will allow you to Finally rid yourself of the past and to fully embrace a future with Jesus!

Let’s look to verse 13 in the book of Philippians. “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.”

In order to be able to experience New Beginnings, we must first recognize our need for a New Beginning. Paul’s previous life was filled with a litany of achievements. He had quite the resume. He was near the top of his field, and he sure had a lot of past accomplishments to hang his hat on. For Paul life was good. He was educated, envied, feared, and held a high position in life. Paul could have lived out his days continuing to persecute the church. Be all rights, he was highly respected for his dedication.

Paul, or Saul as he was known then, was zealously persecuting the church. Paul was religious as they came; he was blameless concerning the Law, according to Philippians 3:6. Paul was a confident man as per Philippians 3:4, He was so religious, he could not stand this NEW faith, it had to be destroyed!

Then Something happened to Paul! Acts 9:1–6 tells us one of the most extraordinary conversion stories  – Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” he said. “I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

PAUL MET JESUS CHRIST ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS! Something happened to Paul! Paul went from being Religious to being Renewed, Paul transferred his life from that of being based on religion to one built on a RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!

Once this happened, Paul realized he needed A NEW BEGINNING! Philippians 3:7 tells us “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.”

I don’t think Paul regarded himself as having obtained the final knowledge of Christ and the fullest conformity to him, but now he was on the right path.

When we do not think we have a need for new beginnings, we will not strive to change, we will not invest ourselves in a new pursuit, we will simply keep doing what we are doing. This is not just for those without Jesus, it is for those who think they have arrived. Paul, at any time, could have rested on the laurels of his past, or he could have stood with false pride thinking he made it, all the while, cheating himself out of something wonderful! Next, in order to be able to experience a New Beginning, we must strive to reach past the past.

Paul speaks of his past. He speaks glowingly of his past, but he also puts his past in perspective. Philippians 3:7 says “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.” Something that is interesting about the past, is that the past can be something special, something you can build upon, or the past can be a terrible experience, one that you want to forget, but it keeps pulling you into the depths of despair.

If you are going to be able to experience NEW BEGINNINGS, one thing you will need to do is you will need to forget what is behind you. Using the metaphor of a footrace, Paul describes his Christian life as involving the continual forgetting of “what is behind,” and the relentless centering of his energies and interests on the course that is ahead of him. “Forgetting” did not mean obliterating the memory of the past, but a conscious refusal to let them absorb his attention and impede his progress. Paul did not allow his Jewish heritage, or his accomplishments as a Christian impede his progress in the race he was now running!

Churches today can be so bad about living in the past, both if it was great or terrible. A church will try to live in 1985 when it is 2021. The past can do so many terrible things to your future whether your past was good or bad. What do you find most of your thoughts and conversations center on? The past or the glorious future? I know way too many people trapped by the past, it is time to get past the past!

Past successes and failures will not stand in the way, nor will present circumstances. Paul tells us to seek the prize of the upward calling, and nothing is going to distract him from pursuing it. This drove Paul, what drive you? Paul wants to hear God call his name and summon him to the victory stand, where he will meet Jesus face-to-face and know him in perfect intimacy. Earthly prizes do not last. Eternal prizes do. The goal can never be realized on earth. It is a goal that pulls us heavenward.

Past successes and failures will not stand in the way, nor will present circumstances. Paul’s seeks the prize of the upward calling, and nothing is going to distract him from pursuing it.

This drove Paul, what drive you? Paul wants to hear God call his name and summon him to the victory stand, where he will meet Jesus face-to-face and know him in perfect intimacy. Earthly prizes do not last. Eternal prizes do. The goal can never be realized on earth. It is a goal that pulls us heavenward.

 

         Weldon Hebert is Preacher at Cypress Creek Church of Christ.




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8