So, things haven’t gone the way you planned. A dream has died. Life has thrown you a curveball. You’ve hit a wall, and the hope has started to fade. Sometimes we fail to remember when the possibilities were endless. Sometimes it’s hard to think back to when it all started. Sometimes we forget to remind ourselves that the sun bursts through the darkness each and every morning.
What if there was a way to bring what was dead back to life? What if the resurrection power of Jesus Christ still exists in us? Is our God truly a God of redemption? Is it possible that He can make all things new? Not just once a year, not just when things are bad, but every single day? Maybe God really can provide new mercies, new compassions. Do you believe in new beginnings?
Well, good morning to everybody. Good morning also to those who watch via the internet and mobile app. I just want to take a moment and just address the congregation. Thank you all for loving God enough, and loving your church enough to come out this morning in the deluge. I really appreciate it. As a pastor, you often wonder will anybody show up with it’s really raining really bad. And it’s been a tough night. So, thank you all for loving God, and loving the church enough to be here. Seriously, I mean that. I love all of you all. Thank you for that.
Before I get started, we’re in a series called New Beginnings. I want to tell a funny story, because I know it’s been raining. And everybody’s a little tired. And you know how all that weather does. So, I’m going to tell a funny story. It has nothing to do whatsoever with my message. It has nothing to do with anything that I’m going to say for the rest of the time. It’s just really to liven everybody up, and get a smile on everybody’s face, because sometimes we just need to smile.
So, there was this pastor, a really successful pastor. He did a great job. Had a great church. And as he got older it was time for him to head home, and to be with the Lord. He was bedridden. It was really close to time for him to go home and be with the Lord. And so, he asked the attendant if she would reach out to a couple of his church members to come and sit with him during these final moments.
And so, she reached out to a couple of his parishioners. One was an IRS agent, and the other was an attorney. They came. It was humbling that the pastor would ask them to come. They’re thinking maybe his asking us, it’s like the biblical thing. Maybe like a tax collector and the scribes, or whatever. So, they get there, and the pastor’s there. He’s got two seats on each side of the bed. They come and sit down. They’re talking to him, and they’re telling him that they love him, and all this stuff. They know the time is really near.
Finally, one of them gets up the nerve to say pastor, “We’re just really, really honored that you would have us here. We’re humbled. You could’ve asked anybody in the church. We’re just really curious as to why you wanted us to be here.”
And he said, “You all know that I really always tried to be like Jesus.”
And they were like, “Yeah.”
And he said, “So, you know what I did. I just wanted to die like Jesus. Between two thieves.”
So, there you go. Has nothing to do with anything. And if for some reason you are an IRS tax agent, or an attorney, I’m not saying that you are a thief. It’s just a joke, okay? Just a joke. Or online, somebody’s shutting their notebook right now. “I’m an attorney. Calling me a thief.” I’m not saying that. I’m just saying it’s funny.
So, that being said, we’re in a series called New Beginnings, and in this series what we’re looking at, and what we’re trying to accomplish is for all of us to believe that you can have a new beginning no matter where you’re at in life. That’s the big idea here is I want everybody in here, whether it’s last week, this week, or ten minutes from now, or at the end of the message, or next week, or whatever. I’m really hoping that at some point everybody here at Grace will have a moment where they truly do understand that no matter where you are at in life you can have a new beginning.
And I think all of us at some level would like to have a new beginning. There’s always some place in our life. Whether it’s our relationships. Whether it’s a job. Whether it’s finances. Whether it’s our health. Whatever it may be. All of us really genuinely would like to have a new beginning at some point in our lives. And I want you to believe that you can.
So, here’s what I’ve tried to do. I’m taking four stories over four weeks, and I’m taking stories that there would be people that nobody really would have thought that that day they would have had a new beginning.
Last week, we talked about Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector. Nobody in Jericho would have thought that when Jesus came through that that would be the day that Zacchaeus’ life changed forever. In fact, nobody would have even thought that. It was like the last thing that anybody would have thought of.
This weekend, I’m going to talk about a story that, I would submit, probably is the most radical new beginning that we will talk about during this series. This is one nobody, nobody, would’ve expected a new beginning for this person. And so, we’re going to get to that story in just a second.
Before we get there, I want to give you a little bit of a background. When I do these stories, I really hope at some point, and it’s my hope and my prayer, that you’re inspired just a little bit, or encouraged just a little bit, to go home and really get in Scripture. I hope that when I tell these stories, and you go man, the Bible’s actually really cool. I hope it impacts you. That’s why I take the time to go through these Biblical stories, and do the things that I do. Because I really want you to see that the Bible has something to say to everybody. It is relevant. It really does speak to people.
We’re going to look at Mark chapter five today, but before we get there, in Mark chapter four there’s a story that leads up to Mark chapter five. And I think it’s important for us to understand.
I say that, because I think when we read Scripture, and there’s no fault whatsoever for anybody here in the congregation, or anybody watching via the mobile app or the internet. We tend to read the Bible through our own lenses, and through our own culture, and through what we know. And there’s nothing wrong with that. All of us are there at some level. You read a story that you know, and even if you’re reading the story wrong, it’s what you know. It’s easy to get through that story and move onto the next one that you think you know.
Often times, we need to slow down and realize that, especially when we’re reading the Gospels, the Gospels are beautiful literary works. They’re written in incredibly great literature. And they’re also incredibly theological. They’re making points about Jesus.
Often times, we read them as if they’re like biographies, when really they’re literary, theological works that are telling you and me about Jesus. They’re historical in the sense that the things happened, but what they’re more after is telling you and me who Jesus is, and why we should understand that He’s God.
One of the things that goes on as well in this literary, theological writing that we have in the Gospels is that there’s a lot of Old Testament understanding that the writers just assume that their readers knew. Unlike you and me. We didn’t have the Old Testament, and that’s the only thing that we had. And so, we knew it. We knew it. We knew it. We knew it. And then we would easily understand the Old Testament stuff in the New Testament when it was being written.
Most of us don’t know the Old Testament very well. And there’s no criticism there. Eighty-five percent of every sermon in America that’s preached comes out of the New Testament. We really don’t have a great understanding of the Old Testament. So, we miss, a lot of times, in the New Testament things that are going on.
So, the story that we’re leading up to, Jesus has got the disciples, and He has got in a boat with them to go out onto the Sea of Galilee. And as they’re in the boat, a big storm comes up. And the storm comes up, and the disciples are freaking out. They’re bailing water. The boat’s breaking up. And they’re like, “Where’s Jesus? Where did He go?”
And so, they go down, and they find Him on the inside of the boat asleep. They wake Him up. Shake him. “Get up, Jesus. Hurry. We’re dying. Everything’s bad.”
And He gets up in the boat, and He calms the storm.
Now, we read that and we’re like, “That’s awesome,” and we’re onto the next story. Well, there’s more going on here. That story, the way it’s written, if you understand your Old Testament really well, you understand the parallels of the story of Jonah.
Jonah was in a boat. Jonah had a storm that came up. When they went to find Jonah, where was he? He was asleep in the boat. They pulled Jonah up, and gave him a bunch of questions and whatever. Realized that he was the scoundrel. He thought that his God was like everybody else’s god. Was a territorial god. They ruled a piece of land. So, he got in a boat to flee from the presence of the Lord, because he figured if he could get away from Israel God couldn’t get him because God was a territorial God.
Well, God’s getting him out there on the sea. So, God’s obviously a lot bigger than that. And this would have been crazy for the people on the boat that also believed in gods. They’re like, “Jonah’s God is really getting us here.” And so, they figure the only way to make this right is to throw Jonah overboard.
And so, when they throw Jonah overboard, what happens? Peace comes onto the water. And what do they do? They realize, man, Jonah’s God, Yahweh, He must be really God. And they fall down and they start worshipping God.
Well, Mark has told the story of Jesus in the boat, like Jonah. And when Jesus comes up in the top of the boat they don’t need to throw Him over. He speaks to the storm itself, and says, “Peace. Be still.”
What’s Mark saying? Mark’s saying Yahweh’s in the boat. God is in the boat. Jesus is God.
People always ask, “Does the Bible say Jesus is God?” It screams Jesus is God. It’s just we need to learn how to read it.
So, that’s an important story, because, if you remember, Jonah, he gets thrown over. Next thing you know, he goes to Nineveh, and preaches to a bunch of Gentiles, right? Well, Jesus is in a boat. Storm comes up. Storm calms, and what does He do? He ends up on the other side of the sea in a Gentile area. And He does His work.
There’s a lot of things going on, and I think that as we start to go through this story here in Mark five, not only are we going to see an incredible new beginning on someone that nobody would have seen coming, but on top of that we’re going to see a lot of things that are going on. And I think it will speak to us in a dramatic way.
So, that being said, let’s look here in Mark 5.
It says, “So, they came to the other side of the sea,” – They being the disciples and Jesus. And I just would like to make a note, the sea in the Bible is a really important commodity. The sea means something. If you remember in Genesis, “In the beginning, (right?) God created the Heavens and the Earth.” When God’s there the Earth has no form. It’s void, and it’s covered by the sea.
And the Psalmists are always talking about what if the land goes back into the sea?
See, the sea’s like this place of chaos. In Revelation, what happens? The beasts come up out of the sea. It’s this place of chaos. And at the end of Revelation, what is there no more? There’s no more sea.
So, there’s a lot of imagery in the Bible. Jesus has conquered the sea. He’s on the other side of the sea. This pregnant with meaning. Especially if you’re reading through a first century of lens.
So, “…they come to the other side of the sea to the country of the Gerasenes.”
Now, if you have a King James Bible it might say Gadarenes. Another one might say Gersa. The reason there’s this question as to where exactly where is because we know where’s Jesus is at. We know He’s in the Gentile area. People are just wondering if He’s saying the region of the Gerasenes? Is He saying the city there? Nobody’s quite sure, but that’s not important. What is important is that He has come to the country here where the Gentiles are. Jews don’t go there, and they definitely don’t get in a boat and cross the sea to go see the Gentiles.
So, we’re set up here. We know what’s going on. And here’s what it says.
“And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat…” – Notice there, Jesus steps out of the boat. Nowhere are we told that the disciples step out of the boat. Jesus steps out of the boat. “…and immediately…” And if you’re reading Mark I would challenge you to do this. It’s only 16 chapters. When you’re reading Mark, underline the word “immediately” as your reading through Mark, and you’re going to realize that you have a lot of underlines. Mark has Jesus on a mission. He’s going, going, going. Immediately. Immediately. Immediately.
Immediately He did this. Immediately He did this.
So, He steps out of the boat, “…immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.”
Now, just in case you didn’t quite know that Jesus was in the unclean area of the Gentiles, Mark makes it very clear very quickly that Jesus is in the unclean area of the Gentiles. The man’s coming out of the tombs. That would make him unclean. And he has an unclean spirit. That’s why Jesus got out of the boat, and the disciples didn’t get out of the boat.
They were good church folk. They didn’t want to deal with that type of people. You know what I’m talking about? Can I say something to you? Getting out of the boat with Jesus is always better than staying in the boat. Even though we think staying in the boat’s safer.
Okay, so they met a man coming out of the tombs. “…a with an unclean spirit. And he lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.” – And it goes on to say. “He’d often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles to pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him.”
Now, there’s a lot of stuff going on here, and we’re going to miss it if we don’t pay attention. First of all, we got to understand the first century, because we’d read this and just move on.
The guy was crazy. They bound him in chains. Lived among the tombs. Let’s move on.
No. No. No. We can’t move on. There’s so many things going on here that we would miss.
First of all, in the New Testament time, even in the Old Testament time, what they would do is they would go into the rock areas, and you can see it if you go to Israel with me you’ll see it. It’s all over. What they would do is they would go in and they would hewn out of the rock, tombs. For you, and me. That later on when we die that’s where we would go. And those tombs were all over the hillside, and most of them were unoccupied until somebody went an occupied those tombs.
What would happen is is the poor people who didn’t have a house, or whatever, they would go and live in those tombs. That’s where they would live, because they’d have some shelter. Well, when they got a mentally deranged person that was just out of it insane, what they would do is they would bind them in shackles and chains, and they would put them in one of those tombs and pin them down in that tomb, bound to the chains. Basically like, “You’re going to die anyway.” They might feed them a little bit, but the point was they’d lock them in the tombs.
Well, this guy here, that’s what’s happened to him. He’s mentally deranged, and they’ve taken him, multiple times, and tried to chain him into the tomb. That’s why he’s living around the tombs.
Now, that’s important to know, because this guy is an unclean dude. Because if you get in the tombs, you’re unclean ritually, as far as the religion of the day. To Judaism that was a taboo. This guy is on the fringe of society.
But what we probably would miss here, Mark’s reader would definitely not have missed it, is that Jesus has come over to the Gentile side. And at the Gentile side, in the region of the Gerasenes, was where a Roman legion of troops were occupied. In fact, actually on their shield was a boar, a pig. Any of Mark’s readers would have known what was over on that other side. And they would have known because they were Jews, and they were under then Roman military oppression in Palestine.
What’s interesting is is the Romans preached a couple of really big doctrines. One of them was we need to be strong. We need to have a massively strong military, and be strong. Strength is important. It’s important to be strong. And on top of that, it’s important to be individualistic. It’s important to be people that are individualistic.
Well Mark, in a comedic, in a parody says, “Hey, this guy is as strong as he can be, and he’s as individual as he can be. He’s not even around anybody in society anymore. And guess what. He’s crazy.”
That’s what that is. It’s craziness. God didn’t ask you to be strong. He asked you to be weak. He didn’t ask you to be an individual. He asked you to work together in a community.
The subtle things in Scripture are missed by us, because we’re not those original hearers that read these passages. It’s important for us to be able to get back into those lenses of what would those originally people… It would have screamed off the page at them.
There’s a guy. He’s running around, doing his stuff. And in fact, he goes on to say, “Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was crying out and cutting himself with stones.” This guy’s mentally deranged, but he’s ultimately the perfection of what Rome would have taught.
Nobody could bind him, and he was as individualistic as can be. He’s just crazy.
So, “When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before Him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don’t torment me.’”
Now, let’s stop for a second here. This demon is tormenting this human being so bad that he’s cutting himself, running around. He’s deranged. Demon doesn’t care at all about this human being. All the demon cares about is himself. “…, don’t torment me.” Which means we are demonic when all we care about is us, and not how other people are being treated.
So, “...don’t torment me Jesus.’ For He was saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’”
Mark does this. Mark will get ahead of himself, and then he’ll say, “Oh, I forgot to tell you something. By the way, when Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the dude. He said come out. The guy fell down and did this thing.” So, he sort of backs this back in. He goes, “For He was saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion.”
Once again, this is pregnant with all kinds of things going on here, but this is important. “…for we are many.”
This man isn’t possessed by one demon. This man is possessed by thousands of demons. No wonder the storm happened on the way over. They didn’t want Him here. This is Jesus fighting with the Powers of Darkness to reach someone.
He says, “We’re a Legion. We’re many.” “And he begged Him to earnestly not send them out of the country.”
They’re happy there. They’re like, “Man, we can possess people.” Which should say something about that area. I won’t even go there, and mettle there. It was easy to possess these people. All they care about is the thing they care about.
They said, “… (please don’t send us) out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside…”
Okay, so if you didn’t catch that this place was a Gentile place, if you didn’t catch that it was an unclean tomb, if you didn’t catch that there was an unclean spirit, if you didn’t catch how unclean it was, now there’s the little piggies. It’s an ugly place, and they disciples are like, “We’re gonna stay in the boat. We don’t hang out with this riffraff. These people are no good.” They’re good church folk, right? Never get out of the boat.
“…a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged Him, saying, ‘(Hey, why don’t you) Send us to the pigs.’”
Can I tell you something that’s just the way it is? In the first century, when demons got cast out they went into pigs. In 2017, it seems like when demons get cast out they go into electronics. I’m just letting you know that. I’m just telling you. It’s like, “Come out.”
“And Pastor Chip was saying to them, ‘Come out from the projector.’”
So, anyway, a great herd of pigs was feeding there. It says, “Let us go there.” So, they’re trying to bargain here. They’re trying to save their life. They figured, “We’ll get in the pigs. We’ll hang out there for a little bit. When He leaves we can get back into some people. Do whatever.”
Well, so it says, “So He gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand…” – Because there’s a lot of demons. So, there’s a lot of pigs. Okay. – “…, they rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.”
They thought they were going to skirt around the issue. No. No, Jesus put them in the sea. In the chaos. All that stuff. Done. They’re drowned. They’re gone. That’s what it is.
So, “The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and the country.”
See, what happened was these people were taking care of two thousand pigs. This was somebody’s economy. This was somebody’s finances. In fact, if you really want to know, the soldiers that were in the area they loved pigs to eat. They loved bacon. They liked Oscar Mayer back then. They liked that. They just loved it.
So, the herdsmen are like, “Man, we need to go tell somebody, because these aren’t our pigs. And if they dude who knows these pigs are gone, they’re going to be after us. We’re going to be in trouble. We need to go tell somebody that some dude comes off the boat, the other guys stay in the boat. He does something with His hand about ‘Come out.’ So, all of the sudden the pigs go down the hill. They’re dead. We’re in trouble. We gotta go tell somebody.”
So, they fled. They ran. And they told it in the city, and the country. They’re like, “Man, let me tell you. This little piggy went to market. This little piggy had none. And this little piggy, he died in the sea.”
So, “They fled and told it in the city and the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.”
That’s funny, isn’t it? People always want to see what’s going on, right? What went on? Pigs drowned? Let me go see.
So, they’re coming to see what has happened. “And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind…” – Beautiful power of beautiful imagery here, emblematic of resurrection. He was in a tomb, and now he’s in his right mind, clothed, and a new beginning.
And you would think everybody would come around and go, “Aw man, crazy man! Dude! Life’s good. This awesome. Man, can’t believe it. This guy was crazy, cut himself. Man, we bound him up and whatever.” You’d think they’d be excited.
No. No. No. No. No.
“… they were afraid.”
See, they said, “Man, if Jesus stays here, He might start doing this to everybody else. He might ruin our economy. He might ruin our way of life. He might get into my business a little bit, and I’m not going there.”
They’re afraid. They’re thinking through their head, “We gotta get this Jesus guy out of here.”
“And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs.” – They said, hey this is what happened. – “And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.”
“Hey, Jesus, we don’t want you around here, dude. You’re going to mess up our comfort zone. You’re going to mess up our culture. It’s not how we roll. That’s not who we are. Could you please leave?”
Notice there’s three beggars in this passage. The demons begged. The people begged. And there’s a third beggar. It says, “As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with the demons begged Him that he might be with Him.”
He says, “Jesus, man, you see they don’t care about me. They don’t care about me at all. In fact, they’re the ones who put me in a tomb, and chained me down. Could I follow You? Could I come with You?”
“And He did not permit (it).”
He said no. He says here’s what I want you to do. I want you to “‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis (the ten cities of the Gentiles) how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”
Nobody would have thought that day at all that demon-possessed man would have had a new beginning. Demon-possessed man wouldn’t have even thought he was going to have a new beginning. Nobody would have thought that.
But Jesus crosses the sea for one man. He’ll cross the sea for you. In fact, you’re not here by accident. In fact, I know you’ll probably laugh at this, many of you crossed the sea metaphorically to get here today, okay? And you’re not here by accident. You’re here because Jesus wants you to know that you can have a new beginning. That no matter where you’re at, no matter what’s going on in your life, that new beginnings are possibilities for you and me.
Now, this is what I call the “Thoughts to Consider.” And I ask everybody here, if you have something to write down, write these down. They’re just important. I don’t even care if you take your phone out and take a picture of it. That’s fine, too. I just want you to be able to think through these things today, but I also want you to think through them over the week. And maybe over the next month. Just let them speak to you.
The first thing that I would tell you is this. There is nothing in our lives that Jesus doesn’t have the power over.
Listen, He had power over the sea. He had power over the demons. He had power over changing a guy’s life. There’s nothing that He doesn’t have power over. And if that’s true, if there’s nothing in our lives that Jesus doesn’t have the power over, then that means that new beginnings are always available. If He’s got power to change people that are in tombs, and give them resurrection, and you see that all through Mark. All through Mark. Everything in Mark is geared towards the Passion. All the miracles stories in Mark are geared towards the Passion.
Jesus’ hands and feet will be immobilized on the cross so that the man who has the immobilized hand can be freed. The man with the withered hand.
The paralytic, they’re carrying him on that thing. He looks like he’s dead, because he can’t move. You got four guys carrying him, and they have to go up on top of the house. They have to dig through dirt, and the mud, to lower him down. That’s emblematic of a funeral. They’re lowering him down into the ground, and what does he do? He finds Jesus there, and Jesus says rise. Resurrection.
Everything’s based there.
In fact, this whole passage where this man’s being cut, he’s naked, he’s deranged, he falls down. You’re going to pick up the same thing in Mark 15 where there’s a battalion it says, like legion. There’s a battalion of Roman soldiers, and what do they do? They mock Jesus. They fall down at His feet. Same Greek words. Fall down. Only two places in Mark where this happens. They fall down at Jesus’ feet. What do they do? They cut Jesus with the cat o’ nine tails. They strip Him naked.
Because Jesus endures that, his man can be healed. And that’s the same for you and me. What Jesus did on the cross for you and me, and because He resurrected, that gives Him power over everything. So, new beginnings are always available. They’re always available for you and me.
Let me say it this way, what’s beyond human aid, is possible with Jesus. What’s beyond what you and I can do, is possible with Jesus.
Let me take that even further. Jesus can rescue you from the tomb you have been chained to.
Whatever you’re chained to today, whatever you came in here chained to, let me tell you something, Jesus has the power to set you free. In the name of Jesus the Nazarene, the strong Son of God, let Him set you free from the things that you’ve been chained to. Let Him give you a new beginning. He has the power and the ability to do it in your life.
Second thing, not everyone’s going to desire a new beginning for you. Sometimes, not even you.
Listen, they began to beg Jesus, “Get out of here. We don’t need any more new beginnings, man. This one here devastated us. Two thousand pigs, that’s a devastation for us economically. I mean, don’t you care about that Jesus? So, go. Please get out of here.”
Listen to this. Some people are more concerned with keeping their own comfort than seeing others experience change.
Let me make it even more real. Demon oppression is easier to cast out than cultural comfort and selfish obsession.
Casting that demon out was easier than people who are culturally comfortable, and selfishly obsessed. I won’t even mettle there. I’ll just let that one go.
Third point, new beginnings are not just for you. They also reach others.
This is one of the things I want everybody to understand. When you have a new beginning with Jesus, it’s not about just you. It spills over. There’s spillage into other things.
See, this is what happens. Telling others of your new beginnings is the beginning of restoration. Look at what Jesus says to this guy. He says, “Go home to your friends and tell them (all the things that they’re doing wrong).” No.
“Go home and tell your friends (that judgement’s coming).” No.
“Go home and tell your friends (how the things that they’re doing, activities…).” No. No. No. None of that.
He says, “(I want you to) go home and tell your friends what the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.”
Maybe the reason we can’t tell people about what God’s done, and the mercies that He had, is because we’re so busy telling everybody else where they’re wrong we’re too busy to get Jesus to do miracles in our lives. Think about that. Think about if we really believed that.
That if we believe like Matter 5:16. Jesus says, “Let your light shine so that other people can see your good works.” – And what will they do? – “They glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Can you imagine if we just – people always say, “What do I tell people?” Tell people what God’s done for you. That’s it. “God’s done this for me. I think He could do it for you. Let me tell you why. Jesus came. Died on a cross so we could be forgiven. He went and came back. And He rose again on the third day. Man, we can have everlasting life.”
And you go, “Could it just simply be that easy?” It was that easy in the first century. They didn’t have a Bible. They didn’t walk around with leather bound Bibles, and iPads, and any of that stuff. They just walked around saying, “Hey man, the guy, you know, He died. That guy died there in Jerusalem?”
“He got up on the third day.”
“Yeah, He could change your life.”
Boom. City’s changed with just that message. And they were able to say it because he said look what happened to me. I used to be this, and now I’m this. Man, Jesus changed my life. He could do it for you.
See, that’s what He says. Go home and tell them. Just tell them what happened.
And the last thing I would tell you is this. And it’s the question all of us have to ask. Am I willing to fall at the feet of Jesus? Am I willing to do that?
See, you could have a new beginning no matter where you’re at in life. Every one of us can. But it really comes down to who’s Jesus? And here’s what I’m going to ask you. Whether today you’re going, “Man, I’ve been doing it my way for a long time, and you’re right. I need to do it Jesus’ way.”
Or whether you’ve been a Christian for 20 years, and you’re realizing that, “Man, you know what, it’s not just the intellectual things. It’s not just the things that I do. It’s not just being busy for the Kingdom. I don’t even spend time with the King. I’m doing Kingdom work. I’m doing good things, but I have no relationship over here with God.”
That’s where new beginnings start from. They start from that relationship. They flow from that relationship.
Now listen, it’s raining outside. I could dismiss you right now, and you get out. You’re going to go get soaked, and all that good stuff. And you’re going to fight through the water and everything. Here’s what I want to do. I’m not trying to be weird, or anything like that. I just want to give everybody an intentional moment for a second to connect with God.
Come on up, Jordan and Amy. Come on up. They’re just going to have a guitar and a voice. You sang this song earlier. At the name of Jesus, darkness trembles.
What I want you to do in a minute, as they’re coming up here, they’re going to sing this song. I want us all to stand, and I just want us to sing this song. But I don’t want you to just sing a song. I don’t want you to look around at your neighbor and see if they’re singing the song. What I want you to do is I want you to just have a moment. Maybe you haven’t had a moment in a long time where you just really had a moment with God. Where it wasn’t just church. It wasn’t just singing a song. It wasn’t just listening to a message. It was a moment that you had genuinely with God.
I want to create here a time where you can just pause for a minute and have a moment with God. All of us together collectively, because I believe He wants to do new beginnings in your life. I believe He wants to change your life radically.
So, let’s sing this song here, and let’s really enter in. Would you stand with us? Let’s sing this song.
Lord, we just come to You right now as a church collectively. Lord, we just want to have a moment with You. Lord, we don’t want to be busy with all of the things that we get busy with. Lord, we just want to be busy with You right now, and just have a real moment.
Lord, I pray in the strong and mighty name of Jesus, Lord, that Your Spirit would just flood this place. That You would walk the aisles of this congregation. Walk the aisles, the halls of this building, Lord. And I pray, Lord, that You would truly speak to us that new beginnings are possible no matter where we’re at, Lord.
Let those new beginnings arise in our lives. Even as improbable as it may seem to us. Lord, let Your new beginning start for us today when we walk out of here. Lord, I pray that we would walk out of here in new beginnings for Your glory and for Your honor.
And Lord, we just pray that as we leave here today, that You would watch over us and protect us. That You would lead and guide us. That You would bring us back safely to when we meet again. Lord, help us to truly be the people that You’ve called us to be. And most importantly, Lord, let us walk out of here knowing that with Jesus Christ all things are possible. Even new beginnings no matter where we’re at.
We love You, and we thank You for it.
In Jesus’ name we pray. And everybody said Amen.
Give the Lord a big hand clap. Tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. See you soon.