Summary: God is a God of new things, and renewal is part of His working in us and in creation
Happy ReNew Year
January 2, 2004
Rev. 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
I trust that this morning, on this first Sunday of the New Year, the words we hear will also be trustworthy and true, not because it’s me speaking them, but because they’re founded on the Word of God, and because they explain important truths about the great and mighty God we serve.
This passage proclaims an important part of God’s working in time and history, in the here and now, in the past, in the future, as well as in creation, and in human hearts.
The apostle John, in this great revelation from God, saw God seated on the throne, near the end of the book. God said something that is important in the context of John’s vision, but I really believe it’s also important to us as we begin this new year.
God told John, “I am making everything new.” The NAS says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” This year, and every year, can and should be a year of renewal in our lives....In our life together as a fellowship, as well as in our lives as individual believers.
Specifically this morning, in this message I’m calling Happy ReNew Year, I want to first look at the idea that God is in the business of renewing, of making all things new.
Then I believe the Lord would have us look at three specific ways in which He would make us new this year.
1. in attitude
2. in devotion
3. in service
Now, the context of this passage is the new heavens and the new earth, that new heavenly Kingdom where those of us who are followers, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will live for all eternity.
This is John’s picture, given to him by revelation of the Holy Spirit, of the end of time, and the beginning of eternity, John notes a few verses earlier, that this is the time when the first heaven and earth pass away....and God reveals a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem.
This will be a place where God Himself will be with us, where we won’t do things such as we did this past year, mourn over the loss of three loved ones from our church family. God will wipe every tear from our eyes.
Rev. 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
So, that’s the context in which we hear God say, “I am making everything, all things, new.” But I believe that, even though this is describing a specific time and place in the future, the end of time as we know it, God’s statement: “I am making all things new,” is also a picture of His work throughout history, throughout recorded time, throughout scripture.
It says something about our great God that’s not just true in the future, not just true in the context of the end of the age, but is true today, in the here and now. Our God is a God of new things. He’s a God of renewal. He’s a God of restoration. He’s a God of refreshing.
The passage we just read is a picture of the end of time. But, the “new” things we see in this life, I believe, are a foretaste of what the old hymn said, “a foretaste of glory divine.” The new things God does in this life, are a hint of what it will be like when God says what John heard in his revelation.
We’re living in the foreshadow of the things that God will ultimately make new. The Word of God is full of this theme of newness. In eternal life, we’ll have a unique newness of life, a new body, living in the new creation of a new heaven and earth. But God’s work of making all things new is ongoing, throughout history.
I also believe He’s built into our makeup a need for newness, as well as an innate understanding that new things are important, somehow. Now, I’m not excusing those who don’t persevere in something difficult just because they want something new and easier.
There’s a place for persevering through old things in Kingdom service, as well as our relationship with the Lord as individuals, and our relationships with each other.
In many cases like this, where things are tough and we want something new, God will give us something new.... He’ll give us new strength, new determination, new attitudes, rather than new circumstances.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in (or wait on) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.