Summary: We have an opportunity as the new year begins to either respond for the frist time or recommit again to the gospel claim of a new beginning.

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“In the Beginning…”

Celebrating a Christ-Centered New Year series

John 1:1-4, Matthew 2:1-12 (read for congregation)

Genesis 1:1-5 (used as reference)

December 28, 2003

Purpose: As 2003 comes to a close and 2004 begins, we have a new opportunity to either respond for the first time or to recommit ourselves again tot he gospel claim that Jesus Christ is the risen Lord and Savior of our lives.

Introduction – Life is full of new beginnings.

When we are born, there is a new beginning.

When we start our schooling, there is a new beginning.

When we move from our parent’s home, there is a new beginning.

When we meet that special someone, fall in love, get married, and have children of our own, there are many new beginnings.

When we begin our employment, it’s a new beginning.

When our employment may change, it’s a new beginning.

When we feel like we are invincible, we trudge into the world with a new beginning.

When we realize that we are not so invincible, in a way, it’s another new beginning.

And when we begin a new year, we have another new beginning.

Now there are some that would claim that these instances are not new beginnings, just circumstances, just things to be lived through. But I want to be more positive than that. Our scriptures remind us that in the beginnings of life, God is there. In the beginnings of life, the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. In the beginnings, God is able to do abundantly more.

This morning I would like to share with three facts about new beginnings. We find them in the creation story. We find them in our story of the wise men coming from the East. We find them in the story of the birth of Christ himself. And it’s my hope that we’ll also see these facts in our lives this morning.

What are these facts?

I. In our beginnings are new opportunities.

2. In these opportunities we find our faith.

3. In living out our faith, we find even more beginnings.

The first of these facts is probably not new to you, but it bares repeating…in our beginnings are new opportunities. This fact did not escape the watchful eyes of King Herod the Great. At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod had been ruling for almost forty years. He knew opportunities when he saw them.

So when the wise men came all the way from the Eastern regions of the known world. Herod became nervous. When he overheard that the child the wise men were looking for was to become a great king, Herod became troubled. And when he secretly called these wise men, he became downright devious. “Let me know,” he said, “so that I can worship him too.” Herod saw a new beginning and he didn’t like what he saw.

As the story goes, the wise men went, found the Messiah, gave them their gifts, and then went back by another route, because of a dream they had received. But they didn’t leave empty handed. Where Herod was left with a new beginning that scared him so much that he had all the male children killed who were in Bethlehem, the wise men left with an amazing opportunity.

The wise men knew this. From their study and knowledge they knew that this Christ child was a new beginning. They knew that the star shining above Bethlehem symbolized if not proclaimed that a new beginning had just occurred. They had read the prophets and knew that just by his birth, this child in Bethlehem had fulfilled prophecies written over centuries that were reserved for the Messiah alone.

Both Herod and the wise men knew that this new beginning was going to lead to astounding opportunity. In our new beginnings are new opportunities.

II. In these opportunities we find our faith affected.

But opportunities are only opportunities, until we act on them. And we can see in this story another fact…in these opportunities we find that our faith is affected.

Each time in Scripture it mentions “beginning” referring to Father, Son, or Spirit, it requires some step of faith.

When we say the words of Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning God created….” we speak of our faith.

When we repeat the words of John, “In the beginning was the Word…He was in the beginning with

God…” we speak of our faith.

When we think on other passages like…

Revelation 3:14 which refers to Christ as the “Amen, the Faith and True Witness, the Beginning of

the creation of God” we speak of our faith.

or Revelation 21:6 which refers to the words of Christ sitting on the throne making all things new

as saying “ I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the end.” we speak of our faith.

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