Summary: Paul tells us in 2Corinthians 5:17; " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" What does he mean?
“Walking in the Newness of Life”
How many of you made a New Year’s Resolution? Now, just for our own little survey, how many have already broken that resolution, which by the way I might add was made less than a week ago? It’s a strange custom that we have isn’t it? Near the end of each year, we just kind of stop and take a mental inventory of our lives, we look for things that need to be changed or totally dropped from our lifestyle. And after much consideration, we make that heartfelt decision to “turn over a new leaf”; “ to say; out with the old and in with the new”; and sometimes to just plain “nip it in the bud.”
Problem is, that even though we may be sincere at the time we make these resolutions and even thought we really want to keep them, it always seems to last only as long as the morning dew of the first day of the year. In fact, I don’t want to discourage you, but did you know that a whopping 92% of New Year’s resolutions are doomed to be broken--and most of them within only a few weeks to a month of their conception? Exactly what does that say about our ability to take control of our own lives? Shouldn’t the fact that we can’t even keep a simple New Year’s resolution serve as a red light to tell us that there are other deeper issues that we might need to examine as well?
In our message this morning, we will be exploring the word of God in search of the answers to our questions about new beginnings and fresh starts-----about loosing bad habits and gaining good ones. About realizing our limitations and getting the help we need to overcome them. In fact, I hope that by the time we leave here this morning, God will have blessed us with even a little better understanding of what it truly means to “walk in the newness of life.”
I want to tell you the story of a man by the name of Robert Steinheart. Back in October of 1948, Robert was traveling alone aboard a passenger train bound for New Orleans when the train suddenly encountered a severe thunderstorm. He was seated by the window in the main dining car when a bolt of lightning came through the window and struck him, throwing him against the opposite side of the car. Though badly burned in the face and chest, miraculously Robert was not killed. When the attendants of the train helped him onto a stretcher and began to tend to his burns, they asked him what his name was and where he was going.
When they did, he just stared at them as if in shock, and finally said “I don’t know.” The attendants said; you don’t know where you are going? With a look of terror on his face, he said; “no, I don’t know my name.” He reached for his wallet only to find that he didn’t have one, he didn’t have any identification on him whatsoever. In fact, he couldn’t remember where he got on the train or where he was going. You see, the unbelievable amount of voltage that went through him from the lightning bolt had given him a severe case of amnesia. He had no luggage or bag, only 63 dollars in his pocket and no idea where he got it from.
So when the train pulled into New Orleans, Robert was placed into the care of a little local Christian-ran clinic. The man who ran the clinic was the pastor of a little Baptist church nearby and, upon hearing this unfortunate story, was very sympathetic to Robert’s situation. Anyway, the pastor and his family befriended the stranger, and after his burns were treated and he was out of the woods physically, they began to help him search for his identity. But, because of the severity of the burns to his face, and the overwhelming lack of clues, they came up empty. So after eight months, they gave up the search.
With no hope of finding his past, he was forced to start his life all over again. He remained close friends with the pastor and his family, in fact, when it came time to choose a new name, he assumed the pastor’s last name; Steinheart and chose Robert for his first name. Robert soon was baptized and joined the church. He got a job building houses, and frequently helped out at the clinic on nights and weekends. Years went by, and he eventually was married to a local girl and started a family of his own right there in New Orleans. After his second child, Robert was called into the ministry and became a Pastor himself.