Summary: This contemporary message is part two of a four part series on "Make a Fresh Start" inspired by Outreach and a variety of messages on Sermon Central.
Make a Fresh Start Series
As we have been discussing in our new series, every now and then we have to make a fresh start. Sometimes we choose a fresh start.
• It might be a commitment to get our household affairs in order.
• It might be joining a health club or fitness program.
• Maybe we decide to get a new job or career, even go back to school to get better prepared for a new career.
• Maybe you decide that its time to start a family.
Sometimes the fresh start chooses us.
• You get laid off or fired from your job.
• The doctor tells you that you have a serious illness or need a major surgery.
• Maybe its good news – you’ve just inherited a ton of money from a long lost relative.
• Maybe it’s a note from your wife who’s gone off to Florida without you – The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.
When the fresh start chooses us it is much harder to adapt to it than when we choose the fresh start.
On the heels of Easter Sunday, I want us to think about the fresh start the disciples had. It was certainly not what they would have chosen, but the end result shook up the world!
Leading up to the crucifixion, the disciples were riding high and feeling pretty good about things. Jesus was going around performing miracles – healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding multitudes with loaves and fishes and so on. Just over the horizon however, was a storm of doom and gloom. As Jesus was arrested in the Garden and ultimately crucified, the disciples became cowards and scattered in hiding. Peter would deny that he even knew Jesus. With Jesus in the tomb, their faith was dead!
Three days later we read this:
John 20:1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!"
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
On Friday things looked pretty bleak. Jesus their leader was dead. Now on Resurrection Sunday, the impossible had happened. Jesus had risen from the dead and was alive! Their faith had been resurrected as well.
It took awhile for it to dawn on them, but the disciples eventually recognized that they were being given a fresh start. Their faith in Christ was renewed and refreshed as they realized all that Christ had tried to teach them on the other side of the cross.
As He gave them a fresh start, He is giving us one as well. Maybe you’ve been on this walk of faith for awhile. Maybe you don’t feel the joy you once had for being a Christian. Remember when Christ saved you? You were bubbling over with excitement of your newfound faith. You read your Bible regularly. You went to church every time the doors were open. You were delirious with joy.
Now you’re more mature – you don’t have to act like a child about your faith. My friends, Jesus said that unless we had the faith of a child we would not see the kingdom. It’s OK to be excited about Jesus!
John 3:16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes gets a fresh start! Earlier Jesus had told Nicodemus that he “must be born again”. He was talking about a fresh start, a new beginning. For every sinner the promise of a fresh start is given. The Bible says that, …if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!