This past week, most of us received something new from friends and families as a way of showing us how much they love us and care for us. These new things are exciting and we just can’t wait to put them to use!
However, we have a tendency to neglect and forget the many gifts that God has freely given us.
Just like last year’s toys, the novelty seems to wear off and our zeal and passion grows cold all too quickly. We must remember that God has also freely given us supernatural gifts and His desire is that we get just as excited and ready to use them as we are the Christmas gifts that we’ve just received. The awesome thing about God is that His gifts are able to be new and fresh all of the time – they never have to get old!
It is awesome to know that not just at the beginning of each year, but that every single day, God is not only able, but is also willing to renew us. This morning, we’re going to learn of just a few of the things that Jesus makes new.
To get started, I felt that it would be wise for us to understand that what God calls new isn’t exactly what we call new. In the Greek, the word translated for “new” is:
A. as respects form
1. recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn
B. as respects substance
2. of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of
This isn’t just a new model of a truck or a new movie like we normally think of when we think of something new.
This new is the kind of new that can only come from the Creator. Only He is able to create something brand new; something unprecedented and unheard of. Only He can make something by His word alone that has never existed before. All that we are able to do on our own is take what God has already created and reform and repurpose it to make what we consider to be new. God’s kind of new is best defined here:
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (Isaiah 64:4)
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
No eye has seen it, no ear has heard it, no one has even imagined the new things that God has prepared for those who love Him. These new things are so awesome and so new that we literally cannot even imagine them. They are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit alone!
How do we learn about and receive these new things from the Lord? It’s revealed as one of the first new things that Jesus spoke of: wine skins. This account is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Pharisees were challenging Jesus, unhappy that He chose to eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners. Even John the Baptist’s disciples were challenging Jesus, unhappy that His disciples didn’t fast. In the midst of all of this confusion and misunderstanding, Jesus said:
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
In other words, the new thing that Jesus came to do could not be understood and accepted by the old way of thinking about God. The truth about who God is would burst the confines and boxes that they believed that God lived within. In order to understand in a greater fullness and reality of the truth of who God is, they would need new wine skins; a new way of thinking. Paul reaffirmed this when he wrote:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In order to see and perceive the new thing that God desires to do in us and through us, we must allow God to transform us by renewing our minds (receiving new wine skins). The Holy Spirit cannot reveal to us these new things if we refuse to renew our thinking.
If we only view God with a prideful mind (wine skin) as a vengeful and jealous God who pours out His wrath upon sinners (which He absolutely is), we will never allow the Holy Spirit to also reveal another just as much so accurate facet of God as He is also a patient, loving Father who administers mercy and grace to those who are humble.
The mindset, or wine skin, through which we choose to view God shapes and forms not only our theology (view of God), but also how we view and treat others. Thus, God’s word is fulfilled:
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
Just as Jesus told the Pharisees and the disciples of John, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we stay like new wine skins; always teachable, humble, and always hungry for a greater and fuller revelation of who God is. In this way, we’ll remain ready in and out of season for the new thing that God wants to do.
Jesus gave us a new teaching, filled with authority! (and a whole new church experience)
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Jesus also taught a new way of thinking numerous times stating, “You’ve heard it said …, but I say to you …” Where Jesus and His disciples were, and wherever His followers went after His resurrection, the demons revealed themselves and fled, the sick came and were healed, the broken came and were restored, the lame jumped with joy, the bound were set free. Essentially, God’s will was done on earth even as it was in Heaven just as Jesus taught us to pray and to do!
Jesus gave us a new commission and a new tongue.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Jesus gave us a new covenant. (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 8:13, 9:15)
At the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples before His death, He said:
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
The apostle Paul also explains in Hebrews that the first covenant was just a foreshadowing of what was to come. The first covenant was based on a law that condemned us to death. The new covenant fulfilled the first one, making it now outdated and obsolete, and brought us to life.
Jesus gave us a new command.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus taught that all of God’s commands could be accomplished through this one act; to love. If we just loved God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and loved others as ourselves, we would fulfill all that God has ever commanded!
Jesus makes us a new creation. (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 4:24)
2 Corinthians 5:16-18
16 from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
Jesus gave us a new way to be human.
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Jesus gives us a new name.
To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
Over and over again throughout scripture, Jesus has given us a new song.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
Every day, the mercies, love, and compassion of God are new!
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Jesus gives us a new heart and a new Spirit.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Jesus will create for us a new heaven and a new earth.
Listen to the prophecies of Isaiah!
“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.Isaiah 66:22
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.
Then, listen to what the apostle John sees with his very own eyes!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
To be completely thorough and truthfully honest, Jesus makes all things new!
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.”
What the Holy Spirit is crying out to us today is this:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
6b“From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
7 They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
‘Yes, I knew of them.’
A new year is quickly approaching. Don’t allow this to be another year that comes and goes and we see little change in our relationship with Christ or we see ourselves distanced from Him. Jesus longs to pour out His revelation to us. He wants to do a new thing in and through our lives. He wants to pour out His Spirit to overflowing in our lives and to reveal His mysteries to us through His revelation. He wants to show us things so new that no eye has seen nor ear has heard nor mind has imagined it yet to date!
This year, commit to getting to know the Lord. If you think you already know Him, throw off that deceitful old wine skin and commit to keeping your wine skin new and fresh. Commit to reading God’s word and listening to His voice throughout your day. Commit to not only pray that God’s will would be done here on the earth even as it is in Heaven, but to be one who makes it happen! Commit to doing God’s will and not your own in your own life so that God’s kingdom can flow through your life unhindered.
The lost will be found, the bound will be set free, the sick will be healed, the lame will leap, and all of the fruits of the Spirit will be grown, harvested, and reproduced in and through our lives. 2015 isn’t going to be like any other year before, in 2015, the Lord is going to do a new thing. Do you perceive it?