New beginnings

SERMON TOPIC: New beginnings

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 8 January 2017


Sermon synopsis: Christians don’t dwell on former failures.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.”

Don’t even get caught up by your past success:

Phil 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Don’t look back! – Remember Lot’s wife.

The good news is that God says, “I want to do something new in your life. I want to give you a fresh start, a new beginning.” This news is a major element of our Christian faith – to start fresh and have a new beginning with God. At the beginning of a new year it is customary for us to think of this as a time of new beginnings, a time for new resolutions. But the truth is that with God anytime is a time for a new beginning.
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“Behold, I make all things new.” Rev 21:5 (KJV)

Top-up insurance – when your insurance does not fully cover the replacement value of an item, sometime people will get a top-up insurance to cover the difference.

Residual finance plans – after completing the finance payment period, there is still a residual amount owing on the item, which requires additional payment.


Some people think that salvation works on a similar basis to top-up insurance and residual finance plans. You get saved, but Jesus’ blood doesn’t pay the full price. There is still some residual curse and you need a “top-up” deliverance.

We serve a God of new beginnings. Jesus doesn’t half-save people.

According to Col 2:14, Jesus cancelled the debt and the record completely. I have no legal demands on me.

(NASB) … having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.


Generational curses do not apply to Christians, but to “those who hate me”.

Ex 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me

In fact the next verse says:

Ex 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.


Jesus became my curse.

Gal 3:13 Christ paid the price to free us from the curse that God’s laws bring by becoming cursed instead of us. Scripture says, “Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.” (GOD’S WORD® Translation)


Ezekiel writes of the wicked man who has a righteous son:

Ezek 18:14-23 “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:… He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. 


The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?


Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Some people in Jesus’ day thought that sickness was a result of a family curse. Jesus corrects this notion. (John 9:2-3)


Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

When you are a Christian, your past does not dictate your future. Neither do the sins of your family. You are a new creation in Christ:

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.


Jesus gives abundant life, not a life with residual curses from the past.

John 10:10 “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Not “half- free”, “almost there” but FREE INDEED.


Psalm 103:12 says that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”. The east and west never meet – they are infinitely far apart. Your enemies might remember your past mistakes, but God has forgiven and forgotten them.


Curses associated with a family no longer apply to a Christian – they have been adopted into God’s family.

So if anyone tries to remind of your past sins or the past failures of your family – remind them that you have a new Father in heaven – and have been adopted into a new family.

Rom 8:15 (NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Do not live in condemnation from past sins and mistakes.

Rom 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.


Christians don’t dwell on former failures.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.”

Don’t even get caught up by your past success:

Phil 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Don’t look back! – Remember Lot’s wife.


The good news is that God says, “I want to do something new in your life. I want to give you a fresh start, a new beginning.” This news is a major element of our Christian faith – to start fresh and have a new beginning with God. 1

At the beginning of a new year it is customary for us to think of this as a time of new beginnings, a time for new resolutions. But the truth is that with God anytime is a time for a new beginning. 1

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Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions (TIME).

Lose weight and get fit

Quit smoking

Learn something new

Eat healthier and diet

Get out of debt and save money

Spend more time with family

Travel to new places

Be less stressed


Drink less


God is able to make our plans succeed.

Ps 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

But make sure your plans are in line with God’s will.

Ps 106:15 (KJV) And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” - D.L. Moody


Commit your plans to God.

Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

“Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.” ― D.L. Moody

Sometimes our faith is often limited by what we have experienced in the past. But God can use you to do a new thing. Trust God for the impossible.

“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Hab 1:5


Isaiah 54:1-5 “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”


“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” (William Carey the “father of modern missions”).

But you need to start where you’re at:

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. (Francis of Assisi)

Wait for God’s timing

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Eccl 3:11

Make good use of your time

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Here are a few resolutions that Christians could make.


Endeavour to give more

“Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything.” ― D.L. Moody

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Be a blessing to others.

Zech 8:13 “… I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”


Resolve to study God’s Word more.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (American KJV)

The Psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)

So few grow, because so few study. – D.L. Moody

I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. – D.L. Moody


“A QUICKENING that will last must come through the Word of God. A man stood up in one of our meetings and said he hoped for enough out of the series of meetings to last him all his life. I told him he might as well try to eat enough breakfast at one time to last him his lifetime. That is a mistake that people are making; they are running to religious meetings and they think the meetings are going to do the work. But if these don’t bring you into closer contact with the Word of God, the whole impression will be gone in three months.” ― D.L. Moody, Pleasure & Profit in Bible Study


In his best selling book called, “Into Thin Air,” Jon Krakauer relates the hazards that plagued some climbers as they attempted to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Andy Harris, one of the expedition leaders stayed at the peak too long and on his descent, he became in dire need of oxygen. Harris radioed the base camp and told them about his predicament. He mentioned that he had come across a cache of oxygen canisters left by the other climbers but they were all empty. The climbers who already passed the canisters on their own descent knew they were not empty, but full. They pleaded with him on the radio to make use of them but it was to no avail.


Harris was starved for oxygen but he continued to argue that the canisters were empty. The problem was that the lack of what he needed had so disoriented his mind that though he was surrounded by something that would give him life, he continued to complain of its absence. The lack of oxygen had ravaged his capacity to recognize what was right in front of him. What oxygen is to the body, the Word of God is to the soul. Some of us are suffocating and starving and we don’t even know it. Jesus is offering life to us while we run around trying to appease our appetites. We will never be filled until we take of the Bread of life - Jesus Christ.

What you need to change your life is in your hands – the Word of God.


D.L. Moody said, “What we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many there are who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try to feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared, into which they never venture.”


Remember that Jesus used Scripture to defeat the tempter.

The more you love the Scriptures, the firmer will be your faith. There is little backsliding when people love the Scriptures. – D.L. Moody


Be teachable.

Prov 13:18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honoured.

“When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.” John Wesley (On being teachable)

“We are always open to instruction, willing to be wiser every day than we were before, and to change whatever we can change for the better.” (This was Wesley’s response to complainants as he continued to establish the class-meetings.)


“The unteachable man is sentenced to being taught only by experience. The tragedy is he reaches nothing further than his own pain.” ― Criss Jami

Acts 8:30-31 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ― Meister Eckhart

Prov 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Prov 9:9 - Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.


And to be teachable you need to learn to listen.

Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak. (Richard Branson)

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…


When conversing, don’t just wait for another person to finish speaking, so that you can carry on where you left off – Listen!

Listen well, and you will be pronounced a “brilliant” conversationalist! – (R. Kent Hughes, Source: Disciplines of a Godly Man, p. 65-66.)


Ask God to give you a right spirit.

Ezek 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ps 51:10 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Effort is also required. You need to do your part in getting a new attitude.

Eph 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


Resolve to witness more.

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Share your faith - even if it means ridicule.

Matt 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


A show on The History Channel entitled, “The Man Who Predicted 911,” focussed on a man named Rick Rescorla. Years earlier Rescorla was decorated for his battlefield bravery in Vietnam, but by 2001 was the head of security at the Morgan Stanley Bank. Long before Sep 11th, the 62-year-old developed an evacuation plan for the bank.

Bruce Ferris relates: “The bank’s offices were situated high up in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. Rescorla was convinced that Osama Bin Laden would use jet planes to try and destroy the World Trade Center. 


Rick Rescorla (1939-2001)

 The plan and its preparation were hugely unpopular with the Morgan Stanley staff, many of whom thought Rescorla was mad. On 11 Sep 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:46 am. Rescorla ignored building officials’ advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,800 employees on 20 floors of Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. He reminded everyone to “be proud to be an American”… and sang God Bless America and other songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building. He had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees as well as people working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m.


After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building. Determined to get every employee out - like he did on the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 - Rescorla and two assistants went back to look for them, never to return. He was last seen on the 10th floor of the burning tower. His remains were not recovered.


Bruce Ferris relates, “As a result of Rescorla’s actions, only 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 WTC employees were killed, including Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building. The remainder of this very moving broadcast focused on Morgan Stanley Bank employees who now in tears were praising and acknowledging Rick Rescorla for saving their lives from total destruction that day. Many felt so guilty and apologetic that they had thought Rick foolish to keep preaching and standing for what he believed would happen if they were not ready. Those interviewed said they would never forget Rick Rescorla. He was their hero. Mr. Rescorla left behind a widow, Susan Rescorla, and two children that day. Since 911, a memorial stone was erected in Rick’s hometown of Hayle, Cornwall, to commemorate his life and the sacrifice he made to save others.


We need to have a “Rick Rescorla” attitude. He was convinced people entrusted to his care would perish if his plan of escape was ignored. He persevered even when his actions made him unpopular and the object of ridicule, because he firmly believed what he was doing would save lives. He ultimately gave his life for what he believed in.

Unlike Rick Rescorla, many Christians today have an attitude like Cain when it comes to rescuing the lost. By their actions (or lack thereof) they say: “Am I my brother’s keeper.”

James 5:19-20 “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”


We need to practice what we preach:

Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their life, or else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other. Matthew Henry (Biography)

We need to experience the reality of what we preach to others – in our own lives.

If whatever men know comes through their brain without the Holy Spirit regenerating their spirit, then their knowledge will help them not one whit. If their belief rests in man’s wisdom and not in God's power, they are merely excited in their soul. - Watchman Nee

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?


Resolve to pray more.

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

1 Thess 5:16-17 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing…

Don’t only pray when you have a problem.


Take time to reflect on what God has done for you.

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,…” 1 Chron 16:11-12

If you don’t want to burn out, remember to wait on God.

Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in 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.


Resolve to be faithful in fellowship.

Heb 10:25 (NLT) And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.


Resolve to forgive those who have wronged you and to release them from their debt.

Matt 6:12-15 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


Resolve to be hospitable.

Rom 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

1 Pet 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Heb 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Isaiah 58:7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?


Be thankful.

1 Thess 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Luke 17:15-18 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him… Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

Complain less

Thank God for dirty dishes. At least you have food.

Phil 2:14-15 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.


Be active

Be active. Give no place to indolence or sloth. Give no occasion for anyone to say, “You are idle.” (John Wesley)

Heb 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Eph 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.


Don’t give up:

Gal 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Remember that our reward may not be on earth.

Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Matt 19:27-29 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “… everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”


Quit making excuses -

- for not doing what you should.

People who are good at making excuses are rarely good at anything else. They spend their time and energy thinking up reasons why they can’t do what they are supposed to do.

- for your mistakes and sins.

Take responsibility for your actions. Admit when it’s your fault, ask for forgiveness and get on with life.

- because of fear of failure.


Don’t be afraid of failure. Lack of faith and the fear of failure impoverish us.

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing, Others say nothing gambled nothing gained, Go all out for your dream. Life can be lived either way, but for me, I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see. Some say “Don’t ever fall in love, Play the game of life wide open, Burn your candle at both ends.” But I say “No! It’s better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all, my friend.” (William F. O’Brien)

“Our doubts are traitors, and they make us lose what we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” (Shakespeare)


Step out in faith!

New beginnings come to those who step out in faith. To achieve anything for God requires faith.

Mark 9:23 “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Mat 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”


D-L Moody:

“No matter how great the work, how mighty the undertaking; no matter how many difficulties had to be encountered, when they were sent from God they were sure to succeed.”

“God sent Moses down to Egypt to bring 3,000,000 people out of bondage. The idea would have seemed absurd to most people. Fancy a man with an impediment in his speech, without an army, without generals, with no record, bringing 3,000,000 people from the power of a great nation like that of the Egyptians. But God sent him, and what was the result? Pharaoh said they should not go, and the great king and all his army were going to prevent them. But did he succeed? God sent Moses and he didn’t fail.”



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

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