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New Beginnings

How to go again

Ben Gardner | 21:30, 24 July 2021

New BeginningsAs we enter a new term and restrictions are being lifted, in many ways it is a new beginning for us as a society, as individuals and as a church. In our summer mini-series we are going to look at four different new beginnings in Scripture, which will serve as case studies, "written down for our instruction" (1 Corinthians 10:11), showing us how to answer the call of our God in Christ to go again and fill the earth with his glory. How do we go again after the year we have had?

How do we go again after the year we have had?

God created human beings with the mandate to go and multiply upon the earth and to fill it with his glory. Though human beings have rebelled against God repeatedly and failed to answer this call, in His mercy God continually restores, renews and recalls his people to go again and fill the earth with his glory.

In many respects we are entering a new beginning as a society, as a church and as individuals. The pandemic is (seemingly) coming to an end. A new term is about to start. Many of us are entering new jobs, new homes, new places, new family lives. Yet, even while these new things begin, we are still in other ways recovering from what has been an earth shattering 18 months.

In the mini-series we are going to look at four different new beginnings in Scripture, which will serve as case studies, written down for our instruction (1 Cor 10:6), teaching us how to answer the call of our God in Christ to go again and fill the earth with his glory. How do we go again after the year we have had?

1. Going by calling on the Lord:
Genesis 4:1-27

How do you go again when God has been tragically forgotten?

How do you go again when God has been tragically forgotten?

You call upon the Lord.

In Genesis 4 we witness the beginning of human civilisations. From Cain's murder of his brother, through his seed to the vengeful Lamech, we learn how society tragically degenerates when God is forgotten. Yet, God acts to grant Eve a new son in place of Abel who Cain killed. This begins a new civilisation of people who call upon the name of the Lord. This in turn leads to the fulfilment of God's plan to restore all creation through the righteous seed, leading to Christ.

2. Going by proclaiming the victory of God:
Exodus 15:1-21

How do you go again when you've been oppressed by evil powers?

How do you go again when you've been oppressed by evil powers?

You sing songs to the Lord about Victory over evil.

In Exodus 15:1-21 Moses and the people sing "a song to the Lord". The song recalls how God triumphed over evil, delivered his people through the waters and demonstrated his majestic holiness. The song begins a new stage in Israel's history as they learn to walk in the freedom of being God's people, having lived under the oppression of Egypt for years. As they sing of God's victory, they look forward to the time when God will His sanctuary and reign forever (v17-18). For us to go again in confidence, we sing songs to the Lord of his victory over evil powers through the cross.

3. Going by the power of the Spirit:
2 Kings 2:1-19

How do you go again when the task looks impossible?

How do you go again when the task looks impossible?

You depend on the power of the Spirit.

2 Kings 2 records a transition from the miraculous prophetic ministry of Elijah to his successor Elisha. Elisha clings to Elijah, witnesses his ascension and receives a double portion of his Spirit, before beginning his ministry. This succession recalls certain themes from the transition from Moses to Joshua and prefigures the transition from Christ's earthly ministry to the church, who receive the Spirit at Pentecost.

4. Going by the light of God's Word:
2 Chronicles 34

How do you again when you've lost your way? 

How do you again when you've lost your way?

You seek reformation via God's Word – the book of the covenant.

Josiah's enthronement marks a new beginning in Jerusalem after the evil reign of Amon. As he begins to cleanse the land of idols and repair the house of God, by God's grace they find the book of the covenant. Josiah's response is instructive for us today. He leads the people in humbling themselves and seeking reformation, "to perform the words of the covenant" (v31), resulting in the keeping of the Passover in chapter 35. Josiah and the people recognise their sinful lack of appreciation for God's word and restore it as the basis of their communal life. There's a lot in this passage that forms a healthy doctrine of scripture, especially helping the people to understand that our relationship to this book is not just like any other book, since it is the book of the covenant. Our relationship to scripture is foundational to our relationship with God.

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ALL blog posts during 2021 from the Highfields Contributors:

The Happy Problem of Growth
Sally and I were talking the other day about the need to get some new school uniforms...
New Beginnings
How to go again entering a new term with restrictions lifted
Highfields 2020
Introduction to the Annual Report 2020
John Stott - a memory
On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of John Stott, a memory.
Staring at the Son
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
Nothing more important in the entire universe
‘If Christianity is false, it’s of zero importance, but if it’s true, there’s nothing more important in the entire universe.’
The growing shoots of spring
‘When winter fades I know spring will come, the Lord is my salvation.’
Ready, Steady, Grow
The apostle Peter's urgent call...

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