Let’s turn to Romans.
One of the great things about this time as one year ends and a new one begins is it is a reminder that there is always a new beginning. New beginnings are a way of life. If there is something in your life you want to see changed you can do it. If you are having any kind of problems there is always some sort of solution.
A new beginning is a biblical principal. It indicates newness. The number 8 in the bible is indicative of a new beginning. The eighth day would be the beginning of a new week. In Genesis we are told that God rested from his work that happened in the first 6 days. So the next day the eighth day would begin a new week. For those of you who understand about administrations the final paradise would be the eighth administration.
EW Bullinger did a study of numbers in the bible and he included a short version in the Companion Bible Appendixes in Appendix No.10
Eight. Denotes resurrection, regeneration; a new beginning or commencement. The eighth is a new first. Hence the octave in music, color, days of the week, &c. It is the number which has to do with the LORD, Who rose on the eighth, or new "first-day". This is, therefore, the Dominical number. By Gematria (see above), 'JJjjIhsous (Jesus) makes the number 888. It, or its multiple is impressed on all that has to do with the Lord's Names, the Lord's People, the Lord's works.
For more information you can check out this link to find out more about the No. 8 or look for the book: Number in Scripture by EW Bullinger.
So why am I getting so hyped on new beginnings you may ask? The best I can do is to show you what the word has to say about new beginnings.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
In verse one the next to the last word is translated reasonable. It is only used twice the Greek word used is logikos. It comes from the root word logo which means The Word; it is used of God’s word. Some translate this word logikos as spiritual service. This word is also used in 1 Peter chapter 2.
1Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Here it is translated the word. Using the logic employed in Peter then Romans 12:1 would read your word or perhaps your religious service.
In verse two we have our new beginning, “be transformed” be changed have a new beginning.
The word conformed is the Greek word syschēmatizō. It is where we get our word scheme. We are not to fall prey to the scheme’s of the world but be changed become the butterfly don’t stay a caterpillar. Have a new beginning. The word renewing means to have a new up it is in the present tense with continuous action.
The word new is interesting you have two possible meanings:
1. New in Time
2. New in quality
New in time would be like a baby just born hasn’t been around. New in quality would apply here I am 60 years old. I am many things new in time isn’t one of them but I can be new in quality. As I study the word of God and change my thinking to believe what God says in his word I become new in quality, it is a new beginning for me. I have to change what I think.
Have you ever heard the statement follow your gut? It is a bad idea to do that. We have been conditioned by the world to trust our senses. What we have to learn is to study the word and go in the direction of God’s word. Our 5 senses can be tricked easily. Look down a railroad track sometime and it will look like the tracks meet but if you go to that spot you will see they are no closer than they were when you looked at the spot you are now in.
Let’s look at some people who were given a chance at a new beginning and see how they handled it.
1Samuel 9:17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
This verse is speaking of Saul who was about to become the first king of Israel. So Saul was chosen for a new beginning. Most of us have at one point in our life been had a new beginning. Any and every Christian has had at least one new beginning in their lives. Many have had several new beginnings and some of us see every day as a new beginning. A new chance to serve God and his people like it said back in Romans 12.
18Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is.
19And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
20And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house?
21And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?
Now Saul had come to find out from the prophet what had become of his asses that seemed to have vanished. In the Old Testament this is how things worked because men of God had spirit upon them and it was conditional God could take it away. Now days we don’t need a prophet to find out information when we got Born Again (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 10:9,10) we have spirit within us. God can deal directly with you if you need information and of course you can also deal directly with God. Any believer can receive a Word of Knowledge, and a Word of Wisdom to get information from God.
Now God had a different idea about what should happen at this meeting between the Prophet and Saul. Samuel started off by telling Saul not to worry, Hey there is that fear not again, about the asses they were already at home where they belonged. Then he started to tell Saul about what was going to happen. The first thing Saul said was you sure you have the right guy I’m nothing so special. Saul at this point is very humble. Humble does not mean wimpy just understanding that there is something bigger than you. How you see your role as a son of God if you are willing to do that which God needs to have done.
Saul at this point was just what God wanted in a king. Saul was someone who would listen and do as he was instructed. As sometimes happens things changed after awhile.
Okay now let’s watch and see if Saul keeps listening to God.
1 Samuel 15:1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
Saul is now going to get instructions on what God wants done.
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
The account of Amalek is in Exodus 17 if you want to see what is being talked about.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
That seems fairly clear God wants Amalek wiped out. In the Old Testament you will see a pattern if God told someone to wipe out someone and they didn’t the decedents of that person become a major problem for Israel even unto this day. The Amalekites, the Hittites, the Philistines. They were a thorn in the side of Israel.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
So Saul Is laying siege with the Amalekites.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
Did God say Saul was to wipe out the Kenites? No he didn’t so this was a fine thing to do. Saul gave these innocent people a chance to live by leaving.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
Whoa he spared the king? Is that what God had instructed him to do? He was told to utterly destroy them.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
So anything that was worthless they destroyed but all that they deemed good they saved.
The thing is that they were not doing as they were told. They had another chance for a new beginning but chose to go their own way instead.
10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night
So God wasn’t happy and neither was Samuel. It said he was grieved and he cried all night to the Lord.
11It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
12And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
What did Saul say? “I have performed the commandments of the lord.” Something is wrong either the word of God or Saul and we know who is right.
14And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
Okay here it is this is commonly called rationalization. “Well you see Sam we saved the best so we could sacrifice them to the lord”. It is like it is okay to disobey God as long as you have a good reason. Well many times when people don’t listen to God they have been known to die.
16Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
See like I said when Saul was humble things were fine. When Saul listened to God everything was fine.
18And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
20And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
Saul just doesn’t seem to be getting it. He did not obey the Lord. He saved the best of the livestock and the king Agag.
21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
Again oh but you see we had a good reason. We will sacrifice these beasts to the lord. Well isn’t that religious looking and sounds so sincere and is so dead wrong. If God says get rid of it you get rid of it.
22And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
You can hear the big oops! God had rejected Saul because he had not done as he was told. There is a great principle here that we all need to learn with new beginnings, do that which God tells you to do.
24And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
Now another justification, oh I feared the people. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Saul had just admitted he did wrong. David messed up as well but he admitted he did wrong and asked for forgiveness. If you do mess up with God’s instructions to you ask for forgiveness. Sometime take the time to read 1 John 1&2. We have an advocate with God our defense attorney the person who paid for all our sin. Talk about having a new beginning available.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
Saul is almost there but still falls short I know this because he did lose the throne in Israel.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
Okay to rip your mantel for those who may not have studied customs of biblical times means he ripped the loosely flowing clothes they wore at the time it was a symbolic gesture that indicated his disgust for what had happened.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
30Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
Saul seems more concerned with how things look than what is wrong.
31So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.
32Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
33And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
34Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
35And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Saul had a great chance several times to go for the new beginning. When a chance for a new beginning presents its self don’t just waste it go for the new beginning.
Let’s take a look at another person who said he wanted a chance at a new beginning.
Mathew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Wow sounds like someone who is looking for some answers doesn’t he? Well let’s see what develops here.
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
There is an interesting thing that Jesus says here. Why do you call me good there is no one good but God? So Jesus says God is the only one who should be called good and asks why the man is calling him good.
So Jesus tells this person to enter into life he needs to obey the commandments. In our day and in the grace administration that would be confess Jesus as your savior from sin and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans10:9, 10)
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
He asks which? Jesus just told him obey the commandments why would he have to ask which ones? It is not completely explained but it is enough in the context. So let’s just keep reading.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
In Mark it adds:
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Now you have to ask yourself what is love? Is love a feeling? The Greek word here is agapaō which is the verb form of agape or the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. So Jesus loved this person with God’s Love. Sometimes God’s love is patting someone on the back at other times you have to lower that a bit. This man needed one thing he needed to trust God and not his riches. Back when he asked which ones that was a signal that something was wrong.
The answer to that question is all of them. No one except Jesus ever did that but many whose hearts were right were saved and will enter in to eternal life.
This young man was more interested in keeping his money than he was in doing the word of God. Many people have that problem nowadays.
So here is what you need to ask yourself what is it I treasure more than God’s word and doing his will.
You can have all the new beginnings you want as long as something is more important to you than doing the will of God you will never avail yourself of a new beginning from God as these two examples show.
Now I always like to end on a positive note so I will show you one time where a person did use their new beginning and had some success.
Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
This man was committed to destroying all those who worshiped Jesus Christ and yet we will see how merciful God really is. Oh by the way this man Saul in the prior chapter consenting unto Steven’s death. That means that he voted for it in the Sanhedrin which was the court you were brought to when you broke the law in Israel. So Paul voted for killing the brethren. Had had arrest warrants with him and he was going to take any Christians he came across along his path.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
I don’t know about you but if this was me I’d be at the “I seem to have messed up here” level of thinking.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Sounds like Paul realized he has messed up in a big way.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
So only Paul had the vision but all of them heard the voice. Revelation is always an individual experience no two people will experience it is exactly the same way. God works with you differently than he does with me. That is a big key to understanding many parts of the word of God. God is a God who treats you as you there is no group mentality God is a personal God.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
So Paul fasted. He wanted to get himself right with God. It doesn’t say it here but it would not surprise me to find out he was in prayer most of the time trying to get right with God. This is a big key in those new beginnings that you get yourself in alignment and harmony with the father. Otherwise it may be a futile effort.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
If you were Ananias what would you be thinking? God is telling him to go to the man with a reputation for rocking the believers literally.
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
If this had been me that might have been a deal breaker not only am I suppose to go find this guy who may have been responsible for taking in some people I knew and loved but God wants me to heal him as well? My reaction would have been you’ve got to be kidding. Who knows this may have been a new beginning for Ananias as well. We don’t know that because the word doesn’t say.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
A nice way of saying you have got to be kidding me. Ya know lord this guy has authority to take me prisoner Lord you sure you want that?
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Not only is this man praying now but he is going to do some stuff for God. Now remember we have hindsight and we know what Paul was going to do Ananias didn’t have that, he had to take God at his word.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
This man was given a new beginning. He went on to move the word as it never had been moved before or since. He moved the word over the world.
Do you have a new beginning? Why not find out, why not try taking God at his word like Paul and Ananias did. Take that new beginning and make something happen in your life. Who knows what may happen you may be the one to open a new plateau that no one else has ever reached, the possibilities are only limited by what you believe. So go grab that new beginning and see what you and God can get accomplished.