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God’s New Way
The idea that God has a new way is firmly established in the Scriptures, and I want to make sure you hear this at the very beginning; God has a new way for you. But like I said, the whole idea of God’s new way is firmly established in the pages of the Bible.
God’s New Way began with God’s promise to Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham, an agreement if you would, where He promised Abraham the land of Canaan and descendant as numerous as the stars in heaven.
But something was to take place that would define the Jewish people forever, something they would always remember. It was going to be their identity as a people, and it was God’s miraculous delivery from their Egyptian captivity. It was something that God actually put into the agreement He made with Abraham.
“Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:13-14 NKJV)
It is what we know today as the Exodus, and it is this deliverance that God told them to always remember. This remembrance was actually part of their deliverance, and it’s called the Passover.
“Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.” (Exodus 12:21-24 NKJV)
Even to this day the Jewish people keep the Passover to always remember what God did and how He delivered them from their Egyptian bondage.
This one event went on to define the Jewish nation and their relationship with God. It was this one event the Lord used to continually remind them not to forget Him, His law, nor to be afraid of who or what they faced, Deuteronomy 6:12; 7:18; 15:15; 24:22.
But because of their sin and lack of repentance, because of their lack of godly sorrow over their open and willful disobedience, they ended up in captivity once again, this time to the Babylonians.
The prophet Daniel while in captivity to the Babylonians brings this out. Daniel prayed,
“And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day–we have sinned, we have done wickedly.” (Daniel 9:15 NKJV)
And it was to this prayer, this confession of sin that God gave the nation of Israel another promise, both as a reminder of the promise God made earlier to give back to the land the 70 years the people disobeyed the Sabbath year law, but more than that, to give them a great promise of the coming of the Messiah and their eventual redemption.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24 NKJV)
More on this later, but it was from this captivity that the Lord instituted something remarkable, something that is oftentimes missed. And that is while God wants us to remember what He has done, the purpose for remembering is to expect something greater from God, that is, that new thing, that new deliverance He has for us.
This is seen in what the Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah, which is what got me thinking about this whole idea.
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, ‘that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but,
Now here’s the new thing and the new remembrance
“‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15 NKJV)
God was telling them that while they’re to remember what He did delivering them from the bondage to the Egyptians, they were soon to remember God’s new deliverance instead, that is, what God did in delivering them from their Babylonian captivity.
And here’s the really neat part, God gave them this commandment, this remembrance, as a promise that He could indeed do it, because when this was given, they had not yet been delivered, but were in the process of being taken captive.
Did you hear this? Just as God gave them the promise that they would be delivered and brought back into the land after 400 years of captivity, so God is now promising them that they would be brought back from their captivity to the Babylonians.
God always has something new planned to deliver us.
It was this something new that God had planned to deliver us from the sting of death, to deliver us from our captivity to sin and death.
God had something new in mind, a new way, and a new deliverance. Not from another oppressive empire, not from the evil Roman empire that had literally enslaved the world, including the Jewish people, but something more lasting, something that will not only deliver us from, but deliver us to God’s ultimate land of promise.
God’s promise is that He would deliver us from our sins that continue to mess us up and keep us in bondage. And He would do so through His Son, Jesus Christ, that Jesus would be that new way, that new deliverance, that all who believe in Him would have their sins forgiven and be delivered from this life into eternity, into the Promised Land of heaven itself once this life was over.
To the prophet Daniel the Lord continued to give this promise.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks … and after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25-26a NKJV)
And so it was, after 62 weeks of years, or 490 years from the commandment given by Araxerxes Longimanus to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, that in that very week Jesus entered Jerusalem riding upon the colt of a donkey. And it was at this time that He was cut off, that is, He died.
Now this word, “cut off,” is not without significance. It doesn’t just mean that He died, but that the Messiah would be that sacrifice to confirm the covenant God was now making with His people of the new deliverance and of the new land of promise.
To cut off literally means to cut a covenant. Just as Abraham cut the animals in two that night he received God’s covenant and promised deliverance of his descendants after 400 years of captivity, so now God is saying that He is giving a new sacrifice for a new covenant, and it would be the Messiah Himself.
This idea of the Messiah being the sacrifice for sins to deliver us from our iniquity is seen through the prophet Isaiah, who said in the 53rd chapter,
“The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all … You make His soul an offering for sin … For He shall bear their iniquities … He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:6b, 10-12 NKJV)
God’s New Way
And so God had something new up His sleeve, a new way, a new deliverance, not from any earthly power, but from the power of Hell itself, the power of sin and of the grave. This is seen in what the Apostle Paul tells us
“When this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
“‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NKJV)
And so while God wants us to remember His deliverance of the Jewish people from their Egyptian bondage, and how He brought the Jewish people back from their Babylonian captivity.
Now He wants us to remember the new thing He has brought about, His new way, His new deliverance, His new covenant and how Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, came and died upon the cross, was buried, and rose on the third day so that all who believe in Him and confess the same shall be saved.
God’s new way is to make us new, where the old person filled with sin is to be put off, and a brand new person in Christ is to be put on, Colossians 3:8-10.
To the church in Rome the Apostle Paul said,
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” (Romans 6:6-8 NKJV)
But the quintessential verse comes from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church saying,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)
God has a new way, a new deliverance, but it isn’t something that we’re just to remember, but a new way that He has given in order to give us a hope of future deliverances that He has still waiting for us.
God’s Purpose for Remembering
Here is the heart of today’s message
The purpose of remembering is to have that expectation of God’s new way, of how God wants to do a new work and a new thing in all of our lives.
To the prophet Isaiah the Lord said,
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV)
To fully appreciate what the Lord is saying is to look at the context. God is telling them of who He is and how He’s going to deliver them from their Babylonian captivity the same way He delivered them from the Egyptians through the Red Sea.
And while these were great things He had done and will do, He has something even greater in store, and as we have seen, that something greater is the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to be that offering for sin and our deliverance from the bondage of sin and death.
This we must never forget, but the idea is that God is in the deliverance business, not only corporately from sin and death, but also in our individual lives. God wants to deliver us.
So what does God want to deliver us from today?
I think the biggest thing is the past that holds us in bondage so that we don’t enter into God’s future.
God tells us to forget those things that are of the past, and to move into what He has in store for us in the future. In one of my main life verses God said,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
God has plans for you, and they aren’t to harm you, but to bring peace to your life and to give you a future hope.
And so we are to let go of those things that hold us to the past, that guilt and shame over what we did, along with the anger and resentment over what others have done to us. We also need to let go of those things that we’ve already done for God’s Kingdom so that we can move forward into even greater kingdom business.
This was exactly the mindset of the Apostle Paul. He said,
“Brothers, 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.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
God wants to do a new work in our lives. No matter where we are, God want’s to do something new. He wants to give us a future and a hope; and He wants to give us peace through our trials and difficulties.
But God doesn’t leave us without a way to break from the past and what binds us.
We break from the past through the process I bring out in the third chapter of my book, the chapter on scrubbed and cleansed. Literally it’s the process of confession and repentance
Confession and Repentance
“Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die … Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:30-32 NKJV)
Confession and repentance is the key.
Now, most if not all of us understand what confession is, it’s in our repentance where we have our problem.
What is repentance? Well the simple answer is that it’s a U-Turn. It’s making an about face from the way in which we are going, that is, the way of sin and the way of this world, and walking in a new way, God’s way according to God’s word.
In Wayne Grudem’s book on systematic theology he gave this definition.
Repentance is, “A heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”
And so we are to remember. We are to remember what the Lord has done, but at the same time we need to look forward to what the Lord wants and desires to do. God wants to do a new work, not only here at Living Waters and in His church, but also a new work in each and every one of our hearts.
Now going back to what God did for the Israelites, He always gave them a promise and then made good on His promise. And it’s no different for us. Remember, God has given to each of us great and precious promises and He will in like manner deliver on them.
The Apostle Paul said,
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV)
And so God has a new way and a new deliverance ready and waiting for you.
First believe. Believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your life and that He gave His life as that sacrifice for sins to be your Savior.
Next, believe again. Believe in God’s promises and that He has a new way and a new deliverance for you.
Third, confess your sins and repent, that is, turn away from them and unto God, His word, His will, and His way.
And finally, believe once again, that God will deliver you, that God will make a way even when there seems to be no way.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study