Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Beginning A New Year" Sermon for SUNDAY, December 31, 2017 - New Year's Eve - First Sunday after Christmas

“In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.
~ John 1:1-18

"Beginning A New Year"
by Rev. Tom McVicar
Maybole, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen

“In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Totay we stand on the edge of a New Year. Many wonder what it will bring; joy or sorrow, increase or decline, grief or happiness, yet a New Year can be a time of a new beginning when we leave the past behind and turn the corner. In some ways we can do little about the past yet many spend their lives living in the past, seeking to relive its joy and sorrows only to realize that physically there is nothing we can do.

We certainly can not return to past glories or grief. I said physically for there is a difference here, for God will hold us accountable for the past. The only way we can adequately deal with it is through the cross of Calvary and to realize the Child of Bethlehem was to become our Redeemer, shedding his blood for our sins, that we could realize a position of being justified by Christ before Almighty God. That means I can sleep at night secure in the knowledge that my past is forgiven, my present secured and my future is certain. So no matter what way the wind blows, I am centred in Christ and in Him I am anchored in life and certain in death which leads to eternal life.

John 1:1 In the beginning repeats Genesis 1:1. Genesis tells of the old creation order when God created man and women and breathed into man the breath of life.

In John’s gospel it is the story of the new creation needed by a fallen mankind where man is told of God’s great love.

As John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”

It is far beyond any of our understanding but this is the one way provided. Where a spiritually dead person becomes alive forever, alive to God’s promises and keeping. John reminds us in the wonderful opening verse (John 1:1), exactly who Jesus is, notice the present tense.

He is the eternal Word of God

Psalm 33:6 “By the Word of God the heavens were made”

John is telling us of the eternal pre-existent one the Logos, the Word of God who is the child in the manger.

The Bible does not speak of cheap grace or a special one invented to become a baby. The Bible says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory full of grace and truth.”

Why we should stress this at the beginning of the year is to realize that God is ahead of our ball game. He simply does not play our silly games, blowing hot or cold, believing and not believing, fearing and not fearing.

He says to us today. Look at my Son, hear him. Remember life is not a game, the reality check is here. We are sinners needing a Saviour.

The Bible says He is the pre-existent one. The one who spoke and creation came into being but He also is the One who plans my future, forgives my past and fortifies my present.

OK. It does not depend on me. All I can do is to trust in God. To hope in Him. To take Him at His word.

To say Lord my life is in your hand not mine.

To say Bless me that I might walk in your way.

To say Lord sometimes I fear for the future, but I realize also, you are the Lord of the future, the First and the Last. The Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. The Eternal Word of God.

God has spoken to us by His Son. The one who was and who is and who is to come. The Almighty. He is the one who at the beginning of the New Year says “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.” Rev 1:17-18.

I trust that God will bless you during 2018.

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New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. Sermon contributed by Rev. Tom McVicar on Dec 27, 2005.

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