New Beginnings

New Beginnings is a textual sermon by Mark Hollingsworth.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

INTRODUCTION:

THE MAKER OF THE WORLD is God, the great I AM, the First Cause.
THE MAKING OF THE WORLD is by God’s Word and by God’s Spirit.
THE MEANING OF THE WORLD is that God created the world for His own pleasure and glory (Revelation 4:11) and that God created the world for the happiness of all His creatures (Psalm 104).

There are some lessons to be learned from the original beginning and all new beginnings:

1. Faith in God, as the Almighty, the All-wise Creator.

2. Reverence for God, as wonderful in all His doings.

3. Gratitude to God, as providing for the wants of His creatures.

The word “earth” as used in Scripture:

In Scripture, as well as in ordinary language, the word “earth” is used in two different meanings: sometimes it means the whole globe on which we live; and sometimes only the solid dust with which the globe is covered, which is supposed not to be much more than from nine to twelve miles in thickness.

The word “earth” is used to express the whole globe in the 1st verse of Genesis — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”; and it is so used also in the 40th chapter of Isaiah, verse 22; and again in the 26th chapter of Job, verse 7, where we are told that the Lord “hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

The word “earth” is also used to express the solid and rocky crust with which our globe is everywhere covered, and on which rest the vast waters of the ocean. It is used in this sense in the 10th verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis: “God called the dry land earth.” Earth is the dry land as distinguished from the sea; it means the continents and islands which appear above the waters.

We know that it is round. We know that our earth goes round the sun once every year in an immense oval course, turning round upon itself at the same time as a ball does when it rolls along.

The earth has been measured. It is 25,000 miles all round, or in circumference, and nearly 8,000 miles straight through, or in diameter. You may imagine its size when I tell you that it has been reckoned that Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of Europe, is no larger when compared with the earth than the thickness of one of your hairs is to your head, or like a small grain of sand placed on a house twenty feet in height.

This earth, although covered all round with a solid crust, is all on fire within. Its interior is supposed to be a burning mass of melted, glowing metals, fiery gas, and boiling lava. This was mentioned in the Bible long before learned men had found it out for themselves by observation. It is spoken of in the Book of Job, about three thousand years ago (Job 28:5).

We often read also in Scripture of the mountains being “melted like wax,” rising and leaping like lambs, and raised from the depths of the earth by the force of the inward fire (Psalm 97:5).

We read in the Psalms of a time “before the mountains were brought forth” (Psalm 90:2); and we read also in Proverbs of a time “before the mountains were settled” (Proverbs 8:25), while they were yet being tossed and thrown up by the mighty power of fire.

So great is the heat within the earth, that in Switzerland and other countries where the springs of water are very deep, they bring to the surface the warm mineral waters so much used for baths and medicine for the sick.

And it is said that if you were to dig very deep down into the earth, the temperature would increase at the rate of a degree of the thermometer for every hundred feet, so that at the depth of seven thousand feet, or a mile and a half, all the water that you found would be boiling, and at the depth of about ten miles all the rocks would be melted.

Creation is not caprice or chance. It is design. The footprints on the sands of time speak of design, for geology admits that her discoveries all are based upon design. And this verse, as the whole creation narrative, confirms the admission of science as to design. Design is the nature of new beginnings.

Therefore, both the Revelation of God and the Revelation of Nature go hand in hand. Which, then, is the higher? Surely, Revelation of God. And why?

1. Because Revelation alone can tell the design. Nature is a riddle without revelation. I may admire the intricate mechanism of machinery, or even part of the design hanging from the loom; but all is apparent confusion until the master takes me to the office, places plans before me, and so discloses the design. Revelation is that plan — that key by which man is able to unlock the arcane of nature’s loom.

2. Because that design is the law of Christ. All are parts of one mighty creation, of which Christ is the center. In other words, Christ is the designer of the new beginnings.

Let's talk about new beginnings like the beginning of the world or the beginning of a new year:

I. WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS KINDS OF NEW BEGINNINGS?

  1. Some new beginnings are thoroughly evil, and their evil nature is beyond dispute.

  2. To begin to steal, however small the theft; to begin to lie, however trifling the falsehood; to begin selling things for what they are not, and by false weight and measure, however the deception may escape discovery; to begin to swear, however silent the oath may be kept; to begin dissolute practices, however trimly they may be dressed up.
  3. Other new beginnings are innocent, but such as are easily turned into an evil course.

  4. One begins to take proper recreation, and ends in a pleasure seeking, self-indulgent, idle, undutiful habit.
  5. Other new beginnings are a mixture of good and evil.

  6. It is undoubtedly well that a drunkard should become a total obstainer; but it is not an unmixed good when with his abstention he mingles self-righteous pride and unjust reflections on others.
  7. Moreover, there are good new beginnings whose good character is complete and unquestionable.

  8. It is always good to set ourselves, for Christ’s sake, to do honestly, to work diligently, to show mercy, to pray believingly, to help and succor, and sympathize with one another. Every really Christian beginning is an entire good.

II. HOW ARE BEGINNINGS MADE?

  1. Bad beginnings are made without forethought and resolve.

  2. Bad beginnings are made without definite intention, choice, and premeditation; in a word, heedlessly.
  3. Good beginnings are made with forethought, and election, and predetermination.

  4. “What shall I do with my life?” is a question for every man who would be right minded.

    1. Good beginnings are made in the light. An enlightened choice is a first requisite for new beginnings.

    2. Good beginnings are made with worthy ends in view.

    3. Good beginnings are to be made earnestly. If our desire is for the new beginnings of the goodness of God in our character, it is a desire which shames slothfulness.

    God is the author of all things, including the new beginnings of the world and the beginning of man and the beginning of this new year. What will you do with God's beginnings?

    “In the corner of a little garden,” said the late Dr. Beattie, of Aberdeen, “without informing any one of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould with my finger the initial letters of my son’s name, and sowed garden cress in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground.

    Ten days after this he came running up to me, and with astonishment in his countenance told me his name was growing in the garden. I laughed at the report, and seemed to disregard it, but he insisted on my going to see what had happened. “Yes,” said I carelessly, “I see it is so, but what is there in this worth notice? Is it not mere chance?”

    “It cannot be so,” he said, “somebody must have contrived matters so as to produce it.” “Look at yourself,” I replied, “and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet; came you hither by chance?” “No,” he answered, “something must have made me.”

    “And who is that something?” I asked. He said, “I don’t know.” I therefore told him the name of that Great Being who made him and all the world. This lesson affected him greatly, and he never forgot it or the circumstances that introduced it.”

CONCLUSION:

Twenty years ago, when Christian missions scarcely existed in Japan, a young Japanese of a good family met with a book on geography, written in the Chinese language, which had been compiled by an American missionary in China. It began with these words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

What could this mean? Who was that God? Certainly He was not known in Japan; perhaps He might live in America, whence the author of the book came. The young man determined to go to America and seek for God. He left Japan secretly, at the peril of his life; for the old law was then still in force, under which death was the penalty incurred by any Japanese who quitted his country.

He made his way to China, and thence to the United States. There, after some perplexing experiences, he did find the God he had been seeking, and with his whole heart embraced the faith of Christ. That young man, Joseph Nisima, became the Principal of a Native Christian College at Kioto, the ancient sacred capital of Japan.

God did create us in the beginning and He does help us create new beginnings now. He has given us new life and new year to live it for Him.

“Beginning” is a word familiarly on our lips; but, for the most part, we mean only rearrangement, or the commencement of one link in the chain of events. But who can conceive the beginning of creation? Who can travel back in thought to the first moment of its existence, and look into the eternity beyond?

The Bible carries us back to those new beginnings and that first moment when the universe existed. How far back was the starting-point of time we know not exactly, nor do we know in what exact form the universe came into being.

Only we are taught that before that “beginning” the universe was not, and that “the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3) — their substance, and the laws by which they are governed.

With this the conclusions of science agree. They point out that the forces of nature tend to extinction, and hence must have had a beginning. To the question what was that beginning, the Bible gives the answer.

1. What was before the “beginning”?
God was; he created all (Psalm 90:2); and if it surpass our power to conceive an eternal elf-existent Being, still less can we realize life, power, law coming into existence without a cause. And’” in the beginning was the Word;” and the Holy Ghost, through whom Christ offered himself (Hebrews 9:14).

But further, before the beginning the Lamb was slain, (Revelation 13:8) — i.e. the necessity for redemption was foreseen and the plan provided — and we were chosen (Ephesians 1:4), and a kingdom prepared for us (Matthew 25:34). Thus, redemption was no afterthought, no repairing of failure; but God’s purpose from eternity, and therefore that which is best.

2. What was the “beginning”?
The creation of a field on which God’s plans were to be carried out and his perfections manifested. And in the course of his work the creation of beings to whom and in whom he might make himself known, who might glorify him here and enjoy him forever.

3. What was after the beginning?
We mark then — At the beginning God brought forth what had been ordained in eternity — his plan complete to the end — our salvation — redemption as well as creation. “Very good” (Genesis 1:31) went far beyond the things then existing on the earth. And if it be urged, How is “very good” consistent with sin?

An enemy has sown tares and marred the Creator’s work — the world is a ruin. Oh, faithless! why fearful? If God could give life to dry bones (Ezekiel 37:6), if he could of stones raise up children to Abraham, can he not out of seeming ruin raise up a more glorious temple?

But thou sayest, How can this be? Canst thou solve one of the least mysteries of creation? And is it strange thou canst not solve that mystery into which angels desire to look? Enough to know “where sin abounded,” (Romans 5:20); to remember, “we see not yet,” (Hebrews 2:8); and humbly to wait our Father’s time and way.

4. What does it do for us now?
It is for personal encouragement. Our state foreseen and provided for from the beginning. Thus our right to trust God’s promises depends not on anything in us, but is part of his original plan of new beginnings.

Our Lord’s call to sinners is in closest agreement with what was ordained “in the beginning.” “Whosoever will (Revelation 22:17) but echoes the word which called the universe into being.


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