New Beginnings (Part 2)

December 31, 2001 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

"Now it shall spring forth. Shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."

On tonight, which is the New Year's Eve of the year Two Thousand and Two, we're going to take hold of that message of a new beginning, and we're going to ride it into the new year.

In Joshua chapter one, beginning with verse one through verse nine. And I know that we've been there many times. But we're going back there again. It says,

1. Now after the death of Moses (in chapter one) the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,

2. Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

3. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

4. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

5. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

6. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (or effectiveness).

9. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.

Saints of God, let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You once again for a time that we could be together in Your Name, in Your Word. Hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. And Father, as I decrease, I ask that You would increase. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

He said, "Moses My servant is dead." In other words he was talking to Joshua and saying, "Joshua, you're getting ready for a new beginning."

When we look at the word "beginning," it is defined as a starting point. It is a commencement (glory to God) to get something started, to set forth something in motion, to be on a particular path or a particular course.

I believe that God is beginning a new and vibrant work among the people of God in the body of Christ. No longer shall we hold on and cleave to the past. No longer (hallelujah) shall we look to disappointment and discouragement. No longer (hallelujah) shall we mark our lives by the trials and the tribulations that we have been through.

The way we will begin will usually determine the way that we end. If you go into Two Thousand and Two (glory to God) with a depressive spirit like you had in Two Thousand in One, the same way you began is the same outcome that you're going to have. It's the difference between something that's going to be successful and something that's bound for failure.

We as a church are at a place of new beginnings. We are traveling down a road that we have never traveled down corporately before. We will encounter the unexpected. We will encounter the unfamiliar. We will even partake of what we'll call the unknown. But we will not allow the unknown to put fear in our hearts.

New beginnings. That's where we are. Don't be satisfied with what happened this year. Don't keep the same doubt that you had in your mind this year, and take it into the next year. All of these challenges that we've encountered, use them as stepping stones and opportunities to build something bigger and better.

As we continue to mature, people will fall down. People will make mistakes. People will get in the flesh. But that's just a sign of a growing and maturing church.

It's just like a baby. When a baby is born, and as the baby grows, they do fall down. They do make mistakes. But once they get the hang of it, they don't want you to hold their hand no more. They take on their own independence.

New beginnings. That's what we're headed into.

Our lives our being changed. Our comfort zone is being squeezed. And it's causing us to grow. You've got something that's in your life right now that you wish was not there. But if it wasn't there, you would not grow.

Joshua was bumped out of his comfort zone. And he was giving instruction. In verse two, God told him,

2. Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

He said, "Arise." And then He said, "Go over." He said, "Joshua, yes I gave you Jericho." He said, "Joshua, yes, the walls of Jericho are going to come tumbling down."

But what about all the warfare in between? You see, when you're headed for your new beginning, there will be some warfare between now and your new beginning.

Faith is not moved by what it sees. Faith is not moved by the situation or the circumstance. Faith is not moved by the conditions. We cannot allow our conditions to continue to determine our destiny. If I allow my condition to be a dictator, it's going to drive me crazy for the rest of my life.

But if I hang on to the promise of God, then no matter what's in between me and my new beginning, I know that I know that I know that I know that it will come to pass.

Saints of God, before they could get to Jericho, there was a river that they had to get across. I believe that as this church begins to expand, there's a river that we got to cross. As we cross over into our new beginning, there's a river that we must cross.

Let me tell you something about the Jordan. The Jordan was a river that rose up over the banks. And when they were the children of Israel that God had brought out of bondage in Egypt, He parted the Red Sea for them. And they walked across barefooted and flatfooted.

But you're not there any more. He's going to require something a little bit more after you. He's going to require that now that you stand in the water for a little while. Oh, you don't hear me tonight. See, it's not going to part for you any more. He's going to require obedience now. He's going to require (glory to God)... Oh, hallelujah to Jesus. He's going to require that we get down into the water.

When they looked back, they remembered their daddies, and how God parted the Red Sea for them. But to get into this new beginning, God said, "I'm not parting the sea no more." Somebody hears me tonight.

See, we've been looking for the Red Sea to part. Every time we got a problem, we look for the Red Sea to part. The Red Sea ain't parting no more. It's time to step down into the water.

As they stood there in the water, the water was rising. It got to the point where they had to get on their tip toes. You see, where you used to be, you're not there any more. Now you got to wait for the water to subside a little bit. He's going to let you be uncomfortable in the water for a little while.

Saints of God, all through there, chapter one, chapter two, and chapter three of Joshua, it was all for preparation to get to the new beginning. It was all a time of preparation. If you have not been preparing yourself to step down into the water, when it gets a little high and a little deep, it's going to cause you to panic.

He was putting them in a place of not only obeying Him, but trusting Him. To get to our new beginning, we have got to obey Him and trust Him like never before.

New beginnings. They don't come easy. Because anything that comes easy, we don't appreciate it. We'll start to trample these pearls that He gives us, under our feet.

It's like the Anointing. You go to some church. And you sit there. And you don't feel anything. But when you come through that door, you know the Anointing is going to meet you there. Don't take that Anointing for granted.

We can get so used to a thing. Is that right? Until no matter how thick the cloud is, we don't reverence the... Oh, you don't hear me tonight.

They were in a place that was uncomfortable in order to get to that new beginning. But He gave them an encouragement. He said in verse three that, "Every place that the soul of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

Every promise in this book is mine; every chapter, every verse, and every line.

Where are you? Are you down by the Jordan, waiting to cross over? Are you stepping down into the water yet? And as the water begins to rise where you are, are you coming out of the water? Are you trying to find a way out? Or will you trust Him to get you to the other side?

In verse seven He said, "Observe to do..." In other words He was saying to them, "I'm requiring obedience." This promise, this new beginning is going to come with obedience. Obedience to His Word, obedience to His Spirit. Obedience.. Doing everything that He said to do. It will cause us to be in position for the new beginning.

You want a new beginning tonight. Observe to do. Don't think that He's going to just give it to us. Where you used to pray, pray a little bit longer. Where you used to fast a little bit, fast a little while longer.

Where are you in your crossing point?

One of the things that I love about this chapter, in chapter one, when Moses... When Joshua came down, and he began to command the leaders, the people said to Joshua, "Whatever the Lord commands you to do, we will do it."

But they didn't stop there. In verse eighteen, they went on to say,

18. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto they words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

After God had told him to be strong and of a good courage, the people that were with him encouraged him and said, "Only be strong and of a good courage, because we're with you."

So that's why they were able to come down to the Jordan together. That's why he didn't have to pass to the other side by himself. Corporately. We as the church have got to pass over together.

Keep this in mind, that some will make mistakes. Some will fall down. But it's a part of growing. So those that may not be on your level, you that are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of weakness. That's how we can stay together. Do you hear what I'm saying?

New beginnings. New beginnings for the body of Christ.

Obedience precedes the miracles. Trusting Him precedes the miracles.

God wants us to have a new beginning. But this time we've got to get in the water. Don't look for the Red Sea to part for you no more. He only did it one time.

When you reach a certain level of maturity, it doesn't part any more. It'll part for the new Christians, but it won't part for you any more. So when God begins to move for them, and it seems like they can pray, and immediately there's a blessing on answer, don't get mad at them. They're just having their Red Sea experience.

But you just come on down to the Jordan with the rest of us, and stand in the water, until it subsides, so that we can pass to the other side.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

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