New Year day is the day we associate with new beginnings, a chance to have a fresh, new start, and hopefully see improvement over last year.  Hopefully, I said, because many are trapped in the same old, same old, and they just don’t see any way it can be any better. But there IS hope for the future, and in spite of all that’s going on in the world, there CAN be something truly “new and improved”, namely YOU!

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Is life getting you down? Are you “bummed out” with life as you have lived it?  Then you’ve come to the right place.  It’s time we say out with the old and in with the new.  Yeah, you’ve heard it all before, I know.  So have I.  But I’m not talking about what YOU can do, but rather what CHRIST JESUS can do in and through you.
Suppose you are already a Christian, yet the above describes you to a tee, then what?  Well, I propose that you have somehow missed out on what it really means to be in Christ Jesus.  Let’s read about it:
2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Notice here it says if any man be in Christ, he IS a new creature.  So, what is the qualifier here?  He must be IN Christ, not just know ABOUT Christ.  You see, even the devil KNOWS about Christ, he just isn’t IN Him, rather, he is against Him.  You can go to church every day and still not be IN Christ.  How do I know?  I did it for years and didn’t know the difference.  I thought going to church meant I was in Christ.  No, I was just in church, that’s all.  You can be in a barn, but that doesn’t make you a mule, and you can have a whole box of tools, but it doesn’t make you a mechanic.  And you can go through all the motions that satisfy the flesh, yet, if you are not IN Christ, you cannot be or ever become a NEW creature.  You will forever remain the old, like a rusted out car that someone filled full of body filler and put a new coat of paint on.

To everyone looking, the old rusty car that has been filled with body filler and new paint looks really nice, but the rust is still under there just waiting to show through and ruin that new paint job.  Far too many people end up buying those kinds of cars, thinking they have acquired something really nice, only to find a short time later it wasn’t what they thought they had after all.

Well, if you’re just going to church and aren’t IN CHRIST, that describes YOU, because the moment trials and temptations and trouble comes,  you will find all the body filler falling out, and the rust beneath showing through, and you will become dissatisfied with what you are.  Maybe you’re there right now: maybe you THOUGHT you were in Christ until the bottom fell out of your newly painted bucket.  But now you’re ready to face the truth: you need more than the rust covered up and a new paint job.  You don’t need more “religion” or “church”, you need CHRIST!

You’ve come to this place because of the mercy of God.  You see, He could just leave you where you’re at, living your deceived life, thinking this is all there is, but He has so much MORE for you.  But if you aren’t looking for it, you won’t find it, for it is written in Deuteronomy 4:29-31:
Deu 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Deu 4:30  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Deu 4:31  (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

But all the blessings of God are reserved for those who are actually IN Christ, not just “playing church”.  Actually, being in Christ doesn’t have a lot to do with church anyway, for church is just a gathering place for people to come together to worship God.  You should be worshipping Him every day in your home or wherever you happen to be.  Church is where you can go to hopefully be encouraged, corrected, taught and stretched to fit into the image that God has created you to fill.  But “church” does not make you a new creature.  Only Christ can do that.

Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

I continue to harp on the “new creature”, because most of you know, the NEW, old creature doesn’t cut it.  It’s sad when you find “religion” doesn’t really make you a new creature, but it’s a good thing, too, because once that happens and you find that religion is really an empty box that just isn’t filling your need, then God can finally get your attention and bring you to the place you really wanted to come to in the first place.

Sometimes I think “church” does more harm than good.  More hurting people are beat up even worse at “church” than they would be had they just stayed home, then they don’t want anything to do with God, thinking HE is the one hurting them.  No, it’s RELIGION that hurts people, setting impossible standards for them to try to reach that NOBODY can reach.  The Lord Jesus talked about how the Scribes and Pharisees did exactly that.

Mat 23:1  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2  Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Mat 23:3  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Mat 23:5  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:6  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Mat 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Mat 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Mat 23:13  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Mat 23:14  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Jesus was talking to the organized religious system of the day. Rituals and religion doesn’t get it, friends, only a RELATIONSHIP with Christ Jesus will truly make you a NEW CREATURE.  And when you do that, like it says, old things are passed away.  It’s a new year, make today your day of a new beginning, and truly become the new creature in Christ Jesus that will satisfy your every heart’s desire. Don’t be satisfied to be a “rusty heap with a new paint job” anymore.  Out with the old: be IN Christ Jesus, and settle for nothing less than your daily dose of God.  It never gets old once you are truly IN CHRIST!