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CHINESE NEW YEAR AT THE BAPTIST WITH DR. KREIGHTON L. CHAN

"CHRIST’S TREMENDOUS PROMISE"
by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, February 2, 2014

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).


New Year’s is a time of excitement. We can almost feel it in the air. It is a time of hope for a fresh beginning. We make New Year’s resolutions. We promise ourselves to stop bad habits. And we pledge to begin good ones. Chinese New Year follows a lunar calendar. It is celebrated a month or so after the Western New Year. This Chinese New Year is the “Year of the Horse.” It officially began two days ago, on Friday, January 31st. But it is perfectly right to celebrate it tonight, because the celebration extends 15 days. The difference with the Western New Year is greater than when it is celebrated and how long it is celebrated. Chinese New Year takes the festivity to a whole new level! It is not limited to a late evening celebration and making one or two New Year’s resolutions. No, there is much more than that. The Chinese want their family’s life to be prosperous for the entire year! And there is much tradition and ritual done with this in mind. A great emphasis is made on the last day of the year and the first day of the new year. On the last day the home is thoroughly swept using brooms and dustpans. This is to remove bad fortune of the past year. But these same brooms and dustpans are put away on the first day. This is so “good luck” is not swept away. Debts are paid off at year’s end. This is to prevent debt from following into the New Year. Families gather for meals, and ancestors are remembered. The color red is found everywhere. Red is thought to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. Red banners hang with Chinese characters wishing long life and wealth. The Chinese phrase “Gung Hay Fat Choi” is said repeatedly to others wishing them good fortune. Sweet preserved fruit and tangerines are eaten. This is so the new year may also be “sweet.” Red “lucky money,” or “lai see,” is passed out. Older married adults give them to children and unmarried young adults. Care is taken not to speak anything negative. Especially no mention of death because it is believed that would bring “bad luck.”

Some people laugh at these traditions, because Chinese are so superstitious. That may be so, but the desire for a good, happy, and long life is a universal desire of us all. In our hearts this is what we all really want for ourselves and for those we love. The question is how do we achieve this good life. As we all know, life can be very hard, distressing, and may seem hopeless at times. But the Bible says that God never meant for man to live a difficult life. After God created the first man Adam, the Bible says,

“God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

God made the original man perfect. Man was created in the very image of God. He was God’s highest creation. He had intellect. He was perfectly moral. He was virtuous and noble. And Adam lived in a perfect world, and in a perfect environment, in the Garden of Eden. Adam had perfect health, perfect happiness, and even a perfect wife. He and his wife were to live in this blessed way forever. This was God’s original plan for man.

But Adam sinned against God, and everything changed tragically. The Bible says,

“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Adam was now totally ruined because of sin. His moral nature was ruined. He lost most of his virtue and nobility. He no longer had fellowship with God. He was now a sinner in rebellion against God. Life would now be hard. He would no longer live forever, but would now suffer pain, sorrow, and death. As descendants of Adam we inherit his sinful nature and his curse. This great tragedy and loss of blessing was the direct result of Adam’s sin. But Christ said,

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

I. First, Christ will make a new heaven and a new earth.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2).

When Adam sinned against God, he brought a curse on the entire human race. And God’s curse extended to the earth. God had created a great paradise for man. But as a result of Adam’s sin the earth was severely ruined. Man has also polluted the oceans, killed off the rain forests, destroyed ecosystems, and hunted animals until many species are extinct. As a result, our environment, the air we breathe, and the food we eat are polluted. The earth has lost much of its splendor and majesty.

Yet, when we look at this world, we still marvel at its great wonder and beauty. Whether we view God’s creation with the finest microscope, the naked eye, or a telescope, we are amazed at the intricacy of God’s design. And this wondrous beauty remains even after God’s curse fell upon it. Imagine what it was like before Adam sinned! Oh, the earth is a far cry from what it was when God originally created it for man to enjoy. And God is not pleased with the condition of His fallen creation. The Apostle Peter said,

“The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire …” (II Peter 3:7).

The heavens and the earth will be destroyed by fire. Christ Himself said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew 24:35). But Christ also said,

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

Christ will restore the heavens and the earth to its former glory. Creation itself has more spiritual sense than a lost man who doesn’t know God. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem at His triumphant entry, all the multitudes praised him except for the lost religious rulers of that day. In fact, these rulers wanted Jesus to stop the people’s celebration. The Bible says that Jesus

“Answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Even the stones understood that Christ deserved great honor and glory. The heart of these lost men was harder than the very stones on the ground! Christ said,

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

II. Second, Christ will make a new life of joy without sorrow.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

We try hard to be successful. We try to remain positive. But life is still filled with much sorrow and little joy. We try to be happy through our family and friends, our achievements, our health, or gaining wealth. But we soon find that these don’t satisfy our deepest need. We remain empty. We can work hard to find peace, happiness, and meaning for our lives. But it seems more like a dream than a reality. And ultimately, we are completely powerless to avoid our last enemy, death. The Bible says,

“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Even parents who love their children feel powerless to do very much for them. We instruct our children, love them, care for them, and do our best to protect them. But we cannot prevent them from having sorrow, misery, pain, or death. But this is not true of God, who loves us with an everlasting love. The Bible says,

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things …” (Matthew 7:11).

In the new heaven and new earth God our Heavenly Father will give us many good things. Life will be filled with joy without sorrow. All of the trials and tragedies of this life will be gone. We will not grow old. We will not become weak or sick. There will be no cause for sadness. No reason to sorrow. No pain of any kind. And God’s people will not die! We will live in complete joy and happiness forever. It’s all too wonderful to conceive. And this is how God originally meant it to be. The great ruin brought about by Adam’s sin will be restored by Christ, who said,

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

III. Third, Christ will make a new relationship between God and men.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

Christ’s tremendous promise to make all things new starts with a new relationship with God. We must know God personally. We must have His presence. We must become His children. And only Christ can make this happen. He must make us new. Without this change we remain in Adam. And in Adam there is only sin, separation from God, death, and judgment. The Bible says,

“As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21).

Have you seen the ruin that sin brings? Have you seen how sin has harmed your life? You know that you’re not the person that you ought to be. You know that you’re not really a perfect person. Have you ever regretted something that you have done? Has your conscience bothered you over it? Have you ever thought, “How I wish I hadn’t done that!” If that’s true of you, it is a sin that nags at you. You try to suppress your guilt. You try to rationalize that you’re not that bad. But down deep you know you have sin, and you are not right with God.

Do you sense that there are real Christians here in church that love God and love you? But you don’t have any real love for God. And you can’t really return the love that Christians give you. You can’t quite understand it. But you sense that something is wrong with your heart. Perhaps you have been thinking that real Christians seem to have a peace, something real and something genuine, that you don’t have. Are you satisfied with your life without God? Or do you have some thirst to be cleansed from your sin and to have a new life in Christ. Did you ever wish you could live a better and happier life? Christ can change you. He can make you new. The Bible says,

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a [new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).

Christ makes you new by washing your sins away in His Blood. He also gives you a new heart, a new life in the church, and a new group of Christian friends!

The Apostle Peter was looking forward to the day when Christ would restore all things. He said,

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

Our pastor heard Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge preach on that verse over 50 years ago. Dr. Hymers believed Christ’s promise to restore the world and to bring righteousness to his heart. He was drawn to Christ and was saved! How we pray that you too would sense your need for Christ to save you. And that you would trust Christ wholeheartedly!

Christ loves you. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He was buried. But on the third day he rose physically, flesh and bones, from the grave. He ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of the throne of God. He wants to wash your sins away in His Blood. Come to Christ. Trust in Him. He will receive you and give you a new life in Him. Amen and Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Revelation 21:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“When Jesus Comes to Reign” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHINESE NEW YEAR AT THE BAPTIST WITH DR. KREIGHTON L. CHAN

"CHRIST’S TREMENDOUS PROMISE"
by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

(Genesis 1:31; Romans 5:12)

I.   First, Christ will make a new heaven and a new earth, Revelation 21:1-2;
II Peter 3:7; Revelation 21:5; Matthew 24:35; Luke 19:40.

II.   Second, Christ will make a new life of joy without sorrow, Revelation 21:4;
Ecclesiastes 8:8; Matthew 7:11.

III. Third, Christ will make a new relationship between God and men,
Revelation 21:3; Romans 5:21; II Corinthians 5:17; II Peter 3:13.