ALPHA AND OMEGA - "BEGINNING AND END"
By Pastor Robert L. Donnelly
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God…”
Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega – the message we would bring to you by the help of the Lord.. The very first verse in the Bible is a very suitable text, and would also make a very good motto with which to start off the New Year –“In the Beginning God.” That is why the Bible is such a wonderful book – it has God at its beginning. That is why there are so many remarkable characters in the Bible – God was first in their lives. This explains the many miracles recorded in Scripture – they had God as their origin.
You must start in the proper direction, if you would arrive at the proper destination. You cannot hope to end right if you do not start right. There could never be a straight line, if it curved at the beginning. This year that lies before us will never be a year of blessing, a year of victory, a year of achievement, unless “in the beginning God.” If Jesus is the Alpha, it is more than likely that He will be the Omega; because if you begin with Him, you will never find a reason to forsake Him. I would like to set before you a few very important reasons which establish the fact that Jesus is the first, and why you should make him first in your life.
Let us consider that He was the first of all the inhabitants of heaven to voluntarily come down to this wicked old world and live among us as one of us, bringing us first-hand information as to the true nature of that heavenly realm. All nations have legends and traditions about spiritual things. North American Indians have a “happy hunting ground;” Buddhists, a “heaven” of varying stages and degrees; but only in the Bible do we find these words: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).
Only from the lips of Jesus do we have these words: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, to receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2, 3). If you want to find out about Sweden, for instance, you had best speak to a native of Sweden - one who has traveled from its coastal waters in the south to its mountains in the north – one who believes Sweden to be closest to heaven on earth.
And, if you would know what heaven is like, why not take the word of the first One ever to come from that far away shore? Why not, on this first day of the year, take your Bible and read all that Jesus has to say about His home – the place where we would all like to go, but where none of us has ever been?
Not only is Jesus Christ the first One to come from heaven to live among us, but He is also the first of all the race of men ever to meet in open conflict with, and completely conquer, our archenemy – the one called the devil and Satan. When we think of all the devastation that Satan has wrought in the world – the crime and misery, from the murder of the righteous Abel to the murder of those innocent babes in Bethlehem – it would appear that our race was doomed to be forever under the dominion of this fearful and malevolent being. Even Michael the Archangel dared not bring a railing accusation against him, but could only say “the LORD rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9). But the Seed promised to Adam and Eve, the One who would bruise the serpent’s head, made His appearance at last.
As soon as He was officially proclaimed as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36), He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matt. 4). Forty days the conflict raged; but the Seed of the woman was more than conqueror; for the Scriptures declare that He returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. Adam was tempted by Satan in the garden and fell, as a result the garden became a desert. Our LORD Jesus Christ went forth into the desert, met the same tempter, and defeated him. All because of Jesus, the “desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose, and in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:1, 6).
Before leaving this wonderful truth, I must make the practical application. While Jesus was the first of our race to defeat the devil, He is not the last to do so. For it is written,“as many as received Him, to them gave He power ...” (John 1:12) ; and again, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you; draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you ...” (James 4:7, 8) ; and again, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony ...” (Revelation 12:11) ; and again, “I give unto you power ... over all the power of the enemy ...” (Luke 10:19).
We need not live a life of defeat and discouragement. We need no longer be slaves to sin’s seductive snare. Those evil habits, passions and desires (which we despise in our heart of hearts) can be broken by the power of Him who is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. Let this be your motto each morning as you waken to face the battle of another new day – “In the beginning God!” Let this be your song, as you go forth to your day’s work –“In the beginning God.” Let this be your prayer as you start off this New Year – “In the beginning God.”
We mutter and sputter, we fume and we spurt,
We mumble and grumble, our feelings get hurt;
We can’t understand things, our vision grows dim,
When all that we need is a moment with Him.
Not only is our Christ the first to come from heaven and live among us – not only is He the first to overcome the prince of this world; but He is also the first one with power to live a completely blameless and sinless life. Jesus is the only one of whom it could truly be said, “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). The sinless life of Christ is a continual source of inspiration and comfort to the child of God. It means that He was tempted in all points like as we, yet without sin. It means that there is at least one person whose word can be trusted. Though we may say in our haste, as David of old, “all men are liars,” here is one at least who will never deceive us.
This is one of the principal reasons why we cease not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ; why we would on this today persuade men everywhere to take their eyes off man, to look away from human frailty and human failures and behold the eternal perfection of our LORD Jesus Christ. How many thousands of people there are in this world whose only argument against Christianity is that there are so many hypocrites in the Church – and that this is why they do not care to have anything to do with it.
One would think, to hear them talk, that the only place hypocrites could be found is in the Church. I want to say right here and now that there are far more hypocrites outside the Church than there are within; there are far more deceivers, far more liars, far more pretenders in the world than there are in the Church. And the only reason they don’t come in is for fear they will be exposed.
Listen while I tell you again – even if every last person in the Church were a hypocrite, even if everyone who professed the name of Jesus were a liar, there is One whose word is true to a thousand generations.
Engraved as an eternal brass, the Word of God doth shine,
Nor can the powers of darkness ‘rase those everlasting lines.
Its every Word of grace is sure as that which built the skies;
The voice that rolls the stars along speaks all the promises.
That is the reason why the Church still stands today, for it is not built on the shifting sands of human weakness, but on that impregnable Rock, the character of our LORD Jesus Christ.
I must hurry on to tell you that He is the first one to rise from the dead – to die no more. It is true that, though Elijah raised the widow’s son to life, the child died again. It is true that. though Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, it was a temporary deliverance. But Jesus “... led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8), robbing death of its sting and taking the victory from the boasting grave (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Jesus “through death” destroyed “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” and delivered them “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14, 15). He declares, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). He said to Mary and Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
Again, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (John 5:28, 29; Daniel 12:2). Think of what it can mean to you to have, at the threshold of this new year, the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the Ending; the First and the Last - “In the beginning, God!”