Summary: Proverbs 3 offers a number of good principles for the New Year.
A. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I pray that together we have a blessed New Year.
B. I thought you might enjoy learning the history of the “Baby New Year.”
1. Britannica.com reports that the original “Baby New Year” was born in ancient Greece.
2. It was their custom to display an infant in a basket for the turn of the calendar.
3. During the late 1400s, Germans depicted the new year baby as a religious figure signifying Baby Jesus.
4. In the 19th century, the new year baby was secularized by newspaper cartoonists, and he went pop after the Saturday Evening Post put him on the cover in a top hat.
5. A cherub in a top hat, sash and diaper, Baby New Year is an avatar of optimism as the clock ticks down to midnight on December 31.
6. Humorously, these magazine covers have inspired grownups to dress like infants on New Year’s Eve in frequently ill-fated attempts to be the life of the party.
C. Someone has said that “the New Year is like a new baby – many changes will be necessary, some of which may be neglected.”
1. New Year’s Day is a good time to take stock of where we have been, where we are, and where we would like to go.
2. In all of our lives there is room for improvement – whether it be in our attitudes, values, words or actions.
3. Let’s take a few moments today to consider some goals for the new year.
4. In what ways would God like to help us change in the coming days and weeks?
5. As we all know so well, the challenge begins when our new year’s resolutions collide with our old year’s habits.
6. Thankfully, that’s where we have an advantage as Christians.
7. For Christians, changing is not just about human decision and willpower.
8. For Christians, change also involves the help of the Spirit of God who lives in us.
9. Yes, we must give our own attention and effort in the process, but the transforming power comes from the Spirit of God living in us.
D. Proverbs Chapter 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.
1. There is so much in this chapter for us to be directed toward and challenged by.
2. This chapter contains principles to apply and promises to claim.
3. Although there are more than 10 things to focus on in the chapter, I want to share 10 principles in the form of resolutions for the new year.
E. The chapter begins with Solomon admonishing his son to remember his teaching.
1. “My Son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (vs. 1-2)
2. Aren’t those wonderful promises? Aren’t they something that all of us desire?
3. We want our lives to not only be prolonged by many years, but we want them to be prosperous years, right?
4. And how did Solomon suggest that his son could bring that about?
a. Simply by remembering and keeping the commands of his father, which ultimately are the commands of God.
5. That promise is not just for Solomon’s biological children, but for all who will love God’s commands, who will hide them in their hearts and who will live them out in their lives.
F. Now let’s turn our attention to some of these principles in the form of resolutions.
Resolution #1: Let Love and Faithfulness Never Leave You (vs. 3-4)
A. Verse 3 says: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
1. Notice what Solomon suggests as the place to start in order to have a prosperous life.
2. He starts with love and faithfulness - He suggests that these two qualities are essential.
3. What does a life look like that is characterized by love and faithfulness?
4. Try to imagine the person who is characterized by love - They are patient, kind, gentle, humble, selfless, and forgiving.
5. And when you add to that – faithfulness, you have a loving person who is loyal and trustworthy.
6. That kind of love and faithfulness needs to be applied in our marriages and with our children.
7. It needs to be applied to our relationships in the body of Christ and with our neighbors.
B. And look at the wonderful promised result if we will let love and faithfulness never leave us – we will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
1. I know that we all want that kind of reward and success with both God and with others.