Summary: This sermon suggests that we follow the example of several biblical characters and concludes by giving us some New years Resolutions to consider.
Introduction: I have never really been any good at keeping New Year’s Resolutions, so consequently I haven’t made very many over the years. The only one I’ve managed to keep once or twice is to read the Bible through in a year. If you’ve never done that, I would encourage you to give it a try starting tomorrow. I got on the computer this morning to check the weather forecast and channel 4 out of Nashville had a survey about New Years Resolutions. They had several typical New Year’s Resolutions listed like: Lose at least a few pounds, stop smoking or drinking, Spend less money, etc. But I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to see “Get closer to God,” even listed, much less be the second highest resolution chosen.
Having said that I came across something a few years ago that I thought was interesting. Someone had listed several good New Year’s Resolutions for Christians to consider making for the New Year. I want to share a few of these with you this morning. Then I want to go back and take a look at the circumstances surrounding each one of these individuals.
Like Abraham, trust God completely, because He cares for you.
Like Enoch, walk and fellowship with God every day.
Like Moses, be willing to suffer for your faith, and do what God leads you to do instead of living a self-centered, selfish lifestyle.
Like Job, remain faithful to God regardless of your circumstances.
Like Joseph, turn your back on every temptation that comes your way.
Like Gideon, take a stand and be willing to go into battle, regardless of how many people go with you.
Finally, Like Paul, Forget the things which are behind you and press on toward the prize that is awaiting you in Heaven.
I. Let’s begin in the Old Testament with Abraham.
Abraham was living with His wife Sarah, in the Land of Ur, the Land of His father. When God spoke to him and said, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram left, as the Lord had told him," Genesis 12:1-4
Abraham was 75 years old, had a good wife and a nice house. Can you imagine what kind of response Sarah must have had when Abraham came in and told her they were moving. It must have been similar to the response that the woman in the movie "Field of Dreams" had when her husband, played by Kevin Costner told her that he was going to cut down their corn field and build a baseball field. She responded by saying, "Are you nuts, first you’re hearing voices and now this."
Sarah may not have liked the idea of leaving their home and going who knows where. But in the end, she went along with it. They gathered up all of their possessions and left the Land of Ur, not knowing where they would end up, but trusting God to get them there safely. And He did.
A few years later God reminded Abraham of his promise to make him into a great nation. And Sarah became pregnant at the age of 90, and gave Abraham a son. Then a few years later, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to the Lord. That must have been very difficult for Abraham. He must have wondered how in the world God could be glorified by killing his son. But Abraham obeyed God, and at the last possible moment God sent an angel to keep Abraham from killing Isaac. Abraham knew God loved Him and that He had always kept his promises. So he knew that even if he had killed Isaac, that God would have raised him from the dead.