Summary: Since our time on earth is limited let's make the most of the time we have left.
A Holy New You
Rev. Brian Bill
Several weeks ago, Bill Flick, a columnist for the Pantagraph wrote an article entitled, “Only 11 Years Later…and Life is All Different!” He pointed out that we were all wigged out as we worried about Y2K but nothing really changed. However in the time since our calendars rolled into a new-numbered century, many things have changed.
There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no TiVo, no Wikipedia, no YouTube, and no one had Wi-Fi. Flying was easy; there was no TSA; your luggage flew free…Google was something your 4-month-old did and the economy was so strong, the federal budget was balanced…Gasoline was $1.48 a gallon. 9/11 was two random numbers. Download was a term that still just referred to dump trucks…an app was still something you filled out to get a job at McDonalds and a blackberry was still on a bush…China was a third world country…Kindle was what you did to a fire…There was no text messaging and no satellite radio. Amazon was still known as a river…Y2K? Absolutely nothing changed. But since then, everything has.
As we ponder the past and remember news stories and note-worthy people, many are now positing predictions about the New Year. From what’s going to happen politically, to who’s going to win the Super Bowl (there’s no doubt there) to whether the world is going to grind to a halt when the Mayan Calendar runs out on December 21st.
My guess is that you’d like to change some things in 2012. Much of what will happen will be beyond your control but there are some things you can control. While we all want a Happy New Year, what God wants is a Holy New You.
I talked to someone recently who told me that she doesn’t make any New Year resolutions because she always breaks them anyway. While I certainly understand this (all too well), the downside of this attitude is that we can end up not making any decisions to move forward spiritually. As Donald Whitney writes, “No one coasts into Christ-likeness.”
Sometimes I hear people say that making a resolution is not even biblical. I did a concordance search and I beg to differ.
Psalm 17:3: “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.”
Daniel 1:8: “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”
1 Corinthians 2:2: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Jonathan Edwards lived in the 1700s and was a preacher, theologian and missionary. He has been credited with helping to bring about the first Great Awakening. Amazingly, he wrote out 70 different resolutions when he was just 20 years old! You can read them by clicking here. He not only made this list but he determined to read through each of them weekly. Here are a few of them:
• Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
• Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
• Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.
I’m going to sprinkle the sermon with some more of his resolutions in the hopes that you’ll be spurred on to make some similar determinations this New Year.
We’re going to draw out some truth from three verses in Ephesians 5. In the first three chapters, Paul establishes the importance of doctrine and in the second half of the book the focus is on how to do what we know to be true. Based on our position, we must put into practice. Look at 4:1: “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” We’re then called to live in the light, not in the darkness. Chapter five begins with these words: “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children…” He then moves to the importance of sexual purity and avoiding the deeds of darkness because light makes everything visible. Verse 14 urges us to “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
With that as a very brief explanation of the context, let’s look at our text. Please turn to Ephesians 5:15-17: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”