Summary: As we begin a new year, we need to do some instrospective thinking!
December 31, 2000
Central Church of Christ
THE JANUARY INVENTORY
1. In nearly every business there should be a yearly inventory.Removing of old stock. Determining the assets of the present situation. Rearranging to better suite the owner. All with a consideration of the coming year.
2. The wise Christian needs to ‘take stock’ of his spiritual inventory as well. This calls for introspection – a look inside. Read Text.
3. Three things about this text help us with our spiritual inventory:
I. IT IMPLIES INCOMPLETENESS (12)
A. The fact of an inventory says that there are things we have yet to know…how many sold / how many on hand / how many more needed. It says that there’s something yet to be had that we do not have!
B. In our spiritual inventory, we must realize that there is room for spiritual growth! How far to go until we are perfect? There will always be a new step to take towards Christlikeness. 1 Peter 2:21-23 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.” If the Apostle Paul felt that he had room to grow spiritually, what about us? Psalm 92:12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon…” Ephesians 3:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” 1 Peter 2:2-3 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
B. We should never feel that we are at the end of our spiritual journey. These passages imply an incompleteness…but also…
II. IT PERMITS PROGRESS (13)
A. In a business, the knowledge gained in an inventory allows the owner to make decisions that will help the business grow. He cannot ride the wave of the past successes! He must look ahead and attempt to do even better!
B. In our spiritual inventory, we must do those same two things. Forgetting what is behind. No one can make progress if they are bogged down in their mistakes.
Everyone has made many mistakes in the past. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Straining toward what is ahead! We need to be moving closer to God.
C. These verses show an incompleteness, a progress…and …
III. IT CENTERS UPON GREATER THINGS (14)
A. What business owner doesn’t hope , as he does his inventory, that his business will be even greater next year? Did Ray Kroc ever dream that McDonalds would be in every neighborhood in America? Sam Walton’s little five and dime store did pretty well for itself.
B. We must learn to keep the attitude of a dreamer as we live our Christian live. We have been called to receive a prize! It’s not speculative, or relative to stock markets, or the fickle public opinion! It’s a sure thing. A prize for which God has called me heavenward! God wants us to have the prize of all times – eternal life. That’s the important issue in the church today…and out of the church. When we’re doing our spiritual inventory, we should investigate to see if this is a key part of our spiritual life.
C. When our hope and lives are centered around that, the more earthly things become unimportant. 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is
seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Getting to heaven and getting others to heaven is our chief goal.
We need to take stock of our spiritual inventory. The text for tonight tells us three things about it:
It implies incompleteness. It permits progress. It centers around greater things. As you begin a new year, do some soul searching. Have you become what Jesus called you to become? If not, would you discover the things that are keeping you from it, and rid yourself of them? Would you set some new goals, and head for higher ground this year? Would you commit to share the Gospel with just one person this year. What a sad request! But it would be such a great step that we would all be amazed!