Summary: Paul’s writing to the Ephesians gives us some sound spiritual resolves for the next year. 1- Be more God-like 2- Shun the evil of this world 3- Use your time wisely
INTRO.- ILL.- Here’s what one guy wrote about a resolution he made:
1999: I will get my weight down below 180.
2000: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
2001: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
2002: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
2003: I will work out 5 days a week.
2004: I will work out 3 days a week.
2005: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.
Every year people resolve to do this or that. To stop eating so much food. To exercise more. To enjoy life more. But what about our relationship to God? Shouldn’t we also be thinking about some resolutions in regard to God in order to grow in faith?
II Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Are you growing in His grace and knowledge of Him? If not, why not? And have you made any plans to grow? Someone said, “The plan will work if we work the plan.” But what if you have no plan? No planning equals no growth in Christ.
ILL.- Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was the preacher who preached that famous sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” in 1741 in Enfield, CT. It was said that Edwards was interrupted many times during that sermon with people saying, “What shall I do to be saved?” Edwards took his faith seriously, much more than people and many preachers do today.
He said, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humble entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.” (In other words, with God’s help I will keep my word!)
- Resolved, I will do whatsoever I can to the glory of God. (He wanted to live for God’s glory, not his own. I Cor. 10:31)
- Resolved, Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. (Wow! How powerful is this. There are some things we wouldn’t even think of doing the last hour of our lives nor we should do them at any time! If it’s not pleasing at our last hour then it isn’t pleasing to God at any time in our lives.)
- Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge. (Someone wrote, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” No, here is what is better: DON’T GET EVEN, GET AHEAD. Be the better person. Let God handle the situation and take revenge if He desires)
- Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently. (II Timothy 2:15)
- Resolved, Never to count that a prayer, that I cannot hope that God will answer it. (Believe in prayer. Believe that God will answer your prayers)
If we are going to do better in any way in the new year then we must start it with every day. A new year is no different than starting a new day. We do it one day at a time, but if you don’t make it a good habit one day at a time your year will turn out lousy. What are you going to do to grow in His grace?
PROP.- Paul’s writing to the Ephesians gives us some sound spiritual resolves for the next year.
1- Be more God-like
2- Shun the evil of this world
3- Use your time wisely
I. BE MORE GOD-LIKE
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
ILL.- A mother said: While my young son Doug was looking at a full moon, he asked, "Mom, is God in the moon?" I explained that God is everywhere. "Is he in my tummy?" Doug wanted to know. "Well, sort of," I responded, not sure where these questions wee leading. Then Doug declared, "God wants a banana."
God does live in us. He lives in us through His Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
God is in us and is at work in us through His Spirit. This should mean that we are different and better people than most. Not always. It all depends on how much we surrender to God’s will.