Summary: A New Year’s Message
A NEW YEAR—A TIME OF RENEWAL
INTRO: Good Evening, and welcome to 2003. What comes to mind with a new year? Black eyed peas, football games, parades, inventory time, new year’s resolutions, after Christmas sales, or parties?
A new year is a time of: reflection—planning—resolve—inspection—personal inventory—anticipation—apprehension—commitment. “Renewal” best describes it all. FAITH in God working in and through you. VISION of God’s opportunities. HOPE of accomplishment. ASSURANCE of salvation. COMMITMENT to serve God.
I. SCRIPTURES DEALING WITH RENEWAL.
1. 2 Cor 5:17. To renew your relationship with God, you must become a new creature. Once were without sin. In Christ you can be without sin again (2 Cor 5:21; Rom 6:4).
2. Eph 4:22-32. True renewal is in the likeness of God...righteous and holy (vs 24). Speak the truth (vs 25). Don’t sin when angry (vs 26). Don’t give devil opportunity (vs 27). Share with needy (vs 28). Pure speech (vs 29). Don’t grieve Holy Spirit (vs 30). No wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice (vs 31). Kind, tender-hearted, forgiving (vs 32). Let’s work (resolve) to renew these in our lives. Can you imagine what would happen it we all resolved to renew these? The whole congregation!
3. Col 3:10-17. Renewed in the image of God (vs 10). Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace, forbearing each other, forgiveness, thankfulness—all characterize the renewed person (or should). Do all in the name of Jesus (vs 17).
4. Ps 51:10-13. Create, renew, restore, sustain—prayer to God. When this happens sinners will be converted.
II. APATHY IS THE ENEMY OF RENEWAL.
What Keeps Us From Renewal?
1. Apathy is the greatest enemy of renewal.
2. Apathy = “I don’t care”. About charging, growing, improving, about getting involved.
3. It’s too much work for some to really care for others or God.
4. “The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them”, George Bernard Shaw (think of the implications).
5. “Too many people don’t care what happens, so long as it doesn’t happen to them”. William Howard Taft (27th President).
6. If you really want to kill renewal, just be apathetic (don’t get excited about the changes taking place in the lives of people).
III. HOW CAN WE BE RENEWED?
1. Go to God first (Ps 51:10).
2. Let God give you the strength, but be patient (Isaiah 40:28-31).
3. Let God renew the inner man day by day (2 Cor 4:16-18).
4. True renewal takes place in the mind (Rom 12:2).
5. Effective renewal requires (with help of God and His Word): Personal inventory (be honest—where you are). Planning (what do I want to accomplish and how (be specific—where you want to be). Determination (prayer for help—commitment). Action—the best plans are failures without action.
6. Renewal needs support from others.
CONC: Every one of us needs renewal—rededication to: a. Faith in God. b. Commitment to serve Him. If you are not a Christian, now is the perfect time to let God renew you (rise and walk in the newness of life) Rom 6:4. The rest of us should rededicate ourselves to service. Renew your faith and commitment day by day.