Summary: In this new year, let’s make this one simple resolution -we’re going to make a change for the better. (Powerpoint available - #329)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this sermon are available free. Just email me at email@example.com and request # 329.)
ILL. Have you heard about the man who moved into a retirement community to spend the rest of his life there? It wasn't long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents.
There was one lady he was especially attracted to, & she was attracted to him, also. So they spent a lot of time together. Finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.
The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn't remember her answer. So he went to her & said, "I'm really embarrassed. I proposed to you last night but I can't remember if you said `Yes' or `No."'
"Oh, thank goodness!" she replied. "I remembered saying `Yes' but I couldn't remember who asked me."
Sometimes I feel that way about New Year's resolutions. I tell myself, "This year I'm going to turn over a new leaf. I'm going to exercise regularly & lose weight. I'm going to do all kinds of things to improve myself physically & spiritually." But then somehow I forget. Maybe you have that problem, too.
So I have a suggestion for a New Year's resolution that we ought to be able to remember. It is kind of broad & very general, but here it is let's promise ourselves & God that we will make a change for the better. In 2011, as God's people, as His church, let's make this one simple resolution we're going to make a change for the better.
PROP. And to help us do that, let me suggest some ways in which we can make a change for the better.
I. DEVELOP A POSITIVE OUTLOOK TOWARD LIFE
A. First of all, each of us can make a change for the better by developing a positive outlook toward life.
ILL. A few years ago a lady committed suicide, leaving behind this note. "I decided that unless life was worth living I would just quit living."
How do you feel about your life? Is it worthwhile? Or, let's change the question. What would it take for you to feel that your life is worthwhile? What would have to happen to make you feel really positive about your life?
If you won the lottery, would that do it? If your marriage suddenly was all patched up, would that do it? If your kids began to make you proud, or if you got a promotion, would that do it? What would it take for you to really feel positive about your life?
Now if that's the way you're thinking then you'll probably never feel really positive about life because all the little pieces that must come together to make you positive about life will probably never be there.
B. That is the reason I have selected Philippians 3:12 14 as our text this morning. But before I read it to you, you need to realize that Paul is in prison, chained to a Roman guard, under horrible conditions.
Yet despite that, he writes these wonderfully positive words, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind & straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Now stop for a moment & ask yourself, "What is Paul trying to grab hold of?" Paul tells us in vs. 10, "I want to know Christ & the power of His resurrection & the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, & so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
What is he reaching for? What is his goal? Paul's goal is the resurrection from the dead. His goal is eternal life with Jesus. That is what he is reaching for & striving for every day. His goal is heaven.
APPL. Now here is the point. If our goal is heaven, if our goal is eternal life with Jesus Christ, then all these little setbacks in life are only stepping stones getting us closer to the time when we will be with Jesus.
There will be disappointments in life, but every day that passes is one day closer to the time when we will be with Jesus. If that is our goal, then Romans 8:28 is true. "All things" do "work together for good to those who love God & are called according to his purpose."