Summary: Part 3 of FACING THE FUTURE! Paul gave us some reasons you and I can look into this New Year and see wonderful things. 1. WE ARE BLESSED 2. WE ARE CHOSEN 3. WE ARE PREDISTINED.
A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board.
As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. "Why weren’t my resolutions posted?" She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions.
Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
I don’t know if you still keep New Year’s resolution. I don’t know how you are doing on your new year’s resolutions. I do know something that is more important than resolutions. How do you see this New Year? Is it one that you approach with anxiety or anticipation?
Paul gave us some reasons you and I can look into this New Year and see wonderful things. He gives us reasons why we can look forward with anticipation instead of anxiety.
I. WE ARE BLESSED.
He writes, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has BLESSED US in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ...."
A certain king had two servants. To the first he said, "I want you to travel for six months through my kingdom and bring back a sample of every weed you can find."
To the second servant the king said, "I want you to travel through my kingdom for six months and bring back a sample of every flower you can find."
Six months later, both servants stood before the king. To the first, the king asked, "Have you carried out my command?" The first servant answered, I have, and I was amazed to find there were so many weeds in the kingdom. In fact, there is nothing but weeds in this kingdom!"
To the king’s question the second servant also answered, "I have, and I am amazed how many beautiful flowers there are in the kingdom. In fact, there is nothing but beautiful flowers in this kingdom!"
These two servants each found what they were looking for. So do we. Are there no blessings in your life? Do you have no one who loves you, no beauty outside your window, no strength left in your body, no mind to guide you to new pleasures and opportunities, no faith to bear you up when circumstance weighs you down? Are you really without any resources for making 2005 a wonderful year?
II. WE ARE CHOSEN.
"For He CHOSE US in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."
Dr. Ruth Barbee, a well-known family-relations expert, once said that about 90 percent of so-called "naughtiness" in small children is simply their way of getting "noticed." When they cannot get the attention they want any other way, they do something guaranteed to drive their parents up the wall.
Every now and then someone takes a poll of husbands and wives to see what are the most common complaints that spouses have against each other. Invariably, "not being noticed," in one form or another, heads the list. Many women particularly have had it with being taken for granted in the home and in the office and, perhaps, even in the church.
Everyone in this world has a need to feel like he or she counts. Thus it is with great joy that we hear the words from the Scripture, "we are chosen!"
III. WE ARE PREDESTINED.
"...He PREDESTINED us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."
One pastor described the difference between Methodists and Presbyterians like this: "The Presbyterian Church is Calvinistic. It believes in predestination, meaning to say that everything which is going to happen was planned by the Almighty at the beginning of time, and that mankind cannot alter the divine plan. The Methodist church, on the contrary...rejects predestination. By this I mean the Methodists believe that when anything happens, the Almighty is just as surprised as anybody else." I like that. Maybe we do surprise God sometimes.
As we look into this New Year, why shouldn’t we see great and wonderful things? We have been blessed, we have been chosen, we have been predestined to be children of the most-high God.