Summary: "Watch Night" Service, December 31, 2002. To encourage believers to expect the best in the future.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
2002 has been an incredible year. That’s why it makes good sense for us to pause and reflect on the things we have seen, the things we have heard, and the things we have conceived from the Lord in 2002.
In 2002, we have seen loved ones lost to addictions, diseases, and even death. We have seen financial difficulties drive us to the brink of bankruptcy. But, there is a bright side! We have also seen deliverances from situations where there seemed to be no way out. And now that we’re out, we can shout, "If it had not been for the Lord on my side…"
In 2002, we have heard the stories of war and terrorism in foreign lands. We have heard the rumors of war and terrorism in our own land. And yet, there is a bright side because we have heard the word of God preached and taught with passion and power by our beloved Pastor, Terry Walker. Consequently, biblically sound preaching and teaching has taught us to say, “The Lord is my Shepherd… surely goodness and mercy shall follow me… and I will dwell…”
I find it interesting that the things we have seen and the things we have heard play such a significant part in what we conceive. Our audio and visual experiences have our psychological apparatuses baffled and bewildered. As a result, we grapple with inclinations and imaginations of what will happen next. Will there be a terrorist attack in our own backyards? Will our children be gunned down while being in the right place at the wrong time? Will I lose my job? What about our aging parents? But, there is a bright side because the Bible teaches us that; "He will keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him." I know that there is somebody in this house whose mind is stayed on the Lord. There is somebody in this house who is not worried about terrorist attacks, disease and sickness, layoffs, children gone astray or anything else! Somebody in this house will heed the Lord’s advice, "don’t worry about tomorrow." Jesus said, "…Today has enough stuff to keep your mind occupied." The Lord said, "…You take care of today and let Me deal with tomorrow!" And, so it is with 2003.
In our text, that Afro-Asiatic apostle, that Gospel Globetrotter, Paul reminds us of the words of the prophet Isaiah. He says, "your eyes have not seen, your ears have not heard, and your mind has not even conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him." En othra parabras, "Baby, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!"
We want to share two points with you:
1. Fall deeply in love with God.
2. Embrace the benefits of being deeply in love with God.
And, since I know that we like our sermons to have 3 points, I’m going to deal with the word - conceive. Prayerfully, this will fulfill our need for 3 points.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him," but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit."
This statement doesn’t apply to everybody. Paul wasn’t talking to just anybody. Paul was talking to a peculiar people. Paul was talking to a royal priesthood. Paul was talking to people who love God! Paul was talking to the Church! Paul was talking to us!
To get all that God has for in store for you, to be all you can be in 2003, you must fall deeply in love with God. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, as simple as it may sound, evidently many so-called Christians (those who claim to love God) struggle in this area. It is said, (talking to Christians), "the only Bible some people will ever read is you!" In other words, the way you live your life is how you demonstrate to the world just how much or just how little you love God. The former generation, the elder saints said it like this: "If you love the Lord, you ought to show some signs!" Jesus told Peter, "If you love me, feed My sheep." I have news for you, these precepts also apply to you and I. But, the question is: what are you feeding God’s sheep through your lifestyle? When we love the Lord with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our souls, then and only then will we be able to love each other and love ourselves. Did you miss the relevance of what I just said? Watch this: If you want to experience real joy, unspeakable joy, you have to get your loving in order. You can’t spell ’joy’ any kind of way. You have to spell it right! Your priorities have to be in order. You must: