Summary: We stand on the threshold of a new year! Great opportunities lie ahead! Great challenges will confront us! Many disappointments will occur. All of these and probably much more!
FACING THE YEAR 2005
(Some ideas and content of this message are taken mostly from Dr. Joel Santos sermon "Great Investment for the New Year")
We stand on the threshold of a new year! Great opportunities lie ahead! Great challenges will confront us! Many disappointments will occur. All of these and probably much more!
And perhaps some of us now are anticipating great challenges and more blessings this Year. The question is: What we can expect this year – what we will do for ourselves this year to improve our performance over the past year?
Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written while he was in prison. Yet even there he still praying for his brethren and still expecting spiritual progress even in his absent.
The content of our text today will guide us in deciding what to do today in order to face the whole year!
I. THANK GOD FOR OUR EXPERIENCES IN THE PAST
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” vs. 3-5
Paul keeps them in prayer, rejoicing in the fact that they received the good news of Christ and continued to live in it. He invested himself in their lives by sharing Christ with them, but he didn’t stop there. Paul continued to pray for them. With joy he remembered them and thank the Lord for his prayers. He thanks the Lord for what they did in the Gospel in the past.
Let’s thank the Lord for our past, both the negatives and positives ones!
Remember: “Failing does not make you a failure. Failing does not make you a faithless. Quitting after you fail makes you a failure."
Don’t live with your past like the Israelites
We are special beings in that God has given us the ability to remember. Your memory may be your friend or your enemy. Negative things or positive!
Israelites were crippled by their past experiences. They don’t want anymore to enter the “Promised land” because of failures in the past. They camp to Mt. Sinai. Normally it takes only 11 days to travel from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, (Kadesh-barnea is the threshold of promise. It was the desert entry point to the promise land. It was the place from where they sent the 12 spies to spy out the land) but they did not pursue God’s directives and remain in the place crippled by the past. (Deut. Chapter 1)
Theodore Roosevelt said, "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything." We all commit mistakes!
You see, living in the past can cripple us & hold us in bondage. But one day God said to them to move on! (Deut. 1:6-7)
“Success is the ability to move from one failure on to the next.” – Winston Churchill
“No matter what you did in the past, your future is clean” – John R. Rice
“A righteous man may fall 7 times and rise again..” Proverbs 24:16
For Apostle Paul “Forget the past and straining toward the future!”
In Phil. 3:13 "I forget about what lies behind and reaching forward to those thins which are ahead."
Prov. 28:13 LB “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.”
But for me I would say, “Thank God for the past!”
But I say to you today, consider the past and thank God for the experiences!
We need to thank the Lord from the past and for giving us another challenges in the present and future to come.
II. EXPECT GOD TO BRING US THE BEST THING IN THE PRESENT
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent…” vs.. 9-10A
Paul makes an appeal to the Lord that their love will flourish in the heart and life of another. He prayed that they be set free to love others freely. Pray that love will continue to grow and flourish.
The slum district of Manila is already overcrowded, but a gold rush has made it worse. It all started when 15-year-old Alfredo Gallo, who was combing the riverbed that runs through the Philippine capital, found a chunk of gold. His father immediately sold the nugget for about $500 and bought a television and a bicycle.
Once word got out, hundreds of people flocked to the banks of the filthy river looking for the precious metal.
Though the river is polluted and strewn with garbage, many people see it with new eyes. One village chief commented, "It is a puzzle. All we got from this before was trash."