Summary: Going into the new year, what should we do to have a better life? 1- WAKE UP 2- CLEAN UP 3- DRESS UP
INTRO.- ILL.- THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:
1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.
ILL.- A lady said: Recently I went to the doctor for my annual physical. The nurse asked me how much I weighed. I told her 135 pounds. Then she weighed me and the scale said 160.
She asked me how tall I was. I said, "5 feet, 6 inches." She measured me and I was only 5 feet, 3 inches.
So she took my blood pressure and told me it was high. "Of course it’s high," I said. "When I came in here I was tall and slender. Now I’m short and fat!"
ILL.- A lady said: My sister and I decided to reframe a favorite photograph of our mother and father from when they were dating, some 60 years ago. After removing the picture from the frame, I turned it over, hoping to find a date. It didn’t. Instead, my mother had written, "128 lbs."
How do you like growing older? If you’re young (a teen perhaps), you probably like the idea of getting older. If you are already older, you may not like the idea of getting any older. Why? Because most people fear what is ahead.
We may not like the idea of a new year because a new year means we’re getting older and we may experience more health problems. It’s true, isn’t it? We never know what the new year will hold for us.
Some of us think, “Ugh!” And some think, “Oh boy!”
NEW SOUNDS GOOD TO MOST PEOPLE, especially if it’s something new like a new possession: a new house, new car, new wardrobe, a new computer, etc.
ILL.- I saw a picture of a T-shirt that read, “I love new stuff.” Well, who doesn’t? New is nice. And often better but not always, however. Did you ever get something new that didn’t turn out to be not so nice?
ILL.- Here is what one man said after buying a new car: “The transmission makes a loud grinding noise while braking. The power windows sometimes stick and won’t go up. At least this keeps me from going to the carwash. The alternator gave out at 950 miles. The seams on the seats are already pulling apart after 2,000 miles. CD player ate my favorite CD and won’t eject it. And it guzzles gas!!!”
That man is not a happy camper with his new car! New is not always nice.
At least, we’re starting a new year and maybe, just maybe some things will be better or get better. It depends on our attitude and our altitude, that is, our spiritual altitude.
The important thing about a new year is to think about what we’re going to do that will make us better people in the eyes of God. It’s only in our relationship to God that anything can be better or get better.
When things go wrong He’s the only one who can make things right or better.
PROP.- Going into the new year, what should we do to have a better life?
1- WAKE UP
2- CLEAN UP
3- DRESS UP
I. HEADING INTO THE NEW YEAR - WAKE UP
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
ILL.- A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
Little Johnny replied, "Because people are sleeping."
ILL.- A lady who was known as Winston Churchill’s main rival in parliament was giving a speech. Churchill, with his usual enthusiasm for his rival, dozed off while the lady was speaking. She stopped her speech and woke Sir Winston by yelling, "Mr. Churchill, must you sleep while I talk?" Churchill sleepily replied, "No, ma’am. I do so purely by choice."
Most people who are spiritually asleep do so by choice. Many people deliberately ignore God, Christ and the Bible and go their merry miserable way!
Spiritual apathy abounds in our day and time. Many people are spiritually asleep and don’t care to be woke up. They have the attitude of “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Or else “I don’t believe it and I won’t do it.”
ILL.- A teacher gave a subject for composition class. The subject given was “WHAT?” and for an hour, the whole class expounded and defined this word and related concepts on paper. One smart alec boy submitted his paper in 1 minute and left the class. On his sheet, he had written: “SO WHAT?”
That’s the kind of attitude that many people have today toward God, Christ and all things holy. We understand, however, that Paul was writing to Christians, saying, “It’s time to wake up!” We expect people in Hollywood and the world to be spiritually asleep but not those who are in Christ. What about us? Are we asleep spiritually in any way? It’s highly possible.