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Summary: As you transition into the new year are there questions on your mind. There are on mine. What I believe to be a very important question for my life and the life of the church. Did I make the most of 2007. 2 terific truths from God’s word show us how w

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Intro: As we transition into this new year a question has been on my mind. Did I make the most of the last year. It is not a question for the faint at heart. It is an examining question, it is a difficult question. Will I be honest enough with myself about this hard question? As I look over 2007 I see areas that I grabbed for the glory of God. There were some wonderful things that happened in 2007. One of those was a calling to this great Church Perche Baptist. Baptisms, Salvations, new relationships. But I also look back at lost opportunities, missed moments. I can see situations that I didn’t make the most of. This causes me to ask the question about Perche. Did we make the most of 2007. I believe as I hope you do that we did very well in 2007. I would like this morning to challenge you, to encourage you, to pray that we will make the most of 2008. My prayer is that we will make the most of this New Year to God’s Glory.

Paul gives great words of hope in this passage in 2 Corinthians. There is hope to make the most of this New year and it is found in being “in Christ." The church and city at Corinth could almost mirror our culture today. Many of the people that were coming to Christ had no church background. The cities were places where people loved pleasure and were often governed by greed. “It’s all about me,” would have fit well into their culture. Paul faced challenges to his leadership and people that really had no moral foundation. Even though we face a secular and selfish society Paul says there is hope to make the most of the New Year.

We find two terrific truths in 2 Corinthians 5.17 of God’s Holy Word. We can make the most of the New Year by releasing the old, and receiving the new.

I. A Releasing of the old

“the old things passed away.”

Have you ever wondered what old things Paul is talking about?

1) The Old Rituals

In the Old Testament especially in Leviticus you can see a incredible inventory of sacrifices. These sacrifices had to be done exactly the right way. It is almost impossible the list of things that you sacrifice could be acceptable to God and you sins forgiven. Similarly the High Priest on the day of Yom Kippur would go into the holy of holies. They actually tied a rope around his waist or ankle and had bells on the bottom of his garments. The bells were placed for practical reasons. If the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies impure or did something incorrectly he would be struck dead. So if the bells stopped ringing they would drag Him out of the Holy of Holies.

The Pharisees took these rituals to an extreme. They added to the law and made it burdensome for people to try to worship God.

Listen to these encouraging words from Hebrews. Hebrews 10.14 “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

Did you know that we still have rituals today? That if you go into many of the Southern Baptist Churches you will see something very similar. There will probably be announcements, a welcome and pastoral prayer. Whether by a worship team, song leader, congregational, choir, there will be some singing. More than likely a special music, possibly a skit, and then the pastor will stand and preach.

However none of that makes us acceptable to God! I Repeat, none of that makes us acceptable to God any more than following the levitical laws to the letter would.

I do want us to realize that our singing should praise Jesus, our prayers should be offered to Jesus and the preaching should boldly proclaim Jesus. But none of it makes us acceptable to Him. (IN the same way the good things we do or our good works if you will do not make us acceptable to Him either.)

2) The Old righteousness

The old righteousness was based on what you do. Good deeds. How you treated others. Some believe even today that if they are good enough that the good outweighs the bad and they get to go to heaven.

Let me share what the Bible says. Romans 3.10 tells us that there are none righteous. No one can be good enough to be acceptable to God.

Imagine Mother Teresa. All of the homeless and poor people she helped in Calcutta. A million, million lifetimes of her goodness does not matter because the only true righteousness is that that is given by God. Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags. It is detestable and disgusting to God.

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