Summary: A New Year's sermon. God makes everything new.
New Year’s lesson:
Revelation 21:1 (quickview)  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly new things become dated and old?
We bought a live Christmas tree, as usual, this year. Jenny is not big on artificial ones. That was a few weeks ago. I took it down yesterday. All the freshness and evergreen scent was gone. That tree gave us its final days. It went from fresh and green and full of the fragrance of a forest… to dry, discolored and losing its needles by the handful with each bump and shift of its limbs. The new was gone. New doesn’t last long in this life.
News quickly becomes history, doesn’t it? As I look in the mirror, I’m seeing more and more history, or at least the evidences of history. New doesn’t last long in this life.
Earl Turner and I finished reading through the Bible yesterday. Earl texted me that he’d finished. I still had Revelation to go, so yesterday afternoon as I came to the office to write this lesson I read the whole book of Revelation. Then I texted Earl back to let him know that he had encouraged me to finish too. It’s important to encourage each other in these things and I’m thankful for all of you here who pray for me and encourage me in my faith. I need it. We all need it. If we are going to keep the faith, we have to have regular doses of new encouragement and new edification in Christ. The newness doesn’t last. We need new reminders and new words of wisdom, new acts of service, new experiences of worship, new expressions of love to God and our neighbors. Not different ones necessarily, but new ones.
New doesn’t last long in this life.
When we stop practicing our faith anew, our faith loses its freshness and scent. The light dims. The flavor dilutes. We begin to look backward and quit looking forward. We talk about what used to be with more excitement than what is coming. God always wants us to look toward Jesus Christ and to look forward to His return. That, indeed, is the final word of scripture! How do you keep your faith from becoming old? Look forward to