Summary: New things give us an opportunity to start over.
NEW YEAR’S COMMITMENT
Dr. Jerry Falwell
A. NEW YEAR COMMITMENT
1. New Year Challenge. . . New beginning.
New things give us an opportunity to start over. A new job means you have a challenge to do better than the last job. In a new job they don’t know your weaknesses, failures and problems. A new job is a second chance.
Other new things that give us a new beginning . . . a second chance:
a. New teachers in a new school year.
b. New house and new neighbors.
c. New years and a chance to live better than last year.
We need to make a new commitment for the New Year. The world makes New Year’s resolutions, I want us to make a NEW YEAR COMMITMENT.
2. New Challenge To Build A New Wall.
Nehemiah faced a new challenge. He had to lead the people to build a wall around their city. “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18). The wall separated them from their enemies and other nations. It gave them national identification. “So we built the wall” (Neh. 4:6).
Building the wall is man’s work .
“So the wall was finished . . . in fifty and two days” (Neh. 6:15).
Building the wall is God’s work.
“When all our enemies heard . . . they were cast down . . . for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God” (Neh. 6:16).
3. The Scriptures were read and explained.
Nehemiah the leader had Ezra the Priest build a pulpit from which to read the Word of God to the people. From morning till noon—four hours—the Word was read.
“And Ezra brought the Word of God before the congregation . . . and he read therein . . . from the morning until midday before the men and women . . . and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” (Neh. 8:2, 3).
4. The people understood the Scriptures.
“So they read the book in the Law of God distinctly and gave the sense, and caused them to understand” (Neh. 8:8).
5. They signed a covenant.
Nehemiah didn’t want the people to backslide so he got them to sign a covenant. “Because of all this we make a sure covenant and write it and our princes, Levites and priests seal unto it” (Neh. 9:38).
The Living Bible says, “And afix our names.”
B. A COVENANT IS SERIOUS.
1. We all make commitments or covenants.
a. We make marriage vows and commit ourselves to each other . . . till death do us part.
b. Liberty students promise to live by the LIBERTY WAY. It is a commitment that reflects their character. Those who sign it and don’t plan to live by the LIBERTY WAY reflect their character. Those who try to live by the LIBERTY WAY will develop character.
c. To get the family car for a date, a boy has to promise to keep Dad’s rules. He makes a covenant.
d. When a young person joins the military, they swear allegiance to protect our country.
2. Broken commitment.
The football team of Hoquiam High School, the state of Washington, signed a “Code of Conduct.” When they broke their code, the high school principal canceled the season. Of course the ACLU sued the school and the principal, but his decision stuck. A football player said, “You sign it (the Code) because you have to—to play . . . you don’t really believe them. You sign then to get what you want.”
The media made a big deal of canceling the season. An opinion poll revealed 85% of the population backed the high school principal.
3. What does the Bible say?
If a man vows a vow unto the Lord . . . he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth” (Num. 30:2).
“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it, for He hath no pleasure in fools” (Ecc. 5:4).
C. WHY A COVENANT?
1. Setting goals establishes priorities in life. If you don’t establish your priorities, someone else will.
2. Setting goals helps you make real changes in life. If you don’t make a decision to change for the better, it won’t happen.
3. Goal-setting is a tool to build character. I heard Dr. Towns define character from his book, “Character is habitually doing the right thing in the right way.”
4. Goals are evidence that you are serious about your God-given responsibilities. When you live by goals, you are not living just for today’s fun, but you live for eternity.
5. A goal is better than a dream. A dream is what you want in the future. A goal is your commitment to work for your dream. The bottom line is