HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL YEAR IN YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE!
Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (KJV)
INTRODUCTION: I am going to give you something tonight that is very basic, yet so profound. As a matter of fact most all of Christianity misses this one lesson totally in their Christian life. If every born again person would fulfil what I am going to give you tonight, we would live in a world of utopia. Politics would be a thing forgotten. Abortion would be gone. Divorce would be at zero. The secular society would have nothing to write about in their newspaper columns except things that the local Baptist churches were doing. To do what I am saying tonight would be to relive the life in the Garden of Eden. By the way this is the way it will be in the Millennium for the Christian.
Please write the outline down and then maybe get the tape so you can have a permanent record of this lesson. It is so important. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but rather to motivate each of you to enrich your Christian life into another realm or reality.
How is all of this done? I am going to give you seven things that you must do to classify a successful year in 2004.
I. DAILY RENEWING OF THE INNER MAN 2 Cor. 4:16.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (KJV)
How do we do that? We will define that in the next three points. But to say a little about this renewing, to fail to do so is the number one reason for Christian failure.
The inner man is the new person that was born inside you when you got saved.
Too many attempt to make the renewing a once and for all matter, and that can’t be done. Some even attempt this as a New Year’s Resolution and then forget it the remainder of the year. It doesn’t work like that.
A. Feed The Inner Man. The inner man is not interested in the least with the happenings of the world. We try to feed the inner man a diet that he cannot digest.
We want the inner man to be interested in fashions, feastings, and frolics and he isn’t. He is interested only in the things of God. He is spiritually motivated – he cares not for the things of the world.
B. Starve The Flesh. Ro 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (KJV)
Ro 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (KJV)
Mortify means to kill or slay. If you don’t feed the inner man you will automatically feed the flesh.
C. Exercise The Spiritual Man.
This will keep the inner man in control of your commitments and convictions. It would mean that you do only those things which please the Lord.
It means to walk with God. I have been trying to walk more than normal since I had knee surgery. That same principle will be of great benefit for the Christian.
II. DAILY READING OF THE WORD OF GOD Neh. 8:18
Ne 8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (KJV)
We try to challenge the membership to read the Bible through each year. That is so that you will be actively involved in reading the Bible. We had several accomplish that in 2003.
We talk about this a lot yet this one part of your life is the most basic. The secular system has become so concerned with the physical health. Everything we see is in some way connected with our health. We are instructed to eat right, breathe right, set right, walk right, sleep right. But what about the spiritual man? The word of God is much more important than physical exercise.
Read it daily – memorize it – obey it – love it – talk about it – spread it. Make it part of your everyday practice.
III. DAILY PRAYER TO THE LORD Psa 86:3.
Ps 86:3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. (KJV) The Psalmist is crying for mercy by crying unto the Lord daily in prayer. He says, “I cry daily unto thee.” His prayer is not just made in a time of crisis, but on a daily schedule. He talks with His God everyday. This would say to us that God and David were on a daily conversational program.
One commentary says that “daily” means – “all the day long.” What a prayer life he must have had.
IV. DAILY PRAISING OF THE LORD Psa 72:15
Ps 72:15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. (KJV)
Proper reading of the Bible and prayer will cause us to praise God. Praise is a by product of the other two. Prayer and Bible reading is not complete until praise has been generated and offered to God the Father.
Through the Word of God He makes contact with me.
Through prayer I make contact with Him.
When both the reading of the Word and the prayer of the saint is done properly praise will result. Man cannot come in the presence of God without praise and worship happening.
Sincere Bible reading and prayer will bring the individual into the presence of God.
What did Moses do when he was in the presence of God and the burning bush? He bowed upon his face and worshipped the Lord.
Joshua did the same in Josh. 5.
V. DAILY EXHORTATION OF ONE ANOTHER Heb 3:13
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (KJV)
Exhort means to help motivate one another. We are to give attention to each other to see how the emotional person is and then exhort or help to motivate them to live that day for the Lord. When I see that you are having a bad day then it is my duty as a brother in Christ to exhort you to the point that your disposition changes. I can only do that is my relationship with God is proper.
Why don’t we do this? Because we are so busy trying to do the same for ourselves until we don’t have the time nor energy to think of others. How can I help you through a bad day if I am in the middle of a bad day myself? I can’t.
Here is another great opportunity for servitude. What this verse is suggesting is that if we don’t exhort one another when the opportunity arises we will become hardened to the matter and will not serve at all. Think about that for a moment. Do you know those who are hardened and calloused to the matter of helping or serving others. Why? Vs. 13 explains that very clearly. They didn’t use every opportunity to exhort one another daily and they became hardened. Now they are bitter, selfish, and belligerent.
When we talk about the Lord. When we share the Lord. When we get testimony of what the Lord has done for us it will keep each of us soft hearted, pliable and drawn to the Lord.
How sad to see a Christian who has grown cold, indifferent, hardened to the love and spirit of God. Yet that happens so much and many don’t even realize that is has happened to them.
VI. DAILY CROSS TO BEAR Luke 9:23
Lu 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (KJV)
Most Christians try to avoid this cross bearing. Jesus told His disciples that this is part of the daily uniform and ministry.
Cross bearing is not enduring a certain hardship or outlasting a bad day. Most of those conditions are the result of some sin we have committed. Cross bearing is that which I receive from being godly and holy. When someone executes a transgression against me because they are angry at me because I am living godly or righteously then that is cross bearing. You see, the cross bearing is something we do in Jesus’ place. Simon was forced to bear the cross that was being carried by Jesus.
For this to happen will require that each of us enact this verse in our life.
A. Make It Our Will To Bear The Cross.
Simon carried the cross of Jesus. Yet he did not begin his day looking for that assignment, but when the opportunity came, he picked it up and carried it with Jesus.
B. Deny Self.
Denying of self is probably the most reason that Christians do not carry the cross. This means that you say, “I’m not too good to bear the cross.” Some do not pick up the cross because they have too much pride.
To deny self means that self is considered after everyone and everything else. When one denies self he makes self wait unto last in every situation. This is strictly against the will and manner of self. Self wants to be first.
Self wants to be recognized.
Self wants to be rewarded.
Self wants the prize.
C. Take Up The Cross.
Most of what we call cross bearing is not cross bearing at all. Cross bearing is really a reward for holiness and godly living. Hard to swallow isn’t it? The more holy you become and the closer you live to God the more you will be expected to carry the cross.
We all have the same cross. It is the cross of Christ. It is the cross that befalls us from following Him totally and completely.
There are no easy crosses.
There are no short term crosses.
There is no specific time for us to bear the cross and when that time has lasped the cross bearing is over. No it will last a life time. It will be repeated often.
Where is your cross? Your year will not be successful unless you carry the cross often.
Carrying the cross makes one stooped shouldered and tired. The results of cross carrying can be detected easily.
VII. DAILY MINISTERING FOR THE LORD. Acts 2:46.
Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (KJV)
This is the end result of a totally committed life to Christ. This verse tells us that these people were totally consumed with the service aspect of Christ and dispensing their daily burden to serve Him that they worked at it all day, every day. A great difference from the average Christian today.
They awoke in the morning with the intent of ministering all the day long. They retired at night with the expectation and joy of doing it all over again tomorrow.
These folks didn’t call in sick.
They didn’t have excuses that prevented them from ministering daily for the Lord.
Where is that spirit among Independent Baptists in 2004?
Have we lost that burden?
Have we laid that burden down?
These people loved that burden?
What’s our subject for the message? How To Have A Successful Year In Your Christian Life!
Let me review real quick. If 2004 is going to be a successful year in your Christian life:
1. Renew The Inner Man Daily.
2. Read The Bible Daily.
3. Engage In Prayer Everyday.
4. Praise God Daily.
5. The Exhortation Of Other Saints Daily.
6. Bear The Cross Daily.
7. Daily Ministering For The Lord.
Of those seven things – How many are you currently fulfilling? Maybe five? Or perhaps four? Are there those here today that would have to say I am not doing any of these?
What do we need to do to ensure each of us the blessing and glory of having a successful year in our Christian life? Wouldn’t it be great if at the close of 2004 I called for all of those who had a successful year as a Christian if you could hold up your hand?
Let me ask this question – Can we look at a person and tell whether they are experiencing success in their daily Christian life? Can we? I think we can. What will be the tell tale clue? A joyful face. A smile when asked how they are doing? An appreciation when given an opportunity to go further in serving.
You know now what you must do – will you do it?
Lord help us to be successful at our Christian life each day.