Summary: A New Year’s Message.
RECIPE FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR
INTRO: God is the giver of many wonderful new things. We come to him by faith in Christ and he gives us the new birth. Then he gives us a new nature, a new heart, a new life, a new hope, and a new task. Finally at the end of the way he will give us a new body in a new home called heaven. In a few days God is giving us a new year. This means a new start for some of us. We have not done so well in the old year. Now we have a chance to make a new start.
In our text we see Paul looking two ways. He looked backward and thought of all that he had suffered for Christ and all that he had accomplished for him, he was putting it all behind him. Then looking forward he dedicated himself to move forward to accomplish more for Christ. In like manner, it is important for us to put behind us this year, and move forward to greater things for Christ.
I. WE ARE TO REPENT.
We know that repentance is the first step to God. A man can never have a personal relationship with God until first of all he has repented of his sin. Then in connection with repentance he puts his trust in Christ and is saved. But there is also a repentance for the Christian. Repentance brings us int a right standing with God. Sin alters our position with God, and repentance restores that fellowship.
Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the evening but when they sinned, that sweet fellowship was lost. They were out of fellowship with him. You can be saved and yet lose the joy of salvation through sin.
1. There are sins to be repented of. You remember some of the things that are wrong in God’s sight, and since you are a Christian you have not been happy about it. When David sinned he kept still about it for a long time. But he couldn’t pray—he wasn’t happy. Finally, when he broke the silence, when he cried out to God, the floodgates were opened. A sinning Christian is going to be miserable until things are right between you and God.
2. There is neglect to be repented of. You may not have indulged in open sin, but you have neglected your Christian duties. When you came to Christ, you vowed to be faithful. You kept this vow for a while, then you let other things crowd Christ and his church out of your life.
3. There is a wrong spirit toward others to be repented of. More Christians are guilty of this sin than any other. They would not dare to go to a wrong place, they would not think of taking a drink, they would be furious if you accused them of stealing. Their lives are pure morally but their hearts are filled with hatred, jealousy, malice, etc.
II. WE ARE TO RESOLVE.
It is a good thing to say, “I resolve in my heart.” You may not keep this resolution all during the year, but it is better to make a resolution and keep it for a while than never to make any resolutions.
1. Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself. He was carried into captivity when he was a boy. He was trained to become of the king’s counselors. Rather than to disobey God, he vowed not to defile himself. He kept that vow and lived a holy life for seventy years. He vowed to live rightly before God regardless of the cost and God blessed him.
2. Jacob resolved to bring his tithe unto the lord. He was a young man and had sinned against his father and brother. He was now running away from home. After a dream he had, he vowed to live for God and to tithe. Jacob did not keep this vow faithfully, but when he did God heaped rich blessings upon him. That morning when he made the vow, he had nothing. When he got back to that spot several years later, he was a rich man.
III. WE ARE TO REMEMBER.
1. We must remember that we never can repay Christ for all that he has done for us. What has he done? He knew that we have sinned and that the wrath of God would fall upon us. So he went to the cross.
2. We must remember that the greatest happiness and the richest rewards come to those who are faithful. This cannot be a happy New Year for you unless you are living for Christ. People are looking for happiness in the wrong places.
3. We must remember that this may be our last year. Because of that we surely want to make it a good year in every way. Jesus uses the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) to show the uncertainty of life.