Summary: A sermon for making New Year’s Resolutions.
Resolutions that Last
Once a man moved into a retirement home to spend the rest of his life there. It wasn’t long until he had made a number of friends among the other residents. There was one lady he was especially attracted to and she was attracted to him. They spent a lot of time together and finally one evening he proposed, asking her to marry him.
The next morning he woke up remembering his proposal, but he couldn’t remember her answer. So he went to her and said, “I’m really embarrassed. I proposed to you last night but I can’t remember if you said ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” “Oh, thank goodness!” She replied. “I remember saying ‘yes’ but I couldn’t remember who asked me.”
Illustration taken from Melvin Newland at sermoncentral.com
• New Years resolutions are like this sometimes.
• We remember making and committing to them we just don’t remember them for very long.
• I would like to make a suggestion for a Resolution that Lasts.
• Let’s promise ourselves and God that we will make a change for the better.
• In our text, Paul makes some suggestions about how we can do this and offers us three basic steps;
1. The Preliminaries
2. The Plan
I. The Preliminaries–“Forgetting what is behind” Philippians 3:13
A. Forget the Wrongs
2. Entice us to sin
B. Forget your accomplishments
2. Take our minds off the true source of salvation Philippians 3:7–9
3. Ephesians 2:1–10
a. The good works we do are not our own.
b. These are works God has determined that we should do.
The first step in making Resolutions that Last is the Preliminaries, forgetting what is behind. The second step is:
II. The Plan–“Straining toward what is ahead” Philippians 3:13
A. Straining–a continuous concentration
1. Like a runner in a race whose keeps on trying and has an extreme desire to achieve victory.
2. The picture of a runner, body bent over, hands outstretched, eyes fastened on the goal, never giving a backward glance.
B. We can make resolutions that matter by focusing on what is ahead.
1. Philippians 3:11 “to attain to the resurrection from the dead”
2. 1 Corinthians 15:20–23
3. Romans 6:5
C. Our Plan should be one that leads us to that final resurrection with Christ.
The first step is The Preliminaries, forgetting what is behind. The second step is The Plan, straining toward what is ahead, the third step is;
III. Perseverance–“I press on toward the prize” Philippians 3:14
A. Take a Personal Inventory
1. Where am I in my race for the prize?
a. Have you started running?
b. Have you started running and quit?
c. Have you started running but “hit the wall?”
2. Where do I want to be?
B. Each year at Christmas our attention is focused on the fact that God allowed His Son to be born as an infant human.
1. Why did God do that?
2. Answer: He did it to make it possible for us to come live with Him.
C. For just a moment, I want you to think about who you are and what is happening in your life.
1. Is it true that God waited patiently for thousands of years to send Jesus? YES.
2. Is it true that God endured constant frustration and rejection, but refused to give up on his creation? YES.
3. Is it true that He not only allowed His Son to be born as a human, but He also allowed His Son to have a complete human experience? YES.
4. Is it true that God let His Son be put to death at the hands of His own creation, not for sins of his own but for our sins and that God raised Him from the dead? YES.
5. Is it true that God did absolutely everything necessary for you and me to be able to escape the wickedness of this world and come live with Him? YES.
D. In twelve months from now where will you be in your walk with God?
1. If you do not know any more about God in twelve months, what will make you and your life any better?
2. If you do not understand God any better in twelve months, what will make you and your life any better?
3. If you do not develop a better relationship with God in twelve months than you have right now, what will make you and your life any better?
• I want to challenge everyone in this assembly this morning.
• Start with the Preliminaries and “forget what is behind”
• Take a personal inventory and make a Plan.
• Then in you Plan, plan to Persevere.