Summary: 3 Keys to begin letting God do a new thing in your life.
TAKE A MULLIGAN
[This sermon was preached after the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Miami Hurricanes to win the National Championship.]
A. So, how does it feel to be on the winning side? If feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
You have to admit that things looked dismal for awhile. As a matter of fact, at one point the opposing side even began to celebrate because they thought they had won. Almost before they knew what happened things changed and our side came out on top. And even though we weren’t there physically, we celebrate today because are able to share in that victory! I might add here that I’m not talking about football!
I will admit that I watched the game glued to my seat and when the Buckeyes finally won I stood up and screamed. I don’t want to bust your bubble, but it was just a game that doesn’t mean anything in the eternal realm of things. The victory that matters is what happened at the cross. The victory that matters is the one that Jesus Christ had over hell, sin, and death. This is the victory that ought to get us excited. This is the victory that ought to cause our souls to shout. Because of this victory we can be freed from our sins, escape the torments of hell, and look forward to a great eternity with the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:57 says: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
B. Ready or not, here it is–2003!
One of the things that I like about the new year is that it kind of gives us a new start–a new beginning. We hear a lot about making resolutions: To change a few things, Hairstyle, Lose a little weight. Maybe you have resolved to read your Bible daily, or to be more committed to the Lord and His work. Maybe you have resolved not to make some of the mistakes that you made last year. Since it is the beginning of the year, it gives us a place to start–a point of reference–a place to begin some lifestyle changes
C. As we look at this passage in Isaiah 43 we find at least three keys to help us becoming more the people that God wants us to be in 2003
This is the message that God was giving to the Israelites in the passage that we are going to look at this morning. The Israelite people were having a difficult time because they were being punished by God–a result of their continual rebellion. Yet, God still wanted to give His people encouragement. He wanted them to know that in spite of the things they were going through, that He had not left them nor forsaken them–that He was still there for them. Something that we need to remember as well.
The Israelites figured that they had gone too far–that their sin was so great that God would no longer be their God. But God reminded them that He had been there for His people before and He was still there to deliver them again.
READ: Isaiah 43:15-19a
ILL> The popular Christian singing group "DC Talk" had a hit song a few years ago that said:
My God is doin’ a brand nu thang
But, since time began, He remains the same
Faithful, forever to His word
And solid, a cornerstone unstirred
But, look down through the ages and you will find
God doesn’t change, but He knows the time
God is doin it–God is doing a nu thang!
D. What new thing does God want to do with your life in 2003?
How is He going to accomplish it? What do you need to do in order to allow God to make a difference in your life this year?
I> MOVE BEYOND THE FAILURES OF YOUR PAST
A. In order for God to do a new thing in your life, you need to move beyond the failures of your past. Look at verse 18
ILL> The Mulligan
We’ve talked about football. Now I would like to spend a few moments talking about golf and the very important golfing concept of the mulligan.
When you go out and play a friendly game of golf, you can decide whether or not everybody gets a mulligan.
Now, a mulligan is simply a "do-over". If you slice the ball and it goes into the middle of the woods, then you get a do-over. Or, if you hit the ground and your drive only rolls about 10 feet, you can take a mulligan. The first shot doesn’t count against your score. It’s just like you never took it. You messed up–now you get a chance to do better.
I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to have a few mulligans in life? As we enter a new year it gives us a chance to look back–and as we look back, maybe we would like a few mulligans. Maybe we wouldn’t buy that car that turned out to be a lemon. Maybe you would study harder for that test. Maybe you said a few things to a loved one or a friend that you would like to take back. Regardless, many of us here this morning have made mistakes that we would change if we had the opportunity