Summary: A sermon for the New Year
“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Well, here we are, at the end of another year. And I mean really the end! Today is December 31st and we gather one more time to worship before crossing over into yet another new year.
And what a year it has been for us, here at C3. We’ve had one go off to college, another in his Senior year and making his own plans; and these are good things!
But not everything has been so good. We have folks with constant pain and discomfort that seemed worse this year than the past. A husband and dad and grandpa with cancer. Unemployment. Bad employment. Too much employment. Family stress. Rebellious children. Cares and burdens over health, finances, relationships, uncertain futures.
Are these things unique to our group? Of course not. In addition to the close, personal stuff though there is the daily news and the ever increasing speed of the downward spiral this old world is in.
To use another metaphor, the snowball is rolling and picking up both size and speed and I doubt there is a thinking man or woman left on the planet who thinks it can ever be controlled again. Not that it has ever really been in anyone’s control but God’s…we so easily deceive ourselves…
Bringing it down to the most personal level though; the simplest denominator, in short, we’re all tired. Am I right, or is it just me and a few others? I think I’m right.
We need a break from it all. We need a rest. Not just a vacation. Vacations are not what they are usually cracked up to be. They are a temporary, and usually expensive, respite from the day to day and when they are over we’re just thrown right back into the mire where, after we’ve rested from our vacation, the same old stuff awaits.
Writer Elbert Hubbard said, "No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one".
And it’s sort of like a gambling habit or an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
A person is removed from all things familiar and locked away for rehabilitation and he seems to do well. But as soon as he goes back home to the old routine and the old friends and nothing at all about his life has changed, he’s back to the addiction or the habit because the only thing that changed was that he was away for a while.
It’s the same with our lives. As Christians we sometimes look back, if we are wise, and we remember amazing things God has done in our lives. We remember our low estate and we praise Him that He picked us up and saved us and established us on the Rock of Ages.
Then we think about all the things He has done since that have gotten us through; given us victory; brought us to where we are;…
…so why are we still tired? Why are we physically and emotionally and spiritually run down?
Here is why, I think.
It’s because we think as those without hope. We begin our days calling to mind the former things and pondering things of the past. We wake and we immediately set our minds to work figuring out how to deal with life as we left it when we hit the pillow last night. We think of each day as simply a continuation of the last. As though we lay down and close our eyes and on the inside of our eyelids are the words, “To be continued…”
And we are not refreshed. And we are not renewed. And we are not encouraged, because we are not giving our undivided attention to the One who declares of Himself, “I, even I am the Lord; and there is no savior besides Me” (vs 11), and says, “Behold, I will do something new…”
NEWER THAN OLD VICTORIES
I want us to see today, this last day of the year, that we belong to the God of ‘new’. The reason I say it that way is because there is nothing in or of this world that is ever truly new unless it is of Him; comes from His hand.
That’s the negative way of putting it. The positive is that God is constantly doing something new, declaring something new, making something new. He Himself is perpetually new. What do I mean by that? Is that heresy? No! He exists perpetually in the ‘right now’, since He exists eternally and has no beginning or end. He is the Ancient of Days and He is Youngest of all.