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Summary: This sermon encourages the church to dream about the coming year in the life of the church and for them to examine thier individual place in those dreams.

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New Year’s

What If? And Why Not?

Acts 4:23-35; Luke 1:37

December 29, 2002

Intro:

A. Year in review—Here are 12 of the top news stories of 2002—see if these prompt your memory banks…

1. Afghanistan

2. Child abductions

3. D.C. Sniper

4. Middle East

5. Catholic Sex Scandals

6. Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize

7. Daniel Pearl

8. 9/11 Anniversary

9. Iraq

10. James Trafficant

11. Business Scandals

12. Republican Sweep of the Federal Government

B. This will be a year of new beginnings at Somerset Church…

1. 2003 will mark the beginning of a new era at Somerset!

2. We have a new church—with no active members attending more than 8 years.

13. We have a new church—with no rules or traditions that tie us to the past.

14. We have a new church—with only the future ahead of us.

15. We have a new church—with 94 in attendance two Sunday’s ago!

16. We have a new church—with many diverse spiritual backgrounds.

17. We have a new church—with a variety of spiritual gifts.

18. We have a new church—with great love for one another.

19. We have a new church—with only Christ as our head.

20. We have a new church—with great potential ahead of us.

21. This will be a year of new beginnings at Somerset Church…

C. [Read text Acts 4:23-35]

I. What if this is a year of great prayer?

Acts 4:23-30 (NIV), On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

A. Now Peter and John had been arrested for preaching the gospel.

B. What did the church do when they heard the report? They had a prayer meeting!

C. What did they pray about?

1. They praised God for His Sovereign power. (24)

2. They quoted Scripture back to God. (25-27)

3. They related how the Scripture pertained to Christ and God’s will. (27-28)

4. They applied the Scripture to their current situation. (29)

5. They asked God to do powerful things in their current situation. (30)

D. What if this is a year of great prayer at Somerset?

II. What if this is a year of great shaking?

Acts 4:31 (NIV), After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit …

A. What happened when the people prayed?

B. What if this is a year of great shaking at Somerset?

III. What if this is a year of great boldness?

Acts 4:31 (NIV), …and spoke the word of God boldly.

A. When the government beat and threatened them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, what did they do?

1. Did they submit to their government?

2. No, they SPOKE THE WORD OF GOD BOLDY!!

3. What did we do when our government told us not to speak or pray in public in the name of Jesus?

4. We obeyed!

B. What if this is a year that Somerset begins to speak the Word of God boldly?

IV. What if this is a year of great unity?

Acts 4:32 (NIV), All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

A. When the church put God above men, what happened? They experienced great unity!

1. Churches today worry a lot about offending people.

2. But look at what happened to this church.

3. They determined that it was far better for them to offend men than God!

4. Acts 4:18-20 (NIV), Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

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