Happy New year and congratulations!
If you had attended a service on Sunday 7th, you have had perfect attendance for the year of 2019! It was the first Sunday of 2019. It was also the first Sunday of January. Which means we have a new month, with a new sermon series. I have entitled it: “New Thing is a Good Thing!”
Talking about new. How many of us likes to try out new things? How many like to eat new things? New products? “New” seems to be a word advertisers use when they can think of nothing new to say about an old product. It’s funny, because it’s true. In fact, their is a deeper truth there. The truth is, there is really nothing new under the sun.
This morning I am going to do what I normally don’t do in the pulpit during the preaching moment: turning prophet on us. But I am going to be a prophet this morning, and tell you five things that will happen to us this new year. The last of the five is conditional. But, I can guarantee that the first four will happen to everyone in here this morning. That is why I have labeled each of the points Things That Will Happen To Us, for those walking on the earth, and especially those of us in the household of faith.
If you have your Bibles with you, we are within a very depressing book, and everyone goes, YES!, the book of Ecclesiastes. Going to read only one verse of scripture. A familiar verse. A verse that sets the tone of life. It is written from one who has spent his life looking at things, the life of Solomon. King Solomon has spent his life time looking at the world at the time he lived, and came to some very startling conclusions. One of those is found in chapter 1, verse 9. One simple verse. Solomon simply writes...
“What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.”
Solomon says that there is nothing new that will happen. So, If you came here this morning thinking I was going to tell us something new that will happen this year that never has happened, your in the wrong place. But I am going to tell us five things that will happen because they always do.
What has been done, is what will be done. What happened last year, will happened again.
1. Our hearts will be broken.
“Even in laughter the heart is sad, and the end of joy is grief.”
How many of us have seen where times were just so wonderful and this thing that happened is just so great, and then everything just turns sour? Something very difficult came about in something which should have been very joyous to us. In a moment of gladness, things turn horrible for whatever reason.
Jesus himself said in John 14:1,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”
Jesus is giving us an out. Saying when our hearts are troubled, there is a place where we can turn, a place where we can go, to make certain that we can be restored and be able to be walked with.
Now, what are some things that break our heart? Well, each one of us will go through one of these.
There I will be a tragic occurrence for each one in this room at sometime this year. Death, a disease, something that is unexpected and breaks into our claim. Something unexpected, a job loss, or a financial disaster, or an alike thing. I hate to be a prophet of doom, but we know just by virtue of how life goes, that some of us will face one of those things. I would say many of us will face something like this.
Maybe there will be the attitudes and actions of others that will break our hearts. Hurtful words or deeds that another inflects on us. Something someone says or does to us and it has this terrible effect on us, and hurts s deeply. As a side note, I would like to say, that only those hurt really know how to not hurt other people. Because when you get hurt, you realize just how much destruction it can cause another person. We need to learn from our hurt. It is a big deal.
Perhaps it will be failed dreams and expectations that will break our hearts this year. We say, “I had my heart set on that!” “I was planning to do this.” “I had it all mapped out, it was all right there in my hand and take ahold of it, and something took it away.” Count on it, some of these things will happen to us this year.
As we look at this, and expect this, perhaps as a resolution to this we need to think in term of what Proverbs 13:12...
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
It’s saying that the thing that you want, the longer its put off, the more it breaks your heart. But when it’s fulfilled it brings life, breath and energy to you, doesn’t it? That is why it is important if we are going to make it through these difficult times, we are to do what King David did.
Psalm 119:32... David speaking...
“I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my heart.”
The thing that will be the most blessing to us will be making sure that we are tied directly too and connected too the commands of God the Father. David says, I understand what it means to be connected to what God wants, and to walk in them and know that is what sets my heart free.
So our hearts my be broken, but running in the path to God there is true satisfaction.
2. The second thing that will happen to us this, is that our patience will be tried. Our patience will be tied this year. If your a parent and have brought you children, your patience was tried before you got here! But there will be things this year that push us off the edge, things that will creep up and cause us to lose our patience when we thought we had plenty of patience or didn’t thinking about our impatience. Thinking that we would have enough patience to go around and have enough patience for every situation and every event, but things come up unexpected and push us over the edge. What event does that? Well, Life itself does that, doesn’t it!
Dealing with difficult people, or working with people who don’t see things how we see them, or don’t do things how we think they we should be done. (we are part of the problem there, you see).
Our patience will be tired. The Jesus himself tell us in John 16:33, “In the world you have trouble.” You are going to have problems and issues. And when problems and issues come up, the patience will be of prime importance to wither or not we withstand the problems and issues that come flooding in. Count on it. There will be something that pushes us to the edge.
What will our resolution be for that? Where is it that we go to receive strength? The Apostle Peter, mentions something about that in 2 Peter 1:5-7...
“For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.”
If we are going to be that type of person for Christ in the year of 2019, we have to understand that there will be things that test our patience and the way we respond to those things will not only tell us about our relationship with God, but also influence on others either positively or negatively. It difficult, I can imagine, to be a parent. To the parents here, I would like to say, that
the way you react and deal with it, is how your children will act and deal with it later. Your children are watching you and copying you. Mom or dad did this. Its a big deal.
3. The third thing that will happen to us, is that our resolve will be tested. Our resolve will be tested. Perhaps this is most important today, in light of new years, because what we do near New years, like resolutions. In fact, the word resolve and resolute come from the same root, so that is what we have here. Maybe you have some New Years resolutions. I have some weight to lose from over the holidays. Maybe you have decided that you need to be better at this or that, so your making resolutions.
I think about resolutions when I read about Daniel’s story.Daniel of the book finds himself in his teenage years, taken captive and then prepared by the king to become fit to work for him. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine, like junk foods of 600 years before Christ...
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself.”
Here Daniel, a young teenage boy, perhaps 15-18, and has decided before another thing, that “Hey, this is one thing I am not going to do.” We are so much better off if we start off with a resolution. Daniel started off with one, and if you go into that book and read about his throughout the book, we see how he was able
But I want to tell us something about resolutions. Especially resolutions regarding anything spiritual. If you make the resolution, “I am going to read by Bible everyday this year. I am going to be in Sunday school every Sunday this yea. I am going to be in worship, or be in a ministry this year.” If you make that kind of resolution, let me tell you what’s going to happen, satan is going to gather around his demons, “He made that resolution, demons. They want to be spiritually strong, We cant have that happen! So, the first thing we are going to do, is at that first moment, at that first opportunity, interrupt it at the first chance you get. If you stop it down, we have no worries later!” Rarely do we come back to resolutions. So, your enemy is hopping to stop you at the get-go.
So, the question is “What tests my resolve?” Maybe we would say, “Adversity.” Yes, some form of adversity will come to you. That might test you. But something else will test you a lot quicker, PROSPERITY. For every ten people that can handle adversity, there will be only one that can handle prosperity. A good preacher friend of mind had a friend who just dreamed and then prayed for a boat, he waited, he prayed. He finally was blessed enough to get a boat. And in his prosperity, he turned to unfaithfulness. He always found a reason to be on that boat Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night, than to be with the saints in God’s word.
For every ten people that can handle adversity, there will be only one that can handle prosperity. Whatever you said that you are resolve to do or not do, it will be tested. Your resolve will be tested by prosperity.
This is what will happened to us this year, I can guarantee you. This is why the Psalmist David wrote...
Psalm 17:3, KJV
“Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night;
Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing;
I have resolved that my mouth shall not transgress.”
He made up his mind ahead of time, and stuck to his guns.
4. Our faith will be challenged. This year our faith will be challenged. It come with life. God is going to ask of you something that he has never asked for before. We will find ourselves in a situation that we have never been in before. It’s going to come. And the question is going to be, whether or not you will be up for the challenge. There are different definitions for faith out in the world, and most every book you read, has a definition. I am going to offer us a definition of faith. First of all, faith is not slicking into the status-quo, its not doing the same thing over and over again. Like attending a church related service. Now, it it is wonderful that we are here this morning and every Sunday. God is pleased that you are committed to him in this particular way. But God is not satisfied with with us only sitting on the pew. He wants to stretch you, so that you may know me and encourage others wherever you might me.
This morning I am going to give us a definition of faith practical for our use this morning.
“Faith: Is trust in God that causes us to accept new challenging opportunities.”
Maybe we have been too scared. Maybe when something came along that was an opportunity that challenged, we thought “well, I don’t know if I want to try that or not.” Maybe we have been too self-centered and said, “I know that is an opportunity there, but I have this other thing to do.”
Who knows all the opportunities you have missed this year, of God placing opportunities for growth and you just not realizing or ignoring them. More opportunities will present themselves you this year, they are going to challenge you, and this time you will have the privilege of saying “yes” to those!
Attempt something so great for God that unless God is in it, it will fail.
How many of us will do this? Will you attempt something so great for God that unless God is in it, it will fail. Will be say “I am going to step into a arena that I have never been in before? I am going to attempt to do this for the Lord, something I have never done before?”
Some would said that this is just foolishness. But perhaps we need to think, consider, bring it to the Lord, and decide to do that very thing when the Lord gives you the opportunity to act. That is why that in part of our resolution we have to follow what the apostle Paul said 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” We need to make certain that the actions we are taking, and deeds we are doing, is because we are living by things we do not yet see, not by the things w already know and feel comfortable with. We have to have faith and not just do things because we been through it all before.
In the book of Habbakkak, Habbakkak is arguing with God about the nation of Judah, and he is talking about how evil they are and what’s God going to do about them. God what are you going to do about these terrible people? God says, “I got it covered, I am sending the pagan Babylonians.” And Habbakkak is scratching his had asking “God, how are you going to use the more ungodly to punish the godly?” God’s response, “See, Judah is buffed up, his desires are not up right, but the righteous will live by faith.” Trust me!
James says, faith is not just about believing things, its also about doing things. So in the second chapter of his book in verse 17, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
So we can have all the best intentions, all these great ideas, “Oh, that is a good thing, I never tried that before, that would be interesting to try!” It would be, but are you going to try it? Are you going to attempt that?
All these things will happen to us this year. But this last one is conditional, because its based n whether or not we believe the first four! The last one will be the sweet spot...
5. Our spirits will be lifted or encouraged. All these things, all challenges, and all that will happen to us, there will be a time that you are encouraged. What we a really talking about here is
God’s faithfulness, God will always prove himself to be faithful to us. He will never ever, let us down. Maybe not when or how we think he should, but he will never leave you.
The Israelites were getting ready to enter into the promise land, and God told them this in...
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them,
because it is the Lord your God who goes with you;
he will not fail you or forsake you.”
It doesn’t matter how bad things are, it doesn’t make any difference of how many times we have or will fail, God is always right there, if we want him there. Well, What are some things that encourage us?
We draw incredible encouragement from being with each other, isn’t it the reason why we are here this morning? God is using us to encourage and gives us the opportunity to encourage when we might not otherwise do so. Here is what the Hebrew writer says...
Let us, “not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This time of being together is a large opportunity, and what an encouraging one. Or in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 where Paul in giving his conclusion to his final statements about the 2ed Coming of Christ says... “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
It should be an encouragement to us when we talk about the possibility, the likely hood, of how Jesus could come any moment today. All this stuff that happens, will be just a bad memory.
But mostly, our encouragement will be in this form...
“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,”
If you like me, there are ties when you are crying out to God, you feel that he is not listening. But we know that God listens and is always working on your behalf and only preparing the best for you.
I am going to leave us a resolution. These words carry a strong meaning of what it means to be resolved and committed to be and do:
I AM RESLOVED
"I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him, Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee."
Will you? Will you come to him? Will you realize that all these things at some point or time will happen to each and everyone one here this year? Recognizing and realizing that the only comfort ad encouragement comes in the powerful arms of Christ. If you are here and have never found resolution in your life, relative to you relationship with God. The sin that need to be repented of and confessed of. Come, will you? For the rest of us, know that God wants more than your attendance and there are many opportunities before us here, to get involved and participate. To start this year in the right direction.