Faithlife Sermons

Best Year Ever - Lesson 2

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What new shows/movies came to Netflix? (Birdbox, tidying up, unfortunate events seaons 3, Carmen Sandiego)
Who won in the Cowboys/Rams game? Who won in the Saints/Eagles game? What was the score?(Dallas 22 - Rams 30) (Saints 20 - Eagles 14)
How many characters are allowed in a tweet on Twitter? (140)
How about, how many seconds can you view a snap on Snapchat?
Finish these song lyrics:
Bohemian Rhapsody
Is this the real life...
Life is a highway
Life is a highway...
Country Roads
Country roads, take...
Party in the USA
I put my hands up (they’re playing my song)
Love Story
It’s a love story, baby (just say yes)
Before He Cheats
i dug my keys into the side...
Call me maybe
hey i just met you and this is crazy
Eye of the Tiger
I got the eye of the tiger (a fighter, dancin through the fire)
Can’t stop the feeling
I got that sunshine in my pocket (got that good soul in my feet)
Let me ask you this then: What does Revelation 3:20 say?
Revelation 3:20 CSB
See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Don’t know that one? How about Joshua 1:8?
Joshua 1:8 CSB
This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.
Why is it that we can remember numbers from football scores, or seconds on Snapchat, but when it comes to knowing Scripture, we fail?
Remember, this month we’re talking about how we can make this the best year ever! Last week, we talked about why it’s important to be a giver, and how God uses that to mold us more into the image of Christ. And that’s ultimately what this series will help you do. You won’t automatically become more like Christ just by listening to these messages or hearing what we have to say this month—at some point you’ll need to actually DO SOMETHING to make this happen.
2 Corinthians 3:18 CSB
We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Transformation is what we’re aiming at this month. This is month number 1 of the year. The habits we start THIS month will influence how the rest of our year goes.
So we’re trying to transform ourselves – and if we do the things we’re talking about, we’ll set ourselves up to have the BEST year ever.
Tonight, I’m going to give you a resolution you can adopt that will help make this the best year ever. It’s not rocket science. It’s not something hard to do, or earth-shattering. But if you do this one thing we’re going to talk about, you will experience …
● Transformation into Christ’s likeness
● Daily triumph over sin
● Comfort
● An ability to communicate the gospel to people who don’t know it
● Enjoy a closeness to God that you otherwise wouldn’t have
Sounds great, right? Now, if you think you’re all set, if you don’t have any need or desire to be more like Christ, be closer to God, or even win battles over sin in your life… then tonight’s lesson probably isn’t for you. But if you do want to experience some of these things, here is the New Year’s resolution I’m suggesting for you:

Memorize Scripture.

Memorize Scripture.
All of us, intentional or not, were able to memorize who won the football games, how many characters are in a tweet, and the words to our favorite songs.
But it seems as though Scripture is one of those areas that we don’t easily memorize. Or, at least, one of those things we don’t want to memorize, for whatever reason. So like we talked about just a minute ago, let’s look at three areas that where we can experience “transformation” this year by memorizing Scripture.

Becoming More like Christ.

1. Becoming more like Christ.
God likes to use His Word to reveal himself to us. If we are constantly involved in his Word—close to it, involved with it, making it a priority— then we will experience life transformation, and we will become more like Christ.
1 Samuel 3:21 CSB
The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there he revealed himself to Samuel by his word.
You get to know who God by reading Scripture. And what better way is there to interact with Scripture than memorizing it? Look at what the Psalmist says:
Psalm 119:11 CSB
I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.
Which leads us into our next area that memorizing Scripture helps us experience.

Feeling Close to God.

2. Feeling close to God.
One of the ways to commune, or fellowship, or be with God is by meditating on His attributes, or His characteristics, or what He is like. Talk back to me: What are some attributes of God?
[Interact with the crowd and let them yell some back at you.]
How did you know what attributes to say? Even if your answer isn’t “I got it from reading Scripture,” but “I heard it in Sunday school,” or “ I heard in in a worship song” or “My mommy told me,” all of those places had to get their answers from somewhere else. That somewhere else is Scripture.
Imagine if you had Scripture memorized and could easily rattle off attributes of God. Imagine if you had this Scripture memorized:
Psalm 103:8–14 CSB
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.
What if you could just recall this Scripture at any point during the day? How close would you feel to God? How many of your doubts would be squashed if you could recall truthful things rather than the lies that the world feeds us?
God’s word is a tool for helping us see ourselves clearly. When we examine our own lives according what scripture expects of us, we see where we need to grow.
Hebrews 4:12 CSB
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Victory over sin.

3. Victory over sin.
When Scripture is hidden in our hearts, we can experience victory over sin. In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness and was tempted three different times by Satan. Each time, Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do something Jesus knew wasn’t the right thing for him to do. Jesus had been in the wilderness fasting for 40 days. He was super hungry and Satan said:
Matthew 4:3 CSB
Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
This would have been a sin because Jesus would have put His physical needs above His spiritual needs. God had told Jesus to fast, so eating anything would have been sinful.
Jesus responded by saying:
Matthew 4:4 CSB
He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Check this out: Jesus is quoting a verse from
Deuteronomy 8:3 CSB
He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Jesus fought off Satan’s temptation with Scripture that He had hidden in His heart.
He didn’t know this tempting test was coming. Jesus wasn’t cramming the night before. Temptation doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t give you a reminder: “Hey, tomorrow at 5 p.m. I will be there and be tempting you.”
It comes upon you unexpectedly, without warning, and repeatedly.
Satan does this to Jesus two more times:
Matthew 4:6 CSB
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
This time Satan thinks, “OK, if you’re going to use Scripture, I’m going to use Scripture, too!” This is where Satan gets this Scripture:
Psalm 91:11–12 CSB
For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
But check this out: Satan leaves out a very specific phrase in his quote of Psalm 91:11-12: “... in all your ways.”
God will protect you. He watches over those who are in His will, just like Jesus was here. We can pretty much make the Bible say anything we want when we read it outside of its context and when we don’t compare it to ALL of the rest of Scripture.
How many of you would have passed this test? Or how many of you would have thought, “Well, that sounds pretty close to a verse, Satan, I guess I will jump!”
Jesus’ response, because He knows what Scripture actually said, knew that Satan omitted the words, “in all your ways,” and He also knew what it said in other areas of the Scriptures. Here is what Jesus said:
Matthew 4:7 CSB
Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.
This is from Deuteronomy 6:16
Deuteronomy 6:16 CSB
Do not test the Lord your God as you tested him at Massah.
Once again, Jesus was victorious over temptation.
But Satan goes in for the kill now, one last time. Check it out:
Matthew 4:9 CSB
And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”
Satan offered Jesus a shortcut to His kingdom. Jesus knew He would ultimately need to suffer and die to reign over His kingdom. Satan said, “Hey, I’ll give it to you right now, if you bow down and worship me just once.” In other words, he promised that Jesus could enjoy all the glory without the suffering.
So, what did Jesus say in response?
Matthew 4:10 CSB
Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.
Of course, this too is Scripture:
Deuteronomy 6:13 CSB
Fear the Lord your God, worship him, and take your oaths in his name.
Deut 6:13a: “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only…”
Jesus knows how powerful scripture is! He uses it well.
So how, you might ask, does this help me make this the best year ever? If you choose to “hide God’s word in your heart” and make it a priority, it will help you become more like Christ, feel close to God, and have victory over sin.
The question is, are you willing to do the hard work? We talked about it last week when we quoted from Hebrews:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but rather difficult. Later on, however, it will produce in you a harvest of righteousness, if you will be trained by it.”
Much like Jesus and Satan, will you try to take the easy way out and get all the glory? Or will you go through the pain that will eventually help produce in you a harvest of righteousness?
Let’s pray.
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