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Another Year Past

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Another Year Past

Text: Psalm 39:4-7

Thesis: To reflect on God's priorities for our lives as we come to the end of another year.

Introduction:

  1. One of my first jobs was working in a 5&10 store.  At the end of the year came inventory,

        and we tediously counted all the small and tiny items that made up the stock of that store.

        It was important, however, to be able to tell how business had been that year.

  2. As we bring another year to a close, perhaps it would be good for us to do some spiritual

        inventory.  Though we've often heard of certain things and lessons as priorities, have we

        yet learned them?

  3. Let us ask what God would have us to be and to do.  And let us look honestly into our

        hearts to see where we stand as another year comes to a close.

Discussion:

I.       Have We Yet Learned The Value Of Each Hour?

A.    I distinctly recall entering college in the fall of 1972, thinking that 1976 was so far away.  Now, 1976 is a distant memory!  Time goes so swiftly, but do we realize that at other times of the year than just the end of the year?  Austin Dobson wrote, "Time goes, you say?  Ah, no!  Alas, Time stays, we go."  (RD, 10/88)

B.     God urges us to realize the brevity of time:

1.      Psa. 39:4-6 -  David meditated upon the transitoriness of life, and asked God for help in knowing the measure of his days.  We are indeed frail, and at our best we are but a vapor.

2.      Psa. 39:7 - As the years tick away, our youthful ideals and dreams fade away.  We realize, finally, that our hope must be in God, for this life is fickle.

3.      Jas. 4:13-16 - James also warned against taking life for granted.  Instead of assuming we will be here tomorrow to carry on as we have today, we should recognize that each day is a gift from God, and use it more wisely than we often do.  James also used vapor as an image for our years on earth.

4.      The Bible, an ageless Book, warns us to see how fleeting our lives on earth are.

C.     Do we use our time well?  Or have we fallen in line with the rest of our society, spending many hours of leisure time each week in front of an ungodly television or surfing mindlessly and aimlessly on the Internet?  How much we could do if we used our time well!

II.    Have We Yet Learned The Importance Of Spiritual Growth?

A.    In our nation, we've learned well the value of a good education.  We look down on those who drop out of school, and who make no attempt to better their lives.  But when it comes to spiritual growth, it seems there is no priority here!

B.     God urges us to make progress in our spiritual development:

1.      Lk. 10:41,42 - Martha was "distracted with much serving", while Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to His teachings.  When Martha complained, Jesus stated that one thing is needed, and Mary had made that choice.  Have we learned that lesson?

2.      Heb. 5:11,12 - The writer would have gone further with his comments on Melchizedek but he was limited by the spiritual immaturity of his readers.  There comes a time when we "ought to be teachers".  Have we realized that?  Are we doing anything to equip ourselves to teach others?

3.      3 Jn. 2 - John wanted his readers to prosper physically in the same way as they prospered spiritually.  Would we want that?  How is our spiritual health?

C.     Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."  (Leadership, Summer, 1994, p. 25)

D.    When you compare where you are spiritually with where you were twelve months ago, can you honestly say you've grown?  What have you done to make it happen?  What could you have done?

III. Have We Yet Become Servants Of The Lord?

A.    Last month we hired Jeeves to become our household servant.  But in the thirty days since, Jeeves has only been by our house a couple of times.  All the other days he has been busy with his personal matters.  Is Jeeves really our servant?

B.     Are we servants of the Lord?

1.      Jn. 13:13-17 - After washing His disciples' feet, Jesus talked to them about serving one another.  If Jesus was a servant, then we should be, too.  Are we looking for opportunities to serve as Jesus did?

2.      Gal. 6:10 - Paul exhorted Christians to use the opportunities they have to serve one another.  Such opportunities are everywhere!

3.      Sally Koch: "Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day."  (quoted in Wisconsin, RD, 1/95)

4.      What are some of those opportunities?

a.       To visit those who are confined to nursing homes or those who can no longer be out as freely as they desire.

b.      To write cards of encouragement to those who have suffered loss or who are experiencing illness.

c.       To offer to keep little ones now and then so stressed parents can have a little time to themselves.

d.      To help prepare Bible curriculum that will teach our little ones about God and His word.

e.       To teach or assist in one of Central's Bible classes.

f.       There are literally dozens of opportunities.  We just have to look for them!

C.     Marianne Williamson: "In every community, there is work to be done.  In every nation, there are wounds to heal.  In every heart, there is the power to do it."  (A Return To Love, RD, 7/94)

Conclusion:

  1. 1 Cor. 11:28-31 - We don't have to wait until the end of the year to do self evaluations.  We

        should be doing it every week as we partake of the Lord's Supper.

  2. God's word offers hope that 2007 can be better than they year we are now closing.  If we

        walk with God, we'll arrive at a higher plane than that on which we now stand.

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