01(Gen 35,01-07) How to Have a Happy New Year
§ I am thankful that God gives us directions for a happy New Year.
A. God is the giver of new things.
§ When you come to Jesus by faith, He gives you a new birth. He puts in your heart a new spirit.
§ Then you have a new nature. You have a new family, the church of the Lord Jesus.
§ And you have a new destiny called heaven.
§ And one day God says that He will say to us, "behold I make all things new."
§ We are going to praise God in a new city, the New Jerusalem, in a new heaven and a new earth.
B. And now God has given to us a brand new year.
§ The old year with all of its problems, all of its mistakes, and even with all of its victories is gone.
§ Last year is behind us and now we are on the threshold of a wonderful new year.
§ I believe it’s going to be the greatest year for reaching people for Christ in the history of this church, don't you?
§ The signs are abundant on every hand: the unity of our people; the fact that we are praying and moving in the direction of reaching our community for Christ is wonderfully encouraging to me.
§ It is going to be a wonderful new year.
C. If you are going to have a happy new year, you are going to have to follow the directions of God.
§ It is important that you do that on this first Sunday because the way you begin is so important.
§ The way a team begins a ballgame is important, the way a singer begins a song is important, so it is important that you begin this New Year in the right way.
I. WE MUST REMEMBER (Genesis 35:1)
§ God is saying Jacob I want you to remember some things that are important.
§ I am giving you a new beginning. I am giving you another chance.
§ But as you begin, I want you remember when I appeared to you, when you made that vow to me.
§ I want you to remember that time when I was so real in your life.
§ We need to remember that time when we were closest to God.
§ That time when Jesus Christ was so precious to us and so real to us.
§ Remember that time when you invited Jesus to come into your life.
§ Or when Jesus helped you with that problem you had in your family and He was with you.
§ Do you remember that time in your life? Do you remember where you were?
§ It may have been in a revival service, it may have been in this very church, in your parents' home.
A. Remember the forgiveness of God.
§ We have failed at times in this past year and are going to make mistakes in the coming year.
§ When we make mistakes, we need to remember that God is a God of forgiveness.
§ God is saying, Jacob I forgive you for what you’ve done, I give you a new opportunity.
B. Remember that God is a God of patience.
§ God has given us the whole past year to serve Him and do things we ought to do.
§ Sometimes we haven't done them. And we need to remember that God hasn't given up on us yet.
§ God has given us another year in which to serve Him, another day in which to serve Him.
§ We have failed God but we have not exhausted His patience.
§ We have not done everything God has wanted us to do, but God is loving, generous, and patient.
§ God is saying to us, I have given to you now the beginning of the New Year.
C. Remember this may be the last year to serve Him.
§ Time is so uncertain. There were people in our congregation last year who are not with us today.
§ And when we meet at this time next year, if Jesus tarries, some of us will not be here.
§ We need to live this year as though it was the only year we will ever have.
§ God said Jacob arise and go to Bethel and I will give you another chance.
§ Luke 13:6-8. – Parable of the barren fig tree.
§ God may be saying to us, I will give you one more year. I will give you one more chance.
§ And we need to live as though this were the last year that we will ever have.
II. WE NEED TO REPENT (35:2)
§ If you want the blessing of God in the coming year, the joy of the Lord in the new year, if you want power and prayer then you are going to have to repent.
§ You are going to have to put away every foreign god, every strange god.
§ For every single idol in your life, for everything in your life that is more important to you than God there has to be a burial service if you are going to have a happy new year.
§ Because those idols will stand between you and God and they will keep you from being what God wants you to be and you will not have the joy of the Lord that God wants you to have unless you are willing to repent.
A. What does repent mean? It means a turning, it means a change, and it means a new direction.
§ There are sins we need to repent of and there are idols we need to repent of.
§ There are things in our lives that keep us from being what God wants us to be.
§ God says I want you to have a burial service and I want you to lay them before me.
§ Are you willing to repent? Are you willing to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life?
§ Jacob came back to Bethel but had to bury everything that stood between him and God.
III. WE NEED TO RESOLVE (35:3).
§ There are some resolutions that we need to make.
§ Not in the energy of our flesh but in dependence upon the Lord.
A. Some of us need to resolve concerning salvation.
§ Jacob said I will go back to Bethel and make an altar to God. Some here need to say. "I will".
§ This morning you need to say I will give my life to Jesus Christ.
§ I will repent of my sin. I will make Him first in my life.
§ There are some of you who have been thinking about being saved; you have been thinking about walking down the aisle and making public your profession of faith in Christ.
§ You have been putting it off and you said you were going to do it last year.
§ Last year has come and gone and you are still lost.
§ Don't you realize this morning that hell is filled with people who didn't plan to go there.
§ Hell is filled with people who said next Sunday I will walk down the aisle.
B. Resolution about service.
§ The Bible says Jacob built an altar to the Lord and that altar was a symbol to his service to God.
§ He was saying, “One thing I am going to do is serve my God.
§ Jacob had not served God, as he should. He had gotten away from God, turned his back on God.
§ He had not been faithful in his service to God even though he knew God.
§ Now that describes many of us last year. We were not really faithful in our service to God.
§ Many of us served God some of the time but are not really committed servants of Christ.
§ And we need to come today and make a new commitment regarding our service.
§ It would be a great day for this church if every one of our people would come today and drive down a stake and make an altar unto God and say rain or shine, God can count on me.
§ I am going to serve Him, be faithful to Him, live for Him, be faithful to His church.
§ And you need to come today and make a resolution about your service.
C. Resolution about stewardship.
§ Do you know that no one is good Christian unless a faithful steward w/all that God has given him?
§ That means our time, our talent, and our treasure.
§ And there are many of you when you figure your income tax you will see that you were not a good steward. That you did not give God 10%, you were not a tither.
§ Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if you on the first Sunday of this new year, as a Christian, as somebody who loves the Lord, who believes in the church, who wants to see the gospel preached, who believes in the Bible doctrine of stewardship, to come and say I want to commit to God that I am going to be obedient with my tithe.
§ I tell you God will bless you. His hand will be upon you if you’ll be obedient in this matter.
§ Resolve in your heart right now that you’re going to be honest with God and honor Him with tithes and offerings that are due Him.
§ In our church about 20% of the people carry 80% of the financial load. That is because some have not come to the place of maturity in Christ where they can be a just and good steward of all that God has given to you.
§ That means that others have to carry more than their load.
§ This church has not near reached its' giving potential. It has not even come close.
§ It is far from reaching its' potential because we have so many who have not made a resolution concerning stewardship.
§ That could be one of the greatest resolutions and one that will be more helpful to your Christian life than any other, a resolution about stewardship.
D. Resolution about soul winning.
§ As you look back over the past year, our church has seen a lot of people come down these aisles to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.
§ And you think about the souls won for Christ last year, there are many of you who cannot look at a single person and say I had a part in that person coming to know the Lord.
§ Usually when ne is saved there is more than one person who had a part, praying, inviting, visiting.
§ But as you look back over last year, there are many who can't point to a single person for whom we are responsible or that whose life we had any interest or concern.
§ And you see God wants you to make a resolution about soul winning. It is every Christian’s job.
§ There ought to be somebody for whom you are praying, are caring, witnessing to, inviting, praying, and caring for that they will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
§ One of the greatest joys of this next year will be to look back over this year and say there was a person I was responsible for bringing to the Lord Jesus Christ.
§ Can you imagine folks? Oh, it excites me! My blood races when I realize what could happen if all of our people got involved in reaching people for Jesus, if all of our people were praying!
§ Do you need to make a resolution about soul winning? Jacob did. (35:6)
§ Jacob didn't just come by himself. He brought everybody.
§ God doesn't want you to go to heaven by yourself. He wants you to bring somebody with you.
§ The happiest and most joyous experience as a Christian is to bring a soul to Jesus.
§ But if you don't resolve to do it, you will never do it.
§ Christians come to church week after week and never even think of a lost soul.
§ I mean they are getting fed, getting their blessing, and doing their thing.
§ And they forget that out there are people with whom they work & associate who are lost.
§ God wants us to bring people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
§ And the way we do that is I bring some and you bring some and we pray together for them.
§ Now notice what Jacob did. Not only did Jacob say I am going to do this, but he did it. (v.3)
§ He didn't just write a resolution down.
§ Jacob made a visible expression of what he committed himself to do. He built an altar.
§ He drove down a stake. He made a commitment. And that is what you need to do this morning.
§ Those of you who have never given your life to Christ, that is why we give a gospel invitation.
§ By your coming forward, you are building that altar, erecting that expression of your faith in Jesus.
§ You who need a church home, you who need to make a resolution about service or stewardship.
§ Walk down this aisle and to do something about it and say on the first Sunday of this new year, with God being my help, this is what I am going to do for God in this coming year.
§ And folks if you don't do that, then chances are you will never do it. You will never carry it out. And so that is what this invitation is for. And the invitation today is for you to come.