THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 12-27-15

LESSON TITLE: “PREPARING FOR A NEW YEAR.”

WELCOME

THE PSALMIST ONCE PROCLAIMED, “GRACIOUS IS THE LORD, AND RIGHTEOUS; YES, OUR GOD IS MERCIFUL.” PSALM 116, VERSE 5. PRAISE BE TO GOD THAT HE IS GRACIOUS, RIGHTEOUS AND MERCIFUL. IT IS OUR PRAYER THAT YOU ARE SERVING THIS GOD TODAY, AND THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED TO HIS PERFECT WILL!

THEREFORE, WE ASSEMBLE THIS DAY, AS THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND IT WILL BE OUR PRIVILEGE TODAY TO BE UPLIFTED THROUGH OUR COMMITMENT TO HIS SERVICE AS HE COMMANDS. WHAT A BLESSING WE HAVE THIS MORNING TO REVERENCE OUR GOD THROUGH PRAYER, SONG AND THE STUDY OF HIS MATCHLESS WORD. WON’T YOU DO YOUR PART THIS MORNING TO SEE THAT OUR ASSEMBLY TOGETHER IS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, THAT WE MAY GLORIFY HIM IN ALL THINGS? NOW, AS WE BEGIN OUR OFFERING TO GOD, WILL YOU BOW WITH ME IN PRAYER!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY GREAT BLESSINGS OF LIFE. WE ALSO THANK YOU FATHER THAT YOU ARE A GREAT AND GOOD GOD THAT GIVES US NOT ONLY THE PHYSICAL THINGS WE NEED BUT THE SPIRITUAL THINGS. AND WE THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF JESUS, WHICH MAKES ALL THINGS POSSIBLE- THAT LOVING SACRIFICE AS WELL AS HIS RESURRECTION. AND FATHER, BE WITH US THIS DAY THAT WE MIGHT DO IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH EVERYTHING THAT YOU COMMAND - THAT WE MIGHT ALWAYS BE FOUND PLEASING IN YOUR SIGHT. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

LET’S JOIN IN SONGS OF PRAISE TO GOD AT THIS TIME. OUR FIRST SONG OF THE DAY REMINDS US THAT THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO DO AS A FOLLOWER OF GOD. SO WON’T YOU DO YOUR PART IN THIS WORSHIP TO GOD, AS WE SING TOGETHER, “TO THE WORK, TO THE WORK.”

CLOSING COMMENTS

EARLIER WE READ ABOUT MANY OF THE GREAT ATTRIBUTES OF OUR GOD. ONE WHICH DAVID SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED WAS “MERCY.” HE PROCLAIMED, “OUR GOD IS MERCIFUL!” IN JAMES 3:17, WE READ THAT THE “WISDOM FROM ABOVE,” INCLUDES BEING “FULL OF MERCY!” HERE WE LEARN NOT ONLY THAT GOD IS TO BE ALL MERCIFUL, BUT THAT WE ARE TO BE ALL MERCIFUL AS WELL.

I WANT YOU TO HEAR ANOTHER GREAT PASSAGE IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS THAT SHOWS JUST HOW MUCH DAVID UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THE MERCY OF GOD. IN CHAPTER 51, VERSES 1, WE READ, “HAVE MERCY UPON ME, O GOD, ACCORDING TO YOUR LOVINGKINDNESS; ACCORDING TO THE MULTITUDE OF YOUR TENDER MERCIES, BLOT OUT MY TRANSGRESSIONS.” IN THIS VERSE WE HEAR THE PLEA OF A CHILD OF GOD, REQUESTING THE MERCY OF GOD ON HIM, ALTHOUGH HE HAD TRANSGRESSED GOD’S WILL. IN THE SAME PASSAGE DOWN IN VERSE 3, DAVID CONFIRMS HIS SIN, “FOR I ACKNOWLEDGE MY TRANSGRESSIONS, AND MY SIN IS ALWAYS BEFORE ME.” WOW, WHAT AN EYE OPENER.

LIKE KING DAVID WE ARE OFTEN GUILTY OF SIN, BUT THE GREAT NEWS IS THAT WE CAN BE FORGIVEN BY GOD WHO IS ALL MERCIFUL. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT DAVID WAS ASKING GOD TO DO IN VERSE 2 OF OUR TEXT, WHERE WE READ, “WASH ME THOROUGHLY FROM MY INIQUITY, AND CLEANSE ME FROM MY SIN.”

AS CHRISTIANS TODAY, WE READ OF A SIMILAR PROMISE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. LET’S READ TOGETHER FROM HEBREWS 8:12, “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” DID YOU CATCH ALL OF THAT? BECAUSE OF OUR MERCIFUL GOD, JESUS CAME AND DIED ON THIS EARTH TO ENACT A NEW AND BETTER COVENANT. IT IS THROUGH THIS COVENANT THAT WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS UNTO SALVATION. AND WHEN GOD FORGIVES OUR SINS, HE HAS PROCLAIMED I WILL REMEMBER THEM NO MORE. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! ARE YOU SERVING SUCH A LOVING AND MERCIFUL GOD THIS DAY? IF NOT, CHOOSE TODAY TO OBEY HIS WILL, BE SAVED AND TO LIVE THEREAFTER FAITHFUL IN HIS KINGDOM.

TODAY WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON THE THEME, “THE ELECT OF GOD.” OUR SPECIFIC SERMONS THIS MORNING IS, “PREPARING FOR A NEW YEAR!” SO STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER, I WILL BE LEADING OUR MAIN THOUGHTS OF THE DAY.

WELL, NOW IT’S TIME TO JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE MORNING. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, “WALKING IN SUNLIGHT.”

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

WE'RE SO GLAD YOU'VE CONTINUED WITH US TODAY AS WE NOW GO TO GOD'S WORD AND LEARN ANOTHER LESSON CONCERNING THOSE THINGS THAT MIGHT MAKE US BETTER CHILDREN OF GOD. AS MANY OF YOU KNOW WE'VE BEEN LOOKING AT A SERIES THAT HAS DEALT WITH THE ELECT OF GOD FROM COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3. AND WE'VE LOOKED AT A VARIETY OF THINGS THAT WE AS CHRISTIANS NEED TO DO OR THINGS WE MUST PRACTICE; ATTRIBUTES OR CHARACTERISTICS IF YOU WILL - THAT ARE RECQUIRED BY GOD IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT BE KNOWN AS HIS CHILDREN OR THE ELECT; THE FAITHFUL, THE CHOSEN ONES OF GOD. AND LAST WEEK WE LOOKED AT THE IDEA OF BEING THOSE DOING ALL THINGS DECENTLY AND IN ORDER. IN RELATIONSHIP TO MAKING SURE THAT ALL WE DO IN WORD OR DEED IS DONE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, WHICH MEANS BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.

AND SO TODAY I THOUGHT WOULD BE FITTING HERE AS WE ARE IN THE LAST SUNDAY OF A YEAR, AND BY THE WAY AGAIN HAPPY HOLIDAYS. AND I HOPE YOU JUST HAD A GREAT HOLIDAY , I HOPE THAT YOUR NEW YEAR'S EVE AS WELL AS NEW YEAR'S DAY IS GOING TO BE GREAT. BUT AS YOU THINK ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT ALWAYS COMES TO OUR MIND AT THE END OF A YEAR IS THAT WHICH WILL FACE US IN THE NEW YEAR. WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO PERHAPS TO MAKE NEXT YEAR, 2016, THE GREATEST YEAR THAT WE'VE EVER HAD. AND PERHAPS AS WE THINK ABOUT THAT WE CAN GO TO GOD'S WORD AND LEARN JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE AT TIMES DO FOCUS ON YEARS AND DAYS AND MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE WITHIN THESE PERIODS GIVING GOD OUR VERY BEST. IN FACT, WE CAN GO BACK TO THE OLD TESTAMENT AND WE CAN EVEN SEE WHERE WITH IN THE COMMAND OF GOD - THAT IS THE OLD LAW GIVEN THROUGH MOSES - BUT THE PEOPLE ARE REMINDED NOT ONLY OF YEARS BUT ALSO THE CONCEPTS OF MONTHS AND DAYS THAT WERE TO BE CELEBRATED. IN FACT, SOMETIMES THERE WOULD BE A YEARLY FEAST EACH YEAR AND THAT FEAST MIGHT LAST FOR PERIOD OF TIME WHICH COULD AGAIN BE EITHER A MONTH OR A WEEK. THERE WERE SOME THINGS WHICH WERE OBSERVED BY THE PEOPLE OF GOD; ISRAELITES, THAT WOULD ACTUALLY GO FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR ENDURING SOME OF THE DIFFERENT LAWS AND COMMANDS THAT WERE GIVEN BY GOD. AND SO DAYS, MONTHS, YEARS, EVEN WEEKS - ALL THESE THINGS CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT.

NOTICE WITH ME THERE IN EXODUS CHAPTER 12, WHEN THE PASSOVER WAS BEING INSTITUTED, THAT HERE'S WHAT IS SAID IN VERSE 1 BEGINNING, “NOW THE LORD SPOKE TO MOSES AND AARON IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, SAYING ‘THIS MONTH SHALL BE THE BEGINNING OF MONTHS; IT SHALL BE THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR TO YOU.’,” WOW! YOU KNOW, WE KIND OF TRANSLATE THAT OVER INTO OUR SITUATION IN OUR CALENDAR KNOWING THAT WE ARE IN THE LAST SUNDAY OF 2015. WE TODAY STAND REALLY AT THE THRESHOLD OF A NEW YEAR - A NEW BEGINNING, A NEW OPPORTUNITY - NOT ONLY TO THINK ABOUT MAYBE WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE'VE DONE - BUT WHAT WE WILL BE. AND THAT'S WHY WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE CONCEPT WE CERTAINLY NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT IN ORDER FOR US TO HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR IS GOING TO DEPEND ON US AND WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO. IT'S NOT JUST GOING TO BE SOME TYPE OF A RANDOM THING IF WE HAVE A GOOD YEAR OR IF WE HAVE A HAPPY YEAR. IT IS NORMALLY GOING TO BE DETERMINED BY OUR ACTIONS AND WORDS AS TO WHETHER WE GIVE IT THE EFFORT AND THE PREPARATION AND THE PLANNING AND THE TIME NECESSARY TO REALLY HAVE AN EFFECTIVE YEAR BECAUSE IN WORD AND DEED WE HAVE DONE GOD'S WILL AS HE COMMANDS.

AND SO WITH THAT IN MIND THEN, I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF HAPPINESS. DO YOU REMEMBER WITH ME THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE HOW GOD SO OFTEN EMPHASIZES THE IDEA OF HAPPINESS? AND IF I WANT TO HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR I NEED TO BE A PERSON WHO UNDERSTANDS WHAT WILL MAKE ME TRULY HAPPY. WE MIGHT SAY - WELL, AROUND THE HOLIDAYS IT'S ALL THE GIFTS. IT'S ALL THE PRESENTS. WE MIGHT THINK - WELL, IT'S ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL BETTER OR THAT I WANT OR THAT I GET. WELL LET'S SEE WHERE TRUE HAPPINESS IS FOUND. EVEN AS THE PSALMIST DAVID INDICATED THERE IN PSALM 144 - LOOK WITH ME IN THAT TEXT AT VERSE 15. HE SAYS, “HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN SUCH A STATE; AND HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD.” WOW, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THAT IT'S KIND OF EXCITING TO THINK ABOUT BECAUSE WE FIND THE STANDARD OF HAPPINESS - TRUE HAPPINESS - WHAT REALLY MATTERS, WHAT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. NOT ONLY FOR OUR SAKE BUT FOR THOSE THAT WE COME IN CONTACT WITH EVERYDAY. HAPPINESS - TRUE HAPPINESS - IS REALLY IN THOSE WHO ARE GOD'S PEOPLE. WHY? BECAUSE GOD NOT ONLY CREATED US BUT GOD BLESSES US AND GIVES US EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED. HE GIVES US PROMISES, NOT ONLY NOW - BUT ETERNAL PROMISES. WE'RE NEVER ALONE BECAUSE HE IS ALWAYS WITH US. YOU SEE WHY PEOPLE CAN BE HAPPY WITH GOD? WE HAVE NO REASON TO BE ANXIOUS OR WORRISOME BECAUSE GOD WILL ALWAYS GIVE US THAT PEACE WE NEED. WE HAVE NO REASON TO WORRY ABOUT SIN OR THOSE TRANSGRESSIONS THAT WILL COME OUR WAY BECAUSE HE'LL EVEN GIVE US A WAY OF ESCAPE WHEN THEY COME OUR WAY. BUT GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS GREAT AND THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW GOD - WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD - FIND HAPPINESS.

YOU MIGHT'VE NOTICED IN THE SAME TEXT HE HAD JUST SAID AS WELL IN VERSE 15, “HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN SUCH A STATE.” WHAT STATE? WELL, IF YOU WERE TO GO BACK - AND WE DON'T HAVE TIME THIS MORNING TO GO BACK AND READ PSALM 144 - YOU'RE GOING TO BE WELL BLESSED THIS MORNING BECAUSE HE REMINDS THEM OF THINGS LIKE; THAT THE LORD IS MY ROCK, THAT THE LORD OFFERS ME LOVING KINDNESS, THAT THE LORD IS MY SHIELD, THAT THE LORD IS MY REFUGE. AND HE GOES ON AND ON EVEN ASKING THE QUESTION - WHY WOULD GOD EVEN CARE ABOUT ME? WHY WOULD HE BE MINDFUL OF ME, WHEN REALLY I'M SIMPLY HIS CREATION, AND I'M NOTHING MORE, AND HE IS GOD AND WE ARE NOT? WELL, YOU SEE HAPPY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THAT GOD BEFORE THEM. WHO SERVE THAT GOD.

WELL, THAT'S THE SAME IDEA THAT PAUL REALLY DEALT WITH IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE THINGS THAT HE SAID TO THE ROMAN CHURCH. IF YOU'LL TURN OVER IN YOUR NEW TESTAMENTS TO ROMANS CHAPTER 15. AND IN ROMANS CHAPTER 15, AS HE ENCOURAGES THE BRETHREN THERE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO BE GLORIFIED TOGETHER WITH GOD BECAUSE OF HIS GOODNESS - HIS GREATNESS AND WONDER, NOTICE WHAT HE BEGINS TO SAY THERE IN VERSE 15 OR RATHER IN VERSE 13 OF THAT TEXT, “NOW MAY THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YOU MAY ABOUND IN HOPE BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.” YOU SEE, HERE PAUL IS TALKING AGAIN ABOUT GOD AND HOPE THAT IS FOUND IN GOD. BUT GUESS WHAT IS ALSO FOUND IN GOD? JOY - HE SAID IT IS THAT, NOT ONLY KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, BUT THAT HOPE OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE TO DO WHAT? TO GIVE ME THE POWER OF GOD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. THE WORD OF GOD TO GIVE ME THE BLESSINGS OF GOD, AS VERSES 14 AND 15 GO ON. TO GIVE ME THE GOODNESS, TO GIVE ME THE KNOWLEDGE, TO GIVE ME......ON AND ON AND ON WE COULD GO. SEE, THERE IS GREAT JOY - THERE'S GREAT HAPPINESS WHEN WE ARE GOD'S PEOPLE. BECAUSE WE HAVE GOD!

THAT'S THE POINT. WE NEED NO OTHER BECAUSE WE HAVE GOD. AND WHEN WE TURN TO GOD AND WE KNOW GOD AND WE LEARN WHAT GOD DESIRES AND WE OBEY GOD, WE ARE A PEOPLE WHO ARE ALWAYS HAPPY. WHO ARE JOYOUS. WE ARE A PEOPLE, LIKE TO ME THE PHILIPPIAN BRETHREN WHEN PAUL KEPT TALKING ABOUT HOW HIS JOY WAS FULL WHEN HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE FAITH OF THOSE GOOD BRETHREN. WHEN HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE LOVE OF THOSE GOOD BRETHREN. WHEN HE THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE BRETHREN WERE NOT ONLY WILLING TO LOVE GOD AND OBEY HIM BUT THEY WERE WILLING TO SERVE OTHERS, AND HELP OTHERS, AND LOVE OTHERS TO PROVE THAT THEY WERE OF GOD. PAUL SAYS, “OH, MY JOY!” OVER 10 TIMES IN THAT TEXT, IN THAT SHORT BOOK, HE KEEPS SAYING JOY, JOY, JOY. AND EVEN SAYING THERE IN CHAPTER 4, “REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS AND AGAIN, I SAY REJOICE!” YOU SEE, WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO NOT ONLY FIND JOY AND HAPPINESS BUT TO REJOICE BECAUSE WE ARE GOD'S PEOPLE. AND WHEN WE ARE GOD'S PEOPLE, WE ALWAYS HAVE GOD AND WE'RE NEVER ALONE.

ANOTHER IDEA ABOUT OUR THOUGHT THIS MORNING IS, NOT ONLY THAT WE ARE TO BE A PEOPLE WHO FIND JOY AND HAPPINESS AND THAT IF WE TURN TO GOD AND THE MORE WE TURN TO GOD IN THIS NEXT YEAR - THE MORE JOY AND HAPPINESS WE WILL HAVE. BUT ALSO THAT WE NEED TO BE A PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NEW. NOT JUST HAPPY BUT THAT NEW YEAR. AND AS I THINK ABOUT THE IDEA OF NEWNESS, DON'T WE UNDERSTAND - DON'T WE REALIZE....I MIGHT EVEN SAY DON'T WE REMEMBER...THAT WE WERE MADE NEW CREATIONS. ISN'T THAT WHAT PAUL SAID TO THE COLOSSIAN CHURCH IN COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3? WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT THOSE OLD MEMBERS THAT WERE PUT TO DEATH - THOSE OLD THINGS OF THE OLD MAN THAT WE NO LONGER SERVE AND THAT WE ARE NO LONGER ARE A PART OF. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, HE SAID WE NEED TO THINK ON THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST IS. WE NEED TO SET OUR MIND ON GODLY THINGS, AND RIGHTEOUS THINGS, NOT ON THINGS OF THE EARTH. NOT ON THINGS THAT WE USED TO PARTICIPATE IN. YOU SEE, A NEW YEAR REQUIRES THAT WE RENEW OUR MINDS DAILY IN JESUS CHRIST. THAT WE REMAIN FAITHFUL DAILY IN OUR CHRISTIAN WALK. AND SO AS HE SAYS HERE, EVEN IN THIS TEXT HE SAYS (VERSE 10) AGAIN COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3, “AND HAVE PUT ON THE NEW MAN.” THE NEW MAN WHO IS WHAT? WHO IS RENEWED IN KNOWLEDGE. OH WOW, THE NEW MAN WHO, BECAUSE OF WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN, THE WORD OF GOD, THE ONE WHO FOCUSES ON THE LAW OF GOD, HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN THAT ONE AS WE'VE EVEN READ EARLIER THIS MORNING. YOU SEE, THAT ONE WHO HAS THAT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD TO KNOW NOT ONLY OF WHO GOD IS, BUT WHAT HE HAS DONE, AND WHAT HE WILL DO, AND THAT WE ARE NEVER ALONE. THAT'S THE GOD WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

BUT HE DOESN'T STOP THERE. IN THE SAME VERSE HE NOT ONLY SAYS THAT WE'RE NEW CREATURES OR NEW MEN, HAVING DIED TO THE OLD MAN - NEW CREATURES RENEWED IN KNOWLEDGE BUT HE SAYS ACCORDING TO THE IMAGE OF HIM, THE CREATOR. SO WHAT ARE WE STRIVING TO BE? WE'RE STRIVING TO CONTINUALLY EMULATE THE IMAGE OF GOD. WE ARE MADE ( GENESIS CHAPTER 1 VERSE 26 AND 27 ) IN THE LIKENESS AND IMAGE OF GOD. AND IF PEOPLE KNOW US AS THE CHILDREN OF GOD, WHO ARE WE GOING TO LOOK TO? WE'RE GOING TO LOOK TO GOD AND WE'RE GOING TO WANT PEOPLE TO SEE GOD IN US AS WE SERVE GOD. THAT MEANS THAT AS WE DO THAT WE NEED TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT HOW I CAN BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN. WE NEED TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE STUDYING THE WORD THAT I MIGHT KNOW MORE WHAT GOD WANTS AND ADHERE TO THOSE PRINCIPLES. WE NEED TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE SETTING GOALS IN OUR LIFE TO ACCOMPLISH MORE, NOT ONLY FOR MY SAKE AND MY SALVATION, BUT THE SALVATION OF OTHERS. AND WE NEED TO BE FOLKS WHO ARE STRIVING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE APPROPRIATELY DOING WHAT GOD SAYS. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY - EVERY PRIVILEGE TO BE A CHILD OF GOD. OH, IT CAN BE A HAPPY YEAR. IT CAN BE A NEW YEAR. BUT IT ALSO CAN BE A YEAR OF COMPLETE SERVICE.

IF WE LOOK BACK INTO OUR LIVES AND WE CONSIDER LAST YEAR OR THE YEAR BEFORE, LET ME ASK YOU: HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU GIVE TO GOD? HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU REALLY FOCUS? HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK? WELL, SOME PEOPLE SAY WELL, I WENT ON SUNDAY MORNING AND SUNDAY NIGHT AND I WENT ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT SO ABOUT 3 1/2 TO 4 HOURS A WEEK. WELL, SOME PEOPLE CAN'T EVEN SAY THAT. SOME PEOPLE SAY WELL, I ONLY WENT ON SUNDAY ONCE AND THAT'S ALL THE TIME THEY GIVE TO GOD. 365 YEARS....365 DAYS A YEAR. MULTIPLY THAT BY THE AMOUNT OF HOURS IN DAYS AND THEN YOU COMPARE HOW MANY HOURS YOU GAVE LAST YEAR TO GOD AND HOW MANY HOURS YOU TOOK FOR YOURSELF. NOW THAT'S THE QUESTION THAT I'M TRYING TO CHALLENGE US TO CONSIDER THIS MORNING. IT'S NOT ONLY GOING TO BE A HAPPY AND A NEW YEAR BUT IS GOING TO BE A FULL YEAR FOR GOD. ARE WE GOING TO LEARN TO GIVE HIM MORE TIME TO MAKE A GREATER COMMITMENT TO GOD? TO TAKE MORE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO STUDY HIS WORD BY MAKING SURE I'M IN BIBLE CLASS WHEN IT'S AVAILABLE? BY MAKING SURE THAT I'M ENGAGED IN BIBLE STUDIES OR TIMES OF LEARNING, NOT ONLY IN MY OWN LIFE BUT IN LEARNING WITH OTHERS AND GROWING WITH OTHERS. BY MAKING SURE THAT I'M STRIVING TO BE MORE EVANGELISTIC - THAT I'M STRIVING TO BE MORE BENEVOLENT. THAT I'M STRIVING TO BE MORE ENCOURAGING, BY VISITING PEOPLE OR SENDING CARDS. YOU SEE, THERE'S ANY NUMBER OF THINGS THAT WE CAN DO THAT WE ARE NOT DOING FOR THE MOST PART.

SO THE QUESTION IS: HOW MUCH WILL YOU GIVE TO GOD? YOU SEE, WE CAN CHANGE THAT STARTING TODAY. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE NEW YEAR WHICH IS ONLY A FEW DAYS AWAY. WE CAN BEGIN TODAY AND WE CAN MAKE CHANGES THAT SHOW GOD WE ARE SERIOUS AS HIS CHILDREN. WE ARE COMMITTED AS HIS CHILDREN. THAT WE ARE GOING TO GIVE HIM NOT JUST WHAT WE CAN GET BY WITH, BUT WE'RE GOING TO GIVE HIM WHAT HE DESIRES - OUR VERY BEST. AND WE'RE GOING TO SHOW HIM HOW MUCH WE LOVE HIM BY KEEPING ALL OF IT. NOT SOME OF HIS COMMANDMENTS...ALL OF HIS COMMANDMENTS. AND SO WHAT I WOULD TELL US THIS DAY IS THAT WE HAVE EVERY OPPORTUNITY, EVERY PRIVILEGE TO SAY THAT NOT ONLY WILL THIS YEAR BE THE BEST YEAR EVER ( 2016 ) BUT AS WE STAND THERE AT THE END OF 2016, DECEMBER 31 - WILL WE BE ABLE TO LOOK BACK AND SAY I DID ACCOMPLISH THOSE GOALS THAT I SET. I DID ACCOMPLISH THOSE PRIVILEGES. I TOOK ADVANTAGES OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES. I DID SERVE GOD MORE AND DO MORE ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. I WAS MORE FAITHFUL IN ATTENDANCE. SEE BRETHREN AND FRIENDS, ARE WE HERE FOR GOD OR ARE WE HERE FOR SELF?

AS WE THINK ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY AS GOD'S ELECT - OF CLOTHING OURSELVES WITH THE ATTITUDE AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD OF BECOMING THAT NEW CREATION, THAT NEW MAN. THAT ONE WHO IN THE IMAGE OF GOD LEARNS, NOT ONLY THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, BUT LOVES HIM ENOUGH TO DO WHAT HE ASKED. THAT'S THE MAN, THAT'S THE WOMAN, THAT'S THE CHRISTIAN THAT YOU AND I CAN BE. AND I WOULD ENCOURAGE US WITH EVERY FIBER OF OUR BEING TO ACCOMPLISH THAT VERY TASK AND TO BEGIN PRAYING TODAY - AND OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS TO BEGIN MAKING THOSE PLANS. TO BEGIN MAKING THOSE GOALS. TO DO ALL THAT YOU CAN FOR YOUR GOD TO DO MORE THIS YEAR THAN YOU'VE EVER DONE BEFORE. WHY WAIT WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED? WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT BLESSINGS AWAIT YOU. YOU SEE, BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND. YOU KNOW AND I KNOW THE FAITHFUL HAVE GREAT REWARD, NOT ONLY IN THIS LIFE, BUT THE LIFE TO COME. WILL YOU BE READY TO RECEIVE THAT MANSION IN THE END? COMMIT FULLY TO GOD TODAY.

CLOSING COMMENTS

WHAT A BLESSING IT HAS BEEN TO JOIN TOGETHER IN THE THINGS OF GOD THIS MORNING. THANK YOU FOR DOING YOUR PART IN MAKING ALL THESE THINGS TO BE ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. AS ALWAYS, WE INVITE YOU BACK EVERY LORD’S DAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS OFFERING FOR GOD!

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MAY WE EVER STRIVE TO SET GOALS AND PREPARE FOR THE NEW YEAR WHICH IS AT HAND, SO WE MIGHT DO OUR VERY BEST TO ACCOMPLISH GOD’S WILL IN ALL THINGS. ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE 2016 ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS?