As we near the end of 1992 we cannot help but reflect on the past and consider what God has done for us. There is no doubt that He has blessed us tremendously. We have seen some good friends leave us for other areas ministry, but God has brought us back together with others. There have been some sad times, but there have been many joyous times as well. Each of our lives have been changed in the past year.
It is good to look back and consider the past. We can learn from our mistakes and we can rejoice in our victories. However, we cannot and should not dwell on the past when we are faced with the prospect of a brand new year. This next year is like the promised land was to Israel. We must enter it as a conqueror in Christ and do great things for God. Think with me for a moment about what the new year means to each of us. Should the Lord tarry His coming:
I. It Means Unlimited Opportunities! cf 1Co. 16:9
A. There will be opportunities for change.
1. For those who are unsaved there will be opportunities for salvation.
2. That is the greatest change in any person's life that can take place.
3. Paul wrote in 2 Co. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new."
4. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." cf Re. 3:20
5. If you are here this morning and have not opened your heart's door to Jesus, you still have the opportunity to do just that!
B. There will be opportunity for challenges.
1. Everyone of us, no matter what our age may be, have set goals in life...some have been attained while others are still out there for us to reach toward.
2. May I offer some Spiritual goals for each of you to reach toward:
a. Reading the Scriptures on a regular basis. (calendars have schedules)
b. Being faithful to all the services of the church. (we grow spiritually when we are in the house of God to hear the Word and fellowship with the brethren)
c. Developing an effective witness to others for Christ. (there will be some that only you will be able to reach)
d. Resolving to faithfully tithe and give to world-wide missions. (not because the "church" needs the money, but to be obedient to our Lord)
C. There will be opportunities for our church.
1. We have an opportunity to make this a banner year in our church.
2. We have the opportunity to expand our ministries.
a. New classes to be started.
b. New ways to minister to the needs of others.
c. New missionaries and fields to hear from and to support.
3. We have the opportunity to reach more people with the Gospel.
4. We have the opportunity to reach families who have needs that no one else will be able to meet.
D. What will we do with the opportunities that God presents us with in the coming year?
II. It Means There Will Be Obstacles. cf Ro. 8:28-38
A. We will be faced with problems to solve.
1. The question is this: will we choose to face our problems or run from them?
2. Will we act in accordance with the Scriptures or react in the flesh?
B. We will have to overcome barriers.
1. The first will be our own lack of faith.
2. The greatest barrier to doing something of value for the Lord is ourselves!
3. Another barrier to overcome is the attitude of others.
4. There is always someone around to tell us that it cannot be done.
5. There was a crowd that seemed to block the way of the paralytic in Mark chapter two, but the man's friends found a way to overcome the barriers and bring their friend to Christ.
C. We will be faced with tragedies.
1. Loved ones will go out into eternity.
2. Perhaps some of us here will not see the end of another year.
3. The world may be plunged into another crisis...or our own worlds may be turned upside down.
4. Is there reason to be discouraged by the prospect of tragedy and problems?
5. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." v37
The coming year means that we will have both opportunities and obstacles to face. But we will not have to face them alone! We have a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Perhaps He will return in the coming year! What a glorious thought! But should he tarry His coming, what will we say about 1993? Will our goals be realized? Will we have made an impact on our world for the cause of Christ? The choice is up to us.
For those of you who have yet to accept Jesus Christ, will you resist His grace and reject His love? God is longsuffering and is not willing that any should perish, but to continue to resist His gracious offer of salvation is to play the fool. Trust Him today.
Whatever your need this morning I invite you to come. Will you commit 1993 to Christ? Christians, accept the challenges that God lays before us.