(PHILIPPIANS 3:12-16) NOT AS THOUGH I HAD ALREADY ATTAINED, EITHER WERE ALREADY PERFECT: BUT I FOLLOW AFTER, IF THAT I MAY APPREHEND THAT FOR WHICH ALSO I AM APPREHENDED OF CHRIST JESUS. BRETHREN, I COUNT NOT MYSELF TO HAVE APPREHENDED: BUT THIS ONE THING I DO, FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND, AND REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. LET US THEREFORE, AS MANY AS BE PERFECT, BE THUS MINDED: AND IF IN ANY THING YE BE OTHERWISE MINDED, GOD SHALL REVEAL EVEN THIS UNTO YOU. NEVERTHELESS, WHERETO WE HAVE ALREADY ATTAINED, LET US WALK BY THE SAME RULE, LET US MIND THE SAME THING.
Paul was a man who lived as practical and holy as any man ever could before the Lord. What was his secret? I believe that part of his secret is found in this passage of scripture especially in verse 13.
(PHILIPPIANS 3:13) BRETHREN, I COUNT NOT MYSELF TO HAVE APPREHENDED: BUT THIS ONE THING I DO, FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND, AND REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE,
Paul knew he could never change the past. So he was determined to live each day as unto the Lord. This day should the greatest we have ever live for God.
This morning I would like to offer you some challenges as we consider the New Year. Growing up we used to do some traveling each year. But we also did something that is almost unheard of now a days. We would take Sunday drives! On a Sunday drive, we would pile in the car, we never knew where we were going; we would just drive. They were fun, but often I got tired of just the drive without any destination to look forward to. Then we also would take a vacation. For a vacation we would plan and prepare. My dad would get out the Road Atlas and we would carefully trace our trip out determining where we would stop and what we would do along the way. Each New Year is like one of those vacations. Unlike a Sunday drive, where very little planning and preparation was involved; the New Year is a journey that requires some advance preparation. Let me offer some suggestions for this journey. If we don't want to spend the year traveling around with no particular destination in mind, then we need to make some basic plans on how to make the most of the journey called 2007.
I. Travel Light
"FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND"
A. Forget about the failures, disappointments, worries, hurts and resentments of the past.
B. Quit picking the scabs. Ex. My mother
C. Opening old sores slows down the healing process.
D. That is true in the physical sense, but it is also true of the emotional hurts we each carry with us from the past.
E. Courtney Theology 101 = build a bridge and get over it!
II. Realize that Life Happens Now.
(PHILIPPIANS 4:6) BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING; BUT IN EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD.
A. Life happens one day at a time.
B. For that we should all be thankful.
C. Sometimes we think we would like to be able to know the future, but I don't really think so.
(MATTHEW 6:34) TAKE THEREFORE NO THOUGHT FOR THE MORROW: FOR THE MORROW SHALL TAKE THOUGHT FOR THE THINGS OF ITSELF. SUFFICIENT UNTO THE DAY IS THE EVIL THEREOF.
D. There are only three days we have to concern ourselves with…
1. Yesterday - forget it, we cannot change anything that happened in the past.
2. Tomorrow - we can't live there; we have no promise that we will even see another day.
3. Today - this is really all we have. What we do for the Lord we must do today!
E. We need to stop procrastinating, and start making decisions today.
(PROVERBS 27:1) BOAST NOT THYSELF OF TO MORROW; FOR THOU KNOWEST NOT WHAT A DAY MAY BRING FORTH.
III. Be Generous Along the Way.
(2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-7) BUT THIS I SAY, HE WHICH SOWETH SPARINGLY SHALL REAP ALSO SPARINGLY; AND HE WHICH SOWETH BOUNTIFULLY SHALL REAP ALSO BOUNTIFULLY. EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, SO LET HIM GIVE; NOT GRUDGINGLY, OR OF NECESSITY: FOR GOD LOVETH A CHEERFUL GIVER.
A. Be generous with your time.
1. Invest wisely.
2. We all have to work, everyone has something we need to do.
3. But realize we have been given a limited amount of time…once it is gone we cannot reclaim it.
4. So we must maximize it.
5. How? Invest it in things that will last for all eternity.
a. People - Family and friends.
b. Long after the inheritance is gone, the memories remain.
c. Time spent with others is an eternal investment.
d. Time spent ministering to others will also reap eternal rewards.
e. Will there be anyone in heaven because you invested your time to reach them?
(PROVERBS 11:30) THE FRUIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS A TREE OF LIFE; AND HE THAT WINNETH SOULS IS WISE.
B. Be generous with your talents.
1. Before you say it, don't!
2. Because we are all talented.
3. We may have talents that differ, but we are talented just the same.
4. Rush Limbaugh often says he has talent on loan from God.
5. That is true…all of us have talent that God has given to us.
6. The key is using it for Him.
7. Take advantage of every opportunity to use your talent for His glory.
(COLOSSIANS 4:5) WALK IN WISDOM TOWARD THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT, REDEEMING THE TIME.
C. Be generous with your treasure.
1. Bible generosity is not foolish!
(GALATIANS 6:7-8) BE NOT DECEIVED; GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP. FOR HE THAT SOWETH TO HIS FLESH SHALL OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; BUT HE THAT SOWETH TO THE SPIRIT SHALL OF THE SPIRIT REAP LIFE EVERLASTING.
2. The Scripture reminds us that we will reap what we sow.
3. This is a universal law, but it certainly applies to our being generous givers to the work of the Lord.
4. The O.T. prophet Malachi relates God's promise to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing…but that blessing isn't for everyone!
5. It is specifically for those who bring their tithes into the storehouse.
6. The principle of being generous givers to the work of the Lord is one that carries with it a blessing.
(LUKE 6:38) GIVE, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU; GOOD MEASURE, PRESSED DOWN, AND SHAKEN TOGETHER, AND RUNNING OVER, SHALL MEN GIVE INTO YOUR BOSOM. FOR WITH THE SAME MEASURE THAT YE METE WITHAL IT SHALL BE MEASURED TO YOU AGAIN.
7. The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver, so does that include us?
8. Be generous with your treasure.
As we begin the journey of this New Year, let's determine to make it a greater year than ever before. Travel light, focus on today, and be generous. One more thought…to make this year a great year; give your life to Christ. Nothing could be better than to begin 2007 with the Lord. If you are here this morning and you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ, let this be the day that you begin your journey with Him. Come and let us show you from God's Word how you can have eternal life and know for sure that you are on your way to heaven for all of eternity. Perhaps you would just like to re-commit this coming year to the Lord. Determine to live for the Lord. Forget about the past, live for today, and be generous. Share your faith in Christ with others. Make 2007 a great New Year!