(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
This is the time of year that people make New Year’s Resolutions.
They set new goals.
They make Life-Changing Decisions.
But not everyone actually accomplishes those resolutions however important they are.
According to Forbes magazine, only 8% of people achieve their financial goals.
US News reports that 80% of people fail when it comes to New years Resolutions having to do with their health.
The Washington Post says in an article entitled, Why do people make resolutions?
“A New Year’s resolution is a decision to do or not do something in order to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. It comes at a time when people look back at the past year and make an effort to improve themselves as the new year begins. Adults often make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or exercise more. “
When asking Wikipedia the online encyclopedia, How did New Year’s resolutions start?
“Religious origins. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.”
I think people should return what they borrow and pay their debts. And I have to admit that I’ve never considered how the first month of the year got its name. But I am interested in people wanting to change.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that this is what interests God the most.
This is why He was born in Bethlehem.
It’s why He lived and preached in this world for
33 ½ years.
It’s why He disciplined 12 men to continue His message.
It’s why He allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross.
It’s why He resurrected on that 3rd
And it’s why He offers forgiveness of sin through repentance and baptism.
And it’s why He promises the infilling of His Holy Spirit to us.
God is in the business of helping people change their lives.
If only 8% of people are capable of achieving their financial resolutions and 20% their health goals and far less than that continue them into the next year…
God knows full well that we are unable to live in this world relationally and spiritually the way we desire to and especially the way He would command us to.
Understand, if we are going to have real, positive, significant and lasting change in our lives (especially spiritual change)…
It’s going to take more than any of us are capable of on our own.
It’s going to take the help of God.
So how does it all get started?
Better yet… When does it all get started?
This is a great question.
For a lot of people, the only time they seriously consider a change in their life is when they make a New Year’s resolution.
But honestly, we all make small incremental changes in our lives every day.
To some degree or another, our lives are like a ship on the sea being pushed one way or another by situations and circumstances.
And our responses to these things result in the gradual changes that make up the direction our lives are going.
This kind of change is sometimes reactionary.
It is involuntary many times.
And it generally leads us where we really don’t want our lives to go, hence the need for things like New Years resolutions.
Honestly, it’s the reason we need God’s help in our lives.
Because spiritually each and every one of us is naturally drawn to the things in this world that destroy us spiritually and separate us from God and His will in our lives.
Can I suggest today that maybe… Just maybe…
We might need more than a New Year’s Resolution if we really and genuinely want to have the kind of change in our lives this year that’s going to make a difference in our lives and cause us to live above the guilt and shame of sin and the things that would destroy us physically, relationally and most importantly, spiritually.
I wonder if there could come some change in someone’s life today.
Not because it’s New Years,
but because they simply have decided “It Starts Now!”
I’ve had enough.
See, we do this every week.
We’ll be back here next week doing it.
And the week after that.
Offering people the chance to change their lives and make things right with God.
It’s not a New Years thing.
“It Starts Now”
Peter told those people on the day of Pentecost,
“ For this promise is unto you, your children and all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
They asked Peter 2000 years ago, what should we do?
What change needs to happen?
How do we fix our lives…
And Peter told them the same thing I’m going to tell you today,
Acts 2:38… Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
See we can’t fix our spiritual conditions ourselves.
You and I need God’s forgiveness.
That’s why we repent.
That’s why we get baptized.
And all of us need the gift of His Holy Spirit if we are going to have a chance at living above the spiritual onslaught that the devil is going to throw our way to keep us from living for God.
But we don’t just make up our minds to do this in January because it’s New Years.
We do this in February too.
And in March
And in April
Joshua said in 24:15 … but asformeandmyhouse, we will serve the Lord.
Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Patience, that means consistency.
It’s not just a New Years thing.
It’s not just a Sunday thing.
It’s a Walk With God not a visit to the spiritual Emergency Room.
We don’t come running in here when only when our lives are falling apart.
We don’t just pray when we’ve got no alternative.
We don’t just worship Him because it’s 10 am on a Sunday.
We’re walking with God.
We’re at church when the church doors are open,
not just because it’s Sunday.
We pray all the time,
not just because we’re facing the worst thing that could ever happen to us.
Someone said… I need some change in my life.
Well, start now!
Someone says, my family really needs some help.
Well, It starts now.
It is not about New Years.
It’s about the fact that Jesus loves you.
And He wants you to live above sin and successfully in this world which by the way includes your money, and your health and your relationships because all of these things affect your spiritual condition.
But we can’t fix all this stuff ourselves.
We need God’s help.
Behold, Istand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him, and he with me.
You know we always want to put stuff off.
We all do it.
Sadly too many people put this decision off until it’s too late.
I do way too many funerals for people who never did open the door and let Jesus into their lives.
I have to be honest with you. It’s not fun doing those funerals.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him, and he with me.
Do you hear that?
“Open the door”!
Jesus says, “It starts now!”
Open the door!
Open the door of your heart
Open the door of your mind
Open the door of your faith
Open up and let God in.
It starts the moment you open that door!
It starts the second you say yes to Him and begin to give your heart and life to Him.
People want to play “tough guy.”
Nope… I can do it myself.
. I don’t need anybody’s help.
I got news for you…
At some point, you’re not only going to need someone else’s help, but you’re going to need God’s help.
And you’re going to need His help in a really big way.
And if you want that help.
If you accept His grace…
It can start right now.
You don’t have to make a resolution.
You don’t have to hire a coach.
You can bow your head right now and ask for His forgiveness and His help.
You can decide to bend a knee at this altar and give your life to Him today.