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Who Wants a Happy New Year? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2021 7:00 am

Who Wants a Happy New Year? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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December 31, 2021 7:00 am

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You know, I wore my soft shoes today, not the steel-toed boots, but I'm going to step on your toes today. And you need your toes stepped on in light of what's about to come. Who wants a happy New Year?

Seems like kind of a no-brainer, right? Everyone does, but not everyone knows the way to ensure one. But the Bible shows us the way, and it has absolutely nothing to do with events or circumstances, good or bad. And today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will take us through Proverbs 3 verses 5 through 6 as he continues our series As the Calendar Turns. You'll see that obedience to God's word and trust in the Lord are absolutely essential.

So have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. What we want to do is lay out four principles that would give you the ability to cultivate a trusting heart, and a heart that is truly resting in Christ. First of all, what I want to do is to consider the context of the passage.

If you're taking notes, that's the first point. The context of this passage is a very basic premise, and the basic premise in which all of life flows from and your perspective on life should be centered upon is this, is that God honors obedience to Him. God honors obedience to Him.

That's your first point, that's the context. God honors obedience. Psalm 1 verse 6, the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. I'm never going to get tired of calling that verse to your attention as long as the Lord gives me breath. Because in that simple principle, you find that your faith in Christ, that your faith in God, that your trust in His word, that all of the efforts that you make to live a godly life and to trust Him through sorrow and difficulty are not in vain.

That is so essential to framing the entire way that you look at life. God honors obedience. God knows the way of the righteous. God does not forget those who call out to Him in trust. Proverbs 3 unfolds the blessings that come from trusting God. Look at the first four verses. We're going to look at four verses before and four verses after, the two verses that I read, just so that you see the context in which God placed these familiar verses. In Proverbs chapter 3 verse 1, the writer of Scripture says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.

For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. There is a command and a promise built into those four verses. There's a command in there that says, Set your heart on God's Word.

Be a kind and truthful man. And in a most basic way, it calls you to a premise of life that sets your heart on the Word of God, as that which would be your authority in life, that which would be the the sweetest thing in life to you, that which you would submit to, that which you would honor, that which you would believe, and that all of your heart would be given over to the holy words of Scripture. And there's a promise embedded in to the one who would do that. The promise is stated for you there. In verse 4, you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

You see, at a most, you know, sometimes it's easy. When you're studying Scripture, when you're preaching on both sides of the pulpit, it's easy to get so immersed in details that you miss a big picture point that would give you principles upon which you could shape all of your life. Beloved, what we're about to see, what I'm about to say, is a principle upon which you can build your entire life knowing that it will never fail you. You can trust the Word of God.

You can trust the 66 books of the Bible. To such an extent, I say this to my own heart by way of reminder of my own spiritual life, to such an extent that you can trust the Word of God no matter what comes. That the Word of God is worthy of your complete devotion of giving yourself over to believe it completely and entirely, to obey it to the best and fullest of your ability, to believe fully in the Christ which the Word points you to and reveals to you, to give all of your life, all of your hopes, all of your aspirations, all of your affections to the Word of God with the certain assurance in advance that that will not be wasted, that that will not be in vain that you do so. This passage is promising to everyone who would come to God's Word in that way, a productive and peaceful life that brings honor from God and from man that you do not believe, you do not respond to, you do not give yourself over to the Word of God and find yourself a debtor. Find yourself on, what I mean by that is that God has somehow let you down.

No, no, it does not work that way. Look at verses 7 through 10. The context here is that God honors obedience, God honors devotion to His Word.

God honors those who fear Him. Look at verses 7 through 10. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. Verses 11 and 12. My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe his reproof, for whom the Lord loves he reproves even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Summarized, you could say this about those verses, that they call you to live a humble life that is set on holiness. That holiness would be the defining aspiration of what you want out of life. That you would know Christ and grow in Him and manifest the righteousness that He has called you to as a grateful response to the saving work of Christ in your heart. Set your heart on that. Live a humble life set on holiness and the promise from God is this, He will refresh you. He will give you prosperity.

Life will go well for you if you respond to Him in this way. So, you know, you step back and you say Happy New Year, what's the means to a Happy New Year? Who wouldn't want a Happy New Year? Who wouldn't want a life under the blessing of God? Who wouldn't desire to have the tranquility of heart, the tranquility of mind, and the blessing that attends a life like this?

Who wouldn't want that? Why wouldn't you want that as the deepest thing, the greatest blessing that God could give you on earth? Now, let me say one thing here before we go any further. The book of Proverbs is not a book that is designed to guarantee cause and effect in every, each and every circumstance, in each and every life. Proverbs simply give you truth from a long-range perspective. Over the course of time, over the course of cultures, over the course of many lives, the general pattern is that God blesses those who serve Him and that they have a better life, a more peaceful life than those who sin against Him and give themselves over to a life of sin. That those who know Christ, who follow Him, who love His Word, who devote themselves to it, who give their minds and hearts and aspirations over to the revealed truth in Scripture as a general pattern, they are going to have a better life on earth than those who reject it. Now, sometimes the wicked prosper. Psalm 73 is devoted to that. Sometimes the righteous suffer. We see that in the life of Job. But here's the point for us today, beloved, as we recognize those things on the margins, on the extremities, the general pattern is, in general, God's people have a better life than His enemies do.

Those who love Christ and follow Him have a better life than those who do not. For our lives, to glean that what God's Word promises in general to be the pattern is that those who give themselves over to God's Word are going to find themselves on the end, the receiving end of His blessing, even if there are dips in the valleys along the way. And so the question for you, the question that applies in what you want out of life as a young person, what you're going to give your life to now or maybe in middle age toward the end of life and looking at it with a sense of regret, what are you going to devote this year to? What are you going to devote the rest of your life to as you look at things with regret? Will you at least take this opportunity to say, in the remaining days that I have, I'll give myself over to this with a freshness of heart that God has not seen from me before now?

Blessing awaits. Second point, I want you to see a contrast. We saw the context. Just in general, God honors obedience and therefore it's worthwhile to give your life over to His Word, give your life over to Christ. Let's look at a contrast and ask it in the form of a question.

Oh, and this gets so personal. The contrast is this, who will you trust? Who will you trust? You see, a faithful life, the life that God honors, a faithful life starts with always trusting God no matter what happens in your life. That there is something settled in the deepest part of your heart, you who have been redeemed by Christ, those of you that have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, those who claim to know Him, those who have your sins forgiven and are on a road that lead to heaven, you must understand that if you are in that blessed position and you have received the benefit of the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross applied to your heart, that that means something. That there are consequences to that, to the way that you think, to the way that you feel, to the way that you respond to life.

And if Christ has been so good to you, to redeem you out of sin and to bring you to Himself, to fulfill His promise to give eternal life to everyone who believes in Him, if Christ has done that for you, and your eternal soul is secure and your sins are forgiven, and you have been declared righteous before a holy God, then there are consequences to that beloved. To the way that you think and respond to life, the only thing that you can do that's right is to trust God no matter what. Look at verse 5 with me, Proverbs chapter 3 verse 5. Scripture says, and look at each word carefully, I'll read it slowly, trust in the Lord, Yahweh, the covenant-keeping, promise-keeping God, the self-existent God who is the great I am who I am, the God who is the God of His people, the God who keeps the promises to those who come to Him in faith. Trust Him with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Trust Him. What does trust mean? You know, we throw these words around so flippantly and they become such an embedded part of our lingo that sometimes we forget to stop and think about what they mean and what they say, what this is saying. What does trust mean for life here on earth?

Well, notice that this is a command, that this is not an optional add-on to spiritual life, this is command from God that this is the way you are to be. Trust, trust relates to the basic way that you look to the future. Let's just make it real simple.

Let's put the, as they like to say sometimes, let's put the cookies on the bottom shelf. Trust refers to the basic way that you look at the future. In other words, David, what is your fundamental disposition on life? How do you look to the future?

What do you think? What do you think about your day? What do you think about the trials and the struggles that you're going through? What is your fundamental disposition, your basic perspective on them? Do you look forward with confidence that it will come out well in the end because God is sovereign over your life and promises to bless his children?

Or are you fundamentally fearful, worried, anxious, buried under a sense of what if this and what if that, and your mind is just controlled by fear and anxiety of what's going to happen? Beloved, I want you to see that those are two diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive approaches to life. And Scripture makes this plain. This verse teaches us fundamental dispositions about life through a contrast. In the first part of it, it tells you trust God. Trust God. Now look, look, I understand that life is sorrowful for many of you.

It's difficult and it is a grind, I get that. And I don't diminish that. But beloved I don't have, listen to me, I don't have the liberty to diminish the call of God and the call of Scripture on your life because of that. The call of God pierces through all of the fog of that and in the midst of it says, this is how you must think and this is how you must live. And so as we prepare to go into what this passage says, beloved, don't excuse yourself in advance from what God's Word would call you to.

Don't say, well my life is really hard and therefore I'll just mush my way through it. No, set all of that aside and listen with clarity to what the Word of God says with clarity. And so this proverb tells you on the first part of the contrast, trust God.

Look to the future with confidence because you are looking to the future from the perspective of God is the one who holds it in his hand and that you belong to him through faith in Christ and that God never forgets his children. Trust his confidence that God will bless you as one of his children. Beloved, you trust God to bless you as you walk with him.

Remember the context of what we just saw. The context of this passage is God honors obedience. God blesses those who follow him. God blesses those who put their trust in Christ. That is an unalterable principle that governs the moral universe.

This is who God is and this is what he does for his people. And you say, I believe that. I believe his Word.

I believe in Christ. That has implications for the outcome of my life and shapes the disposition with which I will view it. And so you trust God to bless you as you walk with him even if you are walking through an earthly earthquake and tornadoes are blowing all around your life. You say, no, I will be unmoved. I will trust him. I will not surrender my confidence in the God who has revealed himself and in the Christ who has saved me.

Whatever else happens, I will not let go of that. That is the disposition of heart and mind that belongs to a true believer. It's what every one of us is called to be, to do, to live the way that we are to think. Scripture says that this God knows what you need before you ask him. Scripture tells us that he knows the number of hairs on your head. That he knows you intimately.

He knows when you get up and when you sit down. Scripture says that nothing is too difficult for him. Scripture says that this loving father sent his son into the world to be the propitiation for your sin. That in your rebellion, in your sin, in your spiritual death and depravity, God sent a savior.

The Lord Jesus Christ who gladly offered his life on a cross and shed his blood so that your sins could be forgiven and God could give you new life, declare you righteous and receive you into heaven forever. That's who God is. It's what God has done.

Scripture says for those of us that know him, he's reserved a place in heaven for us never to be taken away, undefiled, unfading, having caused us to be born again through a living hope in the resurrection of Christ. That's who God is. That's what he's done for you. The same God has given us the Scriptures. He's given us the indwelling Holy Spirit.

He's promised to keep us until the day of Christ Jesus. Christian, don't you see? See, this is where we kind of have to put our hand on our mouth and instead of immediately saying, but you don't know my life, but what about this, what about that? Beloved, stop talking that way. Just stop it and put your hand over your mouth and instead of speaking, listen to what Scripture has said about this God. Beloved, this is all true.

Everything I just said was true. Have you given your life to Christ? Has Christ saved you? Have you personally appropriated these promises from Christ?

Have you personally appropriated and received him by faith? Then all of those things belong to you. Your name is graven on his hands, written on his heart. Your name is secure in the books of heaven.

All that's true! Follow the logic of Scripture then in Romans 8. If all of that's true and God has done all of that for you and your eternity really is secure and all of your sins really are forgiven and you really have been born again, then don't you think, beloved, don't you think that the God who's done the greater things for you will do the lesser things as they pertain to your daily life? Would he give you Christ and withhold that which is necessary for your daily existence? Would he love your sinful soul and refuse that which is necessary for life?

You see, beloved, there just comes a point where you have to realize that there is a moral imperative on your heart to trust him in response to the great things that you say that you believe. To realize that these great things about Christ manifest and reveal a purpose of God and a goodness of God to your life and character and soul that you should never question him. You should never question the intentions of God and the details when he has done so much for you in the great macro perspective of the eternal well-being of your soul. Think about it this way. Maybe those of you who are parents, you can think about it this way. You give your life over to your children and day by day in faithfulness, you care for them. You meet their needs. You comfort them in their sorrow. You bless them even when they're disobedient.

You correct them and you just give yourself over and you devote yourself to them. Some of you know the sorrow of what I'm about to describe, but you will understand how wrong it is. Isn't it abominable when a child has been given that kind of care by loving, faithful parents for a child to turn around and rebel and betray them? Isn't that terrible?

How could you do that? How could a child distrust a parent who has never been anything but faithful in their care for him? We understand that on a human level, that there is an element of shame attached to betraying that kind of love. We understand that there is shame in rebelling against it. We get that on a human level. That's with imperfect, sinful parents. We get that.

Oh, beloved. You see, we understand that it is right for a child to honor their parents and to obey them in light of the fact that God gave life to them through those parents. We get that. We realize that it's a shame upon that child to distrust the ones who faithfully loved them.

On a human level, we get that. Beloved, I'm not talking about parents and children here, am I? I'm talking about the way that you think about God.

It's really quite simple. If you trust God and His promises, how can you help but have happiness in your life? What temporal circumstance can negate your certain glorious future in heaven? It's an important reminder from Pastor Don Green today on The Truth Pulpit.

Part 2 of his message, Who Wants a Happy New Year, comes your way on our next program, so don't miss a moment. Right now though, Don's back here in studio with more exciting ministry news. Well, you know, my friend, one of the exciting things about ministry is to see the doors that the Lord opens to you that you never could have planned for yourself.

I'm about to describe that here. What's happened in Truth Community Church is this, is that somehow the Lord has opened a door for us to send sermon transcripts to prisoners throughout our region who are reading these matters, coming to Christ, growing in Christ, and sharing the material with others. We'd like you to be a part of that.

Maybe you have a friend or a loved one who is in prison. Do this for us, if you would. Go to our website, give us the contact information for your loved one, and we'll be glad to add them to the list in case they want to have access to God's Word, as you've enjoyed it here on The Truth Pulpit. Visit us at thetruthpulpit.com for further information. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-26 13:55:14 / 2023-06-26 14:04:01 / 9

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