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Who Wants a Happy New Year? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2024 12:00 am

Who Wants a Happy New Year? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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January 8, 2024 12:00 am

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Let me give you two words that might help, so that you would think rightly about life and live a life that glorifies Christ, have a sense of serenity and well-being in your soul as you look to an uncertain future, and to have a Happy New Year. I want you to have a Happy New Year.

Two words, therefore. If you want a Happy New Year, trust and obey God. That's the lesson we began to unpack last time on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hi, I'm Bill Wright. We're concluding our series, As the Calendar Turns. Proverbs 3, verses 5 through 6, tells you to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

That's quite a set of commands and an amazing promise. We'll gain a better understanding of this passage today as we join Don Green now in The Truth Pulpit. You realize the great way that God has loved you in Christ and has blessed you immeasurably, giving you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Ephesians chapter 1 says, and your response to that is, God, I see your pristine, undiminished, unmitigated goodness to me. You have given me such great blessing in Christ.

I have such a wonderful salvation. You know what I'm going to do in response to all of this great love you've shown to me, O God? I'm going to trust you. I'm going to honor you. I'm going to love you even in the midst of the contrary tides of life when they come. Not because I know how the circumstances are going to come out, but because it's right for me to love you with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind. It is right for me to respond to you with trust in light of what you have done so greatly for me.

That's the only right way to be. And so you see, beloved, what this does. I realize that in practical life, this doesn't necessarily settle every anxiety for all time that you ever face. But what this does do is it gives you a disposition, a perspective upon which you should think about life.

And rather than nursing those anxieties, nursing the fears that you so often have given into in the past and maybe justified, maybe accommodated, maybe made room for in your life, saying well life is really hard after all, no one's perfect, rather than making a spiritual truce with that kind of anxiety, you shift your perspective and say no, I can't think that way. This is not something that I accommodate. This is something that I declare war against.

This is something that I work against. This is something that I say is not acceptable in my heart to have unworthy thoughts of my God like that, that I wouldn't even trust Him for this life. That I recognize the foolishness of saying I'll trust Christ with my eternal soul, but I won't trust Him with the details of life as shown by my anxious heart. You see, look back at Proverbs chapter 3 verse 5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

With all your heart. That your heart is undivided in this confidence in the goodness of God toward His people. That in all your heart and in all of your ways and in all of life, this perspective informs the way that you think about present circumstances and what they will bring to you. It's with a sense of confidence in the blessing of God, however He chooses to define that.

All of your heart, your mind, your emotions, and your will, your commitment. Beloved, let me state it simply. When we talk about trusting God, what that means is this. It means that you have an unconditional confidence.

Say it again. You have an unconditional confidence that God will be good to you in the end no matter what your present adversity may be. And that's rooted not in a blind faith, but in revealed certainties. It's rooted in the reality of your salvation. It is certified to you by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And that's the way that you think about life. And anything contrary in your heart is an unwelcome intruder that you drive out. Because that's what God is worthy of. Isaiah 26 verses 3 and 4. The steadfast of mind you will keep in perfect peace because He trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord we have an everlasting rock.

An immovable fortress where we can go and find safety, security, and serenity in who He is. Now, in one sense, for most of you I wouldn't expect that anything that I said in the past 15 minutes was really something new. Maybe for some of you that are new to our church or new Christians, maybe these are welcome truths and they're new to you in that sense, but for most of us we get that.

We've heard these things before. But the question is then if we know these things, how do we get off track? How is it that we don't live in that constant sense of settled serenity and security in light of everything that we know to be true?

How do we get off track? Remember the second point that we're answering here is who will you trust? We've said with scriptural clarity you trust God and given you the reasons why, but Proverbs here is teaching by way of a contrast and showing us the negative side of what trust... where we fail in trust. It gives us the negative side force to think about. Verse 5, look at it with me again, trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Positive side of the contrast? Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. The negative side? Do not lean on your own understanding.

There is a pivot point, there is a hinge right in the middle of this that points us to the way that we are to think. So who will you trust? You trust God. On the other side, you do not trust yourself. You do not trust yourself. You do not trust your own judgment. You do not trust your own opinions. Beloved, you do not trust your own perceptions about what you see happening in front of you.

And yeah, I've got to say it emphatically because we just have to be really clear, precise, and definitive because everything is at stake here. If you stumble on this point, beloved, you will not have a happy new year, and that wouldn't be good because we want you to have a happy new year. If you're going to have a happy new year, you're going to have to realize that you cannot trust yourself. The positive command is to trust the Lord. The negative command is do not lean on your own understanding.

What does that mean? Not lean on your own understanding. Well, the idea of leaning here in this verse has the idea of resting upon. You know, and so when I'm up here, sometimes I'll lean on the pulpit, and I'll rest on it, and I'll lean my weight into it. You're leaning on a post to support you from falling in the spiritual realm. To lean on your own understanding means, watch how all of this fits together, to lean on your own understanding means that your confidence as you look to the future rises or falls, based on your perceptions of what you see happening around you. So, for example, someone might say in their heart, probably wouldn't say this in a conversation with the fellowship of believers, but in your heart, you think this way, well, you know, we have our health, and we have a good job and a good bank account, this coming year is going to be good.

Resting on your own understanding, basing it on what you see. My body is healthy, my wealth is secure and things are looking good. To which scripture says, you fool, don't you understand your life could be required of you tonight. You fool, don't you understand that you don't know what tomorrow will bring. How are you boasting in the year ahead?

James chapter 4. Here's something else, confidence based on your own perceptions in a negative sense. Why does God treat me this way?

What's going to happen to me? This is too hard, based on what I see. It's too difficult.

I can't take this. What is that except resting on your own understanding? Measuring your spiritual ability by the circumstances and saying I can't do this, I don't want this, I reject this, and all of it saying I can't do it. What are you doing except saying I'm basing my perception of life based on what I see and feel. You're leaning on your own understanding when you do that.

Saying this next thing with sympathy but getting to the point hopefully where a lot of us live. What will I do if my loved one, my friend, doesn't come to Christ? What will I do if they die without becoming a Christian and just being wrapped up in that?

What will I do? This is what I see and how am I going, what am I going to do? Leaning on your own understanding beloved. You see beloved, I know from my own personal experience and I know that you're not that much different from me. You mentally know the promises of God but when it comes to specific circumstances that are close to your heart, Scripture would show you that you're not trusting Him as shown by the anxiety or the self-confidence that marks the inner disposition of your heart. And your anxieties betray you even if others don't see it. Deep in your heart saying I've got to see it, I got to control it or I'm not going to be at peace. See Scripture comes and meets you at that level and says stop it. Stop trusting in your own thought processes, stop trusting in what you see, stop trusting in your own abilities to handle whatever life is bringing to you. And rather than letting that shape your perspective, go back to the first part of the verse and go back to all of the wonderful spiritual realities of which we spoke just a moment ago and let that inform your perspective.

You have to choose, you have to decide what it is that's going to frame the way that you think about life if you're going to have a happy new year. Christian, does worry consume you? Come back to these two verses. But you don't trust in the Lord with all of your heart. However, yeah, however Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ is coming again. Let me give you two words that might help. I'm just trying to find a multitude of ways to illustrate and help you with this so that you would think rightly about life and live a life that glorifies Christ, have a sense of serenity and well-being in your soul as you look to an uncertain future and to have a happy new year.

I want you to have a happy new year. Two words. Think of all of that truth that we talked about. Coming and death of Christ. Eternal bliss awaits those who trust in Him.

Every spiritual blessing given to you in Christ, on and on it went, right? And 90% of you in this room would say, Amen. I believe that. Good. We're on the same page.

It's good to be on the same page. The next word that comes out of your mouth in response to that, there's two choices. The next word that comes out of your mouth will tell you whether you really believe that, whether you're really trusting in it, or if it's just had knowledge to you. Two words.

All this great truth, right? I know you're dying to hear what the two words are. I want to keep you in suspense.

All of this great truth, the one who is trusting in himself, the woman who is leaning on her own understanding, the next word out of his or her mouth in response to that, the one who's leaning on her own understanding uses this one three-letter word, but. But, you don't know... but this is happening. But this is hard.

But this has been going on for so long. But, but, but, but. And discounting the truth of God by saying, but let me bring my life perspective into this in a way that will help you understand why I can't just rest and be secure and serene in that. But, but, but, but, but. I believe that, but... what do you mean, but? Honestly, how are you drawing a contrast?

How are you separating yourself from the truth of God and the glory and the love of Christ? How can you say but to that? The word that you should say is this.

It's a little longer word, all of two syllables instead of one. All of these things are true. When you say this word, therefore, I will not be afraid. All of that's true. Therefore, I'll look to the future with confidence. All of this is true. Therefore, I'll persevere without complaint, without fear, without resentment, without retaliation against those that have hurt me.

Because all that's true. Therefore, this has consequences. Therefore, when you say therefore, you're lining yourself up with the flow and saying I'm going to let this rush through my mind, rush through my heart, and change the whole direction of the way that I think.

I'm going to get on the boat that's going in that stream and flow with it. Therefore, I'll be confident. Therefore, I'll be at peace. Not but. And separating yourself from it and standing in opposition to it. That's what you're saying when you say but.

Don't say but. Say therefore. And show that you're trusting God and not in yourself. See beloved, when I wish you a happy new year, implied in my greeting to you is this question. Do you trust God or not? If you don't trust God, you're not going to have a happy new year and there's nothing I can do to make it better for you. If you trust God, you'll have a happy new year.

No matter what life brings to you. Because this is the realm in which we are called to live as Christians. So, we've seen the context, we've seen the contrast. Let's look at the call. Point number three, the call.

And the call is this. The call is to an intimate walk with God. The call is an intimate walk with God. Beloved, in some ways it's hard to preach on such simple commands. It's hard not because Scripture is inadequate, but it's hard not to talk in a way that just makes people think that we're talking about trivialities or cliches.

This is not a cliche. The call is to an intimate walk with God. You see, trusting God is a comprehensive approach to life. It's not simply I'll go through life and then when a hard time hits, then I'll trust in God. As if it's a crutch that you pull out of the closet when you're limping along in life and I'll trust God then. No.

No, that's not it at all. It's comprehensive. It is a comprehensive approach to life. Look at chapter 3 verse 6. And in the simplicity and the clarity of Scripture see what it says. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. In all your ways, in everything that you do, in every aspect of your life acknowledge Him.

What I'm about to say is one of my favorite parts of this text. This word acknowledge need to understand what it's saying here. In English, because the English way that we use acknowledge would probably throw you off. We say acknowledge, we think of acknowledge like I'm going to acknowledge that person that I'm passing in the aisle in the grocery store I'll acknowledge him and I'll nod my head at him. Hello, I've just acknowledged your presence. Hello, you nod your head at a stranger by nodding at him.

That's not what this is saying here. In this context, this Hebrew word is expressing intimate knowledge, close relational knowledge. It's the word that's used in Exodus 33 when God says, I have known Moses by name. I've known him. He knows him intimately.

It's the word used in Psalm 139 when David prays to God, you know when I sit down and when I rise up. You know me intimately. This is a call to... this is an intimate knowledge, not a passing superficial one. Life's going on, life's going on, I acknowledge God. Life goes on, I acknowledge God.

No, it's not like that. God calls you to a thorough intimacy with him. Verse 5 says, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Verse 6 says, know him in all your ways. This is a comprehensive call that all of your affections, all of your priorities, all of your activities would be saturated with a knowledge of this transcendent God.

The course of life would be determined by it. In all your ways, know him. You see, trusting God is not a last refuge, beloved. I like to say this, knowing God, trusting God is not incidental to life. Knowing God and trusting God is the reason that you exist.

You exist in order to know this God. What's the chief end of man? To know God and to glorify him forever, to enjoy him forever in the words of confession. What's the greatest command? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

This is comprehensive? See, this verse is not a call to incidental praying when things go out of control in your life. This is for all of your ways and all of your heart, with all of your affection, to give yourself over to know this God who has saved you. This is why you exist, an intimate walk with God. And what's at the end of this brings us to point number four, the comfort, we could say the promise.

Let me just review these points with you real quickly. The context is God honors obedience. The contrast we phrased in a question, who will you trust? God or yourself. The mind of God or the mind that's inside your head between your two ears. The call is to an intimate walk with God, all your ways. There should not be an area of your life that somehow hasn't been impacted by the way that you think in response to God's Word, written and incarnate. Finally, the comfort is that he will bless you. Look at verse six. Here you go for Happy New Year.

Here's what I would desire for you. Verse six, in all your ways acknowledge him, here's the comfort, and he will make your paths straight. God promises to bless you when you walk with him in this way. Why would you not want that blessing of God on your life? Why would you not orient the entire disposition of life so that this would be yours in fullest measure?

What does that look like? Matthew Henry says this, and I close with this. In all our ways that prove fair and pleasant, we acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove cross and uncomfortable, we acknowledge God with submission. Our eye must be ever toward God. Those that put themselves under divine guidance shall always have the benefit of it.

Will you trust him like that? It's the key to a Happy New Year. And with that, we've come to the end of our series as the calendar turns. Pastor Don Green has reminded us that we are called to a life of trust and obedience. If we live such a life, God promises the ultimate comfort. He will direct our paths, which lead to eternal life with him.

And with that in mind, it's easy to say, Happy New Year. Well, there's more great teaching headed your way in the new year, so please join us each day here on The Truth Pulpit. Meanwhile, Don's back here in studio to close out the year, and Don, as we go out into everyday life, encountering people in need of hearing the Gospel, what encouragement can you offer to listeners who feel a little overwhelmed when defending their faith? The power is not found in your clever arguments. The power is in the Gospel itself. It is in the Word of God.

It is living and active. The best, most effective thing that you can do in sharing your faith is to point people to the words of the Bible, the words of the Gospel found in Scripture, and let God use his own word with power in their hearts. Thanks Don and friend, remember you have a standing invitation to visit TheTruthPulpit.com for more about our ministry. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-08 04:27:30 / 2024-01-08 04:36:04 / 9

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