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OceanSide church of Christ

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THE BEST WAY TO END THE YEAR

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   In just a few days, we will see the close of 2013.

1.     The weaver’s shuttle of life is quickly passing.

2.    The events of the past year will soon be history.

 

B.   With just a few days left in this year, a question comes to mind:  “What is the best way to end this year?”

1.     Some will end the year in great festivity.

2.    Some will end the year with family and friends.

3.     Some will end the year as just another day.

4.    Some will end the year in sorrow because of foolishness on their part or on the part of someone else.

 

C.   We want to contemplate this question on a deeper level than most who will gather at the closing moments of this year.  We want to answer the question knowing that souls are at stake, eternity is lingering near, and our Lord’s return is possible at any moment.

 

I.          END THE YEAR BEING FORGIVEN OF SIN

 

A.   Sin is a despicable and deadly disease that inflicts humanity.

1.     Isaiah likened sin to the trouble seas (Isa. 57:20-21).

 

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

 

2.    This same prophet also said that sin drives a wedge between the sinner and God (Isa. 59:2).

 

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

B.   What better way to end the year than by coming out of the storms of sin and entering into blissful fellowship with God?

 

C.   God’s gift, Jesus Christ, has made this possible (II Cor. 5:2).

 

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteous-ness of God in him.

 

1.     Christ was made to be sin for us when he was crucified on the cross (Gal. 3:13).

 

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:  for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

2.    NOTE:  Now we can be made the righteousness of God “in him.”

a.    Cleansing, healing, and righteousness are “in” Christ.

b.    There is only one way to get into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).

 

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

 

II.        END OF THE YEAR FORGETTING THE PAST

 

A.   This point is tied very closely to the previous point.

1.     The past is filled with sins and iniquities.

2.    The past is filled with failures.

3.     The past is filled with omissions.

4.    The past is filled with sorrow and unhappiness.

5.    The past is filled with hurt and regret.

 

B.   The end of the year is a good time to forget the past.

1.     Sins should be forgotten because God forgets when we were forgiven (Heb. 8:12).

 

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.

 

a.    This is not a complete deletion from one’s memory.

b.    One forgets in the sense that sins are not brought up again.  They no longer impact how we live.  They are not a part of who we are as we move forward.

 

2.    Everything in the past should be forgotten and left behind because it is now history and not one thing can be changed.

 

C.   Paul manifested this “forgetful” attitude in his life (Phil. 3:13-14).

 

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:  but this one thing I do, forgetting the 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.

 

III.      END THE YEAR ESTABLISHING HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIPS

 

A.   Relationships are a fundamental element of everyday life.  Family, work, society, church, etc.

 

B.   Over the course of time, it is so easy to allow things to develop in our relationships that shake them, trouble them, put distance in them, and even severe them.

1.     Jealousy rocked Joseph’s relationship with his brothers (Gen. 37:11).

2.    Sin in the life of Saul put distance between him and the prophet (I Sam. 15:35).

3.     Hasty words caused David’s relationship with Michal to dwindle to worthlessness (II Sam. 6:20-23).

4.    The unwise decision of a young man caused Paul and Barnabas to part ways (Acts 15:36-41).

5.    The error of false teachers cause Paul to be afraid of his converts in the region of Galatia (Gal. 4:11).

 

C.   What better way to end the year than attempting to re-establish the ties of relationships that have gone sour.  To do so, we must:

1.     Swallow our pride.

2.    Contact the person.

3.     Kindly seek to resolve the past issues.

4.    Be willing to say either “I’m sorry,” or, “I forgive you.”

5.    Put time and effort into this re-established relationship in the future.

 

IV.       END THE YEAR COMMITTED TO MORE SERVICE

 

A.   At the end of the year, we look back upon all we have done for others and the cause of Christ.

1.     If we have done much, we can look back wearily upon the past.  We might begin to think that we’ve done so much that we need to take a break.

2.    If we haven’t done much, we might look back with regret knowing that we have fallen short.

 

B.   At the end of the year, it is time to muster energy to do more in the year to come.

1.     Jesus came to serve (Mark 10:45).

 

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

 

2.    Jesus exhorts us to follow His example (John 13:13-15).

 

Ye call me Master and Lord:  and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.

 

3.     Paul exhorted the Romans, and us, to not be lazy, but zealous in our Christian service (Rom. 12:11).

 

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.

 

V.        END THE YEAR LOOKING FOR THE LORD’S RETURN

 

A.   This suggestion is not intended to teach that we believe that one can know when the Lord will return.  We do not know if the Lord’s return is soon or in the distant future (Matt. 25:36).

 

B.   It is only given in order to cause us to be ready in the event He does return.

1.     His coming is certain (I Thess. 5:2).

 

For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

 

2.    It is imperative that we are always watchful and alert, lest He finds us sleeping (Mark 13:35-37).

 

Watch ye therefore:  for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning.  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   The end of the year is here.  It is time to wrap up loose ends that are in our lives.

 

B.   Some of the best things we can do are:

1.     Seek to have our sins forgiven.

2.    Forget the garbage and baggage of the past.

3.     Heal as many broken relationships as possible.

4.    Commit ourselves to a new year of service.

5.    And, watch for the coming of Jesus Christ.