New Years Eve Sermon Back to all sermons

Date: December 31, 2017

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Category: Reflection and Resolution

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:11–1:12, John 1:1–1:5, 1 John 5:1–5:5, Matthew 5:14–5:16

Tags: Reflections, Resolutions, Resolved, Perseverance

A New Years Sermon

  • Reflection of the Past, and Resolution for the Future
  • A New Years Sermon
  • What comes to your mind when you hear, “New Years?”
    • The first thing that comes to mind for me is, “Reflection.”
  • ..for the U.S.
    • Many Mass Shootings (The worst in Las Vegas)
    • North Korea
    • Civil Unrests
    • Opioid/Drug Epidemic
    • Racial Hatred, Crimes against Cops, Police Brutality
  • A New Years Sermon (2)
  • ..for the world
    • The Myanmar Rohingya Genocide
    • Ukraine “Civil War”
    • Syrian Civil War
    • Scientific Developments leading to A Frankenstein scenario
  • Reflection…for individuals
    • We’ve all been ill
    • We’ve known individuals who have passed away
    • Family plans/grief (as I consider this picture)
  • A New Years Sermon (3)
  • Re-reading Tolkien’s The Two Towers
    • Barad-Dur (Sauron) and Isengard (Saruman)
    • Battle between Orcs/Uruk Hai and Evil Men against the people of Rohan
  • A New Years Sermon (3)
  • Re-reading Tolkien’s The Two Towers
    • Barad-Dur (Sauron) and Isengard (Saruman)
    • Battle between Orcs/Uruk Hai and Evil Men against the people of Rohan
    • The people of Rohan were forced to Helms Deep
    • The siege broke through and the heroes found themselves at the main keep
    • There the king of Rohan says this…

“It is said that the Hornburg has never fallen to assault,” said Theoden; ‘but now my heart is doubtful. The world changes and all that once was strong now proves unsure. How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate?”

  • A New Years Sermon (4)
  • Re-reading Tolkien’s The Two Towers
    • I understand this feeling
    • How can anything which was once considered strong stand true against such forces?
    • How can light shine in the darkness, when the darkness looks so bleak?
    • How can anything withstand such emotions?
    • How can anything overcome?

“The end will not be long,’ said the king. ‘But I will not end here, taken like an old badger in a trap. Snowmane and Hasufel and the horses of my guard are in the inner court. When dawn comes, I will bid men sound Helm’s horn, and I will ride forth. Will you ride with me then, son of Arathorn? Maybe we shall cleave a road, or make such an end as will be worth a song—if any be left to sing of us hereafter.”

  • A New Years Sermon (5)
  • Resolution
    • Theoden, the king, resolves not to lay down and die
    • He will not let Darkness overcome
  • Why these things?
    • I see much of our world in Tolkien (and C.S. Lewis) who were masters of myth
    • They recognized myth held truths
    • They could find elements of honor, dignity, heroism
  • A New Years Sermon (6)
  • Truth
    • Between darkness and light
    • This is what makes Tolkien and Lewis so remarkable
  • Reflection
    • The world changes, how shall any tower withstand such numbers and reckless hate?
    • How can any person withstand such numbers, such reckless hate?
    • With Theoden, this king does not give up on the dawn
    • Ride on, fight on. Live on.
  • A New Years Sermon (7)
  • The Scriptures
    • Abraham and Isaac at Moriah (Genesis 22)
    • Moses before Pharaoh (Exodus 1-12)
    • David and Goliath (I Samuel 17)
    • The Prophets
    • Jesus tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4), angry and weeping for Lazarus (John 11), in the Garden before the cross (Matthew 26)
    • Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2)
    • Paul, Barnabas, Silas (Acts 13-28)
  • A New Years Sermon (8)
  • Reflection from the Past
    • I see individuals who were resolved to follow faithfully
    • Surrounded by darkness yet by faith took each step
    • Those who made resolutions to honor God
    • Who bore light in the darkness
  • A New Years Sermon (9)
  • Resolutions
    • This is the second thing that comes to mind when we talk about, “New Years”
    • It is a time to take what we’ve learned and apply it
    • What would I like to change?
  • Some Resolutions…
    • To eat healthier
    • To lose weight
    • Manage finances better
    • Travel the world!
    • Have more fun!

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

-II Thessalonians 1:11-12

  • A New Years Sermon (11)
  • Reflection…on a World of Darkness
    • “Have no faith, hope, or love!”
    • Turn your back on God!
  • Where to find salvation from Darkness?
    • In Christ

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The darkness has not overcome Christ, and the darkness will not overcome Christ.

-John 1:1-5, ESV

“1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

-I John 5:1-5, ESV

  • A New Years Sermon (12)
  • Our Resolve
    • To live for the glory of Jesus
    • For the power of Christ is greater than any other
  • “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” –I John 3:8
  • A New Years Sermon (13)
  • Reflection…of the Devil
    • His works are vast
    • The evil done is being undone by Christ (through the cross, and in our redemption through us)

“14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

-Matthew 5:14-16, ESV

  • A New Years Sermon (14)
  • Reflection…on Christ
    • Through His suffering we find peace
    • Through His death we find life
    • Through His obedience we find salvation (from judgment, and in life now)
  • That picture
    • I mentioned the sorrow
    • But I didn’t mention there is also beauty
    • I didn’t mention the field and Carissas radiance on the hill
    • I didn’t mention that in the midst of grief, there can be so much beauty and blessing
    • That light shines in the darkness
  • A New Years Sermon (15)
  • Reflection…it’s been Hard
    • But there have been blessings
    • Houses were built
    • Healing occurred
    • God has shouldered grief and sorrow
    • Though there were tears, there has also been joy and laughter
  • A New Years Sermon (16)
  • Resolution
    • To make war against darkness
    • To glorify our God and enjoy Him forever
    • To praise Him in our strength and weakness
    • To worship Him in our joys and pains
    • To, with tears of grief and sorrow, worship by saying, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”
  • A New Years Sermon (17)
  • Resolved
    • Let’s make new resolutions that will last for a lifetime
    • This is our time to shine our light in the world
    • Let us make this resolution
    • To shine brightly in Westfield, to the world, to our neighbors, our friends, our families
    • The New Year is upon us, let us resolve to let our light shine upon all darkness
    • For we are children of God, and we glorify Him by shining brightly for the glory of Christ Jesus