December 31, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
New Year Sunday
Sermon Series: “The Invitation”
“An Invitation To New Life”
“A New Year Beginning…”
Let us pray…
Listen to the reading from Revelations this morning. It is the perfect way to end the year and step into the new one standing before us. We stand on the precipice of a new day dawning… I will be reading from The Voice, verses 1-7 this morning. Listen to the hope that arises from these Words of grace…
Good Morning and welcome to “The Invitation…” The invitation of Advent. We have come to the end of our “Advent”ure to the feeding tough the Bread of Life, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ was laid in. It is the moment that God sent the invitation to all of humanity to come and see the babe in the manger and return forever changed. Without this invitation there is no Hope, no Peace, no Joy, and no Love…there is no invitation to Christ. Without “The Invitation”, there is no Resurrection Sunday morning. But we are offered so much more…
We emptied our bags, our life’s suitcase so to speak, at the door way of Advent and entered in with bags waiting to be filled. suitcases. We have filled it with the Hope of a restored relationship with God, we gathered up and packed the clothing of Peace that we are never alone, we have gathered the words of the song of Joy because no matter what we face, we have been enveloped in a Love too wonderful for words, and lastly, we have accepted the One who was in the manger as our Lord and Savior. So, what’s next?
Well, now that we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior, I think the most awesome promise is ours for the taking. What do you think that promise is? Give time to answer. Our promise is…we are given “An Invitation To…” … New Life. We are given a new life with Christ. It is at this point…at this time…after the invitations of Advent…we are offered Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love. As we accept the Christ Child we are restored, and we are never the same again. Oh sure…we may go back to our old ways…we may trip and fall…we may struggle and fight…but that doesn’t change the one thing that is unchangeable within this Adventure…we are now a child of God.
So, we live in a world that wants to know “what’s in it for me?” Even we, as Christians may resound that same question. If I give my life to Christ, what am I going to gain from it? I have been following Christ for years, why should I continue? Does it really matter if I follow Jesus? What is going to happen…what is my gain…if I follow Jesus? I have even asked these questions to myself but…but…I need not ask them anymore in my life.
As I said so many times. I love the book of Revelation. It gives me hope and peace. It tells me what I have instore for me It tells me that I am loved and to push through and persevere, to continue, to endure, because in the end…good always wins… from the scripture I read this morning from this Book of Truths, John states:
“Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes only.”
Everything is going to be new…How awesome is that going to be. Just think about what John claims:
See, the home of God is with His people.
He will live among them;
They will be His people,
And God Himself will be with them.
4 The prophecies are fulfilled:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
Mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more,
For the first things have gone away.
To me…I get to live part of this now. Because of accepting the invitation, God walks with me. As I trust in Him He will wipe away all my tears, fears, and pain. Because of the invitation, I no longer am no longer under the death sentence of sin, I now have life eternal. I can have a foretaste so now I can’t wait for the “Full Monty”.
The invitation…I am going to give you an invitation to the new year. I asked you to write down one thing you want to leave in 2017 so that you can move forward into 2018. This is my invitation to “A New Year Beginning”. As Chuck plays a little music for us, I would ask that, as the spirit leads you, to come up with your piece of paper and drop it in this bowl. It is filled with water symbolizing that we can drop our cares into the “waters of new life” and come away ready to face the day…
Give time for people to come forward…
Let them all praise the name of the Lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!