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Glorifying God in 2010

This is the sermon I preached at Louisville Baptist Deaf Church on December 27, 2009.

Glorifying God in 2010

You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you children of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you children of Israel!

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalm 22:23; 86:12)

2009 is gone! Did you glorify God in 2009? Did you spend time with Him in:

  • Prayer?
  • Scripture?
  • Worship?
  • Witnessing?
  • Serving your church and others?

OR did you waste your life in 2009?

John Piper, author of the book “Don’t Waste Your Life,” wrote about a couple who retired to Florida. They worked hard, contributed to society, got ahead as much as they could, saved as much as they could, and then retired. They never did anything else worth doing after they retired. Indeed, the highlight of their days was to go to the beach and collect seashells. That’s it! What a waste of a life!

I’m here today to urge you, brothers and sisters, don’t waste your lives! God must be your top priority!

So today I’m going to give you some practical things you can do to glorify God in the next year. I have preached this sermon before, and some of you may remember it from last year. But I want you to understand, this sermon is from my own personal reflection and study, and I use it each year as a measure of how much I have grown and how much I need to improve. Each thing I will tell you about today is an area God has shown me I need to grow, and I’ve found many believers struggle in the same areas. We are all in the same boat!

How to Glorify God in 2010

1. Spend time every day in God’s Word.

“I have hidden your Word in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“I will enjoy your Laws; I will not forget your Word.” Psalm 119:16
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path!” Psalm 119:105

The Bible is our spiritual food. Remember that Jesus told the devil we do not live on regular food alone, but from everything that comes from God’s Word. Why do we not read His Word often? Why do we not love it? Why do we not turn to it for guidance? Don’t waste your time with other things – spend as much time as you can reading the Scripture! How can I do this?

Try to read at least 1 chapter from the Old Testament and New Testament every day. If you read 4 chapters a day you will read the whole Bible in 1 year! You can look on the internet and find many Bible reading plans that are set up in many different ways. You can choose one that you like and fits your reading ability better. But don’t neglect reading from your Bible every day, even if it is just one chapter.

2. Spend time every day in prayer.

“Let everyone who is godly pray to you…” Psalm 32:6
“When you pray, go into your room and close the door and pray…” Matthew 6:6
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
“…pray always!” Romans 12:12
“Don’t stop praying!” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is very important to the believer’s life. Prayer is the way we tell God what we need. It is the way we ask Him to act in the world. It is also the way we learn to listen to Him. Without prayer, many things would never happen. Yes, God is in control of all things, but He has shown over and over in the Bible that He requires His people to pray before He will act. Remember 2 Chronicles 7:14? “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Sometimes prayer is God’s requirement for us to obey before He will act.

Yes, this means we need to have a “quiet time!” Have a special time of prayer, either in the morning or at night, where you can pray. I do not mean Bible study. This time is different. Remember the Scripture says to “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Take time each day to do nothing but talk to God and listen to Him. Get rid of your distractions – turn off the TV, turn off the computer, put away your books (yes, even your Bible!), and go to the Lord in prayer.

You also need to make sure you are praying before you read your Bible or do any sort of Bible study. Remember, the Holy Spirit is there to assist you and to “guide you into all the truth,” (John 16:13) and we would be very rude not to ask Him to help us to understand what we are reading! Often when I find myself stuck trying to understand something I am reading in Scripture or working through a book or Bible study, I can usually see that I failed to ask the Holy Spirit to lead me as I read.

By the way, praying for your food does not count! Many people say they pray often, but when you ask them more deeply, they really mean that they prayed before a meal. This is not real, serious prayer! Pastor Tim recently taught us that real prayer involves begging the Lord to do something to make Himself known. Real prayer involves the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26) guiding us and praying with us. Real prayer seeks God’s will for the situation and His glory.

3. Seek to become a mature believer.

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are so slow to understand. By now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby and knows nothing about right teaching. But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14

Don’t be satisfied with “easy faith!” “Easy faith” does not care if something is true or not as long as it sounds good! There are many false preachers and teachers out there who are tricking people into thinking God wants them to have an easy life free from stress and struggle. Joel Osteen wants people to believe God wants you to have “your best life now.” But the Bible teaches differently.

Jesus said he didn’t come to bring peace but a sword and to divide families against each other (Matt. 10:34-37). Struggle will be something that happens often in a believer’s life. We have it easy here in America. We don’t have to struggle very much at all. But in other countries believers are being jailed and maybe even killed right as I am telling you this!

Here in America we can best avoid “easy faith” by becoming a servant. Remember, Jesus humbled himself by giving up his heavenly status and privilege to become human and become a servant. He also said that the world would know that we are His by our love for each other. Not only that, the second of the two greatest commandments were to love others as we love ourselves. When the world sees that you truly love your brothers and sisters in Christ, and that you truly care about the world’s well-being, they will be attracted to you and want to know more. They will want to know why you are serving them and each other. And you must be ready with an answer: Jesus! Serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. Serve those who are not believers. James 1:27 says that true religion is to care for orphans and widows in their afflictions. Serve your church and your fellow man!

How can I become a more mature believer? Begin by striving to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-12 – “search the Scriptures every day to find out if these things are true.” In fact, the more time you spend reading your Bible and praying, the more mature you will become! Keep your maturity growing by applying what you have read and learned in your life through serving the church and the world around you.

And lastly,

4. Share the Gospel with someone often!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15
“Always be prepared to explain to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15

I shouldn’t really have to explain this one. But so often this is the one area we are weakest. We sometimes do really good at reading our Bibles, and we do a good job being faithful in prayer, but we fail horribly at telling people about Jesus! A lot of times I find myself trying to be pleasant and enjoy our time together instead of looking for an opportunity to share the Gospel with a person. But sharing the Gospel is a habit that we have to develop. Here’s one way you can do that:

  • Make a goal of telling someone about Jesus at least one time every week.
  • When that becomes easy, make your goal to tell someone about Jesus 3 times a week.
  • Finally, when that becomes easy, make your goal to share Jesus at least one time every day!

Once you have built up your confidence and made witnessing a habit, you will be able to watch for opportunities to share the Gospel and take advantage of them often. This does not mean you will always share the Gospel. Sometimes it will mean you plant a seed. You might invite someone to hang out with you again in hopes of having a chance to talk about Jesus. You might get a chance to invite a person to church. But when evangelism becomes a habit you will always look for chances to bring a person to Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads you.

Glorifying God in 2010
Remember, here are 4 ways you can glorify God more in 2010, and in every year after that:

  1. 1. Spend time every day in God’s Word.
  2. 2. Spend time every day in prayer.
  3. 3. Seek to become a mature Christian.
  4. 4. Share the Gospel with someone often.

Let us work together, encouraging each other and asking the Holy Spirit to lead us in each of these areas in the new year!

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