2 Ideas for Your New Year’s Sermon
If you’re like me, you typically procrastinate on your sermon for New Year’s weekend. The preaching calendar says, “stand alone sermon” and when you notice it in September, it’s like, “eh, that’s months away.” Then in October you’re like, “I should probably figure that out.” And then in December you panic. Yeah. Been there.
I thought I would share two rough outlines I have for a sermon on New Year’s weekend. I’ll probably use one of these myself.
Maybe one of these ideas will fit you and your church, or perhaps one of these sermon ideas will generate a better idea for you and your content.
By the way, in our church context, New Year’s weekend is a family service, which means that our children’s ministry only serves babies through young 5’s. So, this sermon may feel shorter than normal.
A Sermon on King Solomon
Text: 1 Kings 3
Big Idea: Two Qualities that will serve you well in 2023: Humility and Wisdom
- Genie of the Lamp from Aladdin
- Today we are going to look at the story of King Solomon from 1 Kings 3. What he experiences is not that different from what Aladdin experienced. God invites Solomon to wish for anything.
- At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5)
- What about you? What would you wish for? If you could script 2023, what would happen? What would you do?
- The story of Solomon reveals two qualities that we should strive for in 2023.
Point One: Humility
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.” (1 Kings 3:6-8)
I wonder if there is something you are facing in 2023 that just feels too big for you to handle. How do you respond to that challenge?
Solomon gives us an example of humility. There is no pride in his approach. He fully recognizes that God is the source of his blessing and his kingship. He comes to God with deep humility.
Application: Humility is perhaps the greatest quality you could pursue in 2023. As Peter taught in the New Testament: Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)
Point Two: Wisdom
Solomon acknowledges that he is King because of God’s sovereignty, not his own awesomeness. Then, he makes his request of God:
“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)
Solomon asks for a discerning heart. My interpretation: He asks for wisdom. A second character quality that will serve you well in 2023 is wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to actually make the wise decision when it matters. How do you make wise decisions? First you ask God for wisdom. Second, you follow this simple statement that I stole directly from Andy Stanley:
“In light of my past experiences, my present circumstances and future hopes and dreams…what’s the wise thing for me to do? Should I buy it? Should we move in together? Should I pursue it?”
Conclusion: Back to the genie of the lamp. What does Solomon desire? Wealth? Power? Washboard abs? In humility, Solomon chose wisdom. Wisdom is more precious than…well, let’s allow an older Solomon to tell us in his own words,
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
A Sermon on New Creation
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Big Idea: Before you make any resolutions, understand who you are and what you are called into.
Intro: Are you a resolutions person? What resolutions will you pursue this year?
- Most resolutions are about becoming a better person—healthier, wiser, more adventurous.
- It seems to me that most of the resolutions I’ve pursued (until about March…let’s be honest) are born out of my own insecurities. To work out because I’m ashamed of my body. To eat better…same reason.
- My hope for you is that 2023 would be different—a better year, because you understand who you are and the mission you are called into.
Point One: New Creation
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Does anyone need a fresh start in 2023? Does anyone need to be reminded that their identity is rooted in Christ, not in what people think or say about them? Does anyone need to be reminded that you are no longer defined by your past, but rather by what Jesus has done?
Before you choose any resolutions this year, listen to this: You are loved. You are pure. You are adopted. You are secure. You are whole. Let’s start from there, rather than the insecurities that often define us.
Point Two: New Mission
With this identity in mind, let’s talk about what really matters in 2023.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
This new identity has nothing to do with how good or bad you are. It has everything to do with what Jesus did for you. He reconciled you to God through his sacrificial death. Now, we are His ambassadors, sharing his message of reconciliation.
Not only do you have a new identity, you have a new mission—to represent God in the world and to share his message with the people in your life.
Question: Where in your life is an ambassador of Jesus needed? Family? Work? School?
Question: Who in your life needs the message of Jesus? Who needs to experience being made new in Jesus?
My prayer for you is that 2023 would not be about “do better.” My prayer is that you would experience freedom and joy, understanding who you are in Jesus, and that this freedom and joy might propel you to step into your mission and to be an ambassador for Christ.
If you haven’t prepared your Christmas Service, check out this article for some ideas.