"A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR"
I. "THAT YOU MIGHT BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL."
A. God has a plan a purpose for your life. There is a reason for your existence. The most important thing in life is to know that plan and accomplish it.
1. The Bible declares that you were created for His good pleasure.
a. Jesus who is the example for us said, "I do always those things that please the Father."
b. When Jesus was baptized the voice of God spoke from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased."
2. That is the primary purpose for your life to bring Him pleasure.
3. All the things you have ever done for your sake and for your pleasure are to be consumed as wood, hay and stubble.
4. You have only one life and it will soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last.
B. You cannot accomplish the will of God for your life if you do not know what His will is.
1. Hence the request that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will.
a. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of God is."
b. This should be your primary pursuit.
2. Do you know what the will of God is for your life?
3. Are you seeking to accomplish God's will?
C. "This is in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."
1. Paul prayed for those in Ephesus that they may be filled with Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
2. Here he is praying for wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of His will.
3. Paul told the Corinthians that one day we would all receive rewards according to our labor. That Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which we build our lives, but we need to be careful how we build and what materials we use. Some build with precious stones, and others with wood, hay and stubble. One day all of our works will be tried by fire to determine what sort they are, and if your works endure the fire, you will be rewarded, but if they are consumed by the fire, you will suffer loss, i.e. of the rewards, but you will be saved.
II. "THAT YOU MIGHT WALK WORTHY OF THE LORD."
A. That is a big order, how could I ever walk worthy of the Lord?
a. Not in my own strength or ability to be sure.
b. Only as I walk in the Spirit.
B. You have been adopted into the family of God, now walk like a child of God.
1. Paul told the Ephesians that we were not to walk as the pagans
a. In the emptiness of their minds.
b. Their understanding is darkened.
c. Alienated from the life of God through ignorance.
d. Past feeling they have given themselves over to lasciviousness.
e. Their works are impure motivated by greed.
C. What is it to walk worthy of the Lord?
1. Walk in love.
2. Walk in purity.
3. Walk in peace.
4. Walk in faith.
III. "THAT YOU MIGHT BE FRUITFUL IN EVERY GOOD WORK."
A. The good works are the fruit of our relationship with Jesus.
1. Jesus said that He was the vine and we were the branches, and if we would abide in Him we would bring forth fruit.
2. He said that the Father was glorified when we brought forth much fruit.
B. Is your life fruitful in every good work?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
1. Jesus said this in the context of, "By their fruits you will know them."
2. What kind of fruit is coming forth from your life?
C. The fruit of the Spirit is love.
IV. "THAT YOU MIGHT INCREASE IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD."
A. How would you rate your knowledge of God?
1. We have dedicated our lives to bringing men into the knowledge of God through the word.
2. In vs 6, he speaks of knowing the grace of God in truth.
B. How can we increase in our knowledge of God? Zophar the friend of Job said,
Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
1. Many men profess to know God but they do not have the slightest clue.
2. There are many who have created their own gods.
a. If I were God this is how I would have done things.
b. I wonder what God thinks of such arrogance.
2. From what sources have you gained your knowledge of God?
a. What others have told you?
b. By reading His revelation of Himself?
c. What you have learned by personal relationship with Him.
3. Paul's cry in his letter to the Philippians was "That I might know Him and power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings."
a. The word know is the Greek word ginosko. To know by personal experience.
b. This is what Paul is desiring for them, to know God by personal experience.
V. THAT THEY MIGHT BE STRENGTHENED WITH ALL MIGHT ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS POWER.
A. If ever there was a time in history when we need to experience and know the power of God it is today.
1. The powers of darkness are working overtime to destroy mankind.
a. There is a group who are now declaring that when you say "God bless you" to a person when they sneeze, that you are violating their constitutional rights of freedom.
b. I cannot believe how intelligent men can so twist the meaning of the religious freedom clause in the Constitution to interpret it as meaning freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion.
c. Freedom seems to be given to every evil cause.
d. The freedom of speech has been so broadly interpreted that anything goes, the worse filth, the vilest language and they continue to push the limits in radio and T.V.
e. The old story of the frog and boiling water.
f. It is like being inoculated so that our body builds up a tolerance.
B. We need the power of God to stand against the tide of evil that is engulfing our world.
1. Paul wrote to the Ephesians "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
2. How wonderful that God has made His power available to us.
3. Jesus said to His disciples, "You will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be witnesses of Me."
C. To be strengthened with all might would be His might for He is the Almighty God. "His glorious power."
D. The three characteristics that should mark our lives, patience, longsuffering, joyfulness. So for this New Year may you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; may you walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; may you be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, may you have all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;