Sermon delivered January 1, 2000

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted

2000 - Will it be New?

Welcome to the 2000's! we're almost in the new millennium. Isn't that great? I was awake last night at midnight. I couldn't sleep because of all the fireworks. These people that live in Grindstone get all excited, and they're our neighbors. They were really excited last night. They were shouting, "HAPPY NEW YEAR just as loud as they could. I could hear them. I listened for a cannon to go off, but i never heard it.

Well, we all survived Y2K! We did! All that worry for nothing. Well, it wasn't for nothing. A lot of people made a lot of money off of Y2K. You wonder what the dooms-dayers will do with all that dried food now. My dear wife and I were standing in the checkout line at Sam's getting some supplies for our church fellowship dinner. She said, "Look!" And I looked ahead of us and there was a man buying a generator. He had about fifty or sixty bottles of water in his cart that he was buying. My wife pointed to another man behind us who had two 5000 watt generators on his cart. "Wow! am I missing the boat here?" Yesterday I watched the news and nothing was happening in New Zealand, nothing in Australia, and nothing anywhere. Nothing, I guess, ever did happen as far as I've heard. So, all that for nothing. Anyway! The thought came to me how wonderful it would be if folk spent as much time and money preparing for the coming of the Lord. Wouldn't that be a great day! If we could just get people to prepare for the Lord like they do for that. I think we're too lackadaisical about Jesus. I think we need to be excited about Jesus.

If you're just kind of hanging onto the church, and hanging on to the Lord with your fingernails, you need to get all the way into Jesus this year. Don't be a half-way Christian. Let's get with it. Jesus is coming. He didn't come last night, but He needs to come into your heart today.

What is going to happen in the 2000's? I don't know! Jesus could come, this year. He's coming soon. We need to be ready. Only God possesses the knowledge of the future. In the eighteenth century we got the fabulous steam engine. The nineteenth century brought the light bulb and the twentieth century gave us Kitty Hawk, TV and the Internet and whatever else goes with all those things. What will the 2000's bring? I hope we're going to get Jesus. I fully believe that He's coming within just a short number of years, maybe months. We don't know.

Scientists in the French National Institute of Health tell us that human blood will soon be grown in the farmers field within just a few years. By implanting the hemoglobin making gene into corn stalks we will almost literally get blood from a turnip. With the human genome and its three billion DNA base pairs almost mapped out, our grandchildren will possibly live in a cancer-free world. Exciting times are here. Already researchers are growing human stem cells in the lab. They hope to grow new human parts to repair sick organs. New kidneys, livers and lungs and hearts. They hope to extend our life spans to 200 years or more. I'm planning to live two hundred zillion years. They plan to revive extinct species like the carrier pigeon and anything else they want. We're entering a new age. They are going to try to invent whole new species of animals and plants. You know, it seems to me like when scientists are splicing genes and manipulating the very basis of creation, there's a Gentleman upstairs that's going to come and say, "I think you've gone far enough. It's time to go home." Are we playing God here?

Daniel 12:4 (NLT) But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase. It's going to happen. We're seeing an explosion of knowledge today.

Brain transplants are possibilities. In the future a teacher may educate her student by downloading first grade straight into his mind with an interactive computer implanted into his brain. A paralyzed stroke victim named Ray who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, can now guide a computer cursor by using only his thoughts. There's something implanted in his brain that is connected to the computer. They're beginning to connect machines and people.

But all this understanding could be used for evil. In the twentieth century we invented the atomic bomb. In fact warfare took three times more lives in the nineteen-hundreds than in all 19 previous centuries combined. (US News and World Report, Jan 3, 2000, p. 96.) And God is going to do something about it.

Revelation 11:18 (KJV) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. We're destroying this earth. How are we destroying it? I think some of these new things that are being invented and haven't been tested yet, so we don't know what could happen when we start splicing genes. The 2000's bring us on the fringes of the Second Coming of Jesus and the last judgment. I think we're at that time. We must be strong and vigilant. There will be record breaking earthquakes. There will be floods like we've never seen before. There will be asteroids slamming into cities or perhaps into the ocean causing gigantic killer tidal waves. We haven't seen anything yet. These things are coming, and they tell me that Jesus coming is near. Imagine if there were to be another all-out world wide war, and this time the new Adolf Hitler at the controls of atomic bombs! There will be troubles without number. We don't know what could happen. Changes are taking place in Russia. There will be troubles without number. You can count on that.

Another sign in the religious world: After nearly 500 years of division and squabbling and feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys, now Lutherans and Catholics are going to get re-married. Signs in the religious world, in the physical world seem to tell us that the final moments of earths history are upon us.

But don't worry, you can face the future with Jesus. Only with Christ who controls the future, can you face the future. The greatest single thing you can take with you into the future is your relationship to Jesus Christ. That's the one thing that will carry you through. Do you have that relationship? If you don't, you don't have salvation. You are, of most people, lost.

If your spiritual life has been floundering... that can end and you can live a fresh pure, positive, powerful life. Jesus wants you to have a new life. It is possible! Romans 6:4 ...we too may live a new life. You can live a new life.

Do you want a new life? Do you desperately need a new experience? You can have it! How does it happen? Not by a new year. We are not changed by new things. You might think that this is a brand new year, things are going to be different. New years do not change people. Just because the Nineteen Hundreds are forever gone and the fresh new 2000's have arrived, that will not change your life. We are not changed by new calendars.

Victory does not come by New Things. II Samuel 21:15,16 (NLT) Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds, and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him...

That's actually what happened. This giant had a brand new sword. He thought it would bring him victory. Did it? No! One of David's men slew him. New things do not bring new life. Just because this is a new year, that doesn't mean you are going to be victorious this year. I will tell you what will bring you victory. New things do not bring new life. Some people may be thinking, if I just had a new house, or a new car, or if I just had a new husband or a new ..., then things would be different. If I weren't anchored to this old person, or these parents that I've got. Then I would have victory. I would be new. If I could just get a new something.

One year just shortly after Christmas day, my 10 year old son came up and said, "Dad, there is nothing to do!" Here we had almost mortgaged the house to get Christmas presents for him. There were more presents than we had room to put them. He had received more new toys than we could afford, and there was nothing to do! He had all those old things and no new experience.

Verse 19 (NIV). In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.

This giant came with an enormous spear. He thought the SIZE would bring victory. He also failed and lost his life. In America there is a phrase that says: "The bigger the better." Will a bigger pay check solve your problem? Will a bigger house give you success? Experts tell us that the problem is the size of the bills, not the size of the paycheck. If you made more you would spend more. Do larger trophies bring success? Would a larger house bring triumph? No, because I have known of several couples who moved into a new house and soon after got divorced. That does not guarantee success.

II Samuel 21:20,21 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot--twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him. Well, that's interesting. He thought, "I can be superior because I have all these fingers. I can count to twelve. I'm superior because of physical superiority."

Physical superiority ... does it bring happiness and peace? What if you had Seven fingers on each hand? What if you had more muscles... Or, maybe you think if you just had better looks or a smoother complexion you would finally arrive. Or more hair! Would these things make you superior and give you victory? Would you be a new person? Would you finally arrive> What if you had more hair, then would you be successful? Would these things make you superior? Would these things give you victory? No, they will not.

Let me be very clear, there is nothing wrong with muscles, or larger houses, or more money or more hair. But these things do not bring success. David concludes with the secret to victory.

II Samuel 22:1-3 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me. It isn't accomplished by new calendars is it. We don't get victory through new things, bigger muscles, through bigger spear- heads. That's not what happens. "The Lord is my Rock."

Jesus Christ is the key to a new life. We serve a Savior who is sufficient for the year 2000, for the final days of history. He can give you victory. He can give you success. He can give you a brand new life.

Revelation 21:5 He makes all things new! This includes you. Only Jesus can make you into a new person.

Ezekiel 36:26,27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. God will do that for you. He wants to give you a new heart. He wants to give you a new experience.

The egg's no chick by falling from the hen, nor man a Christian till he's born again.

We need an new experience, and to get that we need a new birth. We need to be born again.

With the nineteen hundreds gone, we must put God first in our life. Jesus' coming is so close. Time is running out. Right now, why not get a new order of priorities in your life? Place God first. We need to spend more time with Bible study. We need to spend more time on our knees in prayer. More is accomplished by praying than by preaching. Have you spent time in prayer this year? Every morning we ought to spend time in intimate conversation with our Maker, our Savior, our coming King. If you are a critical person, pray that God will make you a new creation in Jesus. You may be saying that your Christianity is about as weak as a half drowned man tossed on the sand. Then you need to follow the advice given in Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. If you want to be successful, you need to seek God first.

You ought to begin each new day of the 2000's with God. If you approach each day with the same habits as before you will end up with the same results as before. Study your Bible, Pray, attend prayer meeting. Witness to others. Make Jesus first.

TWO BIRD DOGS

A man liked to go hunting. So he bought two bird dogs, beautiful, mature animals. He brought them home and showed them to his wife. She said that they were beautiful. I think they were Labradors. They were very expensive. They were strong and soon enjoyed playing in the back yard. But trouble started. They soon heard a low growl. It was the neighbor's bulldog. He came over to pay his respects to the newcomers. Instantly the bird dogs began to growl.

The man's wife said: "There's going to be a fight, we had better put the dogs in the cellar!" But the man insisted that if the two bird dogs could not lick one bulldog they were not worth much. So the fight began. The snarling and snapping were terrible. Finally after twenty long minutes, the bulldog slunk away beaten and bleeding.

The next morning about the same time the bulldog returned and the same terrible fight took place. Again the bird dogs were victorious! The man was so happy. He had to leave for a business trip. He was gone two weeks. When he got home and went to look for his precious champion dogs, the winners of the fights, he could not find them. He went indoors and asked his wife: "Where are my dogs?" "Down in the basement," she said. "In the cellar!" he cried, "What are they doing down there?"

Then she told him how each morning the bull dog returned. Each time he was soundly licked by the bird dogs. After a week of this the bird dogs went down in the cellar and now not even the fire department can't get them out! The bird dogs gave up!

As we enter the 2000's, don't give up. Our adversary may be persistent, but do not let this year be the year that you gave up on Jesus. Keep trying. The failures of yesteryear never justify quitting. Don't let your zealousness slip.

II Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)- What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! While the world drinks and dances the first hours of the new year, let we who are Christians spend its first hours in newness of life. If all you have is a new calendar you don't have much. What we need is a new forever in our heart. A new experience in Jesus.

In Ecuador, the celebration of a new year is unique. During the week preceding January 1, people created and decorated scarecrow-like dummies. Then last night at midnight, they took these dummies out and set them on fire. It's called "Burning the Old Man." This tradition gives the people a sense of new beginnings and represents the burning away of their sins and shortcomings. If only these people could experience the cleansing power of Jesus Christ. I want Jesus to burn the Old Man of sin every day.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

How can the 2000's be new? By inviting Jesus to make you into a new person. Today and every day. By having an intimate prayer life with Him, an intimate time getting acquainted, establishing the relationship with Him You'll never be more in love with your wife if you don't spend time with her. You can't fall deeply in love with Jesus without spending that time.

They say there is nothing new UNDER THE SUN. But all things are new - IN THE SON, the Son of righteousness, in Jesus Christ! Determine to put your trust not in new generators and new calendars, but in Jesus. He will make you new indeed! Happy new year!

Opening Hymn: #1, Praise to the Lord
Scripture: Romans 6:1-4
Closing Hymn: #343, I Will Sing of My Redeemer

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