A New Year’s Look

Title: A New Year's Look

Bible Book: Revelation 21 : 5

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Jesus, Return of; New Year



Having preached over 50 New Year’s sermons you would think I would simply start recycling some of the old ones, and I might - if I could find them. Now, that is not as bad as it may seem. I came in one day and discovered that a cleaning lady had thrown away a stack of sermon outlines that I had saved over the years. I never mentioned, but I am wondering how many New Year’s Day sermons there might have been in that stack.

Actually, what I would like for us to do today is to go beyond what many people do on New Year’s Day. Instead of looking back to the previous year and then ahead to the coming year, I would like for us to really look back, and then really look ahead. We will look at Genesis 1:1 and look ahead to Revelation 21:1-8. I once preached an evangelistic message in which I quoted, or referred to passages from Genesis to Revelation and after the service a lady said, “You preached through the whole Bible!” I agreed with her, without commenting on what I had left out.

As we stand on the brink of a New Year I would like for us to look back, look around, and look ahead.


A. We Will Begin with Creation, Genesis 1:1.

1. God Created the heavens and the earth. He created everything that exists, including Adam, whom He created in His own image. Then He created Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, where He would meet with them and have fellowship with them.

2. John tells us that Jesus was the Agent of Creation. The Father said, “Let there be” and the Son caused it to happen. Satan, the father of liars, knows all about the Creator and His creation, but continues to influence people to deny what God had done. His most successful deception has been the theory of evolution. Believe me, there will be no evolutionists in hell, including Satan himself. Satan has a lot of other disciples: some are agnostics and some claim to be atheists. There won’t be any agnostics or atheists in hell, either. And you can be sure there will be none in heaven.

3. Next, came the Fall and its consequences. We read about the fall in Genesis 3, where we learn that sin brought death. There was no death before sin. In Genesis 3, we find the first promise of a coming One who will destroy Satan.

B. Then There Was the Flood, Genesis 6.

1. The whole world became corrupt. Satan must have believed he was in the driver’s seat. The whole world was doing that which pleased him and dishonored the Lord. Even with his experience, he must not have anticipated what action God would take, not that he cared.

2. God started over with Noah and the ark. The great Deluge is one of he most hotly debated events in the history of the world. For me, it is significant that the best account of the Flood comes from the One who caused it. He was there and should know, regardless of what the evolutionists say. The Book of Genesis provides the basic account of the Flood, and the ark God commanded Noah and his sons to built. Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives were spared the fate of all those who were outside the ark. With Noah and his family the Lord started all over with the human race. There is evidence of a world wide flood all over the whole world.

3. Man rebelled again and God confused languages at Babel. Some of those tribes that have a story of a great flood also have a story of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues. One ancient king, according to an ancient clay tablet, lamented the memory of a time when all people spoke the same language.

C. God Called Abram to Go to a Land of Promise, Genesis 12.

1. God called Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees. The world had once again become filled with sinful people, but God had a plan by which He would preserve a witness for Himself.

2. The Lord cut a covenant with Abraham. The Abrahamic Covenant focuses on the Seed of Abraham who would become the Savior of the world. We know him as Jesus, the Christ.

3. Abraham believed God and righteousness was imputed unto him, Rom. 4:3. Abraham was redeemed five hundred years before the Mosaic Law, so he was saved, not by the Law, but by faith in God’s covenant.

D. God Called Moses to Deliver the Israelites from Egypt, Exodus.

1. The Lord prepared him, Ex. 1, 2. The Lord miraculously spared his life when he was an infant, placed him where he would be educated and gain knowledge and experience which the Lord would use to deliver the Children of Israel from bondage in Egypt.

2. The Lord Called him, Ex. 3. We know the story of the burning bush from which the Lord spoke to Moses and commissioned him to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

3. God blessed his efforts, Ex. 4-17. Through the Ten Plagues God demonstrated His sovereignty over powers of Egypt, as well as the false gods of the land. The Exodus remains one of the great testimonies to the power and might of Yahweh in His dealings with mankind.

4. God gave the Law through Moses, Ex. 20ff. The Lord gave, not only the Law, but a worship system which the people were to follow until the coming of the Messiah. Everything in the sacrificial system points to Jesus Christ. Just think about the Passover.

E. Yahweh Called Joshua to Lead in the Conquest of Canaan, Deut. 31.

1. God used Joshua to conquer the Promised Land, Joshua 1ff. God gave Israel victory after victory through Joshua their commander. His life and victories testify to the coming One whose name in the Hebrew is the same as Joshua the son of Nun, but this Joshua (Yeshua) would provide much greater victories.

2. God used judges to deliver, protect and guide Israel, The Book of Judges. The Lord was to have been their King, but they continually rebelled and turned to idols. He sent judges to deliver them and as long as that judge live they followed the Lord, but when he died they rebelled again and had to be delivered again. In time they demanded a king like those who reigned over other nations.

F. Yahweh Had Samuel Anoint David as King, 1 Samuel 16:1ff.

Jesus descended from Abraham according to the Covenant and He descended from David according to the royal line. David was a man after God’s own heart and the Lord gave him victory after victory until Israel owned all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.

G. God Called Prophets to Proclaim His Message.

1. Some were called to instruct the people (Samuel).

2. Some were sent to announce judgment on the people (Amos, Hosea).

3. Some were sent to foretell future events (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel).

H. When the Time Was Right, God Sent His Son to Provide for Our Salvation, the Gospels.

1. He was born of a virgin.

2. He live a perfect life.

3. He died for our sins.

4. He arose for our salvation.

5. He sits at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.

I. Jesus Commissioned Apostles and Others to Evangelize the World (Matt. 28:19-20).

Those apostles and many other believers became martyrs for Jesus Christ when the proclaimed the Gospel. He had given the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), and before His Ascension He predicted that they would carry out that commission as soon as they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

J. The Church Eventually Became Corrupt.

1. The Scripture was distorted. Certain individuals deliberately corrupted the Scripture.

2. The Scripture was locked away from the people. We were told in school that when Jerome translated the Scripture into Latin it was a good thing. In reality, when he did that it took the Scripture out of the language of the people and placed it under the church and state, which was often controlled by the corrupt church.

K. The Reformation Offered Freedom to Those Locked in the Dark Dungeon of Religion.

1. Wycliffe, Tyndale, and others translated the Bible into the language of the street. They paid a horrible price for their work, but the Lord took the ashes of martyrs and flung them across the known world and wherever they fell revival fires were kindled.

2. A great missionary movement carried the Gospel throughout the world.

a. William Carey was the father of the modern mission movement.
b. The Judson and Luther Rice were early American missionaries.

3. Baptists joined others in sending missionaries throughout the world.

a. Southern Baptists created the International Mission Board.
b. Southern Baptists created the North American Mission Board.
c. State Baptist conventions created mission departments to support mission causes.

L. America Became the Center for World Missions and Evangelism.

1. John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards led in a Great Awakening.

2. Church history records the contributions of many great preachers and missionaries.


A. There Are Many Great Churches in America.

1. Historically, there have been many great churches in the United States.

a. I grew up almost in the shadow of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee. I actually never attended a service at Bellevue until the church moved to Cordova, but I grew up in a mission church and we had Sunday School at 9:00 and morning worship at 10:00, which meant that we got home around 11:15, just in time to put things away and get back to the television in time to see Dr. R. G. Lee come to the pulpit, kneel to the right of the pulpit on his right knee and pray before standing to preach. I can still picture him in my mind, with his white Palm Beach Suit and his silver hair, and a tongue “from which divine truth fell like golden pollen from the stems of shaken lilies” (as he said of Spurgeon and Savanarola). On two occasions I heard him preach Pay Day Some Day in person. He preached that sermon over 1200 times.

b. I never attended a service at First Baptist Church, Dallas, but I had the privilege of hearing Dr. W. A. Chriswell on a number of occasions. I have talked with people who worked with him, like Dr. Jimmy Draper, and others who heard him preach many times. I read his books and Dr. Leo Eddleman told me that even when many publishers were showing little interest in publishing books of sermons, one publisher told Dr. Chriswell they would publish anything he wrote. I was told that he took his earning from book sales and repaid First Baptist Church every cent they had ever paid him. There were some giants among us in those days. I could go on an on, but those two churches and those two pastors will illustrate some of the mighty men of God in the days.

2. Today, we have the mega-churches. They are well publicized.

3. Countless small churches preach and teach the Gospel. These churches continue to minister to members and reach out to the lost. Over the years they have furnished thousands of pastors and missionaries. Sadly, many of those small churches have grown smaller, some have closed their doors, but we should never look down on those small churches. I strongly disagree with the staff member of a large church who made the statement, “I think the small churches should call old pastors so they can all die off together.” With his attitude he would never make it in a small church. Some small churches have seen members move away when young men and women found jobs elsewhere, but sadly, some lost members after a few members began acting like they owned the church. The small church normally gives children an opportunity to interact with senior adults, and children and young people an opportunity to get to know the leadership of the church. Those are good things. In many cases, the people in the pew hear the Gospel preached and grow in their understanding of the Lord and His expectation of believers.

B. America Became a Center for the Spread of the Gospel Around the World.

1. Colleges and seminaries train ministers and missionaries.

a. They provide training and motivation for the Lord’ work.
b. Seminaries require work in various fields for credit.

2. Members support missionaries and mission causes.

C. Modern Means of Communication Enable Us to reach out to the Word.

1. For years, radio and television have been used to spread the Gospel.

2. The electronic media has now made the Gospel available to masses around the world.

Dr. Mike Minnix has created and maintained ministries to help pastors and lay persons prepare Bible lessons, sermons, and other seminars through www.sermoncity.com. In fact, I have many articles, sermons, and commentaries (from my Bible Notebook) posted on this site). There are now many, many sites to help us in our effort to carry out the Great Commission.

D. Sadly, All that Is New Is not Good News Today.

1. Some denominations have been in decline for years.

2. Morally and culturally, we are in decline.

a. Over fifty million unborn babies have been slaughtered since Roe V. Wade.
b. Many people show more compassion for a dog, cat, or frog than a baby.
c. Homosexuality is raising its ugly head in churches these days.
d. Countless men and women are living together without being married.
e. Christian morals are not embraced by many professing Christians.
f. Violence is spreading.
e. Violence in the home is spreading at an alarming rate.
g. Political, social, and civic leaders are waging a war on God.
h. Jesus is in the cross hairs of a growing number in America.
i. Many leaders are more tolerant of Islam than Christianity.
k. Some churches use games and gimmicks to reach young people.
l. A president has announced to the world that America is not a Christian nation.
m. The ACLU attacks anything that hints of Christianity in public places.
n. The Supreme Court took prayer out of schools in 1962.
o. Bible reading was taken out of school in 1963.
p. William Bennett’s moral index showed crime increasing since those rulings.
q. The teaching of evolution has been a factor in the cultural and moral decline.

Francis Schaeffer once wrote that England entered the post-Christian era in their history in 1895, and America entered the post-Christian period in her history in 1935. What was the major factor in both cases? The teaching of evolution in public schools, following some court decision, such as the infamous Scopes trial in 1925, once called the Monkey Trial.


A. The Future Seems Uncertain.

1. The immediate future holds out hope.

2. The Long rang future is questionable.

The long range hope depends to a certain degree upon the immediate future. Church members today, in general, do not know the Word of God. The opportunity is there, but some elect not to study the Bible. They are much more sophisticated in electronics, social networking, and Google searches for information, but there is a disturbing trend as far as church and family are concerned. I speak regularly with a Juvenile Prosecutor who has been called on to do some work for the governor’s office, for the Supreme Court, and for the legislature. Because of the confidential nature of his work he cannot say very much about it, but in a general sense he speaks of some disturbing trends.

Families are falling apart. Divorce is already a disturbing situation in America, and it is a growing concern. The effects of divorce on children will keep sociologists and psychologists busy for years to come.

Many churches place great emphasis on children and youth, but if that emphasis is not Bible based many of those young people will drop out of church as soon as they leave home. Games and gimmicks are not enough for children from broken homes who are caught up in a tug of war between parents. If the current situation continues the long range situation looks very bad.

B. There Is a Future that Is Certain.

1. Those who reject Jesus Christ will be judged by Him. They will hear Him say, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” They will be cast into hell. In Luke, we read, “And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw [people] into hell after death” (Luke 12:4-5, HCSB). The New Testament speaks of people going to hell, being thrown into hell, and people being cast into hell. There is nothing pleasant about either one of them. Hell is a place of conscious, eternal torment. In the Revelation, there is the warning to all who reject Jesus Christ: “ Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:14-15, HCSB).

2. Those who receive Jesus Christ by faith will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. In His Farewell Address, Jesus promised that He was going back to the Father:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (2) "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (4) "And where I go you know, and the way you know." (5) Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" (6) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:1-6, NKJV).

3. You will either spend eternity with Jesus in heaven or in hell with the devil who deceived you:

“(1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. (2) I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. (3) Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. (5) Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” (6) And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty from the spring of living water as a gift. (7) The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. (8) But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:1-8, HCSB)


Jesus made some specific promises to believers (Matthew 24. 25). Time will not permit a careful study of all those promises today, but the Lord’s messengers at the time of the Ascension made a very clear statement: “While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. (11) They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11, HCSB)

In His Farewell Address, Jesus promised that He is come for us and that we will spend eternity with Him. John, who penned those words, was the beloved disciple to whom the Revelation was given and at the close of the Revelation we read, “ He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” To that promise, John said, “ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20, HCSB).

I will confess that I do not understand everything there is to know about the Second Coming of Jesus, but this much I do know: I do not know what the future holds, but Ido know Who holds the future.
When I look at what is happening in the world today I can say with John, Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

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