I greet you in this New Year in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, praying that the year be filled with the joy and peace which is in Him.
On New Years Eve, I preached a sermon entitled “This New Year Make Full Proof.” You may ask, “What exactly do I have to prove?”
Psalm 26: 2 says, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” I really like that he says “try my reins” here, because most of us are like wild horses, needing to be broken. Once we are used to the reins, Jesus, as a vaquero (Spanish for cowboy), can take the reins: sometimes pulling back to slow us down, and other times to prove us. He will let us see how fast we can run, similar to seeing how fast your car will go. My wife and I recently purchased a 2004 Dodge Intrepid, and every time I get behind the wheel I want to prove how fast it can go.
The psalmist David wanted to show God what he could do for the Lord who had done so much for him. He wanted God to look into his heart and see that he really meant what he believed. Do you feel like David today? Do you want God to prove you? Will you let God know how good of a runner you really are? I’m saying to you make full proof, and prove to God that you will go at full speed ahead for Him.
In 2 Tim. 4:1-8, Paul gives a charge to Timothy, his son in the Lord. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; … they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” They will rather listen to fairy tales and fables based on stories from the bible, rather than the truth of God’s word. Many people today like to hear sweet stories about how everything is alright and going to be alright. If they hear anything to the contrary, they claim that it is false doctrine. Paul said that it was Timothy’s job to reprove and rebuke, as well as exhort. A rebuke is often not easy to receive. When I was a child, I sure did not like it when my father would say, "Go wait in your room. I’ll be in soon.” Oh the pain and agony of waiting for him to come into the room. The waiting seemed longer than the punishment. I can remember thinking, “I wish he would just come in and get it over with.” While he would always wait an appropriate amount of time, as a child, this was always too long.
In verse 5, Paul says, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” As Paul continues in verses 6-8, he is explaining to Timothy how to take care of things. He exhorts Timothy to always keep his eyes open: ready for anything, anywhere, that is going to happen; and to be strong. He needs to try and go on even if he is not quite up to it. We can say, “I don’t feel like it today. I’m hurting, or too tired.” God worked six days. I do not believe He complained about it. He saw what He had done and said, “It is good.” Don’t you like to step back from a completed job and say, “That looks pretty good.” I think you are just like God in this way. On the Fourth day, He did not stop and say, “I’m not feeling well. I’ll stay home today.” God worked until He was finished, and then He rested.
Let us, together, make full proof this year. Let us be and do all that we can for our Lord every day of this year and beyond. If you are a preacher you need to be preaching. If a singer, you need to be singing. God has a work for everyone that believes on Him, and a reward that goes with this work. How many of you would work today for no wages. I believe that I am worth every penny I make at my job. How about you? Are you on God’s payroll? Do you want that final paycheck in life’s labors?
Paul told us to press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling. He tells Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Do you love Him today? Will you make full proof of that this year and every year? I willbe praying that you will. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace. Your servant in Christ our Lord, Pastor Joel.