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Three Tests for the New Year

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1 Three Tests for the New Year
Psalms 26:2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart

2 Tests/Examinations A very sad boy said to his dad one afternoon, “Dad, I think I failed that math test today.” The father replied, “Son, be positive.” The boy answered, “O.K., Dad, I’m positive I failed that math test today!” Pop quizzes and Exams Dr. Clyde Q. Shelley Each pop quiz = ten points 1/3 semester’s grade 1/3 from mid term tests 1/3 from final exam

3 Tests/Examinations Every Christian faces the same kinds of exams
A daily “pop” quiz Occasional big exams A major final exam The way you deal with the daily exam will largely determine the grade or reward Not whether you pass or fail But your reward received at the Big Final Exam The Judgment Seat of Christ Where a believer’s works are judged

4 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

5 God Tests His People! He tests the mind and the heart
He tested the Israelites in the wilderness God fed them manna To see if they would obey To see if they loved Him Deuteronomy 13:3 - “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

6 God Tests His People! God tested Abraham – Genesis 22
Gideon’s soldiers – Judges 7-9 Joseph – waiting God’s promises - Psalm 105:19 Hezekiah – God withdrew from him so that He might know all that was in his heart - 2 Chronicles 32:31

7 God Tests His People! Job says that God tests man continually - Job 7:17-18 Job says that when God has tested him he will come forth like gold - Job 23:10 Isaiah says that God tests His people in a furnace of affliction like silver - Isaiah 48:10 Paul - It is God Who tests our hearts - 1 Thessalonians 2:4

8 God Tests His People! God’s tests are very special for His people
Main purpose of God’s tests = to show a person’s real character James 1:2 - “count it all joy when you fall into testings” Peter tells us why - that the proving or testing of our faith may result in glory for God - 1 Peter 1:7

9 A Three Part New Year’s Test
Biblical advice Lamentations 3:40 “Let us search out (test) and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD” 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?; unless indeed you are disqualified” New Year Time to reflect, consider the past, plan for the future Find a quiet place - honestly take the following test Three part test - roots in the Sermon on the Mount The Attitude test The Affirmation test The Action test

10 I. The Attitude Test James Allen Proverbs 23:7
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” Aphorism = A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage; a saying Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Attitude is the issue!

11 I. The Attitude Test Herb Hodges “the beatitudes are good attitudes to be in” Each beatitude in Matthew 5 is based on an inward attitude which is intended to stimulate an outward lifestyle

12 Matthew 5:3-11 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

13 The Attitude Test Which best describe your present attitude?
Thanksgiving, praise, celebration, positive attitude Indifference, apathy, tension, frustration, bitterness, anger Castle of Mansoul - Pilgrims’ Progress – John Bunyan Diabolonians attack the Castle Any one of these can capture the Castle of Mansoul at any time A whole hoard of invaders can hold Mansoul hostage at any time Emmanuel battles against the Diabolonians Mansoul may be in perfect peace Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Not because he is passive and indifferent But because his inner character is controlled by Emmanuel - the Lord Jesus Christ!

14 Peace of Heart John 14:27 Isaiah 32:17
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Peace is not the absence of conflict It is the confidence that comes from the control of a Victor! Isaiah 32:17 “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” Take a few moments and remain still Check your attitude Is there peace in your heart? Be sure that all of your life is yielded up to Jesus

15 II. The Affirmation Test
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” How free are you? Free enough to positively affirm others? Free enough to receive affirmation from others? How skilled are you in affirming others? How bold are you in affirming others?

16 Our Model Jesus Christ Matthew 7:12
Even His harshest rebukes contain affirmations Even His commands are affirmations “This is your responsibility--and you can fulfill it if you appropriate My grace and power!” Affirmation is a crucial form of encouragement Mark Twain, “I can run three months on just one tiny compliment!” Matthew 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” Everyone likes to be affirmed or complimented Anis Shorrosh – “Lovely Loretta” – she glowed! Michelle

17 Affirmation The sports page - a star football player:
“One positive statement from my coach is worth a hundred compliments from sportswriters” Every parent/grandparent is a coach Every disciple-maker/teacher is a coach A player-coach! Every member of his team needs affirmation! May God forgive us for not affirming people more! Especially those God has placed in our lives for us to disciple!

18 Affirmation or Rebuke? “All of us work best in the sunshine of approval” A little boy to his father “Let’s play darts! I’ll throw, and you say, ‘Wonderful!’” Jesus saw sinners, but He treated them like saints Adam Clarke – Methodist theologian Father warned Adam’s teacher - “He won’t do well” The teacher, “He looks perfectly bright to me” Adam later testified that that one brief sentence spoken by his teacher in a casual moment changed his life forever! Daniel 2nd grade music teacher told him he could lead in singing Killed his joy for music until this day! Performance awards – many small – given publicly with affirmation

19 Affirmation or Rebuke? Rebuke has its place
But “honey draws more flies than vinegar” TV today - always tearing people down - teaches us to tear one another down, not build one another up! Many people open their affirmations with “Now I don’t want to give you the big-head” “I don’t want to inflate your ego” Well, give me a chance, anyway! God has a Giant Pin with which He bursts the balloon of inflated ego! Be secure and free enough in Christ Jesus to give honest affirmations

20 III. The Action Test Jesus’ Example - Matthew 11:2-11
As we read, feel the crisis of doubt and uncertainty which grips the heart of John the Baptist John in the dark doubts what God has clearly shown him in the light He is in prison His situation is “graveyard serious” He sends a message to Jesus, asking, “Are you really the Messiah, or should we look for another?”

21 Matthew 11:2-11 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

22 Matthew 11:2-11 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

23 III. The Action Test Two things are attacking John the Baptist in this passage – Inactivity - a potential killer Isolation – if prolonged, a sure detriment It is very significant that Jesus didn’t give a direct answer to John’s question John needs immediate attention! He said, “Go and tell John what you hear and see” Don’t tell him what I am saying; tell him what I am doing

24 The Mid-term Exam For Jesus, the “mid-term exam” was the test of action Matthew 7:24 “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them” Jesus didn’t seem to be very impressed with what people said He was more impressed with what they did Believers are known by their fruits - John 15:1-11 True prophets can be distinguished from false prophets by what actually happens Matthew 7:21 - “Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven” When Simon Peter professed that he loved Jesus, Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep” - John 21:15-23

25 Action or Guilt? God is still “doing” these things from Matthew 11
His doing must not be kept secret Do your actions line you up with what God is doing? Often our own sin keeps us from thinking that God can use us to do the work of His kingdom

26 May, 1982, “Guideposts” True story - British violinist Peter Cropper
The Royal Academy of Music in London honored him by lending him a priceless 258-year-old Stradivarius While Cropper was performing in Finland, He tripped and fell on the Stradivarius and broke it His dream was instantly turned into a nightmare Then a London violin dealer told him of a master craftsman who could repair the Stradivarius The repairs were so perfect they could not be seen The soaring notes of the instrument were more beautiful than before The broken parts had been placed in the hands of a master craftsman who applied his master touch!

27 Something terrible has happened!
A fall has taken place All of our lives have been shattered by sin But when they are placed into the hands of Heaven’s Master Craftsman, He takes the smashed pieces and puts them back together again And we are BETTER THAN NEW! How is your attitude? Jesus wants to remake it pure and righteous How well are you doing with affirmation? Jesus wants to use you to affirm others and build them up Do your daily actions place you in the mainstream of God’s Kingdom work?

28 Interpreting the Hymn A father took his young son to church
The boy entered enthusiastically into the singing The congregation sang Rise up, O men of God Be done with lesser things Give heart and mind and soul and strength To serve the King of kings The father thought he heard something different He leaned over and listened carefully and discovered that his son was singing, “Wise up, O men of God!”

29 The Tests The Attitude test A lot like daily pop quizzes The Affirmation test A Lot like mid term tests The Action test A lot like final exams Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart

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