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

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Three tests for the new year

Three Tests for the New Year

Psalms 26:2

Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart

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

Tests examinations1

  • 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

1 corinthians 3 10 15
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.

God tests his people
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.”

God tests his people1
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

God tests his people2
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

God tests his people3
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

A three part new year s test
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

I the attitude test
I. The Attitude Test

  • James Allen

    • “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!

I the attitude test1
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

Matthew 5 3 11
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.

The attitude test
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!

Peace of heart
Peace of Heart

  • John 14:27

    • “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

Ii the affirmation test
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?

  • Our model
    Our Model

    • Jesus Christ

      • 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


    • 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!

    Affirmation or rebuke
    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

    Affirmation or rebuke1
    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

    Iii the action test
    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?”

    Matthew 11 2 11
    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?

    Matthew 11 2 111
    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.

    Three tests for the new year

    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

    The mid term exam
    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

    Action or guilt
    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

    May 1982 guideposts
    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!

    Something terrible has happened
    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?

    Interpreting the hymn
    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!”

    The tests
    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