Bible readings for New Year’s Day – Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25: 31-46 These readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary.
How excellent is our Saviour – He takes away the emptiness of life without Him.
‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there is a God-shaped blank. It can only be filled by Jesus Christ.
Many people try to find true happiness without opening their heart to Jesus Christ. That’s like ‘trying to catch the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 4:16). True happiness keeps slipping through your fingers. There’s always something missing – ‘an aching void the world can never fill’ (Church Hymnary, 663).
Jesus Christ stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for your answer. He says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…’ (Revelation 3:20). Will you invite Him into your heart? He is waiting for you to pray, ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus’.
How excellent is our Saviour – He is preparing us for a glorious future.
Our Saviour is ‘Faithful and True’. He is ‘the Word of God’. He is our ‘Lord’ and ‘King’(Revelation 19:11,13,16).
We are invited to ‘come’ to Him. The invitation – ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God’- is a call to come to Christ (Revelation 19:17). We come to Christ so that we might ‘reign with Him’(Revelation 20:6).
Coming to Christ is only the beginning. God is preparing us for something even better – reigning with Him. This is a great future – ‘no more death or mourning or crying or pain’(Revelation 21:4).
There is, however, a Word of warning for those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation – ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire’; ‘Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur’(Revelation 20:15; 21:8). ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’(Acts 16:31).
How excellent is our Saviour – He gives us joy as we serve Him day-by-day.
We are to be faithful to God (Matthew 25:21). There is a reward for faithfulness (Matthew 25:29; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Our ‘reward’ is not to get more glory for ourselves: ‘what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord’(2 Corinthians 4:5). Bringing glory to God – this is to be our greatest joy.
We are not to be thinking, ‘What am I going to get out of this?’. We are to be asking, ‘What can I give to others?’.
The ‘righteous’ are not full of boasting about their ‘righteous’ actions (Matthew 25:37-38). The Lord’s true servants do not draw attention to themselves.
Do you have ‘talents’? Yes – you do! Use them! ‘Serve the Lord with gladness’(Psalm 100:2).
Let this be your ‘reward’: the joyful privilege of bringing blessing to others and glory to God.
On earth, we begin to ‘enter the joy of our Lord’(21). In heaven, there will be ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasure for evermore’(Psalm 16:11).