Develop a Heart for God.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7

HANDOUT FOR SERMON: New Beginnings: Having a Heart for God.  January 1, 2023, Manchester, TN  9:30 a.m.

INTRODUCTION: Welcome to the new year 2023. We all should be grateful that God has extended us more time to live. I am convinced God gives humanity time because of His grace, mercy, love, patience, and longsuffering. (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:1-4). I personally benefit from “new beginnings.” We as Christians should value this concept as well. 2 Corinthians 4:16 “Though our outward self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Why are we the way we are? There are both external and internal factors that affect the way we think, act, react, interact, speak and feel. With the start of a new year, our goal should be that we look honestly at ourselves and say how can I improve my relationship with God and others. From a religious perspective, we speak of external factors such as: believing parents, a godly family, a faithful church, clean surroundings, a big active church with lots of Bible preaching, great Bible classes, lots of young people and kids. These factors ALONE are NO guarantee for loyalty and faithfulness to God.  We need to stop focusing solely on “external factors and start to talk about internal factors  Focus on the heart, heartfelt conversations about God and things of faith. Sharing why and how God loves us.

Deuteronomy 5:29 “Oh that they would always have hearts like this….”                                      Scripture on the heart: 1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:10. Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 33:13-15

I want to especially talk to all the wonderful, beautiful children and young adults today.

LESSON:                                                                                                                                                       1.DO YOU KNOW JOSIAH, A YOUNG BOY WITH A TENDER & HUMBLE HEART FOR GOD.  Scripture: 2 Chronicles 34:1-2 & 27                                                                                                          Consider the amazing life of this young boy and man. He honored God his whole life from the age of 8 until 39. How did he develop such an amazing faith? Why did Josiah become the person he became? He ended up ruling Judah for 31 years.

At 8 started to rule as King, he did what was pleasing in God’s sight. 1 Chronicles 34
Followed the example of his great-grandfather David.
At 16 he began to seek God even more. At 20 he purified Judah and destroyed pagan shrines. At 26 he reinstated the Passover celebration, 2 Chronicles 35:9

2.CONSIDER JOSIAH’S HERITAGE.                                                                                            Josiah was born into an evil and very wicked family, 2 Chronicles 33:1-2 & 21-23

Who was Josiah’s dad and grandpa?
If a “faithful, godly family” is the key to “faithful children” how do you explain Josiah?
Be aware of “false spiritual security!” Satan can break in any time!
70% of young people walk away from Church.
This is scary and sad isn’t it. We are not doing such a good job after all!

Lesson for us: We make our own choices. Your children will make their own choices as well! Your heritage doesn’t mean that much after all!

3.CONSIDER A GODLESS CULTURE OR ENVIRONMENT.                                                                 Josiah was born into a godless environment. He lived next door to religious buildings that housed male and female prostitutes. He knew the wickedness of his grandpa Manasseh and Amon. Josiah reformed Judah and did and amazing job of cleaning the land, but did that help his kids? His four boys were awful.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals.” Prov verbs 13:20 “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 22:24 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.” Romans 12:2 Do not conform to this world…” 1 Peter 1:11 ”I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”

Lesson for us: Josiah made a personal choice to believe in and serve God even though he was raised in a godless environment!

CONSIDER JOSIAH WHAT ALL JOSIAH DID WITHOUT HAVING A COPY OF SCRIPTURE. How old was Josiah when he held a copy for the Torah, the scriptures? He found the scripture at the age of 26! He became king at 8 and torn down the idols and their temples at 20. Josiah “found” a relationship with God without owning a copy of the “Torah.: Think of that!

Notice the emotional connection Josiah had with Jehovah even though he had a limited understanding of all the rules and regulations of God.  Consider the faithfulness of Josiah even though the first 26 years of his life he did not own a “Torah.”

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 34:19 & 27, Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your way acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”

Lesson for us: When he found God’s word it humbled him even more!

CONCLUSION:                                                                                                                            Don’t you find it amazing and comforting knowing that God has recorded the story of Josiah for us today?   We can look at his story and see the “new beginning” that started with his life.  Maybe it is time for us all to have a new and wonderful new beginning now in 2023.  Let us all strive to have the heart and humility of Josiah, the young boy King of 8.