Sermon:  Inventory  

Summary:  As we begin a new year, let's remember that renewal is not merely about 
a new month or year on a calendar, but about renewal in our hearts and minds.  This 
renewal involves doing a life and heart inventory while remembering our identity 
and purpose so that we can refocus on what is truly important and what our goal is.

Know:  Times of renewal, remembrance, and refocus are important

Feel:  The desire to engage in practices that 

Do:  Reflect on goals, purposes, activities in life and how they fit in with God's 
purposes for you.

Text:  1 Cor 5:7-8

Scripture Reading:  Eph 4:22-24

1.  Happy New Year.  We like "new" things
	a.  New clothes, new and improved products, new cars, hairdos, etc.
	b.  "New" suggests" it is better.  It works, looks nice
	c.  Old suggests inferior, worn out, need of repair, replacement
	d.  Then there is the New Year
		- What is different about a new year and old year?
		- Change in weather, will get warmer, days of sunshine coming
		- New cycle of life
		-  Sense of having a fresh start, another chance
2.  Our God is the God of the second chance.  
	a.  When sin came into the world, God could have scrapped "project man 
	     in our image," but he didn't
	b.  When Israel was repeatedly disobedient in the wilderness, God could 
	     have aborted operation freedom from bondage, but he didn't
	c.  When Israel sinned against God, God could have completely destroyed 
	     them as a nation, but God preserved a remnant, even in captivity.  
	d.  When the people rejected Christ and crucified their savior, God could 
	     have destroyed the world, but he didn't 
		- It was part of God's plan to give second chance
		-  God is a God of second chances, new beginnings, & fresh starts. 
3.  The Israelites would have been reminded of this every new year - Passover
	a.  The Jewish near year began with Passover. 
	b.  Yearly reminder of God's faithfulness to promise he made to Abraham.  
	c.  Even when the people were faithless, God remained faithful.  
4.  One of the instructions God gave was to make unleavened bread.  
	a. The original reason was because they were to eat on the run.  
		- Rather than making leavened bread that would rise, made quickly
		- Eat on their feet, loins girded, ready to go. like eating an M.R.E.  .
	b.  After entered the promised land, they observed the Passover differently 
		- Around a table in the typical reclining position.  
		- God had instructed them to continue observance of the Passover 
		- As a means of passing down their story to future generations.
	c.  Preparation: God had instructed them remove all leaven from houses.  
		- There was a ceremonial inspection for all leaven in the house.  
		- At the conclusion, the house would be pronounced, "clean." 
		- For whole week, would observe the festival of unleavened bread.  
	d.  Leaven came to symbolize impurity.  It is a fitting image.
		- There were two words for "leaven" in Hebrew.  
			= Se-or referred to old dough.  
			= Hamets - anything that contained a derivative of wheat, 
			    barley, oats, rye or spelt as soon as it began fermenting
		- Pricked holes in dough remove the air to prevent fermentation.  
		- According to Rabbis, the leavening process began at 18 minutes
 		- Since leavening came about as result of bacteria, every kitchen 
		   utensil very carefully cleaned & kept clean throughout the festival.  
5.  It is easy to see how leaven came to be associated with impurity and sin.  
	a.  Unleavened bread was associated with purity.  
		- No offering or sacrifice was ever to be sacrificed with leaven.  
		- Removing the leaven was serious business.  
		- Anyone who did not do so would be cut off from Israel.
	b.  The Passover season, the Jewish new year, was a time of renewal.  
		- Time to remember their roots.  
		- Time to purify themselves.  They cleaned everything
		- Time to pass on pure truth of their identity to the next generation 
		- They cleaned out the old leaven and were renewed.  
	c.  It seems appropriate that the Jewish New year also coincided roughly 
	     with the beginning of spring with all the signs of the renewal of life.
	d.  *Even though it is the middle of the winter, still a sense of renewal with
		- So, with that in mind, here some things to do as greet New Year…  

I.  Renew:  
	A.  At new year, the Jews did inspection for Leaven.  
		It is also good for us to do an inspection as well.  
	B.  (1 Cor 5:7-8) - Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump
		1.  We also need to inspect for leaven and clean it out.  
		2.  We not consecrate selves with baths, laundering, remove leaven
		3.  However, we do inspect our lives - both our actions and motives
	C.  Used to work at Base Exchange at Offutt Air Force Base
		1.  Dreaded time of year
		2.  No matter what job you had, you came in and did it
		3.  What was it?  Inventory
			a.  Everything was accounted for in the entire store
			b.  Basically a self inspection, audit, evaluation
		4.  That basically what we are talking about here.  Self evaluation.
	D.  Take some time to do an inventory of your life.  What should be in it?
		1.  I'm going to list just a few.  
			a.  There is love for God, and love for your neighbor.  
			b.  Christian character, such as holiness, honesty, integrity, 
			      humility, and excellence.  
			c.  There is also selfless service and compassion.  
		2.  Are there things you find in the inventory that do not belong?  
			a.  Dishonesty, selfishness, pride, anger, revenge, hate, 
			b.  In a life inventory there may be things that don't belong
		3.  So, take time to do an inventory
		4.  *When do an inventory, it will help you to take the next step…

II.  Remember:  
	A.  In doing inventory, helps us remember our identity and purpose in life.  
	B.  You remember the day you became a Christian?
		1. You were changed inside and out. 
			a.  You accepted him as your savior and as your Lord.  
				-You gave him charge over your life.  
				- Confess faith in Son of God, your savior, your Lord.  
				- You committed your heart and soul to him.  
			b. Then you came to the waters, 
				- Old self with all of its puffed up pride, anger, malice, 
				   selfish desire, and all of its sin was put to death 
				- Sins wash away through the blood of Christ.  	
			c.  Col 3:9, Were raised up out of the water a new person.  
			d.  Were bought by the blood of Christ an were joined to him. 
		2.  (2 Cor 5:17) If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
			a.  You are a new creation of God.  
			b.  You have been purchased, redeemed, & bought blood
 			c.  Before you without God and without hope in the world.  
			d.  But now been brought near by his blood 
		3.  (Eph 2:19-22) No longer strangers aliens, but God's temple
	C.  ILL:  Together with people of God, you part of God's temple.  
		1.  What is a temple?  Have you ever seen a temple like building?
			a. It might not be unlike walking into a magnificent Cathedral.  
			b. Sense of awe, majesty and holiness in a place like that.  
			c.  Why?  It is a place dedicated to God 
				- Therefore reflects splendor, holiness, majesty 
				- That why God instructed temple be built that way
				- It not like other structures, stands out as holy to God
		2.  This passage says we ourselves, the people, are God's temple.  
			a. Temple is place dedicated to God serve his purposes only 	
			b.  It is the place where God dwells.  
			c.  It reflects his glory, holiness, and goodness
			d.  It is also the place where people can meet with God.  
	D.  As God's temple, we fulfill all of those same kinds of purposes for God.  
		1.  God dwells in us as a people.
			a.  Whatever work we do, it for God's purposes.  
				- Whether fix/make things, lead people, sell things, 
				   perform a service, it is all in service to God.  
				- It is not just to make money.  
				- It is not to build up godless pride in yourself.  
				- It is service to God & reflects the nature of our God 
				   who creates, fashions, redeems and loves.  
			b.  We reflect glory & goodness of God in all we say and do.  
			c.  Through example &words, people find God through us
		2.  When Jesus redeemed you, he changed you.  
			a.  You renewed part of the people of God, God's temple. 
			b.  You are his temple without walls, traveling temple.  
			c.  You are dedicated to serve God's purposes.  
			d.  Through your dedication, people can find God  
		3.  *This time of remembrance also time of refocus…

III.  Refocus:  
	A.  A time of renewal remembrance is also a time of Refocus.  
		1.  In all our activity, we sometimes lose focus on what is important.  
		2.  Need refocus on our purpose in life and who it is we serve.  
	B.  (Heb 12:1-3) - Fix our eyes on Jesus
		1.  The image used in this passage is a race.  
			a.  To run and win, aside every encumbrance.  
			b.  What is an encumbrance?
				- Synonyms:  Burden, load, hindrance, impediment, 
				   and nuisance.  
		2.  What do these words make you think of?
			a.  Runner encumbered with cart full of his favorite things?
				- Monney, designer clothes, his favorite books, his 
			             tv. Stereo, his car, house, and other such things?
			b.  Is that what a runner does?  No
		3.  Have you seen how athletes train for the big race?  
			a.  No, he strips down for the race.  
			b.  Wears lightweight shoes & clothes
			c.  In training, takes inventory of everything
				- includes diet, activities, habits, friendships, and even 
				  things that affect his disposition.  
		4.  We do the same thing
			a.  Take inventory of everything
				- Things that enter our body through eyes and ears.  
				- Includes activities, habits, friendships, & disposition.  
				- Examination of heart, motivations, thoughts.  
			b.  We to lay aside every encumbrance
			c.  Focus your eyes on Jesus
			d.  Run endurance, persistence, fortitude, determination.
	C.  Help to refocus and stay focused on the goal.  
		1.  What is your goal?  Articulate without hesitation, or think?
		2.  ILL:  Asked this in Bible class in Scotts Bluff
			a.  Several answered, "Heaven" is my goal
			b.  Why want to go to Heaven?  Silence
			c.  One person said, "Well, I don't want to go to Hell"
			d.  Elderly lady said - "I want to be with my beloved Jesus" 
	D.  That is best reason to want to go to Heaven.  
		1.  That is where God is
		2.   We love God will all of our hearts, soul, mind, and strength.  
		3.  In all of our busyness, we might need to refocus 

1.  Renewal, remembrance, refocus shouldn't just happen at new year, but daily
2.  2 Pet 3:12 - to be looking for and hastening coming of the day of God  
	a.  We are not just looking for it, buy hastening it
	b.  We want it to come sooner than later.  
	c.  Every morning should - maybe today the day to go and be with God
3.  Final picture (Rev 21:1-5)
4.  Not just be a new year, everything will be new.  Are you ready to go today?


Small Group Notes:  Inventory

Summary:  As we begin a new year, let's remember that renewal is not merely about a new month 
or year on a calendar, but about renewal in our hearts and minds.  This renewal involves doing 
a life and heart inventory while remembering our identity and purpose so that we can refocus 
on what is truly important and what our goal is.

Open:  (choose one)
- What is your best New Year Memory?
- What kind of inventory/evaluation do you most drea?

Explore:  (1 Cor 5:7-8; Heb 12:1-3)

1.  In light of the Passover traditions of the Jews, what does the image of "cleaning out the 
old Leaven" communicate to Christians?  How are the physical characteristics of leaven a good 
object lesson?

2.  What does it mean to be a "new" lump?  In what ways are Christians "new?"

3.  How are these two passages related to each other?  How are the instructions, "clean out the 
old leaven" and "fix your eyes on Jesus" connected?

4.  What does it mean to lay aside every encumbrance and run the race with endurance?  What does 
this mean for daily Christian life?  

5.  How does remembrance of your Christian identity fit in with this?


6.  One of the passages refers to the encumbrances as things which "so easily entangles" us.  
Can you relate to this?  What are some things that easily entangles you? 

7.  What are some practices that might help you to refocus on your God-given purposes and prevent 


8.  Discuss how the one or more of the following passages (or another passage you might choose) 
might be useful in doing a personal inventory.  How might you go about it?
	Gal 5:19-23, Col 3:5-17; Cor 13:1-8, 2 Pet 1:4-9