Living in the Present in 2023

New Years Lesson  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

EWO NYE Lesson

Happy New Years! Welcome to the year 2023! This is such a fun way to bring in the new year and I’m excited to be here with you all tonight. My name is Kent Hinrichsen and I’m the youth and college pastor at Crosspoint Community Church in Eureka IL. I know there is a lot more fun to be had so I’ll make this brief. In fact I just have one main point for tonight or should I say this morning. So if you’ll be attentive, I promise I won’t go too long.


I like to get to know my audience when I go and talk to groups. So for a way to get to know you, I need you to raise your hand if the questions I’m about to ask you apply to your life. Yes, you can raise your hand to multiple questions.
Who in here prefers cats instead of dogs?
Ok, here’s the logical next question, who here are fish owners?
This tells me a lot. For those who are cat and fish owners, you really don’t care about your fish cause you also have a cat and cats like to eat fish.
3. Who in here is prefers dogs instead of cats?
Where are my dog lovers at?
4. Who in here doesn’t own a cat nor a dog?
You have the easiest houses to clean cause you don’t have to worry about pet hair.
Ok, I just have a few more questions in order to get to know you a little more.
5. Who in here is glad that the year of 2022 is over?
2022 might have been a rough year for you. You might have experienced some loss or hurt in the past year that you would rather move on from and look toward the new year.
6. Who in here is sad that the year 2022 is over?
2022 might have been a good year for you. You could’ve experienced great joy and happiness in the past year that you want to hold onto and not let go.
7. Who in here is anxious or nervous about the year 2023?
There might be some unknowns in 2023 that have caused you some worry and there is a level of anxiety when thinking about the new year.
Transition Statement: However you feel about 2022 and 2023, there is this temptation to want to stay in the past or the temptation to want only to move forward into the future. In both temptations it can be easy to miss the present. But I believe that God calls us to live in the present. So tonight we are going to be talking about living in the present in 2023.

Living in the Present in 2023

Cartoonist Bil Keane once said this about the present.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present”
We see this concept of living in the present in the bible in the book of Luke chapter 12:31-34. Luke 12:31-34.
Now in this passage, Jesus is teaching on anxiety. He’s telling his audience, don’t worry about the future. Allow God to take care of you in the future. Jesus goes on and says that unbelievers worry about the future so don’t live as unbelievers. Then we hit verse 31. I’ll be reading out of the CSB version.

31 “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. 32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I want to go back to the first verse.
Re-read verse 31
Luke 12:31 CSB
“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.
For a moment I want to focus on the word seek. We can see that this word is in the present tense. Jesus didn’t say remember when you sought God’s kingdom in the past or make plans to seek God’s kingdom in the future. He didn’t say either of those things. Jesus says to his original audience, I command you to actively seek God’s kingdom right now in the present time. I believe that command stands true for all humanity for all time; to be presently seeking God’s kingdom. Why should I care about this? Jesus goes on to say that when believers seek God’s kingdom, God will meet the needs of the believer.
So here is the one main point for tonight’s lesson.

Living in the Present is Accomplished when We Seek God’s Kingdom.

To truly live the present means that we are not just physically alive but also spiritually alive.
Because we can spiritually alive, this also implies that we can be spiritually dead.
Romans 6:23 CSB
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From this verse we see that sin causes spiritual death but if we trust in Jesus as savior and Lord, our sins are forgiven and we can have spiritual life!
Transition statement: This is the “what” of tonight’s lesson, Living in the Present is Accomplished when we seek God’s kingdom. Next we are going to look at the “how to do this”. How to Seek God’s Kingdom in the Present.
There are two ways of how to do this.
How to Seek God’s Kingdom in the Present
Personally (Inward)
In Community (Outward)

1. Personally Seeking God’s Kingdom in the Present

To help us understand how to do this, I want to show you an image.
The image that I’m about to show you is the one image that helped me the most to understand how to personally seek God’s kingdom in the present.
Show cross chart here.
Bring Peaches laser to use as a pointer. (insert here that I’m a prefer cats)
Explain cross chart.
Between your physical birth and when you trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior there is darkness. Darkness in your inability to see your sin and inability to see God’s holiness.
Have any of you been in complete darkness?
My wife and I visited Meramec Caverns in Missouri. And when we were under the ground a couple hundred of feet. Our tour guide shut off the lights. It was truly pitch dark to where I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face even though I was aware that my hand was there, I couldn’t see it.
I liken this experience to being in the dark spiritually. You might know that something is wrong. But you may not know why something is sinful or what the root of your sin is. You might know that God exists. But you don’t know God personally, you haven’t truly met God in a relationship.
This describes the person who has yet to start their relationship with Jesus. If you are here tonight and you’re living in darkness. Tonight is a great opportunity for the light to be turned on for you to start understanding your sin and start seeing the holiness of God. If that is you, I encourage to talk to one of your leaders here or you can talk with Walt or with me after the lesson.
The next part of this chart...
2. You are growing in your awareness of your sin and growing in see more of God’s holiness. But there’s a temptation that we all face that if we’re not careful, it will flatline our growth. That is the temptation of trying to save face.
This happens in two ways...
a. Lower the God’s standard (Surely God can’t be serious)
b. Justify yourself (I’m not that big of a sinner)
When we are stuck in either of those, our growth will stop and flatline.
How to get out of that way of thinking is to let go of your pride and see the fullness of your sin and sit in the fulness of God’s grace and holiness and by doing so you find more joy as you repent and take your sins to Jesus and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome your sin and glorify God with your life.
When this is happening in the present in your lives, you are seeking God’s kingdom as you seek the king; Jesus. As you continue to take your sin to the cross and see more of God’s holiness, you are grounded in your identity in Christ. Your identity as forgiven, loved, adopted, heir with Christ, holy, blameless.
This is how you personally seek God’s kingdom in the present. You seek king Jesus. You do this by being aware of your sin and aware of your need for the gospel in your everyday life.
Transition statement: Now, the second way to seek God’s kingdom in the present is in community.

2. Seeking God’s Kingdom in the Present in Community.

There are two main reasons why we need to seek God’s kingdom in the present in community.
a. You need other people to show you your blind spots of sin.
Sin can often times go unnoticed in our lives and without having someone to call out your spiritual blind spots. When our sin goes unchecked it can often lead to harmful outward actions towards others around us.
Illustration (show garage pic here)- Leaky pipe to bursting pipe at home on Christmas Eve.
So we need others to call us out so that we can take our sinful attitudes to the cross and repent of them and ask God to change our hearts before our sin leads to outward hurtful actions towards others.
b. The other reason we need to seek God’s kingdom in the present in community is because we all need the gospel.
For the unbelievers we need to share the gospel with them so that they can trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior resulting in eternal life.
For the believer we need to remind them of the gospel because it can be tempted to lose sight of our identity in Christ.


Three Next Steps
Ask God to reveal your sin to you, change your heart, and help you overcome your sinful tendencies.
Ask someone else what they think your blind spots are.
Ask God to give you an opportunity to share the gospel with someone.
Conclusion: To wrap up, let’s make 2023 right now the year you and I live in the present by seeking God’s Kingdom personally and in community. Let’s pray.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more