Category Archives: New Year

Jesus Lived with True Purpose

Our claim to have Christ in us (Col 1:27) has to be proven. We must value what is valuable to Christ (1 John 2:3-6). What was Jesus like in His youth (Luke 2:46-52)? What was Jesus like as an adult (John 13:5-20; Phil 2:5-7; 1 Pet 2:21-25; John 17:4)? This proves that Jesus lived with the true purpose!!!

I. JESUS’ PURPOSE

A. To tell about God & the Kingdom (Luke 4:43; Mark 1:38; 9:1; John 3:3-5)

B. To demonstrate obedience (Heb 10:7; John 4:34; 6:38; Matt 4:1-11)

C. To command change (Mark 1:15; Luke 5:31-32; 1 John 3:8; John 9:39; 10:10)

D. To seek out souls to save (Luke 19:10; Matt 18:10-14; John 10:11)

E. To accept the cost (Mark 10:33-34; John 12:32; Rom 5:19; 1 Tim 1:15)

1. His purpose should be our purpose (1 Pet 2:9-10)

II. KEEPING JESUS’ PURPOSE

A. Start early in life (Luke 2:49; John 9:4)

B. Be resolute through life (Luke 9:51; 9:57-62)

C. Be prayerful when the work is hard (Luke 22:42; John 12:27-28)

D. Rejoice in the outcome (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4)

Intentions Won’t Get It!

Some of the proverbial expressions not found in the Bible are nonetheless true. Truth will always plumb with all other truth; it cannot contradict itself. Take the expression “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That’s not found in the Scriptures, but it’s nonetheless true.

Nobody really wants to go to hell; and everybody I know of intends to do something to preclude making that trip. But when? Ah, that’s the question. Intention without follow-through is profitless. No matter how firm they are, they are still just intentions and serve no useful purpose until they are actuated. Intentions won’t get it.

“I intend to be more diligent.” When? Right away? Diligence is necessary to progress in spiritual living. You can’t sit around and become spiritual. Furthermore, diligence doesn’t come by some process of osmosis–just because you are in close proximity to a Bible or to those who believe it and are involved in it. Diligence is personal–a personal, willful action. You decide to be diligent.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul says, “Give diligence to present yourself approved to God.” The English word translated diligence is from a Latin word which means to give earnest persistence to a matter. The Greek word for diligence means both an earnest zeal and a burning haste to get a matter done. You can’t sit around and be diligent. Peter tells us something about diligence when he uses that same term when to conclude what we call The Christian Graces: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). He had begun with that same admonition: “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.” You don’t add those things up in your mind and you’re through; it’s a life-long pursuit, one requiring consistent diligence to make sure the calling of God. It all begins with the decision to get on with the project. You have to develop a serious conviction as well as a pressing urgency to continually add all these graces as you go along. Intentions won’t get it.

“I intend to get involved.” When? Soon? And what’s wrong with starting today? You are involved only when you actually participate, when you become a part, when you make an effort to be dedicated to whatever the project. Paul speaks of such participation in Romans 12: “For as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” We’re individuals who are melded together in our common worship of the Father, in our common desire to grow up in Him, in our common desire to bring others to Him. We’re together, and being together takes work – patience – understanding. And it takes time. It doesn’t just happen, either. It’s planned action. Intentions don’t work, folks. Intentions won’t get it.

“I intend to tell somebody about Jesus.” When? Today? I seriously doubt that anybody is going to heaven alone. You will likely go with someone and you will likely take someone with you. Just as somebody loved you enough to tell you about the Lord and His salvation, it’s up to you to love somebody enough to pass it on. But that takes more than mere intentions. You have to get past the fear, get past the timidity, and get on with the mission assigned. You have to run the risk, even it means losing a friend or making a family member angry. Intentions won’t get it.

And you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to teach the word. All you need is a note pad and a knowledge of the Scriptures broad enough to tell someone what you did to be saved. Following the great commission in Matthew 28:20, Jesus said, “…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Please note what He has just commanded– “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Maybe you intend to do it but just don’t have the ability. That’s possible. Then help someone else do it. Be a part. One thing is certain: the message needs to be told, and intentions won’t get it done.

— By Dee Bowman

Envision a New You

Philippians 3:12-14.  Paul’s words give us direction; they tell us how he viewed his past, present & future.  But more than that, his words involve vision.  If you have Paul’s vision it will make a new you, out of you.

I.    VISION CHANGES THINGS    

A.    Vision gives you hope for a better future.
1.    Abraham, Nehemiah, Jesus, Paul.

B.    What happens to our vision?
1.    We imagine our future can never be better.
2.    We never act to improve our future.

II.    ENVISION A NEW YOU

A.    Be discontent (Phil 3:12).
1.    Don’t rule out confidence (1 John 2:28; 5:13).
2.    Move to improve (Matt 5:6; Psa 42:1-2).

B.    Be devoted (Phil 3:13-14).
1.    One goal (Phil 3:10-11).
2.    One fight; one race (2 Tim 4:7-8).

C.    Be forgetful (Phil 3:13).
1.    Forgiven sins (2 Cor 5:17; Heb 8:12; Psa 103:12).
2.    Past successes (Eccl 7:10).

D.    Be forward reaching (Phil 3:13).
1.    Pressing on to lay hold of Christ’s purpose (Phil 3:12).
2.    Following in Christ’s steps (1 Pet 2:21-25).

Envision a new you in 2015!

A Lesson from the Jewish New Year

As most Bible students know, the Jews of the Old Testament used a much different calendar than we do today.   Originally, their calendar year began in the month of Tisri (our September).  This was the time of the harvest and also the time of year in which the Jewish rabbis supposed that God had created the world.

In Exodus 12, the Lord rearranged the Jewish calendar.   As He was about to liberate the Israelites from the cruel bonds of Egyptian slavery, the Lord told Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exo 12:2).  This month was first called Abib by the Jews, and later Nisan.  It corresponds to our March or April.   The LORD also ordained a memorial Feast to be celebrated in the middle of this first month.  The Jews were told to keep this Feast every year, “It is the sacrifice of Jehovah’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.” (Exo 12:27).

It is clear that God wanted the Israelites to remember their deliverance from bondage at the beginning of every year.  The New Year was an occasion to recall that God’s grace and power had liberated them; they owed their lives and their freedom to Him.

Customarily, modern men begin the New Year with celebrations and resolutions.  The focus is often on improving oneself.  Might I suggest a different approach for this year?  How about borrowing a little from a page in the Jewish calendar and begin this year by …“giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” (Col 1:12-14).

Truly, our Passover has been sacrificed, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 5:7).  What better way to set the tone for a New Year than by remembering our deliverance from Satan’s clutches and by determining never again to go back to the bondage of sin?  “For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal 5:1).  Have a Happy (free-from-the-bondage-of-sin) New Year!  — Steve Klein