Summary: This message outlines three things that we can do to draw us closer to God.
Be It Resolved…
1st Corinthians 6:8-12, 10:16-24
December 31, 2006
Last Monday we celebrated the birth of Jesus our Lord and Savior. This was a day to celebrate and recognize what God is doing in our lives. However, for many people Christmas marks the day when depression and anxiety begin. Studies report that many people are overcome with a loss of hope after Christmas. Some people, of which the majority claim to be Christians, experience an intense emptiness in their souls. The excitement of Christmas comes and goes leaving yearning for something more. They ask themselves, “What could it be?” only to miss once again the significance of Christ’s birth. Sadly, for some, the Christ child is simply like buying gas. We simply want three dollars worth of God. We go about our days thinking, …
“I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. (SOURCE: Wilbur Rees, from "When I Relax I Feel Guilty" by Tim Hansel.)
How are you doing today? Has the excitement of Christmas come and gone for you? For Christians, Christmas should represent so much more. Christmas is a time to remember that with the birth of Christ came the opportunity for each of us to receive a new birth. The joy of Christmas should be an every day occurrence for you. For Christmas is a reminder that God longs for each of us. Christmas is the reminder of what God has done for us through the gift of His Son. It is the new birth received in Christ that makes all things new.
Paul spends a lot of time reminding the early church about this fact throughout his Epistles. For us the epistles serves as a reminder that the loneliness, the loss of joy is due to not having our priorities in order.
First, For Paul, Christmas points us toward the new birth. The new birth, the salvation freely given by professing Christ as Lord and Savior. Christmas causes us to examine ourselves and become aware of our sins. To draw closer to Christ we must be willing to look inwardly at ourselves. For sin, especially, unrepented sin keeps us away from the joyful abundance found in a personal relationship with God. We begin to realize that not only does God pursue us but the emptiness we have is our longing for God.
Secondly, the new birth in Christ reminds us of God’s love for us. It is so easy for us to take God for granted when things are going well in our lives. But what happens to us when storms come. Do we still know and feel God’s love? or do we blame God?
Thirdly, the new birth in Christ allows us to respond to God’s call on our lives with the strength and power found in the Holy Spirit. With God all things become possible.
Tomorrow is the first day of 2007, may I ask: Where are you headed?
Do you know how to please the Lord in your daily living? Do you need to make some changes? Do you need to Draw the line on some questionable things in your life?
The new year is always full of resolutions. Resolutions have become a part of our lives. However, so many times, we fall short because we lack the commitment.
- Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. Throughout his lifetime he would add to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions.
He put at the top of his list: "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions…. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week."
Edwards didn’t casually make New’s Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a "self-check." He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.
Christ calls us to commit to actively work at becoming conformed to His image. This coming year resolve to be come a person committed to a godly transformation. If you faithfully do this, you will see your life begin to focus on the spiritual rather than on the passing, material world. (SOURCE: Jan Brown in ChristianityToday.com. Connection. Citation: http://www.christianitytoday.com/moi/9k6/dec/9k6024.html Contributed by: SermonCentral PRO)