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Summary: To optimize our effectiveness and maximize our faithfulness to God we must live with purpose.

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SERIES: NEW THINGS FOR A NEW YEAR

LESSON: IDENTITY AND PURPOSE.

INTRODUCTION:

It is inconvenient at this time of year to make new plans, both personal and corporate. We call them “New Year’s Resolutions.” We desire to do better in the future than the past. Allow me to suggest three areas of focus for 2008:

1. IDENTITY. Each one needs to know who he or she really is. The pivotal point here is that WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN. While all are God’s offspring by creation, Christians are God kids by new birth. Listen carefully to these verses from the Word of God, “He came to his own (His own prepared, Jewish people) and those who were his own did not receive him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”- John 1:11,12. While there were and always will be different kinds of people, men, women, slave, free, in Christ we are all one, because we are God’s Children. Galatians 3:26 and 27 tell us “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Also, we have died to the old things and all things are now new. See II Corinthians 5:17. As God’s Child you are now light and salt and leaven.

The question is, “What do people see in you? Or us?” Jesus never indicated that living for him would be easy. In fact he said just the opposite. Those who are aware that we have made a profession of faith in Christ and are striving to live as Jesus desires, are watching us closely. “But that’s not fair,” you say. Perhaps, but then, there is the cross! It’s time to reconsider fairness. As those not committed to following Jesus look at you they might be holding you accountable for things beyond your control. Yet, hypocrisy is always unacceptable. We need not be perfect but we must be consistent.

I recently heard of four scholars who were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent old English. Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literalism, the way it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. A third man preferred Moffatt because of its quaint, penetrating use of words, the turn of a phrase that captures the attention of the reader. After giving the issue further thought, the fourth scholar admitted, "I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.’ When the other scholars chuckled, he responded, "Yes, she translated it. She translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I ever saw. "

2. VISION. Immobilized with a broken leg, Bob Dylan wrote “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” And he didn’t. Sometimes we are crippled due to lack of clear vision. In contrast to this: When Walt Disney World in Orlando ,FL. opened in 1974, Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite. Walt Disney has passed away a few years earlier. Walter Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if Walt were here to see this today.” Mrs. Disney wisely replied, “If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today.” Well said Mrs. Disney.


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