Summary: This New Years message is of our need to stop making all these resolutions and start to prioritize to Jesus through those things He prioritized in His life. In this sermon we look at three, God's kingdom, God's will, and God's sacrifice.
Prioritize To Jesus
It’s on this day, January 1st, the start of the New Year that we take stock of the prior year and make resolutions for the upcoming year usually centering upon the steps we need to take to undo some bad habits along with not repeating the mistakes from the past. It’s where we vow to make a better version of ourselves, like some computer program, where we’ll become the 2.0 upgrade.
The only problem is that these resolutions rarely if ever stick and soon we find ourselves slipping back to our old 1.0 programing or life. This is seen in how many of these resolutions aren’t new at all. They’re just rehashed from past years. They are the same old resolutions dressed up in a new set of clothes.
As a result depression sets in and we resolve ourselves that such changes are more of a result of wishful thinking than reality. Our problem is our inability to turn these resolves into committed actions, and the reason is because they’re directed towards the symptoms of what’s wrong, and not towards getting our lives right with the Lord, which should resolve most if not all of these resolutions.
Instead of trying to juggle these different resolutions year after year, what we should be doing is prioritizing our lives to Jesus.
To make Jesus our priority means that we’re putting Him first on our list. The reason our resolutions don’t last is because there are too many of them. But when we make something a priority it becomes first and foremost and it will sway our decisions in its favor.
If our priority then is Jesus, and we are going to prioritize our lives to Jesus, then we need to look to Jesus’ life and see what He prioritized. In other words, what were Jesus’ priorities and how can we make them our priorities.
Now this is not easy, because far too often we think about what’s important to us, our priorities not God’s.
We see this in a young man who had the right intentions, but the wrong priorities. The young man had all the things of the world, but he wanted the assurance of knowing he had eternal life.
And so he asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus said, “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
And while this young man thought his priorities were where they needed to be, in other words, he thought he was in line with God saying that all of these he’s kept since his youth. Jesus then told him to sell his possessions and give it to the poor and come and follow Him. It says the young man left sorrowful.
His number one priority was his wealth. His wealth seemed to get between him and God and he was not about to give up his riches. The young man didn’t realize it, but he had broken the first commandment that says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 NKJV)
So what were Jesus’ priorities so we can align ourselves to them?
1. God’s Kingdom
Jesus lived a kingdom life. His priority was to further God’s kingdom. We see this in the prayer He taught His disciples.
“Thy Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 KJV)
He also taught about God’s kingdom, or kingdom living through what are referred to as the kingdom parables found in Matthew 13, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”
By living our lives for God’s Kingdom we’re asking Him to exert His authority in our world so His kingdom purposes can be achieved, hence His prayer, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
In his letter to the Colossian church the Apostle Paul teaches that our redemption amounts to an exchange of rulership.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:13 NKJV)
But the number one way Jesus prioritized the kingdom of God was telling us of our need to repent because God’s kingdom is at hand. In fact, the Kingdom of God was Jesus’ central message.
“Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15 NKJV)
The word for kingdom means “rule” or “reign.” Its secondary meaning is that of a realm or territory in which that rule or reign is exercised. Therefore God’s Kingdom refers to the exercise of His power and dominion. And so God’s Kingdom is wherever He rules and reigns.
God’s Kingdom rule here on earth was established at creation; Satan, however, attacked it at the fall; but by His death and resurrection Jesus is now restoring it in our lives.