Summary: My first sermon of 2008, using the "Great Commission" passage to layout a strategery for the coming year.

Intro: Status Quo is unacceptable!

Seems a little odd saying that to start of a new year, isn’t it?

After all, don’t we all make resolutions to start the year off?

Some want to lose weight…some want to quit a bad habit.

Others want to make better use of time…or maybe just try to be a better person all together.

Not exactly status quo…right?

Get this 88% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions…nearly 9 out of 10 people.

After only 2 months, nearly 40% of people have given up on their resolutions and most estimates suggest that as many as 97% of New Year’s Resolutions are not kept.

If that isn’t status quo, I don’t know what is.

That is part of the reason I say “status quo is unacceptable.”

Another reason I say status quo is unacceptable is because of what I read in God’s word.

In Isaiah 43:19 God says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing…”

Have you ever thought about that word “new” and what it means?

Some of the definitions for “new” from the Merriam-Dictionary suggest that it is an adjective with roots dating back to 12th century middle English: 4 a: beginning as the resumption or repetition of a previous act or thing b: made or become fresh c: relating to or being a new moon

5: different from one of the same category that has existed previously

6: of dissimilar origin and usually of superior quality

Some Synonyms: fresh, novel, original, strange, unaccustomed, unfamiliar, unheard-of, unknown, unprecedented

The mental picture you should be getting here is something is not going to be the same as it was…the status quo is not acceptable if it is going to be labeled as “new”.

And God is doing a new thing.

In our lives…so status quo is unacceptable.

In our church…so status quo is unacceptable.

In our community…in our state…in our country and around the world…so status quo is unacceptable.

As we enter into 2008 my challenge to you is to step out of the status quo and take things to the next level.

I’m not asking for us to make massive changes in our church that make us look nothing like we are…in fact if anything I’m hoping to simplify things.

I want us to look at Scripture together this morning, and with the power of the Holy Spirit doing what He does best…evaluate where we are as individuals and also as a church, and then do what He calls us to do in order to take it to the next level.

And with that as our goal, let’s go to the word of God now.

Read Matthew 28:16-20 and pray.

Transition: Today is the beginning of the rest of the year for us, and I’m hoping to lay out the beginnings of a plan, a vision, a goal, a purpose…whatever you want to call it.

I just hope that what I present this morning is something we can all agree on and grasp onto for taking our lives and our church to the next level.

From our passage I want to show 4 levels of commitment that you as a born again believer can be part of.

As we look at each of these levels, I want you to be honest with yourself and with God as you determine where you stand.

And when it is all said and done, I want to challenge you to do what is necessary to take you to the next level.

And one of my goals is for First Baptist Church to provide for you the tools to make that move.

All you need to do is bring a willing heart.

So, are you ready to take it to the next level? (wait for an answer).

Let’s look at each of these together.

First Level…

1. Living

Read vs. 17.

Our passage says when Jesus was present their first reaction was to worship Him.

Why not, many of these disciples had seen Him arrested or “tried”, others saw Him crucified.

Some of the disciples were among the first to experience the resurrected Christ…if anyone at anytime was worthy of worship; it was Him.

You know what 2000 years later, that hasn’t changed.

When we enter into this sanctuary…this worship arena, we can not forget that we are entering into the presence of the Risen Savior.

He is as alive today as He was when Matthew experienced this mountain side worship.

And when we come together in this place it is to experience worship.

Now my wording there was very intentional…experiencing worship.

Too often we forget that what takes place in here should be an experience.

We don’t just go to church…even though that is what tends to happen.

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