Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolved

You can listen to the sermon here.



Goals and Resolutions

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Popular resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, learning a new skill, and reading through the Bible.

According to an article a recently read on lifehacker.com, there is a difference between goals and resolutions. A goal is a specific achievement. A resolution is a permanent change It could be said that resolutions help us reach goals.

[Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). 

The goal: Become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. 

Numerous NT passages show us that this is God's desire for all believers.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order than he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30).

“And [Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way” (Phil. 3:12-15a).

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20a). The goal of the Great Commission was that people be saved and eventually be spiritually mature.

Of course, the goal of full devotion to Christ is not possible in this life. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother trying? No. It’s often said, “Practice makes perfect.” However, in reality, no amount of practice can bring perfection. A guitarist can become better with practice, but he will never reach the point where he no longer makes mistakes. But this doesn’t cause the dedicated guitarist to give up. The same should be true of us. We won’t reach spiritual perfection, but we can progress closer to the goal each day.


Progressing Toward the Goal 

Make three resolutions to help you progress toward the goal:

1. Resolve to be a growing follower of Christ. 

How can you be a growing follower of Christ? (1) Demonstrate your commitment to Christ by being baptized. (2) Show your commitment to other believers by joining the membership of a church. (3) Strive to increase in the knowledge and obedience of Scripture. (4) Regularly pray. (5) Love others.

2. Resolve to be a giving follower of Christ. 

How can you be a giving follower of Christ? (1) Use your unique personality, abilities, and spiritual gifts to serve. (2) Be a generous, joyful giver of your God-given resources.

3. Resolve to be a going follower of Christ. 

How can you be a going follower of Christ? (1) Build authentic relationships with unsaved people. (2) Share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the unsaved.