By Evangelist John BJ Hall
As we stand on the brink of a new year I’m convinced that more than ever we need a breakthrough in the church – I don’t mean that we need new gadgests or programs — no what we need is a Spiritual Breakthrough – we need Revival, Renewing, Re-awakening and Re-commitment.
In our text for today — the apostle Paul was winding up his first epistle to the Corinthians with some practical advice — he tells them in 15:58 to stand fast in the Lord, in the first part of chapter 16 he mentions an offering to be taken for the relief of the poor, and then he tells them of his plans for the immediate future: 1 Corinthians 16:7-9 (NASB77) “7 For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. 8 But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; 9 for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
What I want to focus on is the last verse – Paul saw an opportunity – an open door – and for us – that is exactly what the new year offers – an opportunity – an open door- a fresh start – a new beginning. Paul described his door as a GREAT door and an EFFECTUAL door. By that he saw it as an opportunity for achieving Great things for God – making a difference – being Effective.
I’m convinced that we too want to be effective for God – we want to make a difference in our world – we have a deep longing for Christ to be glorified and lifted up in our lives and in our churches. I believe that God will bless and do “exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think” IF we are willing to be filled with His Spirit and bold enough to go through the OPEN DOOR that He places before us. (But remember — it won’t be easy — Paul said in v.9 that there were “many adversaries.” And there will be for us too.)
WHAT OPEN DOOR IS BEFORE US? WHAT IS THIS BREAKTHROUGH? COMMITMENT
Many talk about New Years Resolutions – which usually fizzle out & fade. What I want to suggest is not a New Years Resoulution — but a New Year Re-dedication — Recommitment.
As I prayed and sought the Lord’s will — seven things came to mind — seven pillars of our faith — that, if we Re-commit ourselves firmly to them — will guarantee Victory, Fruitfulness and happiness in this new year.
By the way — before I talk about commitment — let me make sure there’s no mis-understanding — Commitment is not just talking about religion. The story is told of an entertainer many years ago who would string up a tight-rope from one end of Niagara Falls to the other. Hundreds of spectators would come and watch him perform — he’d walk the tight rope — do tricks, and even ride a unicycle from one end to the other.
One day a man witnessed this display and was totally impressed. He clapped and cheered and even shouted, “You’re the greatest!” The artist replied — “you believe I’m pretty good, huh?” Oh yes, the man said. “Then please, come let me ride you on my back as I cycle across to the other side!” TALK about commitment is one thing – ACTION is better.
1. Make a fresh Commitment to the BIBLE – the word of God.
Read it daily, study it faithfully, hear it preached often, talk about it with your friends and family, memorize portions of it, Read it through in a year – but most imortantly – HEED it and OBEY it.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2Tim.3:16-17
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. – Josh.1:8
2. Make a fresh Commitment to PRAYER!
“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” – Ps.145:18
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Rom.8:26
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Col.4:2
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mt.26:41
O what precious promises are made to us if we will but pray – why then do we neglect it so? Why do we sell ourselves short & rob ourselves of victory by neglecting this most important gift? “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” God grant us to be committed to prayer!
3. Make a fresh Commitment to the CHURCH.
The church is the body & bride of Christ. She is His most precious, beloved and prized possession. To forsake the church and be a “lone ranger Christian” is to shoot yourself in the foot and severely hinder your effectiveness. WE NEED the Church!
- Be regular in attendance! – Heb.10:25
- Be generous in your Support – 2 Cor.9:7
- Be ACTIVE in your participation – not just a spectator. – Gal.6:10
- And most of all – Be filled with a Spirit of Love & Unity
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” – 1Pet.1:22
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love…”
4. Make a fresh Commitment to the GREAT COMMISSION.
We must evangelize or fossilize. The love of Christ must constrain us to love the lost – both around the corner and around the world. Jesus’s last words plainly tell us what we’re to be all about:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Mt.28:18-20
5. Make a fresh Commitment to CLEAN LIVING – PURITY.
A devotion from “Our Daily Bread” suggested that we can’t make New Year’s Resolutions without first Resolving the sins of our past. Thank God there is grace and forgiveness available to all. Let us humble ourselves & confess to God our trespasses and He will forgive. (1Jn.1:9; Ps.51:1-3; 17)
If we regard iniquity in our hearts – we will not be blessed; we will not have victory; instead we will be miserable. The new year will be a dud. Let’s start right. God’s word plainly says:
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” – 1 Jn.3:3
We’re thankful, Lord, that when we fall
We can begin anew
If humbly we confess our sin,
Then turn and follow You. – Sper
6. Make a fresh Commitment to your FAMILY.
This is every bit as important as the other commitments I’ve mentioned. Your family is a blessing from the Lord. Treat one another right! If not – I guarantee the new year will not be happy at all.
- Husbands – love your wife and give honor to her. (Eph.5:25; 1Pet.3:7)
- Wives – submit to your husbands as it is fit in the Lord. (Col.3:18)
- Children – Honor & obey your parents (10 commandments; Eph.6:1)
- Parents – Don’t discourage your children – but bring them up right – in the Lord. (Eph.6:4; Col.3:21)
IF you make time for your family – quality time – love and cherish one another – worship as a family – I guarantee the coming year will be a super year.
7. Make a fresh Commitment to GOD (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)
This of course is most important – what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength…” “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord…”
Seek to Experience God in Worship/Prayer
Abide in Christ through faith & Prayer
Be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit
*** May be that some reading this have never made an initial commitment to Christ – let me encourage you to start the new year off right by receiving Christ as your Savior. There is a page on my site called The Most Important Question follow this link and you will find out how to know Christ.
REMEMBER, PAUL SAID THAT THERE WERE MANY ADVERSARIES – ENEMIES.
We too have adversaries that would keep us from going through these doors. Obstacles, pitfalls, enemies – call them what you will – they are real, none-theless.
1. The devil and demons are REAL.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith….” – 1Pet.5:8-9
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – Js.4:7
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world….
2. Procrastination will keep you from the above 7 commitments – don’t delay!
3. Wasting Time – will keep you from going through the door.
4. Stinking Thinking – the “I’m so helpless” stuck in a rut mindset will keep you from going through the door. Remember – “I can do all things through Christ…”
5. “Nobody else is Committed…” – this isn’t true – and if it were, it’s no reason for you not to be!
Are you ready to make the most of the doors that the Lord opens to you? Are you ready to go through it as a GREAT and EFFECTUAL door – or will you let it come and go just as another day – like all the others before? Let’s go through the Door – press on in spite of the adversaries. You’ll be glad you did!
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