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The old year, 2021, is behind us now. Its record is made, as difficult as it was, and cannot be changed. Doubtless, there is much in it we would like to change, some things we wish we had done differently, some things we left undone, some regrets, many things we hoped never happened and, hopefully, there were some good too in that year. As difficult as the year may have been, those of us here have been privileged to crossover to a new year, a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibilities. As we stand here in the beginning of a New Year, it is a good time to reflect on the year that has just ended and look forward into the year that has just begun. It is also a good time for God’s people to take inventory of their walk with the Lord. We should take a very close look at where we are in our relationship with Him. We need to examine ourselves and see where we have been, where we are, and where the Lord wants us to be.
There have also been challenges in the past year. The year may have been whatever it was for you. For some it may have been disappointing. For some others it was the best year they have ever had. Whatever last year may have been for you, I am asking you this year to keep the faith and keep your mind open for what the Lord is about to do. For those who thought last year was a failure, the good thing about a new year is that we can begin again. Living through a difficult year has its elements of discouragement but trusting in a God that routinely turns things around should be enough encouragement for us to hang on.
In Matthew 1 we read about the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Four of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ had bad foundations. Rahab was a prostitute, until she helped the spies and later married one of them, Salman; Ruth was a Moabite, a product of incest, and God had banned Moabites from His congregation. She married Boaz and the rest like they say is history; Tamar was the woman who had a child for her own father-in-law, Judah. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah. Remember she committed adultery with David; did not go unpunished but gave birth to the wisest King in Israel. Let us thank God that we are alive at the beginning of a New Year and, like these folks we have the opportunity for a new beginning. Beloved, the Bible says if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away, and all things are new (2 Cor. 5:17). God in His love has given us another chance for our stories to be rewritten. Let us take the challenge and obey our God and Creator, let us allow Him to rule our lives. Let us focus on Him completely and our lives will not be the same again because they will be lived for Him.
For a while now we have meditated on how to love God with the whole of our hearts and how to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. The question we must ask now is “are we transformed?” How have these things changed our lives? Are we living our lives for Christ now? The Word of God in James 1:22 asks us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Are we doing what we are hearing? More than doing what we are hearing, are we bearing fruits for the Kingdom? Christ wants us to be doers of His Word, people who walk the talk. Christ Himself left a legacy for us, a legacy He fully expects us to follow. What are we leaving for our children and what are we leaving for future Christians? Our purpose as Christians is to fulfill the task of the master. His Word for us is to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. How much of that have we done? Can we claim to love the Lord if we have not obeyed the instruction of the Son? If we have not told our neighbor about the good news, can we claim to love them as we love ourselves?
If we are to master the scriptural principles of true biblical fellowship, we must master this truth that true greatness in the Kingdom of heaven consists in serving one another. Jesus said, “… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Mt. 20:26). We must also learn that when God calls you to himself, he also calls you to be a servant, an instrument in His redeeming hands. We will serve God by serving God’s children and the most crucial part of that is making sure all of His children hear the good news. We have been transformed to serve. The message of reconciliation has been committed to us (2 Corinthians 5:19b). All God’s children are called into ministry, and each of them needs the daily intervention this ministry provides because God’s plan is that through the faithful ministry of every part, the whole body will grow to full maturity in Christ. Thus, each of us needs to tighten our belts and be ready to be about our Father’s business. Let the discipled be ready to disciple others because our call as followers of Christ is only perfected when a disciple becomes a discipler. This is where the rubber meets the road; it is a brand-new year, and we must all get to work.
January 2, 2022 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya