Let’s count down to the new year together! The last week of every year is a great opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done the past year and plan for what we want to do in the new year. So, how do we as Christians phrase that question? I suggest this: “What does God want us to do for Him in 2012?
Jesus made the issue of what God wants from us every year very clear in what He told His followers just before He ascended back into Heaven after His resurrection.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
“Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49)
“So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” (Acts 1:6-9)
Jesus told His disciples what God wanted them to do each year of their lives:
1. go into all the world, preach the Gospel (repentance and remission of sins) in the name of Jesus to every creature and make disciples of all nations
2. be witnesses for Christ to the ends of the earth
3. baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
4. teach the disciples to obey everything Jesus had commanded them
The apostles did what Jesus told them to do. They waited in Jerusalem to receive power from the Holy Spirit, then began to witness to everyone around them. They started in Jerusalem, then into all Judea and Samaria. They preached repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, saved many years later, took the Gospel of God’s love beyond Israel into the Gentile world. He taught the Gentiles to preach the Gospel of God’s Grace in their ministry of reconciliation and to represent Christ as ambassadors to the world.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
As we count down to the New Year, let’s look at four specific areas of our life that God wants us to use for Him. We call it Holy Resolutions For A New Year.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”