A Purpose for the New Year

KJV Bible

KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

If these are the last days what should we expect?  Faith to decline. False teaching to increase, men to become “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”, (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Paul also explained that in the last days instead of seeking the truth and God, people would seek confirmation for whatever they wanted to believe, and practice. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

These are not pretty pictures, men and women living their lives purely seeking to pleasure themselves without considering the world around them and most importantly those less fortunate than themselves. To make matters worse instead of seeking the truth they only look to confirm their selfish beliefs and justify their actions. Has this already occurred? Are we living in the last days?

We are the ambassadors of Christ. Jesus gave us the great commission to go into the entire world to teach everything he commanded and to make disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20) Sometimes we cowardly remain silent while we hear the world justify outrageous actions, abortion, pornography, violence, just to name a few.  We also stand by while many, including Christians, become more materialistic and hedonistic.

It may not be popular but our focus in these trying times must be preaching the gospel that changes lives, a gospel that teaches us to love God above all things (Mark 12:28-30), to obey the commandments (John 14:15), to love one another, regardless of our differences (Matthew 5:43-48), to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31), to do unto others as we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12), that directs those that have to help those that do not have (Mark 10:21, Acts 4:32-35) that emphasizes sacrifice, giving and kindness over pleasure, taking and callousness.(Matthew 25:35-40)

The living and preaching of this gospel should be the purpose of our new year. It begins at home and then extends to the rest of the world.  Let us begin today!

More from bibleaid

1-What is a Christian? article/devotional

2.-Verses on love (A  list of verses)

3-Commandments of love article/devotional

4-More bibleaid New Year’s articles and resources (link to a collection)

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We were not meant to be alone

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one” John 17:22

Sometimes we might feel alone or apart from everything else. However that is not where God wants us. We are an important part of something much greater.

If we are redeemed souls, set apart by the blood of Christ, then we are members of a body of Christians that crosses the globe and history all at once. We become part of a greater mission.  Jesus declared that mission in His final statement “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)  We fulfill this mission both individually, with all the actions we take in our private lives, speaking to others, praying, giving good testimony, and we fulfill this mission as the body of Christ, the church.

By being a part of a church we help to fulfill the great commission.  Paul explains it best in Ephesians 4.16 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  We are each a part of the body doing the work we have been called to do.  When we do it in perfect unity great things happen. Christ prayed for that unity as one of his last acts of his earthly ministry.  In this prayer he says “ I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17: 22, 23)

Paul also explains that we have received gifts. (Ephesians 4:7)  Jesus also alludes to this in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).  Therefore each of us has been given certain abilities that need to be exercised within the church, for the good of God’s great commission, to preach the gospel, be a light in the darkness, and to be an expression of Christ love to a suffering humanity.

We were never meant to be solitary creatures.  Together we become essential to the mission of Christ on earth, to save a world dying in sin, sickness, poverty and violence.