Realigning our lives in the New Year

by Steven Chan

As one year passes, another year arrives, giving us yet another opportunity to review what we have accomplished in the past year and also to plan for our activities for the New Year.  In so doing it is important that we consider what our Lord expects of us in the coming year.

As we contemplate our past, present and our future, we will do well to remember the warning of our Lord in Matt 16: 26: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The status of our soul is of paramount importance. Amidst the many concerns of this world it is easy for us to become so engaged in the affairs of this life that we lose sight of what is truly important.  Consider that Steve Job gave the world the incredible iPhone and iPad, etc but during the past year, he has also passed on from this world.  The Bible declares in Heb 9:27: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” We will not live in this world forever.  So we need to be prepared for the Day of Judgement wherein each of us will need to give an account of our lives as the Bible declared from long ago in Ecc 12:13-14: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

We need to focus on the spiritual as stated in 2 Cor 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

So, as we consider the things which are not seen, we need to ask ourselves whether we are fighting the good fight of faith (I Tim 6:12).  In 2 Tim 4:6-8, the apostle Paul in acknowledging the eventuality of his passing from this life expressed his feeling in tis manner: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Brethren, are we still fighting the good fight of faith?  According to Eph 6:12 our fight is not “against flesh and blood”. It is a spiritual battle.  In 2 Cor 10:3-5 the Bible says: “we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

The fight requires us to use God’s weapon of the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), It has to do with using the Scriptures to cast down arguments that are contrary to the Word of God.  This was how Apollos helped the church at Achaia in Acts 18: 27-28: “when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.” In Titus 1:9-14, the elders are expected to be those who are “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. ...Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.”

Brethren, the fight requires us to “HOLD FAST the FAITHFUL WORD as we have been taught that we may be able to BY SOUND DOCTRINE, both to exhort and convict those who CONTRADICT.

Our fight is against those who CONTRADICT the faithful word of God that we have been taught and the weapons for our fight is to use SOUND DOCTRINE.

Unfortunately, in this fight, some are merely spectators in the battle for the soul, heart and mind of the people. They are not involved personally in the battle. They are merely observers. In Matt 12:30, Jesus said: “he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” We cannot be merely critics and observers; we need to be in the battle itself. Some may have become battle shy. In other words, they prefer not to preach the gospel lest they upset some people.  Others may have become battle weary – in that they have grown tired of preaching the Word of God. Whatever may be our situation; let us make a renewed effort to rise up and fight the good fight of faith as is expected of us by our Lord (I Tim 6:12).

Brethren, our spiritual battle requires us to preach the Word so that souls may be set free from the clutches of sin as they hear the Word of God and obey the truth as regards salvation (John 8:31-34). In Rom 1:16 the apostle Paul declared:  “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.” The marching order of our Lord is stated in Mark 16:15-16: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved;” We must continue to preach the gospel so that souls may be saved from their sins.

We must also preach the Word so that the faith of the brethren may be strengthened – Acts 20:32: “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” As the Lord Himself said in Matt 4:4:  “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”   We are expected to desire the word of God so that we may grow in our faith. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Pet 2:1-3)

We must preach the Word so that brethren remain sound in the faith and not drift away into sin and error: Titus 1:13-14: “Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.”  The Bible warns us thus in Heb 2:1: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”  Brethren, we need to preach the Word of God so that brethren will not DRIFT AWAY into erroneous doctrines that are man-made and may have semblance of human wisdom: Col 2:23: “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion.” Never underestimate the ability of erroneous teaching to lead brethren away from the once for all delivered faith.

In 2 Tim 4:1-5, the apostle Paul stated thus: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Brethren, let us take the opportunity in this New Year to realign our lives with God’s Word and to renew our commitment to God’s Word, to search the Scriptures daily & diligently to know and understand God’s Will, handling it accurately (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim 2:15; Rom 12:1,2; 2 Pet 3:16-18)) so that we may walk in the light of His Word so as to please Him in all things, and then to preach His Word with all our might in order to win souls to the obedience to the truth so that they may be saved (2 Tim 2:23-26).

May the church in Klang conduct itself in 2012 in such a way that it be viewed truly as the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim 3:15).