Well, another year is upon us and have you made any new years’ resolutions? May I suggest a few that can completely revolutionize your lives? I wish to offer four such resolutions:
1. Make sure you are a Christian. I have had the privilege of leading many persons to the Lord in recent years. A common answer to the question of whether a person is a Christian and is assured of spending eternity in heaven with the Lord is this one: “Well, I hope so.” My friend, you can and must know so. A common answer is that they go to church. My response is that I go to McDonalds and haven’t become a “Big Mac” yet. The Scripture makes it clear that our good works will not save us. Titus 3:5 says “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” You can attend church every Sunday and hold prominent offices in that church and yet not know Christ as Savior.
A verse I use so often in speaking to people is I Jn. 5:12 which says “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I suggest that they pray with me a 10 second prayer that will accomplish these three things: Christ comes into their heart as their Savior forever. Their sins are totally wiped away and forgiven. Finally, they are guaranteed eternal life with the Lord. Are you ready to pray this simple but powerful prayer? Here it is. “Lord, I am a sinner and I turn from my sin. Forgive me of all my sins and be my Savior. Give me eternal life and I will live for you forever. In Jesus name, Amen!” If you prayed that prayer sincerely, then you are now a genuine Christian. Follow it up with being baptized in water as soon as you can.
2. Attend a good Bible-preaching church regularly. Pray about which church and the Lord will lead you. It may be a large church or it may be a small church—just make sure they preach being born-again and expound the Word of God. Some people cannot attend because of health reasons and so they rely on programs offered on the television. If you are able to attend then be sure to do so. The Scripture says in Heb. 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” Read your Bible and pray daily, but look forward to attending the House of God where you will be encouraged by other believers and fed from good Bible preaching and teaching. Those who do this will grow like a plant in your home that is fed and watered.
3. Faithfully give your tithes and offerings to the House of God on a regular basis. Malachi 3:10 says “Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”. Regardless of your level of income, when you tithe and give offerings to the work of the Lord he will meet your needs. Years ago, when I first moved to Sidney to pastor a small church I received a very small salary. In spite of this limited income I tithed, gave offerings to missions, etc. and sent small offerings to many other ministries outside of the church. As I look back I can say that the Lord provided for all my needs and no bills went unpaid. He is so faithful in keeping his promises. May God bless you as you tithe and give offerings!
4. Daily anticipate the return of Christ to catch Christians up to be with him forever. Mark 13:35 says “Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at the even, or at midnight of at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.” I Thes. 4:16,17 says “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” That last phrase “so shall we ever be with the Lord” is very important since it indicates that we will be present with the Lord from then on and anything that he is involved with will also involve us. We are told that we don’t know the exact day and hour of his return, but there are indications of its nearness. Dan. 12:4 says “But thou O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” This verse suggests that the end times will be characterized by fast travel, or running to and fro and the great increase of knowledge. Are you aware that your cell phone is proof of this being the last days and is a fulfilment of great increase in knowledge? Consider all the apps and capabilities of that little device. Man’s knowledge has vastly increased and we need to be looking upwards daily. Pray for family members and friends who are not saved. If they do not get caught up with us they will go through terrible events which space does not allow me to describe. Make sure you are ready to get caught up with us. Heaven is going to be a wonderful place where we will see the Lord, family members and friends that we haven’t seen for a long time. Come Lord Jesus!
The writer is the pastor emeritus of the Christian Tabernacle in Sidney.