Now, The Exciting Future
God has now given us a fresh, new, twelve-month package in which to serve Him and to involve ourselves in expanded endeavors to touch our bewildered and beleaguered world with the message of the Gospel of Christ. The condition of our times should remind us again that all of the forms of activity going in these dayspolitical, military, diplomatic, economic and many times Byzantinewill be of little consequence when compared to the preaching of the Word. The most significant activity on earth is the activity of Christians which grows out of the promise, For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). As a result of this promise, we are called upon to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Here we have the wonderful promise when a Christian gives himself to hold forth the Word of Life, he can be used of God to influence the course of a crooked and perverse society among which he shines as a light for all to see. May this be the course of action for each of us in this opportune and provocative year which is upon us.
In this regard, we who are Christians continue to rejoice because this is, indeed, the year of our Lord. This eminently true expression is a reminder that our times are in the hands of God and our future rests secure in the One who presides above history and who is quite aware of each detail of our lives and of the convoluted and troubled streams which intermingle to fashion our current history. The fact that God presides above the world is the final source of help and solace in times like these. More than that, this fact is the true fountainhead of joy for our hearts as we labor here below. Therefore, whatever may be our present circumstances, let us follow the command of Scripture which says, Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice! (Phil.4:4). And, by the way, after saying this, God says to us, Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:5-7). What a marvelous gift God has given us, the peace of God, which passes all understanding. That gift, in our time, is of inestimable value to each believer.
Most of us have now been through a complicated time of personal examination. This is a perfect time, therefore, to remind ourselves of the real goals for which we are supposed to work and that the real results are not for time alone.
The Apostle Paul spoke about this. He said, Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12-14). In so speaking, Paul left for us some real inspiration and instruction. He said some things that we do well to follow. They include:
1. I dont have it made. Paul, despite his experience and spiritual maturity still realized that he still did not know the complete answers to the questions of life.
2. Therefore, Paul said, I am forgetting the past and I am reaching into the future. Paul refused to make the mistake which is so common today and that is to give the past too much influence. Tradition meant nearly nothing to him, but he realized he must give himself with new enthusiasm and labor to the ministry of the Gospel. We can be sure that Paul awakened each new morning and asked, What can I do for Christ today. Sometime he might also have added that no one has attempted before. Too much tradition can overburden todays thinking. Too many crosses, candles, and somber outfits can ruin the real work of God.
3. So the Apostle Paul said then, I am going to press toward the great goal and gain the prize of high accomplishment. Notice Paul did not say, I meander toward the mark. I drift toward the mark. I float toward the mark. Rather, the direction of his life and the intensity with which he lived it were very apparent and produced the basis of his lifetime of astonishing accomplishments. Paul also said, Lets all be that way. He called for everyone to think as he did and, therefore, be turned into resolute soldiers for Christ. He called for spiritual initiative and illustrated that by his own living.
Few more sublime goals have ever been stated than Pauls statement, The high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Paul wanted each one of us to arrive at heaven, to receive the highest possible credit for his strategical activity for Christ.
Quite obviously, Paul was aware that the Church would do little or nothing in the world if it were simply populated by sleepy Christians who knew nothing of spiritual accomplishment. They are like the person who said, Lord, I will be happy to serve Thee providing, of course, it is in an advisory capacity.
Indeed, if a billion people in todays world are Christians, where are their accomplishments? Oh yes, there is no end to expensive enterprises, educational systems, discussions, and dozens of other pursuits in which Christians take part in the process. However, the accomplishments that only come by evangelism, the preaching of the Word, are difficult to find. It is a very helpful reminder to look further at the words of the Apostle Paul when, a few verses later he said, The Lord is at hand (Phil. 4:5). We are not supposed to think of ourselves, therefore, as serving a distant taskmaster. Not at all, rather, we are distinguished associates of Jesus Christ, who even now, in the days of our flesh, can do so much toward accomplishing heavens purposes. One day, perhaps soon, we shall stand before Christ. May God grant that we shall hear Jesus say, Well done, good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matt. 25:23). This is the testimony of those who press toward the mark. It is not the words of a meandering Church.
From the writings of Dave Breese
Destiny Newsletter continued