Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is traditional at the beginning of a "New Year" to preach a sermon on "new beginnings", or "new resolutions", or some other slant on the New Year that we think will help people do better this year than they did last year. But let me ask you; is this really a biblical idea?
As I review Jesus in the gospels, Paul and Peter's letters, I see a very different challenge for us. All three challenge us to examine our foundation. What good is a 'New Years Resolution' if our foundation is faulty or we build with the wrong material? Let's look first at Jesus' words.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus presents a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man "built his house on the rock". We know that Jesus is referring to Himself as that rock. The foolish man "built his house on the sand", unstable, shifting material. In both cases, Jesus points to one outlook for both - a storm that will test our house and will reveal what we have done in the building process. But there are two different outcomes. The house of the wise man did not fall because he laid a 'rock-solid' foundation. His future was sure because of that "one decision". The house of the foolish man fell because he built on ideas, methods of men, traditions of man, and not on biblical truth.
Paul approaches this issue a little differently but with the same test and results. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 he says that "...no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." What he is really saying is that Jesus Christ is the only foundation and anyone trying to lay a foundation other than Him is not laying any foundation. Paul takes this challenge further by saying "Let each one take care how he builds..."! (3:10-11). If we are not building on the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be sure that a test will come - fire will either purify what we have built with or it will be destroyed. (See also Galatians).
Peter points to one stone, the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8). There are some who will reject this stone and "stumble" over what God has laid and chosen. But for those who believe in Christ and choose Him as their foundation, they become a "living stone...built up as a spiritual house...a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God..." (2:5). Rejecting God's chosen foundation results in judgment (2 Peter 2).
In all three references, the issue is whether Christ is the only foundation of our lives and ministries. Then the question is; what are we building on that one foundation. If we build with anything of man, it will fall and be destroyed. There is a big difference between 'man's resolutions' and the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer. We may need to return to our foundations and make sure they are the right ones. Jesus said to Ephesus, "...repent, and do the works you did at first" (Revelation 2:5).
My desire for this year is that you will make sure to build on Jesus Christ, nothing else! If there is bad material, repentance will remove it. The Holy Spirit will help you build so you will never be ashamed.
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