Make much of Christ in the year 2018

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The reality of life is its slipping away from our hands, every passing day is a day less in our lives, our lives are limited on this earth, we don’t even know how many days are left for us to live on this earth.

When I look at my own days from the time I was born, until today. I don’t even know how the first 20 years of my life just went by, the next 10 years I spent figuring out what life is all about, fighting to get a college degree, trying to figure out what I want to do in life and getting married.

The next 9 years were spent looking after the family, providing for my children, serving in the church in whatever measure I could invest my time & energy.

This month I’ll turn 39, almost touching 40.

When I look back at my life, I’m definitely thankful to God that he led me, provided for me, and still takes care of me. I feel good that I found my purpose, my passion, the right place and the right people in my life that I feel good about.

But one thing that makes me feel sad is when I think why it took such a long time for me to arrive at this stage in my spiritual life, where I feel I’m now steady and stable. I know what I need from life and where I need to focus.

But I wish I was here when I was 25, I wish I had the energy and youthfulness I had when I was 25 to do more and achieve more for the Kingdom. Because I feel I wasted a lot of time chasing after the world and deprived myself of God and Seeking His Kingdom first in my life.

As I had these thoughts running through my mind while preparing today’s sermon I was also encouraged in my spirit that it is not too late. God will use the remaining years of my life for his glory and I want to be obedient and crazy from him then I’ve ever been before.

Similarly, I now want you all to think about your lives. And I want you to do it by answering the following questions in your mind.

Q1. How old are you?
Q2. How many years do you think you have in hand?
Q3. What is the immediate need in your life that you think will bring instant joy in your life?
Q4. To what extend are you willing to go to achieve that immediate need in your life?

A1. Obviously, You know your age.
A2. You don’t have any clue on how many days you have in hand. Only God does. Today can be the last day of your life.
A3. The thing that you are seeking for right now (it could be a job, a life-partner, a particular sum of money, an educational qualification, an inheritance from your parents, a business contract, promotion etc). Trust me, I say this out of my experience, these things will never bring lasting joy, the joy your soul is longing for. Once you have it, your heart will desire for more… it is a never-ending saga.

Think about the different kinds of people in our world.
– People who have money, yearn for relationships.
– People who have relationships, yearn for money.
– People who have jobs, yearn for promotion.
– People who have huge business contracts and good paying jobs, yearn for peace of mind.
– People who have a good educational qualification, yearn for a good job.

A4. If your answer to Q4 is “I’m willing to give and do anything to have my immediate desire been fulfilled”, then I want to ask you why is it that you want to give your all to achieve something that is not a source of real joy and satisfaction for life, maybe it can give momentary joy.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t give your best to achieve things in life, my question is why would you give all of yourself to something that, at the end of your life will be of zero value.

Wouldn’t you like to give your time, money, strength to something that is of true value, and a source of everlasting & eternal joy?

So, my job today as we begin this New Year is to point our hearts to the only true source of joy and fulfillment, an eternal one.

Brother & sisters, it is CHRIST and only Christ who is, and will ever be our true source of joy, happiness, and fulfillment.

It is not just about been happy on earth. The new testament indicates, that there’s another reason we need Jesus. There is a God who is altogether holy, who is perfectly just, and who declares that he is going to judge the world and hold every human being accountable for their life.

As a perfectly holy and just God, he requires for each one of us a life of perfect obedience and of perfect justness.

And it is only through Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross that we can receive acceptance from our creator God, which we can never achieve ourselves.

Jesus lived the perfect life of obedience and justness on our behalf and took our sins on himself and died in our place. When we believe this truth and put our faith in him, our sins are forgiven and the righteousness of Christ comes upon us, and we become holy and acceptable to God.

And therefore, I want to begin this new year by encouraging you to Make much of Christ in the year 2018. The passage that I want to point our hearts to is John 15:1-11 where Jesus saying…

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Here are a couple of things I want our hearts to remember and we make much of Christ in this coming year.

  1. Always remember that Jesus is the true vine (v.1), the only source that connects us with the vinedresser, God, the creator who made, knows us, loves us, cares for us and sent us to this earth for a purpose.
  2. As we continue to make much of Christ, we will be pruned every day (v.2). Through sufferings, struggles, pain, loss, discouragements, so we can bear much fruit. Romans 5:3-5 Pauls reminds us to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
  3. We will fail to see & produce fruit if we fail to abide in Christ (v.4-5)
  4. There is a consequence if we fail to Abide in Christ (v.6)
  5. As you make much of Christ and abide in him, you can ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Obviously, it has to be God’s will for your life as well. (v.7)
  6. When you make much of Christ by abiding in him and bear fruit for him and prove to be the disciples of Jesus, God is glorified.
  7. Obedience is the main thing, if you are unwilling to change and obey his commandments then nobody can help you in anyways. (v.10)

Here are some practical ways in which we can make much about Christ in this coming year.

As an individual…

– By seeking him daily through prayer and devotion
– By loving him more than anything or anybody in life
– By doing our best to present ourselves to him as one approved, unashamed and able to rightly handle the word of truth.

As a family…

– By trusting him for your needs, whether financial, health or whatever your need in life
– By seeking him as a family in devotion and prayer
– By serving him as a family in whatever capacity each one of you can contribute. Just like Joshua who said me and my household will serve the Lord.

At our workplace…

– By acknowledging him and his presence and having fellowship with him while at work
– By joyfully submitting to our earthly master as unto the Lord, giving your best at all times
– By trusting him as your provider and guide.

As you make much of Christ in the year 2018, my desire and prayer is that you are blessed abundantly and bountifully, that God would enlarge your territories and make your face shine, and even use you in unspeakable and unimaginable ways for his glory.

One comment

  1. Dear Saju, what a wonderful New Year teaching in the Name Above All Names Yeshua, Jesus, our Lord and Precious Saviour. My name is Jude and I am born again, and live in Toronto, Canada.

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