Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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New Year’s Resolutions

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

~ Philippians 3:13-14

The apostle Paul determined to “press toward the goal.” The record of his ministry in the New Testament attests to his success in this determination. Paul was not successful by chance. He was resolute, making it his primary purpose in life to fulfill the ministry given him by God. “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also” (Romans 1:15).

Every Christian made that same resolution at the time of their conversion. They determined to no longer serve themselves, rather to serve God. As Paul put it, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Everyone who has been truly converted has made the same pledge by their obedience to the gospel.

It is possible, however, to falter in that resolve to serve God first. This can be seen in myriad Bible examples. The Israelites time and again turned away from God to pagan influences and immorality. Paul’s fellow worker, Demas, left his service to God, “having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). The church in Ephesus received the admonition of our Lord, “…I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). The church in Laodicea received a stern condemnation in those same letters, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). We are not immune to those same tendencies to falter in our service to God. For this reason it is extremely important that we reassess our commitment to our Lord often, to ensure that we are properly serving Him. Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

ImageIf lacking in our commitment, we must change. There is no better time to make such a change than right now. A new year is upon us, and it is commonly a time where we reassess our priorities, and recommit ourselves to making improvements. Some resolve to lose weight, others to quit smoking, and others to get more exercise. Some determine to be more kind, to be more outgoing, or to be more patient. Others, appropriately, determine to better serve their God.

As victorious Israel began its occupation of the land God had promised, an aged Joshua called for a renewed commitment from them. He said, “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The final phrase should be our mantra in 2009. “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Will you do your part to make our congregation faithful and acceptable to our Lord in the year 2009 and beyond?