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05 Jan 2020

Centred On Our Savior

Overview

We need a clear vision for our lives and our church. And there is nothing more important in this year than to have our lives centred on the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does Christ-centeredness mean? 1. It's about Passion for Christ: A Christ-centred man finds his joy, satisfaction and identity in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is His ultimate goal and pursuit. Christ is who he loves and lives for. He learns to rejoice in Christ, even in the most difficult of situations. This passion for Christ fuels him to serve, to sacrifice, to give and to pursue holiness. In this new year, may we then remember to come back to our first love and ask God for a fresh passion for Jesus! 2. It's about Power from Christ: The Christian life is impossible apart from Christ. Power belongs unto God, and we need to depend on Him for everything in the spiritual life. We can't depend on willpower but on God's power. We are not to press on by gritting our teeth but by bending our knees. And God may put us through "thorn-in-the-flesh" experiences to humble us that we may rely on His power! 3. It's about Proclamation of Christ: A man centred on Christ loves to proclaim Christ everywhere. May our church determine to preach Christ always! Not just in our pulpits, but in every care group, discipleship group, bible study group, children ministry, youth ministry and in our families. May Christ increase and we decrease. So in this new year, re-order your new year resolutions. May Christ be the centre of your life, that you may truly have a blessed new year!

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It's a good time for you to join us because this is the beginning of the year and as usual in Gospel Light, the first few weeks of the year are usually spent looking ahead as to our focus for the year in front of us.

And this year is no different, we're looking at the future of Gospel Light, we're looking at vision, envisioning weeks that will be what we would call this.

Now, uh recently, for the past few years, whenever I read my phone, I pick up my phone. It's a small little phone, the words are small, the fonts are small, I would have to read it like this, because I'm getting long sighted.

My vision is failing but I hope that our spiritual vision is not failing. I hope that we will see clearly as a church where God wants us to be. I think it's so important to have clear vision. That's why in these next few weeks, we are looking at a sermon series called Vision 2020. Now, this is year 2020. Every organization, every church will probably uh jump onto the bandwagon of 2020 to look at vision and we are no different.

We want to see clearly where we ought to be because it's so easy to slip into a kind of routine and not ask what really is God's will for our church.

It's so easy to slip into a kind of rut and forget a higher purpose and calling. You see, it's easy for us to think Christianity and the church is only measured by what we do on Sunday mornings. It's easy to slip into a kind of ritual and think that's all.

It's easy to think that a good church is one where more and more people are coming to. It's easy to think that a good church is where you have many, many activities and programs but I beg to differ. I think that's not what we should aim for.

We are not aiming just to have regular worship services. We are not aiming just for more people. I, I rejoice there are more people who will come to hear the Gospel but that should not be our only goal.

I rejoice we have activities but we should not aim just to pack our schedules with events. I suppose it's the same for the family. You come from a family. What's the goal of your family? Is it just to have dinners once a week? oh weekly dinners, that's what our family does. That's not all there is to family, you do that but there's more to that.

I'm sure in your family, your goal is not just to have more children, especially in Singapore, hard to have many, many children. It's good to have more children, nothing wrong with that but your goal certainly is not just more children. The goal of the family must be that each and every member in the family will become the kind of people we want them to be. That's the goal we want to be better people.

That's the goal of a school, not just to go for classes, not just to have CCAs, not just to have more students enrolled, but that each and every student will become a kind of people we will be proud of.

So what's the goal of the church? Not services, not numbers, not programs, but to become the kind of people God wants us to be. So in Vision 2020, I like us to be clear about our vision statement. Here in Gospel Light, we like to keep things simple. So the vision, the goal, the end point of the people of God, gathered here should be that will become an “Acts Church For Today”. Now, just four words, I don't think it's too much to ask of your pastor for you to remember right? Can you remember four words?

“An Acts Church For Today”, that's our vision. You say, what's that? You mean this church like to act ah? No, no, that's not what we are saying. We're not saying Acting Church For Today. But an Acts Church, the church that is recorded for us in the Bible, in the 5th book of the New Testament, the book of Acts.

It was a phenomenal church. I don't know of any other church, like the church in the book of Acts, where 3000 souls were added to the kingdom that very day, where people were risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel, where Jesus through them is made known to many parts of the world. A people dynamic, a people filled with the Spirit. That's the kind of church I hope we will be.

So it's interesting that the vision of Gospel Light, looking forward, is to actually look backwards. Look at the people there on the day of Pentecost, the church that was born, when the Spirit came down in mighty power. That's where we want to be.

So for the next seven weeks, we're going to look at what it means to be an “Acts Church For Today”. And we are not going to look at form and activities and outward behaviors, we're going to look at principles, core values of the early church.

And today we kick off with the very first one, the most important one, the first, it's always the most important and the most important characteristic of the church in the book of Acts must be this. It is that they were a people centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, the hallmark of the church in the book of Acts was that they were all about Jesus.

It's not about Peter, it's not about Paul, it's not about any apostle but it's all about Jesus. Now Jesus had already died and risen to heaven during the book of Acts, but He was the Person, He was the Name that everyone was preaching and risking their lives for. And I think a good church, a church we aim to become, must be a church focused and centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know a statement like this can sound like a slogan, a nice catchy phrase, but mean very little to us. So I like to break it down to three things. What does it mean for a man, what does it mean for a woman, what does it mean for a church to be centered on Jesus? Can you give me something more concrete? You say, I, I'll try.

So three aspects of what it means to be centered on Jesus. Number 1, to be centered on Jesus means that my joy, my satisfaction, my delight, my passion is for Jesus Christ. I think a Christ centered man is passionate for Jesus.

I love people with passion. I love sports. I love people when they are in sports. When they win a game, they score a goal, I love the passion on their faces but more than anything else, I love to see a man or woman passionate for Jesus Christ when his life is fueled, is motivated by a deep love for Jesus because he knows the love of Jesus in his life.

The Bible tells us of a man passionate for Jesus. He was a man who wanted to kill Jesus. He was a man wanted to kill the disciples of Jesus but when he knew Christ, his life totally changed. His name is Apostle Paul and he said, “I count everything as lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord and for his sake, I've suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order, order that I may gain Christ”.

Paul had a lot going on for him. He's a religious leader, well schooled, well taught. He is respected by many people. He's a Hebrew of the Hebrews, but he said, “I'm willing to count all these things as loss as rubbish because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ”.

He went on to say, “and be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own, that comes from the law, but that which comes to through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. I, I rest not in my own obedience to the law because that's useless but I rest on the finished work of Jesus Christ, the righteousness that is given to me through Him by faith, and that I may know Him. This is my goal, this is my life statement, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death”.

Paul is all about Jesus. He has a passion, so palpable, when you read his words, in the book of Philippians. He loves his Savior. His delight is in the Savior. This this passage is somewhat loosely used to give us a song called “Knowing You, Jesus”:

All I once held dear, all I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres and wars to own
All I once thought was gain I have counted lost
Spent and worthless now compared to this

Chorus:
Knowing you Jesus
Knowing you there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord.

Stanzas two and three, do you remember? You don't remember I sing for you, no way, huh, huh, huh.

Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh to know the power of your risen life
And to know you in your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die.

So back to the chorus,
Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing.

Is that true for you, for me?

In this new year, that's where I want to be. I want to be a man who's more and more centered in Jesus Christ, my Lord. I'm not quite centered. I want to be more centered and that means I'm going to ask God, “Lord, give me a passion for Your son Jesus Christ”.

“Let me really know His all surpassing worth, that I may rejoice even when I go through sufferings, that I may have joy even when there are difficulties and trials, that my deepest identities are not found in what I have, or what I do not have, whether I'm married or not married, whether I have kids or not kids, whether I'm famous or not famous, whether I'm successful or respected in my job or not, but it is all about Christ. Lord, help me to be centered, help me to have a passion for Your son. It's not easy and we are many times in our lives going to be tempted away from Jesus”.

Just this New Year's Day, I had a reunion with some of my medical school classmates. We have graduated, they have graduated for now close to 20 years now and they are at a, maybe prime of their life in the medical career and they're all successful in different specialties and it was a delight for me just to catch up with old friends and to hear how they are doing.

So one of them, he's a surgeon in private practice, he mentioned, Oh, he just had to perform a surgery on that very new year's day morning. How morning is morning, past midnight? He said it's because the patient who had an accident, I do not know,major, minor, but he had an accident, a fall or something like that and the parents wanted him to be operated on but only after 12 midnight. Say why? For superstitious reason? No, because they wanted to watch the fireworks. So, they will come in for surgery, but only after the fireworks please.

So my friend say, “sure, but you know there will be a surcharge for that. It's a past midnight, it's New Year's Day”. They said no problem. So anyway, they came for the surgery, it's done. So some of my classmates then asked, “ay how much do you surcharge?”. You know what surcharge?

Surcharge is not the actual charge ah, surcharge is the add-on right!. You take taxis, there's a taxi fare and then they have a surcharge, it's added on. So they asked, “What's your surcharge? What's your additional for operating on New Year's day, morning, public holiday and past midnight?”. He say “5”. I say “500 very reasonable lah”.

He said “5000”. When I heard 5000 and I and that's just the surcharge leh. Not the charge yet leh, charge plus surcharge, double charge. I figured out in my mind what he earns in a day is what I would earn in a month. And maybe more than what I earned a month easily and my heart was moved, “aiyoh why I quit medicine ah, aiyoh, I should have stayed on leh, aiyoh, I will have so much and, and…” and I found my heart not centered on Jesus.

It's easy, it's easy in life, to be tempted by lust and lures and temptations. It's easy when we go into difficulties and trials to start to doubt our Savior, and start to complain and start to lose our joy because we're not centered on Jesus.

But a Christ centered man says, Lord, let my joy, my delight, not be found in whether I'm promoted in year 2020 or whether I'm, I lose weight in 2020, or whether I'm more famous in 2020 but let Christ be my joy, my all, my peace and when a man finds a passion in Christ, he is, he will serve Christ. You know, I'm not concerned about whether you're serving as much as I'm concerned about your passion for Christ. People often in this church, say, pastor, you should tell people to serve more, do get them to serve more, but I always see it like this, “Yes, there's a, there's a reasonable and right amount of encouragement we should give for you to serve”.

But what I'm more concerned about is the issue of the heart, that we are not serving. Let me tell you why, because we do not have a passion for Jesus, because if you have a passion for Jesus, you cannot not serve Jesus. You will be a generous man, you will be a sacrificial man, you will be a serving man because Jesus lives in you and you love Him.

I think a man who has a passion for Jesus pursues holiness, real pursuit of holiness, not because other people are looking at him, not because oh, the police will catch him. But even in the darkest of nights by himself, he's not going to click on pornography, he's not going to be bitter in his heart. Why? Because he loves Jesus. And I pray in 2020 I will be a man more centered in Jesus, I hope you will be.

This is a picture of the Taj Mahal. I've never been to India, but I'm sure this must be a majestic, beautiful structure because it's one of the seven wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal is actually a tomb built by a king named Shah Jahan for his wife who passed away. He loved his wife dearly and to remember her, he wanted to build a beautiful temple, a tomb to house her.

Now, this beautiful structure took a long time to build, many years. And in one of those days, Shah Jahan went to the construction, construction site to pay a visit and he stumbled upon a, a kind of a box, a wooden box, far removed from this building, only to know months later, that the box he stumbled upon was actually the casket of his dear wife.

You see in the midst of busy building after many years, the workers have forgotten what this building is for and have thrown out the heart of this building outside the building.

Could it be true for you and I that we are so busy with life, so busy with church, so busy even with ministry, care group, serving, that the heart of it all is thrown away, as what Jesus Himself said, “I've somewhat against you because you have left your first love?".

Hey, this is where it all begins. This is where our year must begin, “Lord, we want to be like the church in the book of Acts and it begins right here in the heart, that I want to be centered on my Savior, it means give me a passion for Christ”.

That's what I pray for. That's why you read the Bible that when you read the Bible, you see Christ, you see His beauty, you see His worth, you see His love and you say, “Lord, show me more of Jesus. Help me to know His love, like what Ephesians 3 would say, that Christ may dwell in my heart”, then I tell you, you will have a truly blessed year.

You have a year where you delight in the scripture. You have a year where your prayer life is so meaningful because you're asking for God to show you the beauty of your Savior. You have a year where you can truly be genuine in sacrifice. You'll be effective in soul winning, you will be joyful in your suffering. It all begins right here.

So 2020, let's have clarity. We want to be centered on our Savior, that means Lord, give me a passion for You.

But there's more, I, I think, a Christ centered man not only understands the need for passion for Jesus, but he understands the need for power from Jesus. The Christian life is unique, it's a life where you can't live on your own. The Christian life is where we need desperately power from Jesus.

When I was growing up, I, I’m a TV addict, like my actually younger son, love to watch TV. I watch every kind and I love cartoons of course as a child. And one of my favorite cartoons, I have a few, a lot actually, but one of my favorite is Flintstones. Remember that? Remember the jingle, the song? “Flintstones, they're the Flintstones”. Okay, I'm old and archaic, but it's just a cute little cartoon, fun loving, always with dinosaurs and stuff like that.

But what I'm always attracted to and amazed by is their automobile. Their car, it's a ridiculous car, it's a car with wheels but no power except your own legs. I've always wondered why do you bother with this car you might as well walk there yourself, faster.

Sadly, that's how many Christians live their Christian life. Oh, God gave me salvation, I'm now a Christian. So let's live this Christian life with my own legs, my own power but no, you can't, you absolutely can't. Jesus Himself explained it like this, using the imagery of planting, vine, viticulture. He said, “as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me”.

He's giving a very absolute statement and it makes sense. When you pluck a branch off the stem, the branch can not bear fruit, it can be used for caning, very good, but it cannot be used to bear fruit anymore. A Christian who is not abiding and deeply, intimately connected with Jesus, not depending on the resources from Jesus is useless and good for nothing, he cannot bear fruit.

If you're still not convinced, verse 5, he says, “For apart from Me, you can do nothing. You can bring nothing of worth before God. You can bring nothing that brings joy to your God, apart from the power that Christ provides, you can do nothing”. So the secret of the Christian life, the indispensable realization of the Christian life, is that all power belongs to God. Jesus is the source of our life. I've been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.

You want to live a holy life? You want to please God? You want to bear fruit? You need the power of God. Colossians, Paul says it this way, “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him”. Wow, that's hard, “bearing fruit in every good work”, wow, that's hard and “increasing in the knowledge of God” that's not easy, “being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might”.

What is said in the first three lines is nigh impossible, actually impossible but it becomes attainable because of the power that God gives to us.

In this new year, learn, like I want to learn to be more Christ centered. What does it mean? It means I want to learn to depend on Christ and His power more and more. When a nasty driver cuts my lane, I want to learn not to horn straight away, but to shoot up a prayer to God and say, “Lord, help me, Your patience, Your kindness, Your temperance”. When a temptation comes before me, not to fight that with willpower, but God's power, saying, “Lord, Your purity please”.

In other words, I'm saying, the Christian life is not lived by gritting your teeth. Some of you are very disciplined people, you are very good at gritting your teeth. You have a lot of grit but it's no good unless you bring it to God in prayer. We don't fight using gritting teeth, we fight by going down on our knees.

Now when you drive you can go down on your knees, but you know what I mean? You pray, you look to God you're saying, “Lord, I need you, I, I need to depend on You, otherwise, I'll be filled with wrath and hatred and rage and that's not pleasing to You”.

“Lord, I want to be a better servant of yours, empower me to do so, Lord, I'm going to teach Your Word, give me Your Strength, Your Grace to do so”. We need to learn to be more Christ centered. I think that's so relevant for a Christian, Singaporean crowd here. You know why? Because Singaporeans are actually very well resourced.

When you have a problem, it doesn't become a problem after a while, because you know, that you have ATM and you have uh friends you can call and if you don't have friends, you have Google you can ask. You have internet, you have everything and we almost are brought up and raised in an environment where we can be quite self sufficient, but the Christian life can't be.

Now let me say this, some of us, we pray for a blessed 2020. You know what that means to some people? Blessed 2020 means “Feng Tiao Yu Shun, Wan Shi Shun Xin, Wan Shi Ru Yi” (Chinese idioms). In other words, you pray for a smooth uneventful, very nice and easy 2020. Now will God give it to you? Hey, don't shake your head lah, maybe lah, I'm not sure lah.

I'm not saying can't, will God give it to you? Maybe, I don't know. But it may also be that God will give you a very rough year ahead. In other words, you may be filled, it may be filled with quite in our opinion, unpleasant surprises, difficulties, sicknesses, needs. Why? I mean, if I believe God is powerful, and that God is good, and that He loves me, why will He give me so many problems?

Well, one of the reasons is so that we may learn about His power. You see, Apostle Paul was a man who serve God right? But God gave him what? A thorn in the flesh. Now we do not know what the thorn is. It might be some severe pain, it might be some kind of handicap, we are not told what it is.

But Paul said, Lord, this is so difficult for me. Can you please take away this thorn? He pleaded with God three times, God didn't remove and then God told him the reason why. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. The reason why the thorn is given is so that it may cut you down to size, so that you may know your weakness.

Our problem, we don't know our weakness. We think we are quite somebody, we think we have some spiritual reserve to fight sin, to fight temptation, oh we forget all power belongs unto God. So God gives us difficulties, trials, so that we might be humble, so that we know that we are weak. And when we know we are weak, then we will start to rely on the power of Christ. Don't you see that your Father is molding and shaping your life for your good?

So Chinese New Year coming, and when you see one another, try not to say “Wan shi ru Yi” lah, “Feng Tiao Yu Shun”, because that may not be the best for you. We always say in Gospel Light, say to one another “Wan Shi Zhu Yi”, (God's will everything), let it be God's will, even if it's painful or difficult, let it be God's will for the sake of Christ.

Paul says, if I've a birthday wish or I have a new year's wish, I will not say “Wan Shi Zhu Yi”, but “I, I am content, I'm satisfied, I'm at peace” with what “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities”. These are things some churches say, God will never give, oh no.

God gives them through the thorn in the flesh so that when I'm weak, I am strong. There's nothing more important really, this morning, to be reminded. We are to be a people centered on our Savior. That's what church is about, not about programs, not about attendance, not about the number of people, but to become the kind of people God wants us to be. To be a people centered on Jesus, to be a people who have a deep passion for Him, a people who will rely constantly, day by day, moment by moment upon His power.

And then finally, a people centered on the Savior, will be a people who go around proclaiming Jesus. That's what we ought to be, that's what 2020 I pray will be like for my life and for our church, for your life. You see, when a man is passionate about something, he will talk about it right, out of the abundance of heart, his mouth will speak.

I, I see that so often in my family, when I talked to my son, sons, they don't talk to me about Jesus so much. Maybe before they sleep, we talked a little bit, but most of the time they talk about their real passion, at this stage of their life.

You talk to Matthias, he's going to talk to you about Godzilla and Ghidorah. You say what are these? Well, they are monsters, he likes monsters I do not know why but he likes Godzilla. Arh everything is about this monster thing.

And if you talked to my son, Shawn, the older one, uh he has many passions in life. And the current latest passion is terrariums. This is his terrarium that he made himself and he's passionate about these things, and he will talk about these things.

But when you talk to a Christ centered man, what does he want to talk about? Not that he can't talk about anything else but his deepest desire is to tell you about Jesus. When he goes to any crowd, and he's given the opportunity to speak, he wants to preach about Jesus. That's what he says, Paul says, “We preach Christ crucified”. And of course, the famous text we read, and we have just read 1Corinthians 2, “I determined, I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.

I think in modern days, people have a kind of dichotomy about preaching and teaching. They say preaching is with the heart, teaching is for technical stuff. Well, when you look at the Bible, you see that the Word preaching is actually very unique, is very interesting.

So I read about this pastor, his name is Colin Smith. He, he wanted to study what preaching is all about and what preaching should be on. So he said, a group of us sat down and said, let's go through the New Testament and try and identify as many references as we can to preaching, then see what was it that was preached. I think that's very wise. You want to know about preaching, according to God's definition, read how preaching is used in the Bible, according to God's definition.

So he says, we we wanted to plow through the Bible, the New Testament and understand preaching. So we started going through Acts, the book there. Then we went through the rest of the New Testament and Epistles.

In about an hour and a half we jotted down 39 references to preaching or proclamation. And in every case, what we found that was proclaimed was the Lord Jesus Christ or His death or His resurrection or the Gospel itself. It was always the same thing. The apostles gave themselves to that proclamation of Jesus Christ.

I hope Gospel Light will always preach Christ. It's not easy because to a crowd who doesn't love Christ? To some who do not know Jesus as yet, there will be comments like pastor, you're so boring. Every week you talk about the same thing. Every week I come church I hear you Gospel, Gospel, Gospel, Jesus, Jesus, can you talk about something else?

Now thankfully, that's not a problem here in Gospel Light. But I can imagine how that could be in many other churches, in many other places. Because you want to hear something new, you have itchy ears, you want to hear something fanciful, but according to the Bible, preaching is about Jesus Christ.

And I hope that in Gospel Light, we will not be a church that just deals with issues of the day. Now and it's not that we are oblivious to the issues of our day. It's not that we're oblivious to the sins and the sinful patterns and the lifestyle issues that are all around us but let's not make those issues the main issue when Christ should be preached.

In other words, we do not want to be a church that is swayed away from the center of Christ, by politics or by sexual lifestyles or social issues of our day. Let us all be centered on Jesus.

That also means that we should not be a church that is so engrossed with technicalities in our preaching ministry. Now, please don't get me wrong, sometimes and oftentimes we need to be quite technical. We need to be quite absolute, quite exact, quite accurate in teaching the Bible. But I hope that all the technicalities are for the purpose of showing Christ, teaching Christ and not for an end by itself.

In other words, we are not technical for the sake of being technical, to show off or to boast of our knowledge. But let each Sunday, let each gathering, let each of our care groups, discipleship groups, Bible studies, children's ministry, adults ministry, youth ministry, may all our teaching, may all our proclamation, lead people to Jesus. That's what it's all about.

And may we not preach about men. Oh this church is not about pastor Paul, not about me. Not about any pastor, any leader, any men, because the sure formula for division is when you're focused on men. That's what Paul said, right? Why are you following Cephas, why are you following Apollos, why are you following me, Paul? Did any one of us die for you? The reason why you're so divided is because you're focused on man. But we preach Christ and it is Christ who unites our hearts. It is in Christ, that barriers are torn down, that Jews and Gentiles are united as one in the body of Christ.

So let this church be all about Jesus. 2020 I don't have good physical vision but I pray I will have clear spiritual vision. I pray you will see clearly this year. Maybe some of you, on the first day of New Year, you have already written down your new year resolution, I want to lose weight, I want to fit into my dress, I want to get a promotion, I want to earn more. Now, I'm not saying you cannot lose weight. I'm not saying you cannot do better in your job but I'm saying maybe the priority needs to be shifted a little, if not a lot. Let this be the number one priority. There's nothing more important than that my life is centered on Jesus Christ who gave Himself for me. Then you will really I believe, have a blessed New Year, indeed.

Let's bow for word of prayer together. At the beginning of this year, it is easy to carry on, like how we have lived in 2019. I mean, everything comes in a flurry, isn't it? Christmas, New Year, start of work, start of school.

It's easy to follow the crowd, everyone is studying hard, so my goal is to study hard. Everyone is working hard, so my goal is working hard. My friends are successful, so my goal is to be successful. But this morning, would you settle that heart of yours? That heart that had might have wavered and been tempted, would you ask God today to let that heart be centered on Jesus?

Would you ask God this morning to show you His all surpassing worth, to show you the glories of your Savior and what He did for you on the cross? Would you ask God today in Ephesians 3, praying that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that you might comprehend the height, the depth, the length and the breath of the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Would you ask God this morning, “Lord, let this year be a year centered on Jesus and no one else. Let my joy, my delight, my passion be for Him, Lord, teach me what it means to live in a power of Christ, to be abiding in Jesus, not living that legalistic, self righteous, fleshly life but a life that is abiding in the Vine. Lord, help me today and in the year to come to proclaim Jesus to all around me”.

Dear church, I pray this for you, for your family, for us, that we will be a Christ centered people with passion, with power, with a proclamation. Let's start this year right, let's center it on Jesus Christ.

Maybe some of you here, you do not know Christ. You wonder why is Christ such a big deal? Oh, He's a big deal because He's the Son of God. He's a big deal because He willingly came to be born in the flesh, to be that perfect God man in order to give His life to save you from your sin. He's such a big deal because we see the power of the cross, that there on the cross, He canceled the power of sin, rescues His followers from death. Jesus paid it all. He's that Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. That's why He's such a big deal. The Son of God who become the Savior of all men.

Today, if you do not know Jesus as your Savior, can I encourage you, let this year, be a year of following Christ. Perhaps you have been with us for a long while and you are ready to believe, you say “I need to believe”, would you pray to God even today? “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner, save me from my sins through the finished work of Jesus Your Son” or maybe this is your first time and you say, this sounds interesting, but I'm not quite ready. Would you, can I invite you please, make it a point, come, come for the means of grace, whether it's the services here or the Bible studies or, or meeting up with your friends, say, “let this year be about investigating the Gospel, checking out, finding out for myself, the claims of the Bible”.

I tell you, you won't regret this journey. There's nothing more important than to have eternal life knowing God and His Son. May God bless you this year with Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Father, thank You for this morning. Bless each one, may we start this year right, may we start this year with Your Son. Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

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