HAPPY NEW YEAR
Many people make New Year resolutions. Whatever resolutions we may make, they are only good if we keep them. We can learn from the Scripture several things to apply in our lives during this coming year to make us stronger Christians. Steadfastness is essential for us to have spiritual victories in the New Year.
1. Committed in prayer to God.
2. Continuous watching for the enemy.
3. Confident in the presence of God.
4. Continued in the work of God.
5. Courage in the face of danger.
Why the Gospel is Good News
If a person was drowning, it would be good news if a life guard was there to save him. If a person was choking, it would be good news to have someone who could perform the Heimlich maneuver. In each of these examples, a person would be saved by another. It is good news to have a Savior who can save us from our sin. The most important question of your life is: Are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?
God’s Word states that: “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Every person has a sinful nature received from Adam. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
The law of God exposes man’s sin: “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) Paul wrote: “I would not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7)
Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? (Example: “Oh my G-d!”) Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that was not yours? Have you ever looked at someone and had lustful thoughts?
The Ninth Commandment states: “You shall not lie.” If you have told one lie, according to God’s standard, you are a liar. Revelation 21:8 states that all liars “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” By God’s standard no one is good enough to go to heaven. That’s bad news. Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. "For the wages [payment] of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This means to be eternally separated from God in Hell.
God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again." The good news is that you can be born again today!
First, you must realize and confess you are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). You have broken God’s law and stand guilty before a holy God.
Secondly, you must repent of your sin. Jesus said: “. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5) My friend, "God... commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Repentance means you have a change of mind about your sins and your need of the Savior. It means you want to give up the old life of sin for a new life in Christ. It means you are willing to turn from following the world and Satan and begin to follow Jesus as your Savior and Shepherd. You need to confess as David did in Psalms 51:3: “. . .I acknowledge my transgressions.”
Thirdly, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
As the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sins, He will cause you to understand that you are not able to save yourself. He will draw you to receive Jesus who is able to save. Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
“But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:30-31)
God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place. "...He hath made Him [Jesus, Who knew no sin] to be sin for us... that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
You must believe that Jesus bore your sin and died in your place. You must believe He was buried and was raised from the dead. The sinner in Luke 18:13 prayed: "God be merciful to me a sinner." You too can call upon Him. Jesus said: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) Ask Him to save you right now. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13).
Jesus said: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). Eternity in hell is an awful price to pay for the temporary pleasures of this world.
No one is good enough to deserve heaven. You can never do enough good works to merit heaven. Belonging to a church or being baptized will not save you. You must receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, give Him thanks for His unspeakable gift, the gift of Himself. Salvation is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12)
Start attending a Bible-believing church. As soon as possible, you are to be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation. (Acts 8:35-38) "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . ." (2 Timothy 1:8) Jesus said: "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).
Read your Bible and let God speak to you. Feed upon God’s Word so you can grow in your faith. (1 Peter 2:2; Matthew 7:24-27) Talk to the Lord in prayer. You can pray at any time and at any place. (Luke 18:1, 21:36; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) Tell people about what Lord has done for you. (Mark 5:19)
Why is the gospel good news? Because the gospel gives hope in place of despair, forgiveness in place of damnation, life in place of death, heaven in place of hell, and eternal life in the presence of Jesus instead of being with the devil forever. That’s good news!
God bless you as you begin your new life in Christ.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
- Jim Elliot