Speaking the last sermon of 2018, Andrea began by saying that we all have dreams, and wishes and desires. She encouraged us to leave anything in our life that didn’t work, behind in 2018, so that we can move into 2019 in God’s power. She said that we were to move with intentionality in 2019, with a purpose and drive that is from God.
In Luke 1, Mary shows great faith when she says that God will fulfil all of the promises He makes to her. This is the thing with God; the promises of years ago are still real because God is unchanging. Andrea told us that if we stick with God, then 2019 will not just be a good year, but a great one.
Taking a passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Andrea read from Matthew 7:13-14. These are the words of Jesus, speaking to the people about the way to find the life that God fully intends for us. The truth is that if we want Him, we can find Him.
Andrea then gave us four points to consider when looking at this verse:
- Narrow doesn’t always mean difficult.
The thing is, the way is narrow, but only because there is only one way to God. That way, is Jesus. He is the only way that there is to seek God. There are no multiple ways, and there are no negotiable steps. Only Jesus! He is the only one worthy to stand before God, and only He can save our souls. He is the only way into 2019 if we want happiness.
- Straying but a little, is still straying.
False ideologies may tell us that it’s okay to stray from the path. These things may seem right and justified to us, but they aren’t. For example, in the issue of forgiveness, we might sometimes feel that something is so bad that it is more complicated than just agreeing to forgive someone, but who are we to withhold forgiveness from anyone? If we do this, then we have strayed off the path that Jesus set out for us, and if we’re not on it, then we’re not with Jesus. We mustn’t withhold love, forgiveness, or kindness from anyone. We are called to love, and if we don’t do that, then we are not with God.
Sometimes we can look to other people for the path to God, but Church is not the way to God either. This comes only by Jesus. There are a number of examples in scripture of people straying. In Exodus, when Moses went up the mountain to speak with God, the people brought sacrifices of gold, and cast a golden calf, even though we are told very clearly that we are to have no other image, only Jesus.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is all important. If we see someone walking on the wrong path, then we must take the time to correct them, and help them back on to the right path. This is love.
Another example is of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, when the King ordered them to worship a statue of him, but they refused, even though the King threatened (and did) order them put into the fiery furnace. They simply trusted God to bring them through everything. This proved that God, and more specifically, Jesus, is all we need.
- If we want to stay on the right path, we must Look Down.
It says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” We need to be able to negotiate our path, and the way to do this is to read the Word, and find out what God says and wait in His word for Him to reveal Himself to us. We must look down, so that we can know where our feet are going, and we can see where our snares are going to come from. God knows our vulnerabilities, and says that He can help us if we just trust in Him and His Word. The thing is that when we are focused on the true path, the distractions around us seem to be dimmed or become invisible to us, and we find that we can more easily ignore them.
- If we want to stay on the path, we must embrace that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
It says this is scripture, in Nehemiah 8:10. The joy of the Lord is an innate quality. God is with us. This joy is immovable. If we can get it into our core being, then what is there that can harm us? The Bible shows us this, but we must dig deep into scripture for our beliefs. It is a journey, and we aren’t alone. God is there, but this joy is not meant to be kept for us, but to be shared, so that we can help others, and show them what is different about us, and then show them the path that they can take towards Christ.
We are called to not minimise the love God has for us, but to step out into its fullness, and see what God can do in our lives. The thing is that when we stay on the path, we light the light, and if we stick to the path Christ has called us to, then others will see the way, and will do the same.
Scriptures: Matthew 7:13-14; Psalm 119:105; Nehemiah 8:10