[a] As we look back on the recent years in our corps - as always, in retrospect, we will see things we could have done better, and failures we would have avoided - opportunities we would have taken - if we had it all to do again!!!
[b] Well, as they say, it's all ‘WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE’, just a memory.
[c] But as Christians, first of all, we must give thanks to God, for all His goodness in the past, but also we must learn from the lessons of the past, from it’s victories, it’s defeats, it’s failures, it’s successes.
[d] The Christian cannot afford to go on making the same mistakes over and over again! God promises new power to all who reach out and claim it - so there is no excuse for ineffectiveness in our walk and witness!
[e] God expects every Christian to keep maturing and growing, and having their usefulness increased for Him! If we are not further forward in our spiritual walk, then it’s time for heart-searching, and an examination of our depth of relationship with the Lord.
[g] Perhaps the Lord has shown us a task with our name on it - perhaps he even worked out situations to confirm it - and yet it still remains undone, because we have been unwilling to take up the gauntlet and do His will!
[h] If we have neglected the task given to us, during the past year, then let us make the spiritual commitment in our hearts, as we enter our refurbished hall. LET US SAY YES TO GOD - AND GO FORTH IN HIS STRENGTH!
[a] In Colossians 3:10, Paul tells us we must ‘PUT ON THE NEW MAN’ which he tells us, must be after the IMAGE OF THE LORD WHO CREATED US!
[b] Our Bible reading in verse 4, speaks about WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE!
[c] If we are “WALKING” in newness of life, then it goes without saying, we have to be going somewhere!
[d] As I said a little earlier, if we can look back t previous years, and don’t seem to have made any progress, then we must examine our walk with the Lord! It should be a walk of continual growth and spiritual improvement!
[e] It should also be a walk of FOLLOWING CHRIST!
[f] Every true disciple is a follower of Christ! “Take up thy cross and follow Me” was His invitation, and it still applies today.
[g] As we walk in the way in which the Lord leads us, the Christian life should continually be full of new exciting challenges, which we can only face in the strength, courage and faith of the Lord!
[a] There are many professing Christians who are failing miserably to follow the Lord, because everything they’ve done, is all OUTWARD!
[b] Romans 12:2 says that we must be
TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MINDS!
[c] If the mind is wrong - then wrong actions will inevitably follow!
[d] If we feed our minds with the wrong food, through what we read, what we discuss, what we watch on the television - then, eventually our mind will corrupt our actions!
[e] I came across a corps letter I wrote over 23 years ago (1977) not long after coming to Scotland, and in it, there is mention of three schoolboys who raped a little girl, and how the judge said pornographic books had been found on these boys, and had obviously been a corrupting influence on their minds!
[*] Yet we find the advocates of abolishing section 28 (or 2A) telling us, in essence that our children don't need safeguards to stop them being corrupted by homosexual perversion in school!
[*] Some of the booklets and videos being prepared, would make your hair stand on end! In one video, children are encouraged to go and try out 'gay' relationships! The young generation of our country is in danger of being exposed to vile perversion, because of the weakness, political correctness, and downright stupidity of our politicians.
[*] This debate is not about 'gay' rights! It is about the right of every child to be protected from those that would seek to pervert them!
[*] If the politicians ignore such a large proportion of the electorate - and expose our children to the vileness that comes from the very pit of Hell, they are committing both political and spiritual suicide!
Jesus said, in Mark 9:42, "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
[f] How important it is that firstly we ARE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MINDS, AND THEN THAT THEY ARE FED WITH SPIRITUAL FOOD, TO KEEP THEM PURE, STRONG AND HEALTHY!
[a] We cannot serve Him any old way! One day He will call us to account!
[b] I could go through all the old worn clichés of God having no hands but ours, no feet but ours, no lips but ours - but what good would it do - we know all that!!
[c] It’s bringing our practical service into line with all the theorizing that needs to be done. IT’S LIVING OUR SERMONS - NOT JUST PREACHING THEM THAT MATTERS!
[d] We might know what the Bible says on just about anything, but if it is not put into practice in our own lives - what use is it??
[e] A true servant does not please themselves in their service, but obeys the bidding of their master!
[f] Too many Christians, continue to please themselves, and limit their service to the parameters they set!
[g] THAT IS NOT TRULY BEING AVAILABLE TO CHRIST IN THE SACRIFICIAL WALK OF A SERVANT!!
[d] Rather it is trying to follow Christ burdened with the limitations of the OLD MENTAL IDEALS PREVALENT IN OUR MINDS BEFORE CONVERSION!
[a] We need to allow the Lord to destroy the old nature, then something beautiful can be allowed to grow.
[b] On one occasion in South America, some engineering works had to be abandoned because of an epidemic of malaria. The ground was thickly wooded forest land, and before leaving, the engineers set fire to a broad belt of it. In doing this, they hoped to cleanse the infected area. The brushwood smouldered for months afterwards.
About two years later, the workmen returned to resume operations, and were surprised to find the ground covered in a new and unknown type of exquisite blue flower. Specimens were gathered and forwarded to botanical gardens in different places. But it seems that no-one could identify this beautiful little blue flower that had been the new life growing out of the death of that part of the woodland. (1200 more 218) The Bible says that we are like that! We must die to self - to OUR will, OUR desires, OUR old nature, before we can grow in NEWNESS OF LIFE.
"I am crucified with Christ" said Paul in Galatians 2:20
If something beautiful is going to grow in our lives for God, we must let go of the OLD MAN - THE OLD WOMAN OF THE FLESH! We must live in newness of life!
[c] Could we imagine the Lord, during His time on earth, fulfilling God’s will in the half-hearted way we sometimes do - counting the cost first - or postponing indefinitely that which we know God wants us to do?
[d] Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...”
If it is, then dear friends,
OUR WALK WILL BE RIGHT!
OUR THINKING WILL BE RIGHT!
OUR SERVICE WILL BE RIGHT!
Chorus It is a good thing to serve the Lord
prayer chorus 60 ‘Channels only’
chorus 173 ‘I’m living my life for Jesus’
chorus 169 ‘I love Him better every day’
chorus 177 ‘It’s no longer I that liveth’
chorus 206 ‘There’s joy in following’
prayer chorus 60 ‘Channels only’