I Corinthians 1:4-9; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:6; Romans 6:1; Philippians 2:12-13, Colossians 1:27-29 & I Corinthians 15:8-10
Pastor Steve wrapped up the year with “God is Faithful,” which served as a challenge for everyone entering 2019. Among the Scriptures he cited was Philippians 1:6, which says God will bring His work in us to completion. However, the challenge we face as Christians is that while we may not be as tempted by money, power or sex, now we face the danger of religious pride and other sins.
“There’s a sinful part of us that wants to twist Scripture,” Steve said. “We want it to say what we want it to say so we can justify what we’re doing. We can say, ‘If He’s going to do the work I don’t have to do anything. We get into two ditches. One is (thinking), ‘I don’t have to do anything.’ The other is thinking I’m here to do everything and God is grading me.”
Instead, we have to recognize that God is faithful; if we belong to Christ, He will get us there. As we go into 2019, Steve recommended we throw away the diet plans and other resolutions—except for looking at God’s faithfulness in a new light. We have to go to His Word because it is the power and light we need.
Something else we need to see is Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2:12, to work out our salvation, knowing that God is faithful and will work through us.
“God needs you to do the work,” Steve said. “God is the horse and we are the cart. . . . When you got saved the Holy Spirit did the work. Does He need your help? No. But Scripture says to work out your salvation. You have to work out what He’s put in you.”
As further evidence, Steve read Colossians 1:27-29, where Paul talks about working with the energy Christ “so powerfully works in me.” We all must toil for God’s kingdom yet know the ultimate results are up to God. The reason Paul didn’t burn out is he knew the source of his power.
The reason we don’t see this reality in our lives is we’re waiting for something special or magical to happen: “Starting serving Him in 2019 and He will be with you. He tells people something while they’re moving. You pray while you act. You are not going to mess Him up.”
Indeed, the best news we can hear is that God takes our mistakes and messes and works them together for good. Paul is saying that everything he does he does with God’s grace. That’s what we need, said Steve: a childlike dependence on Christ.