New Year – Renewed Commitment

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:16-20 – NASB95)

Reflecting upon what has happened in our country this past year (and this past week), and what is about to happen with new leadership in the White House and the Senate, my mind immediately went to two things that profoundly impact every detail of my life: 1) The Control of Jesus over all things; 2) The Commission of Jesus to all of His disciples. Let me explain.

Jesus is absolutely in control of everything in the universe at all times. He is in control of the stars and planets (Ps. 147:4; Is. 40:26; Heb. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17), all nations (see Dan. 2 and Dan. 7), all spiritual rulers (Job 1; Eph. 1:18-21), all human rulers (Rom. 13:1-7; Prov. 21:1; Daniel chapters 4 & 5), and all circumstances (Gen. 50:20; Eph. 1:11; Phil. 1:12-14). He knows every detail about everything going on in our country and He is working everything out according to His will which is always good, acceptable, and perfect (Rom. 12:2). His absolute sovereignty brings me not only peace and comfort no matter what is going on around me, it brings me joy (Phil. 4:4; James 1:2-4). I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds every detail of the future and I trust Him! I know the days ahead are going to be different and probably difficult. Many things we hold dear will be challenged by those who have an immoral agenda (sexual freedom will collide with religious freedom). Persecution will increase toward those who stand firm on God’s eternal truth and call people to repent. Unlike in 2020 when we were asked to change our methods (online and/or outdoor worship), the coming year may challenge our message. But the One who gave us His eternal message will be there to strengthen us (Acts 4:31), and sometimes even supernaturally protect us (Acts 18:9-11) when we stand firm on His truth.

What does that mean in relationship to our new leaders in government? PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! The One to whom we pray is in control of those in leadership. Pray that they come to genuine saving faith. Pray that they are surrounded by wise counselors. Pray that they will have the courage to make decisions that are the best for our country and for the greatest glory to God.

Jesus has given a Commission to us individually and corporately to make disciples. The One who has all authority has commanded us to make disciples. That is the mandate for us as individuals and as the church. The government may change, the economy may change, the language may change, but the Commission will never change until Jesus returns. Outward circumstances may make it easier or harder, but my commitment to obey My Lord can never wane. And that commitment includes calling every disciple to obey ALL that Jesus has commanded. I hope not, but that may be a problem for some as we go forward. There have been tares with the wheat (goats with the sheep) ever since the first-century church began. The American church has, in many cases, been a comfortable place for people to go and have their needs met. A large percentage of them are spectators rather than participants. Many pick and choose which commands of Jesus they will obey and which they will not. As persecution increases and following Jesus becomes more costly, there may be a significant number of people who depart from the church (1 John 2:19). I want you to know that as long as I have breath, my commitment is to teach God’s Word as faithfully as I can, and call people to follow Jesus in obedience no matter what the cost. I am more concerned with being faithful in God’s eyes than successful in the world’s eyes. I hope you share my passion to hear my Lord and Savior say, “Well done!”

2021 may be a year of profound changes in our country. But I am as “peaceful as the morning” (William Wordsworth) because my Lord Jesus is in Control of all things and His Commission to me is crystal clear. To God be the glory, great things He will do!

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