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Looking Back Over 2011 Responsibly!

SERMON: Looking back over 2011 Responsibly!

TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”


Introduction: Looking back is not always good (Phil. 3:13,14 - Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: nforgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for othe prize of the upward pcall of God in Christ Jesus.


Luke 9:62 - Jesus said to him, w"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.


However, it does have incredible benefits (1 Cor. 11:24-25 - and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for1 you. Do this in remembrance of me.”2 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”). Therefore, if we look back responsibly, we can be motivated to live closer to the Lord, stronger for the Church and deeper for the future. Consider some 2011 questions:


1. Did you Share the Leaven in 2011? Leaven suggests permeation and silent, consistent working. Only a small amount of leaven was needed for a large quantity of dough. In the Parable of the Leaven (Matt. 13:33-35 - He told them another parable. b"The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid incthree measures of flour, till it was dall leavened.”), the kingdom message and its influence permeates the whole world. Thus, Christians have a great and notable duty to share the leaven (i.e., the kingdom message). Our responsibility and message might be viewed as "mustard seed” but the potential is astronomical (Matt. 13:31, 32 -  He put another parable before them, saying, z"The kingdom of heaven is like aa grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”). Let us plant, water and trust God for the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). The leaven of the Gospel will grow, spread and penetrate.


2. Did you Stand for Seven in 2011? The platform for Christianity is laid down in seven ones (Eph. 4:4-6): one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism and God. This describes the unified Church. Each of these common areas is greater than any potential difference. These "seven ones” establish "the unity of the Spirit” that as Christians we must strive to keep "in the bond of peace.” By stating "I kept the faith,” Paul declared his stand for the truth and we should do the same through commitment and dedication. We must stand for truth or we’ll fall for anything.


3. Did you Strive for Heaven in 2011? By faith, Abraham looked for the city of God (Heb. 11:10). His faith represented his affections, and his affections were set on things above, not the earth (Col. 3:2). We must completely understand that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Paul’s prayer for Israel (Rom. 10:1 - Brothers,1 my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.) focused on heaven; he wanted his brethren to spend eternity with God and all the redeemed. Our desire should be the same. "Live in such a way that Heaven will be your home and take as many with you as possible—AMEN!” May God help us to live so that heaven will be our eternal home.


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