2015 – Week 1 / December 29th

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are
unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak,
be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for
evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for
yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without
ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will
of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the
Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things, hold
fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
I Thessalonians 5:14-22

As we enter another year we should be careful that we do not fall into the trap, as many do, of misplaced hope. This is relatively easy because we all desire and look forward to a year of peace, prosperity, good health and general well being. But, sadly, our world is not like that and, if anything, it is a growing mess or, as we say in Hebrew, a balagan gadol! So, what is there to be glad about and to look forward to in the 2015? The answer is, “much”, if you are a follower of Christ. Our expectation of good things is not sourced from the world, because it and its lusts are passing away (1John 2:15-17) , but they are sourced from Christ. He is our joy and blessing and our hope is anchored in His presence with us and in His second coming. For the true Christian this is our only foundation upon which we can and must build our lives in 2015. This is a sure hope and it drives us forward to appropriate more of Christ in our lives so that we may be conformed to His image (Ephesians 4:11-13). These are the things that must take first priority in our hearts as we enter another year. The world system with its false promises of peace (1Thessalonians 5:1-3) is under the control, for the present, of the god of this age (1John 5:19); the Devil, and so, if you think that things are going to get better you are misguided and your hope is misplaced. James wrote in chapter two and verses eleven to thirteen:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to
all men, teaching us that, denying ungodly and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present
age looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of
our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

This in no way means that we should withdraw from the world and abandon it to its fate; no we are to engage it positively and powerfully as the early Church did in order to proclaim the saving message of Jesus. A sinking cruise ship is not just abandoned as every effort is made to make sure that all its passengers are safely evacuated from it. In like manner; we influence the world by being salt and light. This means our presence retards the pace of decay and gives instruction about the only true path and way of salvation. Indeed, we do all that we can to make our world a better place but our hope and confidence is not in it but in Jesus who died to save it. Our real focus is upon a “new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness.” The Apostle Peter had this right when he wrote in his second epistle:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in
which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and
the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and
the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since
all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons
ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for
and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of
which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the
elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we,
according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new
earth in which righteousness dwells.”
2 Peter 2:10-13

It is thus very important that we begin the year 2015 right and with a renewed dedication to fix our eyes upon Jesus, Who is the “author and finisher of our faith.” To fix one’s eyes upon a politician or political structure or anything else will be futile and in the end disappointing. We must follow Christ and invite others to emulate and join us as we put our faith and trust in Him. He is coming soon and He will set up a kingdom that will never pass away; a kingdom in which men will learn war no more and true peace, coupled with the glory of God, will cover the earth. It is this day that we are “working” for because it is coming.

Today, the “birth pangs” of the approaching kingdom of God are everywhere to be seen; in Israel, the Church and the nations. Great darkness is covering the earth but it will be swept away by the Son of God as He comes in great power and glory to the Mt. of Olives. So, be strong, follow Christ and be filled with joy. In this context I want to wish you all very blessed and Jesus filled 2015!

Malcolm Hedding

©Malcolm Hedding Ministries