With the arrival of 2019, this is certainly no time to coast or be “at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1). Our nation continues to drift toward the precipice of destruction. Despite the economic boom (for which I’m grateful) and the military readiness (which we cannot forgo), the spiritual distress and moral degradation are leading us to the brink.
Consequently, I’m hoping and praying that all of us who occupy pulpits will step it up several notches in 2019. So much of the burden for our nation must be borne by our pastors and evangelists. If we are ho-hum in our preaching, our churches falter quickly and sink into the unfruitful abyss of the status quo. We simply must not content ourselves with such dereliction of our scripturally mandated duty.
May I make a handful of suggestions to help us “step it up”?
1. Dream the dream! So many of our churches have lost their vision and their heart. They are marking time and doing little else. They have no big plans.
What they have now is a nightmare of sorts because they stopped dreaming awhile ago.
At the new year, dear friends, is a prime time to resurrect the dream. So come on; step up and let’s dream again.
2. Follow the faithful! We have heard it said that “the best of men are men at best.” No doubt that is true, but that should not keep us from seeking out the best of men.
No man is God. No man can be as perfect, as clean or as right as God. But when a man knows God, he can use that knowledge to perfect himself, clean up his act and do right.
You and I need to find these men of faith and faithfulness and follow them. You are on solid ground if you follow those who follow the Lord.
So step up, dear friends. Let’s give ourselves to the example, the testimony and the legacy of our worthy heroes.
Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Curtis Hutson, Dr. Tom Malone and any number of others set the pace. You and I can benefit from them. Step up and follow those whose faithfulness is worthy of our followship.
3. Dare to be and to do! Abraham Lincoln failed at many things. In fact, he failed at almost everything. Then he ran for president in 1860 and was elected. Hardly anyone believed he would be reelected in 1864, but he was. Now every historian you ask will rank him as the greatest president of them all.
You and I should dream and then we should dare to be and to do what we dream.
So many of the precious people who have made a mark for God did not get voted by their peers to be “Most Likely to Succeed.”
My dear fellow Christian, now is the time for action. You can do something with your life to honor and please the Lord. You can be a difference maker. Step up and do it! Amen!
4. Pray frequently! When you lift your prayer toward Heaven, you never have to say, “Can You hear me now?” Whether you are in a skyscraper in some large city or afloat on a raft in some remote jungle, you can pray and be heard in Heaven.
All of us need to have an altar, a place of prayer, where we “ask…seek, and…knock” (Matt. 7:7).
Throughout the day we can whisper a prayer frequently while we are on the go. The Lord is listening. Step up and pray!
5. Witness daily! Take a look around you at any given moment. There are people everywhere. So many are clueless, but they need the Lord. Somebody should tell them. Why not me? Why not you?
It is our responsibility. Daily (Acts 5:42) we should be the Lord’s witnesses to anybody and everybody that we can. Unless we be the Lord’s witnesses, our unsaved family and friends will not be won to the Lord.
Step up, dear friend; give yourself to the Lord and be His witness today. Amen!
6. Stay clean! Don’t let yourself get caught up in the trashy lifestyles advocated by the liberal, godless elements of our society. No drinking! No smoking! No doping! No pornography! No garbage TV! No trash pit Internet! None of that! And none of a lot of things!
We cannot do much about the dirt in our world if we fail to stay clean. Commit to get clean, be clean and stay that way.
Dear friend, don’t drag your feet on this. Step up and give yourself to a godly walk in your daily life. You can do it. Amen!
7. Keep church alive! Our churches do not need to be entertainment centers. They need to be rescue missions, soul-saving stations. They need a strong attention to the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God.
They need an upreach—in touch with God. They need an inreach—ministering to the folks already there. They need an outreach—going after the people who live in their area. They must avoid an overreach—live within their budget.
Church needs to be warm, interesting and alive. Whether we have a few people or a large crowd, we can keep our churches up and running. Step up and let’s make church an exciting place! Amen!
8. Preach fervently! Oh, dear preacher, stand up, open the Book of Books and open your mouth wide. Be bold! Tell the story as it is! Preach the truth of God’s Word. Don’t be a showman. Protect the dignity of the pulpit. Step up and preach! Amen!
9. Stand up to the culture! Our culture drinks liquor by the barrel, kills its unborn, pushes its elders to euthanize themselves, cheats, steals and lies through its teeth. They demand what their unregenerate, wicked heart wants. You and I need to say, “No way.” We don’t need their approval or their support. We do need to confront them warmly but firmly with the Gospel and the whole counsel of God.
They are plunging toward the abyss of Hell and they need to be warned. They don’t know what they need, but Christ Jesus is the answer. So, let’s step up and stand up to them. Amen!
As I consider “stepping things up” my list could be even longer, but surely you get the picture.
2019 is no time to drift. It is not the season of giving up, caving in, slacking off or letting down.
As a Christian, you owe the Lord your best. Anything less than your best is an indicator of a carnal, backslidden state.
As a church, we are a place in town where the Lord’s business should be conducted without apology and without faltering.
Oh, dear fellow servants of the Saviour, let’s “step it up” as we launch into the new year. Amen! Amen! Amen! Come on, let’s do it!