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Pressing Forward

Benjamin Ng
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  • January 2, 2021
    11:30 AM
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Father in heaven thank you for this time that we have to study your word this morning thank you Lord for seeing us safely through the night thank you for health and strength and life itself and as now Lord we come to study your word together Police guide us once more with your Holy Spirit will you give us ears to hear your voice and a heart to understand the message and a willingness to apply the things that we study this morning if it be truth please guide us all Lord to that and is our earnest plea in prayer for Jesus' name amen the new year. Time to look back at our New Year's resolutions from the previous year to see whether we have achieved them and accomplished them a time to look back to see what we need to improve a time to reflect and a time also to look forward and make new year's resolutions you know last night after we finished our sermon we still had a group outside and we went around and shared one thing that we wanted to to make as a new u.s. resolution and we're going to hold each other accountable to them we're going to revisit it in one year and I hope and pray that all of us we will be able to accomplish those goals by God's grace and you know in the Bible Paul he takes also a spiritual inventory of himself that he wrote down for all of us something for us to reflect upon as well as we read these scriptures found starting here in flippin story verses 12 through 15 this is what Paul says not as though I had already attained either were already perfect but I follow after is that I may end that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus rather and I count not myself so I have to have apprehended but this one thing I do forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth and so those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus Let us therefore as many as Be Perfect be thus minded and of in anything you otherwise be minded God shall reveal even this unto you so Paul he talks about how he wants to press forward toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus but before he could do that there were 2 steps that he had to understand and that we have to understand to day before we can. Move forward in 2021 the 1st thing is that he didn't think himself perfect he didn't look to the past to say I was perfect but in fact when he looked to the past he said it's not as if I was perfect if he was perfect Christ would have come already he didn't consider that he had already obtained or reached the stature or standard to which Christ wanted him to reach in order to know this he must have had a keen sense of understanding of self in order to make such a statement not as though I had already attained either were already perfect in order to make such a statement as that he must have seen the areas in his life where he had fallen short or where he could definitely improve I know what the rest of the text says Ok to forget those things which are behind and we'll look at that in a 2nd but it's not what you think you see in order to understand where you haven't attained you have to look back into the past and before we we jump with joy into 2021 that God has actually brought us here we have to look back at 2020 and not the pandemic but your personal life where we've come short where we failed where we've come short of His Glory Paul look he wasn't just saying all why I'm not perfect and you know that that he had attained just from a sense of that's what we should do as Christians you know sometimes we tell ourselves oh yeah surely I'm a sinner I don't know where sin but you know I'm a sinner for sure and I must have sinned the day he wasn't saying that and this ambiguous statement where he didn't know where he'd fallen short but he had looked back to his past. He had taken an inventory of his life and he could see where his past experience was not matching up to the stature of the former us of Christ he could see where he needed to improve and in order to do that he had to look to the past and so friends you've got to look back into 2020 with me this morning that you have to reflect upon where you have to improve where you need to come up higher again and friends if you can identify that if you are able to see the defects in the areas of your life from 2020 a look I'm not trying to do this to make you feel bad to get you to whip yourself all over again and get you depressed or you know it's not that but in order to know where to press forward on you got to know where you came from. And if you don't know this is a serious spiritual floor do you know that look at this steps to Christ 64 page 64 Paragraph 2 look at what he says here the closer you come to Jesus the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes for your vision will be clearer and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to his perfect nature this is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you the more we walk with Christ the closer we grow to Christ the more in holiness we become the more we will realize we are not holy we'll compare ourselves with Jesus Christ the one that we've been walking with every day and we will realize how short we come of his glory every single day look notice it does not say the more closely you walk with Christ the more imperfections you will see in other people that's not what Homelite says there are no friends you've got to hold the mirror up to yourself to see where you are falling short of the glory of God. This is really important in our 1st step of being able to move forward but look at this in the next paragraph of steps to Christ 65 paragraph one no deep seated love for Christ can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness do you see that you can't truly love Jesus fully and entirely if you do not realize how sinful You really are the soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire his divine character but if we do not see our own moral deformity it is unless they can will evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ friends if you've been walking with Jesus this past year you will definitely see where you can improve you will definitely see where you fall in short and it's not just as you sit here right now thinking about it like where have I shall fallen short and surely you must fall in short somewhere and oh Ben I'm going to wait for you to tell me where I fall in short no if you have been walking with Jesus you will say with Paul it's not as if I've already attained or as if I was perfect you will be able to see your moral defects you will be able to see your sinfulness and this is the foundation in a sense to help us to understand true love towards Jesus our Savior so friends if you realize this it's because you are having a consistent devotional time with Jesus Christ our Savior So number one we've got to realize hey. I wasn't perfect Where have you fallen short in 2020 why is this important let's look at the next step step and number 2 is this you've got to forget the things that are behind Now what does that mean look Christ wants you to forget the past but he doesn't want you to forget it like it never happened Ok he doesn't want you to carry the burdens of the past of your failures of your mistakes of your sins into 2021 he wants you to forget it ultimately so it doesn't define you today but don't let Christ give you a clean slate a blank paper for this year only to repeat the mistakes of last year right he wants you to forget the past you're not burdened by it he wants to give you a heart Wolf with full of joy and freedom to do His will and his work but he doesn't want you to keep repeating them a same mistakes again and again and again. Friends you got to believe that you know when Jesus says in 1st John 19 if you confess your sins are in faithful to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness you've got to believe that with all your heart he wants to cleanse all that away but he doesn't want you to keep repeating it and going back to it we got to believe it too many of us we carry our past mistakes into the following year and we allow those past sins to define us well I've been struggling with this the whole year and and have victory Well you know there's no chance that I'm going to have victory this year we don't want to bring the sins of 2020 into 2021 look at what crisis in Isaiah 4422 I have blotted out as a thick cloud that transgressions and as a cloud those sins return unto me for I have redeemed the Friends don't let your mind be burdened with the problems of the past year and it's perplexities that stops you moving forward with hope and with courage in this New Year we like to take a burdens on a guilt and make it define us too often we define ourselves by our past failures and apos mistakes and past problems we bring into the New Year let it burn and us burden us and change us and make us think negative thoughts but then look at what crisis to us and he was 121 where foreseeing We also are compasses about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us friends we gotta lay aside every weight don't let the past way you down so that you can run this race with patience when you reflect on this past year understand where your foreman. Understand where you've come shorts where you haven't reflected Christ's character where you've been doing the things that you shouldn't have been doing where you fallen short in how you spent your time or your money where your spoken words that no human being should have ever heard Never mind Jesus Christ or God himself we need to understand our shortcomings we've got to ask God to forgive us we're going to ask God to cleanse us we're going to ask God to give us His Spirit to help us to move beyond those past failures and then you need to forget it don't let it burn it down burden you down and crush your spirit the fact that you've made it alive to the end of this year this past year and into this new year is evidence that Christ is merciful that he's gracious and that he still wants to work on your heart so forget the past don't tell yourself all Christ doesn't want have anything to do with me we must be careful also then not to despise God's grace look at what it says in Romans chapter 2 and verse 4 to 6 or despise us valve the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long suffering not knowing that the goodness of God lead of the to repentance but after the hardness and in penance and heart treasurers up until they self wrath against the Day of Wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God who will render to every man according to his deeds let's learn from the past friends so that we don't despise God's grace and His mercy and his long suffering towards us in forgiving us not so that we can keep doing it over and over again but that he can help us to change 2021 has to be different it must be. And if you thought you lead a good life in 2020 and that there's not much to improve on then it's because you haven't been walking with Jesus as closely as you needed to be because the closer we come the more sinful we will see ourselves the more changes we will realize we need to make in our lives but after all of that after you realize where you come short after you forget the past then what do you have to do you've got to press forward that is the really the main message of our sermon this morning the title itself shows that we've got to move forward we've got to press forward to the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus we should have an aim we always should we do it for us cool we do it for a work we must also have a spiritual aim as well we've got to move forward and aim for the prize of the high calling. In Christ Jesus our Lord and friends look there's nothing wrong with having New Year's resolutions but many times it has nothing to do with God It's got nothing to do with anything spiritual It's got nothing to do with God's will in our life and his calling in our lives and I have such things you know last night I shared I want to read 2 books a month you know I want to lose weight and many of us have that sort of. Aim you know and I want to save more money and we have all sorts of goals and aims but many times we leave out spiritual goals spiritual aims and we have to have that not not that we're trying to work our way to heaven no no no but we have to have an aim to be able to grow more in Christ to build to walk deeper with Christ we've got to come to this point where we understand God's will for us in our lives look at what James says James Chapter 4 verse 13 to 15 go to now you that say today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year and buy and sell and get gain Well that sounds like a New Year's resolution for the next year I want to grow in my wealth I want to to be able to have a better job earn more you know whatever it is but then look at what James says where as you know not what shall be on the morrow for what is your life it is even a vapor that appear a fall a little time and then vanish of a way for that you ought to say if the Lord will we shall live and do this or that look there's nothing wrong with having a news resolution to increase your salary or earn more money but friends God says you should be praying for God's Will you should be asking God what is His will for in my New Year's resolutions this year have you prayed about it have you gone to God on your knees and asked God God. What is it that I should make as my new year's resolution and I believe if you pause long enough he'll give you the answer friends but too often our New Year's resolutions our aims are are our of the prize in the what we set on we set our eyes upon our goals many times in our spiritual And so look I want to identify with you some aim. Some goals that you can make your own this coming year something that we can aim for that is spiritual The 1st one I want to suggest to you is a deeper war with Christ in Revelation chapter 3 in verse 20 Jesus says Behold I stand at the door knock very man hear my voice and open the door I will come into him and was with him and he with Me Jesus he's always waiting to gain entrance into our hearts he's ready he's waiting to spend more time with us he's desperate to spend more time with us in fact he's wishing for more of our hearts more of our time more of our lives God wants to be the savior of our life he wants to be our friend as well more than just a god more than just something that we aim for Aim to be the friend of God as Abraham was described in James 223 the scripture was fulfilled which saved Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called the friend of God You can't have a people walk with Christ if you aren't spending more time with him yes we should have quality over quantity but the amount of time eventually does matter you can only understand so much about God and even a person when you're spending time with him 55 minutes a day or 15 minutes a day. Friends I hardly call that a relationship some of you spend hours with your colleagues some of you eat with your colleagues every day one hour a day and you can't tell me that you have a relationship with them or maybe you do but friends 5 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes is not enough get up to 30 minutes get up to one hour Bible work as we've been given that challenge 2 hours every day with Jesus deep in that time with him read more of his word read more of the Spirit of Prophecy give yourself a name to read one spirit of prophecy book every month spiritual in don't say oh I can't aim high too often we we try to figure out what is my my how you say my possibility what what what is it within the sphere of what I can do look friends I'm a non reader I don't love to read but when you can give yourself a name for of one book of Ellen White every month and as for some I heard last night one of the whole Bible in one year that's a good name to have and if you don't achieve it maybe you read 90 percent but if you told yourself I'm going to read just you know the New Testament that's less than 50 percent of the Bible right and you don't achieve it that's that's less but if you sell yourself one the whole Bible in one year and you only get 50 percent that's more than you telling yourself and then read the whole New Testament write the understand that aim high set your goals high the 1st one I want to suggest you deepen your war with Jesus Christ the 2nd one our character look at us. If Asians for 3132 let all bitterness and wrath and anger and Clymer and evil speaking be put away from you with all manner of malice and be kind one to another tender hearted forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you of friends this is a big name put away anger and wrath putting away bitterness you know what bitterness is it's anger from disappointment or being unfairly treated another word for that is resentment you know it changes how we act towards a person friends spouses children's brothers children or brothers or sisters you know we act in different ways because we're disappointed by them but friends don't don't change the way you act or react just because of your disappointment to make sure you help that person the come up higher make sure you don't take it too personally that it changes you but then also evil speaking that's a big one another word for evil speaking in our our language today is gossip you know making sure that we don't speak evil about people and presume upon their actions without understanding the whole situation evil speaking is preceded by evil thinking many times we speak evil of other people's because we're already thinking evil of them we don't like them and it's just that we find an occasion now to speak evil of them but if they were our best friend or our good friend we'll go and talk to them and ask them hey what's going on here right but too often the evil speaking arises is because we don't have love for them. And so really that is love that we need from God That is character we got to grow in character and in the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and I'm sure there's a lot to change but friends as we walk closer with Jesus as we spend more time with him surely we will see our character defects surely somewhere along the way he will convict us of the things that we should not be doing or he'll send someone along the way and show us hey when you should have said that you should have done that you know to stop talking about this person or saying that you know God will reveal it to us if our hearts are sincere and we really want to grow so growth in character there's got to come a point friends where we stop saying that's who I am take it or leave it no friends God accepts us for who we are but it doesn't mean that he will give us entrance into heaven because of that no he wants us to grow he wants us to go beyond the character defects that we came to him with he wants us to be like him so there's one another one. Commitment greater commitment for God and whether that's in devotion whether that's in his works in term in terms of serving him friends I want to leave you give you this quote There is no commitments without sacrifice if there is a greater commitment there must be a greater sacrifice sacrifice of time you know more time to put into the Lord's work more time to give to Bible study and teaching somebody yes more time to spend with the Lord and that's the 1st challenge I gave you or even if it's just coming earlier to Sabbath school to be a good example and not be a stumbling block to other people or to stay back longer for church activities or to join more church programs or to go through the discipleship Handbook with somebody sacrifice of time sacrifice of means you know giving more to the Lord's work more offering not just the usual 10 percent tithe or even just 10 percent offering which is what we call the 2nd time I but to give more to the Lord instead of giving more to yourself you know too often we live a certain way because that's all the means that we have and where when the money increases we we find that we have to increase the way we spend our money isn't it and then we spend it more lavishly because we never had it before but friends how about the Lord's work about the Lord's work giving more and do it don't don't do it according to amount or last year I gave 10000 in tide and 10000 an offering this year I'll give 20520000 an offering but if your salary went from 100002500000 you should be giving 50 right go according to percentage make sure it always increases in percentage as well giving more to the Lord's work sacrifice and commitment. And then even sacrifice of your own life we saw time we saw money but sacrifice of your own life in serving you know friends it's tiring to have people over to cook to clean and then to clean again you know it goes beyond our comfort zone sometimes but friends if more of us open our houses to allow people to come and eat with us and to spend time with us you know maybe you're not the most hospital or the most extroverted person in the world but friends if we would give more time so that we would see our church grow because that's how the early church grew they were going from house to house every day eating with different people you see that there is no commitment without sacrifice a great a commitment to do the Lord's work another one that I want to suggest to you. Our health and. You knew it was coming but friends you know 2nd Peter chapter one it tells us that we should add to knowledge temperance and I was convicted by this because I've been going through the testimonies for the church and I read this and what's been a whole chapter on this I want to read this quote to you that kind of spoke to my heart that day as I was reading through it's taken from testimonies for the church Volume 263 Paragraph 3 will the people who are preparing to become holy pure and refined that they may be introduced into this into the society of heavenly angels continue to take the life of God's creatures and subsist on their flesh and enjoy it as a luxury from what the Lord has shown me this order of things will be changed and God's peculiar people will exercise temperance in all things she continues. The liability to take disease is increased tenfold by meat eating the intellectual the moral and the physical powers depreciated by the hip bitch will use of flesh meats meat eating the ranges the system becloud the intellect and blunts the moral sensibilities we say to you dear brother and sister your safest course is to let me eat alone you know why does it seem like Ben has to preach this to you why is it that you know it seems like every time I get up my to my foreign hit you over the head with this big piece of wood that is called health reform I don't know friends I mean if you were reading the testimonies yourselves I believe you would come to the same conclusion and if you are you be sitting in your seat where you are right now listening to me saying amen praise the Lord not because you have a deterrent but because it is truth you know I don't desire to just talk about vegetarian diet all the time but friends it's important it really is and you know on sex side we talked about this health challenge and I I appreciate it so much when Sean our our our health ministry leader gave us these challenges of for exercise and for diet as well it's a good challenge. You know don't be afraid to read the book councils and diets and foods by Ellen White God has given us this message not to to hurt us and to harm us or to make us feel bad or to just show us how far short we've come of the glory of God but to be a blessing to us to help us to be stronger in our bodies and healthier and I know you're probably scared because your eyes may be open to changes that need to take place in your life maybe you're thinking you know how when you maybe already know the changes that already need to be made but friends of you walking with Christ if you're asking for the Holy Spirit He will be the one that will give you the desire to change to help you to come up higher to a more healthy to give you victory over your appetite to help you to be temperate friends people don't gain weight by accident I've gained one kilogram over this past week because of eating dinner of so many times and even for celebrating New Years celebrating my son's birthday celebrating this and that you know I know the reason why I gain weight is not it's not something that I'm just scratching my head how I know I ate too much it's that simple so you know it's not just about vegetarian diet but it's temperance It's about making sure that we keep our bodies healthy for God And so look this important very very important new year's resolutions spiritual goals that you want to set not just for your life not just for your Korea not just for your relationship not just for your personal studies and all of that but something for Jesus something that you can set to say God I need help in this area of my life and this year you have convicted me this is what I need to focus on this. But one last 1. 1 last one that I want to give you before I stop here you know we talked about this make sure that your your New Year's resolutions are calling to the will of God and there is one thing I know definitely is the will of God Let me read to you this text 2nd Peter 39 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness but is long suffering to us who are not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance friends it is not God's will for any to perish but he wants everybody to be saved and he wants everybody to get involved in the work of soul saving if there is anything that I can say with certainty that is 100 percent God's will it is this for every one to be in the kingdom of heaven which means it is definitely God's will for every person to be committed to bring another soul into the kingdom of heaven to day the 7 they have honest church has been called forth to save those that are perishing that's what Israel was set up for to be to shine the light of God's goodness to the whole world to be that that saving agency through which God could work and today God has set the some of the Venice church to be such an icon imagine that we are doing God's will just by living our life working studying going to church one day a week keeping the Sabbath but not helping a single soul come closer to the kingdom of heaven when Christ comes upon me to this earth for a 2nd time the bible asks Will he find faith will he utter to each of us well done good and faithful servant will he congratulate us just for being vegetarian just for keeping the Sabbath and giving tithing going to church. Is that the reason why he'll congratulate us no he'll ask us each and every one of us where are the souls that I gave you he will ask us how we've multiplied our talents to look to see how our lives have impacted the lives of others whether we've been a blessing you know it seems counterproductive to preach about more commitment in giving Thai than you know the health message and being more temperate. And how we live our lives to tell us that the most important point is soul winning friends look why preach about the Sabbath why preach about diet why preach about being temperate why preach about giving tithes and offerings Why focus on these laws and standards and things that it doesn't seem to save you well of course it doesn't right but the money you give can support someone to save another soul into the kingdom of heaven when you have the right perspective as to why you do all these things then it helps you to understand the purpose of the standards when the salvation of a soul is in our view we want to keep our bodies in the most healthful manner so we can witness that when we have the salvation of a soul as our goal then tithe and offering it becomes more important it's not about whether I agree with this church and what they do but they really involved in the work of soul saving if your local church is involved in the work of soul saving then by all means police support them don't stop because someone offended you because of what they said no friends are the way that we live our lives and our lives in the standards that we choose to uphold and what the Bible tells us to do it will not be according to how a person treats us. You know stop giving tithes because you know the No one said hi to you at church and wish you happy sabbath no friends when the work of soul saving is our ultimate goal all these other things become important even our walk with Christ God if I am to help someone to come closer to the King of Heaven today I have to make sure that you are with me and will not leave that place of appointment until we know that Christ is leaving with us friends this is where many of us have come short look I want to share with you a quote Christian service 118 paragraph one there are those who for a lifetime have professed to be acquainted with Christ yet who have never made a personal effort to bring even one soul to the Savior let me say it a different way there are those who have been in the 7th Day Adventist Church for a really long time yet who have never made a personal effort to bring even one soul to the Savior they leave all the work for the minister he may be well qualified for his calling but he cannot do that which God has left for the members of the church friends there is a personal responsibility with soul saving and this year I want you to make it a personal goal if you've been in the church for a long time and you are of that group that Ellen White has just spoken about you've never brought one soul to the savior that has to be your goal for this year and not just because it's a number and you know for the sake of it no friends it will help you understand where you stand spiritually with your lord as well and if you have brought a soul to the Savior in the past year then bring to the. Are you with me don't say oh I've done it Ok that's it no friends it's a heart that is burdened with love for Jesus Christ to so want to see souls saved into his kingdom that drives us every day to live for Him friends while you are making New Year's resolutions and as much of them they are probably all good news resolutions you got to make spiritual goals as well I want to encourage you to pray God give me just one soul one soul to study with one soul to come closer to Jesus one soul that I mean minister to because friends you are either a missionary or you are the mission field are you with me you're either out there on the front lines and praying for people and bringing souls closer or else you are the mission field I have to go minister to you and sort of the Bible workers and such as the elders and sort of the deacons and friends it's time to redeem the time that was lost is time to turn our eyes away from just from self and all our own needs and or all our own personal goals when this next year let us become wiser unto salvation What are your goals do you have to readjust them does Christ fit into your plans have you asked him what your New Year's resolutions are and what they should be and what you've written down is that aligning with him why not bring to bring it to Jesus bring it to the foot of the cross and asked Jesus can you bless my goals for this year if not help me to align my goals with you. And you my God but I know what Jesus is going to say already or praise the Lord then as you walk with Him He will give you the joy in accomplishing his will his goal us his thoughts his way and you will find joy you will find peace you will find true satisfaction that you've never found before more than graduating more than earning a $1000000.00 or hitting a jackpot lottery more than any of that he will give you a new 4 year of feelings that you've never felt before friends if you've never experienced it you've never tasted of his goodness 2021 it has to be different and it begins with the decisions that you are making before you even move forward and if you haven't got any spiritual goals friends you got to write it down today because you plan to fail if you know if you fail to plan right so you got to have plans but I want you to make plans for Christ today to press forward to go beyond the man or woman that you were in this past year to be better for Christ's sake let's pray Father in Heaven Lord I pray that you would police convict asked Show us where we have lived selfishly for our own lives our own plans our own desires we made New Year's resolutions and goals that even probably were not even according to your will as good as they may be Lord I'm sure you have other plans for us help us to understand what that is and in this year Lord help us to walk according to your will and not according to our own selfish desires. Please Lord guide us to that and help us not to be blinded by our own personal goals that we fail to see the blessing that you want us to be in this coming you lead us continually pour upon us each a double portion of your Holy Spirit that you might give us the power to will and to do of your good pleasure. Bless us a lot of that and we pray in Jesus name we pray you know us. Him and. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons pleading visit w w w audio verse or.

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