Saying goodbye to 2020, we hope for a much better 2021. As I write, however, new cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, people are rioting in major cities, and governments are further shutting down schools, businesses, houses of worship, and even (in California) family dinners. Through it all, our rallying cry continues to be “Focus on Jesus and follow His plan.”
Why focus on Jesus? Because He is our Lord and our God (John 20:28). He is our Creator (1:3), our Savior (Philippians 3:20), our King (Colossians 1:13). Why follow His plan? Quite simply, because of who Jesus is. Our obedience is due Him. Any plan other than His is doomed to failure and a waste of our lives.
One of the messages I’ve been preaching this year is titled “Jesus, Our Hope.” It is centered in the gospel about Jesus, and recently, I’ve divided significant components of this good news into two sections: The Heart of the Gospel and The Hope of the Gospel.
The Heart of the Gospel consists of 1) An Event: Jesus died; 2) An Achievement: By His death in our place for our sins, Jesus achieved the possibility of our forgiveness and salvation; 3) An Offer: Those who repent of their sins and receive Jesus by faith as their Savior and Lord are offered forgiveness and salvation; and 4) An Application: Those who do repent of their sins and receive Jesus by faith as their Savior and Lord are forgiven and saved.
The Hope of the Gospel is that everything Jesus did is part of God’s purpose and plan. God has had the restoration and reconciliation of His fallen creation as His purpose and plan since before the foundation of the world. And God is sovereign! God is all-powerful! Anything that God purposes and plans will be accomplished. If that isn’t reason for certain hope, nothing is.
The year 2020 has been tough; 2021 may be tough too. But God is in control. I like Corrie ten Boom’s observation: “God has no problems, only plans.” Focus on Jesus and follow His plan!
— Loren Stacy