Our theme at Lancaster Baptist Church for this year is one word: Renew.
I shared this theme with our church family on the first Sunday of January as I preached from 2 Corinthians 4—one of the greatest chapters for understanding renewal.
One of the most apparent truths about spiritual renewal is that it reorders our priorities. Simply put, God does not renew us to live for ourselves but to live for eternity.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.—2 Corinthians 4:18
An eternal perspective is evident by eternal priorities. When our minds are focused on the eternal, our priorities will naturally follow. I believe there are four priorities that will be prominent in a renewed church:
Eternal priorities lead us to…
1. Worship God—When our focus is on eternity, we see the absurdity of the self-worship to which we are so naturally prone. A church with eternal priorities is Christ-centered and Christ-honoring.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.—John 4:23
2. Serve God—We’re naturally selfish, which means that we want to serve ourselves and we want everyone else to serve us as well! A renewed church is outward-focused, eager for opportunities to serve God by serving each other.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:—Hebrews 12:28
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.—Galatians 5:13
3. Give to God— Financial giving is the tangible expression of a renewed heart. It is perhaps the most apparent gauge of eternal priorities.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:—Matthew 6:19–20
4. Witness For God—When Christians lose their eternal focus, it is the lost who suffer. We are called to share the gospel with every person. It must be a priority. Indeed it will be a priority when we are renewed in the Lord.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.—2 Corinthians 4:3–5
If there has ever been a time when our nation needed renewed churches full of Christians living for eternal priorities, it is now.
In a society focused on the here and now, we are called to mind the eternal. May these eternal priorities be in our hearts on our to-do lists.