The Pauline Epistles found in the New Testament are letters written to churches as well as to individuals. In two such epistles Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. This body of believers was led to the Lord and trained by Paul himself on his second missionary trip around 49-50 A.D. So Paul was well acquainted with the town, as well as with the church. Corinth, being the dredge of society so to speak, was a hard place to reach with the gospel much less to plant a church. Yet, nothing is impossible with God and He used Paul to boldly birth this congregation into existence. Subsequently, Paul’s two epistles to the Corinthian church dealt with the spiritual conflicts of the old life without Jesus and the new life of faith and in-dwelling the Holy Spirit. Paul is constantly admonishing and exhorting them to righteous, holy living.
Each born-again believer and every local Body of Christ experiences the spiritual conflict of sanctification. The putting-off of the old man, old lifestyles, and old ways of thinking and the putting-on of the new man, new lifestyles, and new ways of thinking. The in-dwelling Holy Spirit instigates and carries out this change resulting in Christlikeness of the believer and the church.
Sunset Park Baptist, and every Christian assembly, is caught in this spiritual struggle for sanctification. This means that each member of the Body of Christ is involved in this struggle. Each person is involved in becoming a new person in Jesus Christ and together, so is the church. If we are making progress, then the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives and in the church. If we grieve and quench the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, then the carnality of our flesh will become evident in our lives and in the church.
We, as individual members of Sunset Park Baptist Church, need to focus on Jesus and the work of His Spirit in and through the church. We need to allow Him to accomplish His will in us. We need to be disciplined to live our lives victoriously, successfully, and productively in 2020. Let us run well individually, and consequently, run well as a body of believers. Let us finish our life race well and in a way pleasing to Jesus. I have been led to challenge myself, you, and the church to “run in such a way that you may win” in this new year. Join us and let us run the race of life with Jesus together.
1 Corinthians 9
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.