1-1-2022 West Palm Beach 7th Day BAPTIST Pastor Downes “Reflect and Build” I Corinthians 11;28, Ephesians 14;11-13, Philippians 3;13-14

1-1-2022 West Palm Beach 7th Day BAPTIST Pastor Downes “Reflect and Build” I Corinthians 11;28, Ephesians 14;11-13, Philippians 3;13-14

When you think on the word reflect, it means we are to think deeply about something. In the text Apostle Paul said “let a man examine himself”. If you reflect, this includes introspection. Introspection is the examining of one’s own mental and emotional processes. Looking inward. As you look within, you also look back and recall things past. Things like what happened in 2021 regarding Covid-19 and regarding the West Palm Beach church. What are some of the tips we can get from the past to build. You can either run from the past or learn from the past.

I suggest that we learn from the past. This is retrospection, looking back at the past to see what we can garner. As we look in and look back, we also need to look forward into the future, prospection. Prospection is the act of anticipating the future and foresight. As we look forward into the future, there are some things I want to list and the first is build. Build means to construct something. What are we going to construct for the future? We can begin to build relationships and rebuild, strengthen the ones we already have. Or we can see what we can discard and what we can put in its place. Relationships are personal and the most important one is our relationship with God. Christianity at its heart is not a religion but a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We should ask what can we do to improve this relationship as well as the relationships we have with our family members. As far as spiritual relationships, we are in a corporate body called the Church. We should find out how we can relate better to our pastors and other leaders in the church. At work we should seek how we can build our relationships with our co-workers.

These are all relationships worth building, expanding and strengthening. But Jesus is our guide, our mentor and the most important relationship we have. Jesus is perfect. God is perfect. If we follow Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to work on our inside then what’s on the inside will come out on the outside and people will see what Jesus said. They will know that we are Jesus’s disciples if we have love for one another. God wants this agape love to show from us and not just to our brothers & sisters in church but to those who are outside of the church. We need to have this agape love for all people.

In our relationships we should look at how we connect with each other. How do we interconnect and associate with one another. Church is one of the places where there is equal ground. The church ought to be a common ground where it is not my position that’s important, it’s not my kinship that’s important, it’s not my education that’s important. What is important is that we have common ancestry, a commonality in the Blood of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4;11-13 has what is called the Five-Fold Ministry. God has given us this five-fold ministry as a foundation for us. He has also given us prophets who hear from God. They are God’s spokesmen who built on the foundation of faith. They are individuals who were and are under the guidance of the Lord. God has evangelists who He uses to reach out to the backslider and the unsaved. God has pastors and ministers who are working under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit to make the full Word of God available to you. I want to tell everyone as we move into this New Year 2022, take time out to read God’s Word on a daily basis. Turn off the television, turn off the computer and turn off the mobile phone. Get some time and get close with God. Get into God’s presence, get into God’s face. He is your Father. He is a father that wants to hear from his children.

The fifth and final Five-Fold ministry is the teacher. Teachers are people who have read God’s Word, people who are anointed for God’s Word and people who can’t keep quiet when it comes to God’s Word. We need someone to challenge you as we move into 2022. Someone to say look again at the message we did today. Look again at the whole matter of the Sabbath School lesson. What can we learn from the operations of God? His justice, vengeance, and mercy. Ephesians 4;12 tells us that the five-fold ministry has the purpose of perfecting the saints, the believers, the followers of Jesus Christ and the Christians. The saints need to grow, the saints need to mature for the work of the ministry. We need to be knowledgeable for the edifying of the body of Christ. Jesus said on this rock will I build my church, you and I, and the gates of Hell shall not conquer or prevail. When we are built on God’s Word, we are built on the solid rock.

As we go into 2022, we the West Palm Beach church, need to become a stronger church. We need to build relationships and we need to build the ministries of the church. I Peter 2;5 says we are lively stones, living stones. Every child of God is a living stone. God, because of His Spirit, has made us living stones. We are being used to build up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Only God can build an eternal house, an eternal temple. This is why we are being described by Peter as lively stones. As living stones, God is going to put every Christian. God is going to put his people together forming a spiritual house that He will dwell in. The outcome of this is the holy priesthood and all members of the church are in this holy priesthood. This holy priesthood is to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

The physical building is a reminder that God Himself right now is building a spiritual house. When He comes the entire house will be assembled for all eternity. Let’s look at the word sanctuary. A sanctuary is a sacred place, a place of refuge and safety. God is building this. In Philippians 3;13-14 Paul says he forgets the past. We can learn from the past but we cannot change the past. Paul says to reach forth unto future things. People need a new thinking and not to be wrapped up in the past and have anxiety about tomorrow. That is not how Christians should feel. The Christian should function along the timeline of prospection: I’m headed for tomorrow, the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Glorious coming of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The past is behind me and I’m not worried about the past. Paul says how do I operate today on January 1st 2022? Verse 14 says “Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. We are not past people; we are future people! We are going to the future so we should be in a state of running toward the future and not sliding away from the future, getting caught up in the anxieties of tomorrow. Because when tomorrow comes, it is called today! I urge you with God’s help to let us reflect, let us build good relationships, let us build good ministries and a wonderful sanctuary in 2022. God bless you.