Shelby G. Floyd
Good morning. We need to follow Jesus everyday according to the words of that song! Welcome to 2021. We’ve all survived 2020 during the year of Covid 19! In times past we have been told to stay away from negative people, but last year we were told to stay away from positive people. It seems like the whole world is turned upside down—the old people are slipping out of the house and going out and their kids are yelling to stay indoors. But we have all survived.
Our lesson today is “I Press On!” I press on is the statement from the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12 through 16. Clay Brown, you did a good job reading that text. And I hope all of you will open up your Bibles and look at the text, because that’s where we’re going to drive the stake down today and talk about that statement from Paul to the church at Philippi. And if you think about it he had some really bad things to happen to him in Philippi. You remember it started out in a good way when he went out by the riverside and some women were having a prayer meeting. This gave Paul an opportunity for him to preach the word of God to them and then they were baptized into Christ. So they continued having prayer meeting every time they could get together.
In the meantime there were some people that served idols and Paul had preached that there is just one God, and so their idol selling business was falling apart. They stirred up the people and had the magistrates to beat them and put them in jail and the jailer put them in the inner part of the prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Now many years later after Paul baptized the jailer who became a Christian, along with Lydia, Paul is writing back to that church and he says, “I press on!”
Now I don’t make any New Year’s resolutions, because when you do, you end up breaking them anyway. But here’s one that we can all make and if we do make this resolution, it’ll take care of any others that we could possibly make. And that resolution is “I Press On.” And it’s in the first person singular, so it can apply to all of us. We can all say in 2021, I Press On and not get tied up in negativity! Paul was a positive person, so he says I press on.
When we go back to biblical times there were a lot of idols of all kinds. When Paul visited in Athens, Greece, there were so many gods that they were afraid they had left one out and so when Paul walked around through the city he found an idol with the inscription “To The Unknown God,” and he used that phrase as his proof text and preached a great sermon on the God that they did not know—the God that created heaven and earth.
The Romans also had their pagan gods and the pagan god Janus was pictured as a two-faced god—one face look back at the old year and the new face looked forward to the New Year! So Janus was a god that looked both back and forward, and that’s where we got our name for January. All of us here at Heartland are looking forward to 2021 and we’re not looking back to March, April, and May when the coronavirus started. We’re looking forward to January and the New Year. Continue reading “I PRESS ON”