2 Kings 23:3 (ESV)
And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.

So, this week many will make a New Year’s resolution, a promise or covenant if you will, stats saying that 88% will be broken within weeks. Reforming our bad behaviour is not an easy task, not for us as people, not for nations or churches.


According to, Reformation is the action or process of reforming an institution or a person, that is “relinquishing immoral, criminal or self-destructive lifestyle and make changes to improve it.”

The Reformation is a specific period of history when brave men like John Huss in Bohemia, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland and especially Martin Luther in Germany, took on an immoral, self-centred, lifeless Roman Catholic Church. They changed things forever, forming a new movement of those opposing or protesting the practices of the Roman church, known then and now as Protestants.

In the early 1500s, the Catholic church of the time had degraded into a godless, idolatrous, lifeless institution needing reform. Martin Luther visited Rome, saw St. Peter’s Basilica, and he found out that the church was basically extortion the money out of common folk to pay for it. He published 99 Theses, nailed them to the door of the church at Wittenberg to promote debate, but it started the reformation.

Some of us in this first part of 2023 also are going through the religious motions, and we need not a New Year’s resolution but a New Year’s reformation!


In 2 Kings 23, King Josiah came to the throne of Judah with the nation in a mess. His father Manasseh had instituted idol worship, Asherah poles, Baal temples and even child sacrifice, and God was completely forgotten in the nation.

It would take radical surgery to see reformation. Today we will examine how he did it.


Coming to the throne as a boy of 8, at 18 years of age King Josiah realised it was time to spring clean the house of God. He started with a decision to rebuild the temple.

2 Kings 22:5 (ESV)
And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the LORD, repairing the house

Josiah realised the house of God was run down, neglected, and full of rubbish and idols. So, he decided to clean it out and repair it. Any hope we have of reforming our lives must start with a decision to clean things out and repair what’s broke!

Pause for a moment and look at your life. Is there any part that is in disrepair? Any sin that needs repenting of, and relationship that is strained or severed, and idol in your life? We tend not to have Buddhas in the corner, but make no mistake, we have idols. Cars, houses, jobs, kids, toys, anything we worship instead of God Himself.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Is your relationship with the Lord on fire, or fraying at the edges? After a Christmas period of indulgence, maybe it’s time to rebuild the temple of God in our lives.


During the building process that Josiah prioritises, something remarkable happened…they found a book. In fact, they found THE BOOK.

2 Kings 22:10-11 (ESV)
Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.

The tearing of clothes indicated grief, shame, and repentance. That is the impact of God’s Word. God’s word demands a response from those who hear it. The scriptures call us to repent and align our lives with God’s standards.

Are you reading the Bible daily? If you’re not, you are missing the greatest key for your life, and you’re missing out on really knowing God and His Word. As you read His word, do not simply look for information of ancient times, but expect a personal encounter with God that will call for life adjustments to His ways and purposes.

Josiah was so impacted by the discovery of the Book of the Law, most likely the Pentateuch, the first five books of our Bible, that he immediately made a commitment to change. To get rid of what he knew was wrong or evil, and to replace it with what is right and pure. This was a true reformation.

Today, I’m calling on you to make the same commitment. To spring clean your life, get rid of the wrong and build on the right. I hope to do that this week with my clothes. I’m going to search through them, get rid of stuff that doesn’t fit, and keep the good stuff. It’s painful, but necessary to move ahead.

Psalms 51:10 (ESV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.


Josiah made a commitment to purify his nation from idolatry. Getting rid of the old, evil ways is a big, but necessary call.

2 Kings 23:4 (ESV)
And the king commanded Hilkiah (etc.) to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel.

Radical surgery was required to overturn years of neglect. But Josiah knew that a commitment to purity was mandatory. He knew,

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Listen, you cannot dabble in sin and expect God’s blessing. If you want to experience true reformation this year, you have to start with clearing out sin. We are not called to tolerate sin, but to confess it, repent of it and obediently cease doing it. If you are in a sinful situation, at work, at home, on the TV, on the internet, you must confess it and clear it out!

1 John 1:9 (ESV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Don’t put up with sin, put it out! It will require action, maybe severing a relationship, behaving differently in business, hanging out with different people, but we have to be radical about removing sin from our lives.

What requires radical surgery for your reformation in 2023? Do you need to move away from some friends, move out of a situation, stop visiting certain websites, stop committing certain habits that seem ingrained? I’m calling you this year to a radical commitment to purity…

2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV)
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.


It’s one thing to make a decision, we see it every week here at Ignite. You can make a commitment or resolution for 2023, but it all means nothing unless you see it through.

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Endurance in Greek is HYPO-MONÉ, which means “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” Seeing it through, no matter what!

When Hernando Cortez, the great Spanish explorer, arrived by ship on the beach at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1519, he faced a daunting challenge – conquering the barbaric Aztecs. Countless Mexican tribes had already experienced cruel suffering and inhumane death at the hands of the Aztecs. So how could the explorer motivate his hundreds of men to be brave? How could he avoid insurrection?

The action Cortez took was staggering. He sank the ships, leaving his men with no way to return to Spain. Only two choices remained – be victorious or die. Now that’s a radical commitment to seeing it through!


King Josiah faced a similar and equally formidable challenge. Since the days of King Solomon nearly 300 years earlier, the Israelites had wrestled with idolatry and given in to sin. They worshiped false gods, and that worship came complete with temple prostitution, child sacrifice and other forms of evil. How could Josiah lead his people out of their bondage to immorality and into the freedom only God can give?

As we have seen, he started by cleaning the temple, found the Book of the Law, cleansed the temple and the whole nation of idols, but what next?

Josiah did what I am doing now…he called the people to commitment. After he had led the people of Israel in renewing their commitment to God, King Josiah did the equivalent of Cortez’s action of sinking his own ships. He ordered the destruction of the idols, the pagan altars, and the living quarters of the temple prostitutes. Josiah removed the visible temptations that might have enticed the people to return to idol worship.


Remember, even today, we still wrestle with idols. Our idols include materialism, greed, pornography, and sexual immorality. How do we overcome these enemies? Of course, we first need to renew our commitment to God. But if that’s all we do, we could do it every week and not properly change.

But we can also sink the ships, and that’s radical faith! We can destroy our tendency toward materialism by simplifying our lives and eliminating big-boy toys. We can ask God to give us a different attitude about money and wealth – a different way of measuring our successes. You can remove the visible temptations that allure you toward different sexual sins.

What ships do you need to sink at the start of 2023? I’m calling you to radical change for 2023. Even though it starts with a decision, it must lead to action purifying and getting rid of sin. However, it is seen through by a radical commitment…sinking your ships! Closing the way back entirely on sin.


2 Kings 23:24 (ESV)
Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

True reformation is one of the most powerful, exciting and life changing experiences any person can have. But it is not just floating around making a vague commitment to maybe changing, and it’s not just Martin Luther vs the Roman Catholic Church. It’s for every individual here today, as life changing for us as the 99 Theses were for Luther.

To how do we start a New Year’s reformation in our lives, our families, our church and our nation?


Nothing will change until we commit to change. I’m asking you to join with me and do that this New Year’s morning. Reformation requires radical commitment, not half-hearted, vague promises to be broken a week later.

Luke 9:62 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

As Solomon prayed for the people, and for us,

1 Kings 8:61 (ESV)
Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

Will you commit with me to New Year’s reformation today?


Peter challenges us

Acts 3:19 (ESV)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

If we want to see true reformation, and our lives need it, our families need it and our nation desperately needs it, then the cost of reformation hasn’t changed…

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


Repentance is a moment, but long-term reformation requires the radical removal of sin, just as Josiah removed sin from his nation.

Don’t flirt with sin, don’t overlook it, and don’t tolerate it. Jesus said

Matthew 5:29 (ESV)
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Obviously to Him, sin is a really big deal. Temptation is very real, but it’s not sin. When you act on the temptation, it becomes sin. Jesus was tempted but did not sin.

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

And James reminds us,

James 1:13-14 (ESV)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Let me be clear, if you are struggling with a sin in your life, it’s time to make a radical stand. If it’s a friend who leads you into sin, remove yourself from them. If it’s a website, avoid it and if it’s a book or TV show, never watch it again.

People sometimes think, I will keep on and see if I can stand against the temptation. The Bible says

2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV)
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.


Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

A commitment to pursue righteousness is essential. It’s not just removing sin, it’s filling the void with pure things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you focus on determines where you go. A commitment to reformation is a commitment to filling our minds and hearts with the things of God and avoiding the things of sin.


Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I’m calling you to see New Year’s reformation today, and this requires the renewing of your mind. Nothing good comes without a price, and Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, so we should be willing to pay the price for seeing reformation in our lives and families.

Are you willing to sink some ships today?

Will you join me in committing to New Year’s reformation today?

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