As we begin a new year together, there are many thoughts that fill our minds concerning the coming year. It is exciting to think of what new challenges will come our way. Should the Lord tarry His coming, we have 365 days to look forward to His working in our lives.
There will also be several changes around here. We have one couple that will be approved as missionaries and will begin their deputation. We have another couple that will be graduating from BBC this coming May. We will be looking for some folks to help us in the ministry here. It is exciting! One of the things that I look forward to is seeing who will be saved in 1992, and who may be called into full-time service. Looking to how God will choose to use this church.
Along with all of the other thoughts that you may have at this time, I want to remind you of some truths from the Word of God. Peter wrote, "Wherefore, I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." 2 Pe. 1:12. It is part of my responsibility as your pastor to remind you of things from time to time. So this morning I want to remind you of some tremendously important truths from the Scripture.
I. Life Is Short.
A. James 4:14 says that life is like a vapor.
1. Place a tea kettle of water on the stove and as it heats to the boiling point the water turns to steam, but that steam doesn't fill the kitchen; it disappears about a foot above the kettle
2. God's Word tells us that our lives are like a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes.
3. Life is short, and the older I get...the shorter it seems!
4. James warns us of making future plans and leaving the Lord out of them; of making plans without realizing that we may not be around to complete them!
B. In Job 7:6 he states that his days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle.
1. If you have ever seen an old-fashioned loom in operation you know how fast the shuttle moves back and forth across the loom.
2. Job said that was how fast his days were passing.
3. We may know of someone who has lived a long and full life, perhaps 90- 100 years; but that is the exception!
4. Ps. 90:10, "The days of our years are threescore and ten..."
5. Life is short! A fourteen year-old boy and his friends were sniffing Scotch- guard from and aerosol can and died!
6. Washington, DC is America's murder capital, with 487 homicides in 1991 and 1992 began with four murders in the first four hours! Life is short!
C. What if today your life would end?
1. Would it be a time of rejoicing or a time of regret; a time of joy or a time of sorrow?
2. We have no guarantee of tomorrow...as death finds us so does the judgment.
3. All who have placed their faith and trust in the shed blood of the Lamb of God will find rest and rejoicing beyond this life...are you a Christian? are you born again? do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? if not, please do not hesitate because life is short!
II. Eternity Is Long.
A. Two illustrations:
1. Eternity is a very difficult concept and nearly impossible to for us to understand.
2. If you could envision the great Rock of Gibralter and a tiny sparrow.
a. Imagine if you can that sparrow flying to the rock and pecking with its beak one time and then flying back to land.
b. Now, imagine this sparrow doing this day after day.
c. Calculate the time it would take for the rock to be worn completely away and you have simply the beginning of eternity!
3. Imagine the same tiny bird dipping its beak into the Atlantic Ocean and then flying across the United States and placing that drop of water in the Pacific Ocean.
4. Calculate the time it would take to completely empty the Atlantic Ocean and eternity will have just begun.
B. Two eternal places.
1. Here is a man who has left Christ out of his life.
a. At the judgment of the Great White Throne the Savior who loved him and died for him is forced to point him down toward hell.
b. The man finds himself in the eternal lake of fire and thinks to himself...
1) Maybe the suffering will be over in a year...but it isn't!
2) Surely five years of suffering will be enough...but it continues!
3) Finally 100 suffering-filled years have gone by, but still no end!
4) Oh the horror to be tormented forever and ever in the flames of hell!
c. Hell is a place of:
1) Separation: from God, as well as from your loved ones and friends who have gone on to heaven.
2) Eternal fires: "Where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." cf Mark 9:43
3) Lowest associations: cf Rev. 21:8
4) Perfect memory: cf Luke 16:25
d. But here is a man who has lived for Christ.
1) Jesus welcomes him with open arms, saying "Enter into the joy of the Lord."
2) He looks around and everything is glorious, peaceful, wonderful, and beautiful.
3) He has a perfect body, no pain, no trouble, no problems, no tears, and he asks how long can this last?
4) The answer to that question is found in the Word of God: Paul said,"...so shall we ever be with the Lord."
5) Peter tells us of our "...inheritance incorruptible...that fadeth not away" cf 1 Peter 1:4
III. What Will We Do With These Truths?
A. To those who are without Christ:
1. Realize today that Life is short, eternity is long, and there are only two eternal places.
2. Where we spend eternity is determined by the decisions we make in this life.
3. There will be no second chances given!
4. Hebrew 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
5. Why go to hell when it's so easy to go to heaven?
6. Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
7. Do it this morning, do not delay!
B. To the Christian:
1. We must realize that life is short...what we do for Christ must be done now.
2. Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly."
3. Are we ready to meet Christ? Have we been obedient to His commands? Have we taken the Gospel to every nation? Have we taken the Gospel to anyone?
4. We are the only hope for this world!
5. Are we telling others? if not, then why?