Monday, September 21, 2009

As a Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:2 – “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

Paul begins this section of his letter to the church at Thessalonica by reminding them that they know the times and the seasons – that’s not an issue. In our lives today, we need to remember the same thing. The times and seasons are well known to us, for we have been preached to for years. We have been instructed in how to read the times and seasons, both of this world and the spiritual world. But knowing and acting on that knowledge are two different things. We know that the Lord will come at any time – that’s the eminence of His return. But in spite of knowing that He will come “as a thief in the night,” it will catch some off guard.

Ezekiel tells us that we are to be watchmen on the walls, shouting out warnings of trouble to come. We are to warn those within the city. We know that the day of the Lord will come soon, yet we continue through our lives in apathy and complacency. We know what shape the world’s in, and we know what to do about it. Some say, “It’s too big a task – we can never get it done.” So they do nothing.

I heard a story once about a young girl who lived in the days when coal was burned for heat. As she attempted to carry a ton of coal a shovelful at a time from the sidewalk to a coal bin in the cellar, she was asked by an onlooker, “Do you expect to get all that coal in with that little shovel?” “Yes sir,” she answered, “if I work long enough.” That should be our response to those who ask us, “There are so many to win – can you win enough?” We should answer, “Yes sir – if I work long enough.”

But the task is large and daunting, and so many don’t take it up. Many have become weak and powerless. They can’t tell of His great love, because they don’t have it in their heart. They neglect God’s Word and prayer. Many haven’t kept themselves free from worldliness, so their garments have become spotted with the world. They have let sin creep in and make them unfit for service. Many have neglected the house of God where we get charged up through the preaching of the Word and fellowship with fellow-believers. They have forsaken the assembling of themselves together. Many have gotten caught up in themselves and their own lives and don’t keep a watch for the souls of men, losing sight of the fact that those souls are lost and bound for a devil’s hell.

My friend, we have the knowledge; we have the solution; we have the command of God. Paul tells us in verse 7 of the same chapter, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” This is the same admonition we get from Ezekiel to be watchmen on the walls. Our job is to warn those around us of the coming danger. Carry gospel tracts with you everywhere you go, handing them out or just leaving them where others will find them. Always be ready to give a witness to everyone you meet. Live in such a way that others see Christ in you. But please, don’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to those souls that are rushing headlong into an eternity without Christ. Time is short - Christ is coming soon - "as a thief in the night."

Quote – “I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps He may interrupt my work and begin His own. I am not looking for death, I am looking for Him.” – G. Campbell Morgan

Saturday, September 19, 2009

If I Had One Day To Live

1 Samuel 28:19 – “…to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me…”

The story is simple – In 1 Samuel 15, the Bible tells us of God’s command to Saul to complete a task for Him. However, Saul, lifted up with pride in himself, only half completed the task. And then when confronted by the prophet Samuel, he blamed the sin of incomplete obedience on the people. In response to this open rebellion against God’s authority, Samuel informed Saul that God was washing his hands of him. “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?” Samuel asked him. Then answering his own question, he added, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

But Samuel wasn’t finished yet – He had a message from God for Saul. “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” What a pronouncement! What a blow to Saul! Samuel then set about to find God’s choice to replace Saul as king.

The story continues – Saul continues on his downward spiral until we get to chapter 28. Saul is about to lead Israel into battle against the Philistines. He consults a witch, who summons Samuel's spirit, which tells him that God is going to deliver Israel into the hands of the Philistines and Saul and his sons will be killed. What a sad commentary – Saul goes from a place of prominence – a place of preeminence – a place of royalty – to a place of derision – a place of despair – a place of judgment. “…To morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me….”

Think about it! What would you do if you had but one day to live? What would be the priorities of your life? There used to be an old worldly beer commercial that said you need to grab all the gusto you can get – would that be your priority? Would you try to cram a lifetime of adventure in before you “kick the bucket”?

Here’s what I’d like to think I would do if I had one day to live.

First, I’d be sure I was saved. 2 Peter 1:10 tells us “to give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” There’s nothing more important in this life than salvation. If you go through this life with a false hope of salvation, then you are of all men most miserable. Make sure your salvation lines up with the scripture, not some man’s teachings.

Secondly, I’d make sure my Christian life was up to par. The Bible is very plain about how we are to live as Christians. Romans 12:2 tells us “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are to live dedicated, consecrated, sanctified lives before God. For when this life is over, we will be judged for those things done in this life. It’s called the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Thirdly, I’d try to reach my loved ones for Christ. Even the rich man that died and went to hell in Luke 16 asked Abraham that Lazarus might go and tell his brothers not to come to that awful place. Nothing can be sadder than to live our lives on this earth as Christians and never even speak to those we love about their need for salvation.

Fourthly, I’d look forward with joy to dying and going to heaven. You know, this world is scared to death of dying – they don’t know the one that makes death desirable. I know where I’m going – I know I’ll spend eternity in heaven – I have no fear of death. We can rejoice in death, knowing that it is but a passing from this world to the next.

Quote – “People spend too much time making preparations for life on this earth and not making preparations for eternity.” – Dr. Bob Jones, Jr.

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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