Consider your endBro. David Chancellor
11/1/2009 11:00 AM
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makes his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
This focuses our attention on who we are and who God is. He’s the one that matters, not us. "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am." God is beyond what our frail being can comprehend.
How will your story end? Is your life trending toward God or toward sin and wickedness? We can’t see what’s on the road ahead. If you’re following the world, don’t expect a different ending. You can’t make it to heaven if you turn away from God. Consider how things will turn out when it is all over. This life eventually ends. What matters is how things are at this point.
You’ll either die or be here when Jesus comes back. It would be good to think about dying. The one nice thing about death is that most people see it coming before it happens and they have time to prepare. When Jesus comes back, you won’t have any warning. When God calls a halt, it will instantly be over. There won’t be time to change. Get prepared and stay prepared to meet God. There are no guarantees that you’ll have time for preparation. Prepare for the end now.
Eternity is ahead. We may not know when, just that it is. If we’re prepared, we don’t have to be afraid. Preparation for eternity can help us to live a better life now.
What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ: which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Paul was glad Jesus was being preached. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." He viewed death as gain. He wasn’t afraid of death. Whatever he encountered, he had something to look forward to. Paul looked at death as a way to be with God. God has a purpose/work for you to do and he’ll leave you here until you get it done. Paul knew his ending would be a good ending.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
These are references to spiritual events. This speaks of the spiritual condition people can be in when they face the fact of God’s judgment and wrath. It’s a fearful thing if you’re not ready. People are unwilling to consider death because of what comes after it. Death is scary if you’re not ready for the judgment. If your sins have been forgiven, you don’t have to fear the judgment. We all get a lifetime to prepare to meet God. There’s no reason for you to get to the end and not be ready. You can have a good end.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
We’ll be judged by Christ. He made the way for us to be forgiven and to walk with God down here. Know the word of God. You’ll be judged by the word, your works and whether or not your name is in the book of life.
If your sins have been forgiven, those things won’t be remembered anymore. Walk with God all the way. Now is the time to do something about those sins. There are no guarantees about when your life will end. Prepare for the end now. What we do now will influence how that end will be.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
This body we have now won’t be in heaven. Everyone will receive a body that is capable of eternal existence. When death is over, the child of God is headed to something better. "The sting of death is sin…" We don’t have to fear death, because we know we’re right with God. There may be fear of the process because of the suffering involved. God can help us to overcome that fear, too. If we know we’re ready we don’t have to be afraid of meeting God. The sins that are forgiven won’t come up again. Stay close to God and you can have peace. Keep getting closer and closer to God. He’s able to keep what we’ve committed to him. Stay with him because it will pay off in the end. Consider what your end will be. Prepare.