We are about to say goodbye to 2017. Some of you are glad to see this year end. For some of my friends it has been a year of sickness, for others it has been a year of financial problems. For others it has been a good year, full of joy. All of us will say farewell to 2017 with mixed feelings. We have some excitement and anticipation for the coming in of 2018.
Today I want to share some thoughts with you as we transition to a new year.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)
We all have an appointment with death, and we don’t know the time of this appointment. If we are truly born again Christians, we do have a hope of possibly escaping death through the Rapture of the Saints. Unless the Lord returns and catches us out of here, we will all face death.
A man who was celebrating his 108 birthday was asked for the secret to long life. His response was “keep breathing.”
I heard there was a site on line called The Death Clock, and I googled it. I typed in my info, and the death clock awarded me another 37 years, 4 months, and 18 days. It gives me a total of 13,653 days left to live. This would be great if we could count on it being right, but we know this very day may be my last day, as it may be yours, or anyone else’s.
Everyone wants to cheat death. Ponce Deleon searched for the fountain of youth in St. Augustine, FL. There has been the search for the Holy Grail, which is supposed to give eternal life to anyone who drinks from it.
The truth is, there is only one person who can help us conquer death. This one person is God, Himself. The Bible tells us of two people escaped death. They were “raptured” out of here. One of them was Enoch, and the other was Elijah.
Even our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, tasted of death. This was necessary because He was here on a mission. His mission was to pay the penalty for man’s sin so that we could be forgiven. He became our substitute on Calvary’s tree.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)
The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Everyone of us will face physical death, unless we are taken out at the Rapture of the Saints.
Jesus demonstrated His power to raise people from the dead. He raised the widow’s son in Luke Chapter 7, He raised the 12 year old daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue in Luke Chapter 8, and in John Chapter 11 He raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25)
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (Ephesians 2:1)
The word “quickened” means to be made alive.
The point is, the only one who can give us eternal life is God, Himself, and this is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the cross and laid down His life so you and I could have a Redeemer.
Death is separation. When the body dies, the soul and spirit are separated from it. After death you will spend an eternity in one of two places, Heaven or Hell. Your eternal destination will be determined by what you do with Jesus Christ.
If you have humbled yourself, confessed to God that you are a sinner, agreed with God that you deserve death and hell, have turned to Him for mercy, and have put your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then you have eternal life. If you have not done this, you will bear your own sin, and you will be separated from God for all eternity. This separation from God is called the second death.
What a shame it would be to know the Gospel, to know there is a opportunity to be saved from the consequences of sin, and to reject it. It would be a sad thing to come to the end of your life and find out that what the preachers have been telling you is true. The reasons for your rejection could me many. It could be your pride, your love for the pleasures of sin, your arrogance and self-righteousness, or trying to justify your sins as not being sins, and not all that bad. You may tell yourself that you are not any worse than others, which is true, you aren’t, but you aren’t any better either. Sin is sin, and it has its consequences.
We cannot save ourselves because we are all guilty and must pay the price. This is why God has a rescue plan. What a shame it would be to slip out into eternity rejecting this plan.
If you have received the Gospel and are bound for Heaven, share it with others. Don’t bottle up the good news. Light is to put up where it can be seen, not hid under a bushel.
As we end 2017, if it has been a bad year, and for some of you it has, it is our hope and prayer that this next year will be a better year for you.
There is something that I am always drawn to, it gives me hope. It is something that Charles Spurgeon said:
No matter what your past, your future is spotless.
I think this is why we have hope at the dawning of a new year. We get to say goodbye to our mistakes and problems of the past and make a new start.
As we begin the new year, let us not use our mistakes and problems as stumbling stones, but as stepping stones. Don’t let them make you bitter, let them make you better.
This reminds me of a story of a customer who went to Mr. Green’s fish market. He marveled at Mr. Greens wit and intelligence. He said, Mr. Green, what makes you so smart? Mr. Green said he would not share his secret with just anyone, but lowering his voice so others wouldn’t hear, he said, since you are one of my good and faithful customers, I’ll let you in on my secret. It is fish heads. If you eat enough of them, you will positively be brilliant. The man asked, do you sell them here, and Mr. Green said, of course I do, they are only 4£ a piece. The customer bought three. A week later he came to the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting, and that he really wasn’t getting any smarter. Mr. Green said, you didn’t eat enough of them. The customer went home with 20 more fish heads. Two weeks later he came back, and this time he was really angry. He said, Mr. Green, you’re selling me fish heads for 4£ a piece, when I can buy a whole fish for 2£, you’re ripping me off. Mr. Green said, you see, you’re getting smarter already.
I hope we will go into next year a little wiser because of our experiences from 2017. At this time of the year I try to take time to look at the past year, and my life as a whole, and use the lessons I learned from the past to build a better future. I encourage you to do the same.
As you enter this new year, we wish for all of you a happy and prosperous new year. We want to thank all of you who have supported this ministry.
This next year I will be leading a tour group to Israel. We will be leaving on June 6th, and returning on June 15th. We will spend 10 days in Israel. If you have never been to Israel, I highly recommend that you join us if you can. My only regret is that I didn’t start going to Israel earlier. If you are a preacher of the Gospel I don’t believe you have finished your education unless you have been to Israel. If you are not a preacher, maybe you would like join us to help you better understand the Bible. Maybe you have been to Israel before, and want to go again. The cost will be about $3,500 per person. Trust me, this is a very good price. All of the sites we visit will have great teaching value and will help you understand what you read in the Bible. If you are interested in joining us, contact us and we will be glad to send you a brochure.
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