by: Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
In every instance "time" has run out as the sands emptied through the hour-glass and days have turned into weeks, months into years. Muscle has become flab, smooth skin turned into wrinkles and strength succumbed to weakness!
What happened to the once young, healthy, beautiful woman and the handsome, robust, powerful young man? Time had taken its ravaging toll preparing man for his journey back to the dust; out of which he was made.
"Deep calleth to deep" stated the prophet and earth surely calls to earth as another chapter closes on the book of man's history, and the curtain falls on "the last act" of another life...
And God says "Close for the Night"!
We never seem to have enough time to do all we desire, always battling deadlines and never quite getting all the finishing touches done, until the wee hours of the morning and the last day of the month.
The house has to wait for the second coat of paint until spring - the frost came too soon. The children grew up before we really got to know them, and before we realized it, Mom and Dad were gone as well!
Stewart Hamblin said it for all of us in his hit parade song of the 1950's, 'This Old House'.
Prince Philip said about a decade ago, "I seek after leisure like a poor man seeks after money"! Many use valuable time to enrich themselves materially, others to search after pleasure while some strive for peace and spiritual tranquility!
Still others with all their money, fame and social standing endure a miserable existence and seek to destroy themselves through a violent suicide or slow, painful death by addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or unrestrained sexual permissiveness!
When death comes, however, whether slowly or abruptly, almost all are unprepared in one way or another! Great, wealthy, and powerful men and women have begged for another hour of life, to no avail!
History is replete with stories of pathetic endings of the rich, famous, and talented, while millions of poor across the world struggle for another meal to keep soul and body together!
Famous American writer Ernest Hemingway said of life, "It is as empty as the vacuum in a radio tube when all the batteries have gone dead and there is no more juice to plug into". In the end, he took his own life. How sad that he did not know Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour!
Declared the infidel, Voltaire, "I wish I have never been born". When dying, the US millionaire Jay Gould stated, "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth"!
Lord Beaconsfield wrote: "Youth is a mistake, middle age is a struggle, and old age a regret".
How foolish we were as young people, when we complained, "I'm bored. Time drags. I don't know what to do with myself".
Silly songs like "If you've got the money honey, I've got the time" and slogans like "I've got more time than money" must seem almost sacrilegious to the author who wants to finish his book, but can't!
Or the scientist working on a cure for some dread disease when his call comes...
A good example is brilliant scientist Werner Von Braun, head of NASA's man-on-the-moon project who died of incurable cancer. In the prime of life, with so much more to do! But he had somewhere to go to. His personal testimony in Jesus Christ was ‘solid as a rock’
Or like Rock Hudson who succumbed to ravaging AIDS so young and far too soon! For quite some time he had despaired of life, drinking heavily. His death however was a real shocker to everyone, as the earlier so-called 'Gay Plague' reduced him to nothing.
Or Rocky Marciano who was doing so well in business after one of the world's most successful boxing careers. Cut down in a tragic and fatal airplane crash!
Time ran out on the industrious young US President John F. Kennedy as the vengeful loser-turned-Marxist Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger on his 303 Lee Enfield, on that fateful day in Dallas. Rich and poor, black and white, famous and unknown, good and bad; all must one day answer the Grim Reaper's roll call
DEATH IS THE GREAT EQUALIZER!
It was reported that immediately after his death John F. Kennedy who hours before had been the most powerful man in the world, was wheeled into the morgue at a Dallas hospital. Laying naked on cement slabs next to him were the corpses of two vagrants found dead on the streets the night before. At that moment there was no difference!
Death comes to all, and all will be summoned to the Judgment Bar of Almighty God. The Scripture says, "And it is appointed until man once to die and after this the judgment". (Heb. 9:27)
St. Paul wrote, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:10, 12)
"Let us all heed St. Paul's warning: "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Rom. 13:11-14)
Again the Scriptures state, "And I saw the dead small and great stand before God..." (Rev. 20:11)
Sentimentality declares, "Only the good die young" when a child is taken. And the songwriter penned the words "Gathering flowers for the Master's banquet, beautiful flowers that will never decay!"
The Bible says, "Then shall the body return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it". (Eccl. 12:7) Ironic is it not, that every chemical and mineral found in the human body is also found in the earth?
1. ACKNOWLEDGE your lost state: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23; “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
2. BELIEVE the gospel: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30,31); “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on the SON hath everlasting life; and H that believeth not the SON shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” (John 3:18,36)
3. REPENT of your sins: “I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3; “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the Lord and He will have mercy upon Him; and to our God, for He will abundantly perish.” (Isaiah 55:7)
5, CONFESS Him as your Lord: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom.10:9,10).
“And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man. If he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the Glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)
THE MOST WONDERFUL THINGS OF LIFE!
Some time ago, I was called upon to officiate at a funeral of a man whom I did not know. He was a truck driver in his 50's who had suffered a heart attack. His daughter had been brought to our church by a friend, but the rest of the family were unknown to me!
As I drove to the funeral chapel I prayed for a message, but no text would come. As I met the widow and family however, I had my answer! Every member of that large family were in tears, weeping. I thought "Oh, how they loved him!"
I titled my message, "The Most Important Things in Life". When life is over and it's all said and done, the most important things are "a man's relationship to God, his family and his fellowmen". Not - How much money did he have in the bank? How many degrees had he earned? How popular was he in the community, but..
1. HOW WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? Had he accepted the gospel message and was he born again? Did Christ live in his heart?
2. WHAT KIND OF A RELATIONSHIP DID HE HAVE WITH HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN? Did he love and provide for them? Was he protective, and a good example for them to follow?
3. AND WHAT HAD HE DONE FOR THE POOR, NEEDY AND STRUGGLING OF THE WORLD? Did his relationship with his fellowman inspire him to share the gospel? Was he kind and did he love his neighbours? Did he seek to help win the heathen for Christ? I believe that when it's all wrapped up and life is over, these are the only things that will really matter!
LET US PRAY:
Dear Heavenly Father:
I acknowledge my need for forgiveness and mercy. I believe the GOOD NEWS that Jesus Christ Your Son died for my sins and rose again from the dead. By faith I receive Him now as my personal Saviour and confess Him as my Lord! Come into my heart Lord Jesus and save me for Christs' sake. In Jesus' Name. Amen.