Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Miss Out!

Here’s an interesting bit of scripture:

Isaiah 55:6 "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near."

That implies a couple of things.
1. At some point, the Lord will no longer be found, and

2. At some point, He will not be near.

There are only two ways that those situations can happen.
1. You die, or

2. The Lord departs from you.

We’re all very well aware that death is, well… part of life. We all die at some point. No one has beaten the odds yet that I am aware of.

Dead people can’t seek things. Dead people can’t call out. Therefore, dead people can’t seek the Lord or call on Him. It’s too late!

Maybe you think you have time and you’ll be able to “catch” God just before you die. That’s like thinking you’ll be able to jump out of the car just before it careens off a cliff you never saw coming.

Proverbs 27:1 reminds us: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

The psalmist isn’t making an accusation; he’s stating a fact! You just can’t know the moment you will die and that’s a very risky gamble when your relationship with the God of the universe is at stake, don’t you think?

Now let’s say that you don’t die… because you haven’t. I can tell because you’re still reading this blog. If you haven’t died and left God, how do you know God hasn’t up and left you?

You can know this primarily because multiple times throughout Old Testament Scripture God has said he won’t and God does not contradict Himself, changing His mind willy-nilly like you and I.

In Deuteronomy 31:8, it is written, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Oh, but wait! In these Scriptures, He is speaking to those who are following Him faithfully. Whether it was the whole nation of Israel or one man on behalf of Israel, God has kept His promise to never leave or forsake them.

Jesus confirmed in the New Testament that God would still remain with faithful followers – both Jew and non-Jew alike – first by His choice to live among them as a man (Jesus Christ), then by the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-5, Acts 2:1-4), and soon by His return to gather the faithful and return with them to Heaven.

John 14:1-3“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

To faithfully follow Him is to obey His commands and love Him above all else. So, while it is very true that God will never leave His faithful followers, this promise does not extend to those who have never placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior because rejecting God’s Son is rejecting God.

Acts 4:10-12 ‘“…then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."’

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “ For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

So what about those who aren’t faithfully following God?

Once Christ returns for the faithful followers, it’s all over. The Age of Grace is over and Judgment happens.

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

There is no “second chance” and there will certainly be no time to change your heart once you hear the sound of the trumpet and see Christ coming down from the clouds.

Jesus even told his faithful followers that we would not know exactly when He would return.

Acts 1:6-8 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

But Jesus also says to all mankind, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

Get out your Bible today and read any one of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John – and see for yourself where you stand with the Lord. Ask God if you are a faithful follower or not. Ask God to tell you why you even need to be. Ask God to change your heart today if you need to.

He will answer.

Don’t miss out!