This past Sunday my grandmother passed on to stand before the Lord and enter into eternity. Today (Friday April 20th 2012) I had the opportunity to partner alongside my cousin and minister and preach at her funeral. I have been to funerals before, but never have I been as involved with the service as I was with this one. Which it being my grandmother’s funeral, made it all the more introspective and personal as I prepared for it over the course of the week and many things passed through my mind. Aside from dealing with the personal loss of a loved one, watching my mom, who is so dear to my heart, cope with losing her mother, I also thought a great deal about how I am spending my time here that God has given me…How the many loved ones and people I interact with who are not prepared for eternity. If this were my journal it would be a very long entry and there would be much more I would write about and express, but it is my blog and not my journal. With that being said, what I will share here from my thoughts and experiences this week, I m sharing because I believe it is something we should all be, as human beings, taking to heart and considering as we live our lives.
First is the reality of our mortality. We all know it deep down inside yet we avoid it like the plague. We don’t want to think about it, or deal with its reality. We just try to live our lives without thinking about this reality, that every single one of us who is alive and breathing air faces and could face at any moment in time. Most of us not only don’t think about the fact that this very day could be the last day we see on this earth, but we even REFUSE to think about it. King Solomon, whom the Bible teaches us was the wisest man who has ever lived, said it is actually wiser to do just the opposite. He said in Ecclesiastes 7:2 that “It is better to spend your time at funerals than at parties, for death is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.” It is at parties that we can often escape from the stresses and realities of life, but it is at funerals where we ponder life, deal with the destiny we all face and often look for and sometimes even find perspective on life. Maybe you haven’t lost a loved one this week, or attended a funeral like I did. Maybe you were enjoying the pleasures of life and spending your time in more festive or casual environments. Maybe you weren’t thinking about the things I am talking about in this blog post. None the less, you too should be, as you are one of the living that should take this to heart.
What does it mean to take this reality to heart? Well…I think it depends on what you profess to believe, what you actually believe, and how you are living as a person according to those beliefs. That may sound like it could make it complicated as there are so many different beliefs out there. But in reality it really can be broken down into just two simple groups of people. The remainder of this blog post will attempt to address both in light of what I have been thinking about this week.
The first is those who do not profess to know Christ. Those who have not repented of their sins and truly placed their faith in Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross. For you, you face the destiny of the grave without the assurance and hope that faith in Christ brings. Of knowing that a Holy and Just God Loved you enough to send His only Son to die in your place and satisfy the Justice of God against the imperfections that exist in all of us. Not sure what I mean? Let me explain it for you the best I can in a blog post without writing ten pages.
You see, God according to His Scriptures can only be in the presence of Holy perfection, and that is certainly not you and I. We fall short of that standard. We are all born flawed because it is embedded in our DNA because of our first parent’s (Adam and Eve) rebellion against God. And this rebellion, our rebellion, not only separates us from God here on earth but because He is Just He must also judge us when we die and stand before Him. His judgment is an eternity in Hell where you will experience the FULLNESS of God’s Holy Wrath on you for all of eternity. Never….ending….torment. That may sound harsh, or it may even offend you. But it is the Truth none the less and I will not apologize to you for sharing it…even though it is indeed bad news for you. But thankfully, the Bible doesn’t end there. It goes on to also teach us that God is Love and in His Love, He sent His son Jesus Christ from Heaven to come to earth as a man incarnate. A man, whose name you probably use in a profane way, a man named Jesus Christ. He came, lived a perfect human life, no flaws, no blemishes, no wrongs, no immoral thoughts or deeds…completely Holy. Then at around 33 years of age, He was arrested and tried and sentenced to death on a Cross for you and I. He was beaten and crucified as a substitute for our sins, our imperfections to God’s standards. What’s more, was that on that Cross He took the FULLNESS of God’s Holy Wrath upon Himself to satisfy God’s Justice against you and I, making it possible for us to be justified through that work and sacrifice. He was buried and then three days later He rose from the dead conquering sin and death and offering Salvation freely to all those who repent of their sins, put their faith in that work on the Cross, and follow Christ with their lives. Have you done that yet? You will face Him just as surely as you shall face death…Are you prepared to stand before Him? You will do it on your own accord or you will do it covered in His Grace and Blood. The choice is yours. If you’re laughing, just not taking it seriously, or thinking that it is just some religious rhetoric I will just leave you with a verse to ponder from His Word: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” ~ I Corinthians 1:18
The second group is those who know Christ. This would be the group that I profess to be in; that through active faith trust I am a part of. For us we stand in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord and the Hope we have in Him knowing that with each second that passes we are one step closer to being with Him. That should cause us to both rejoice and also be concerned. Rejoice because “to die is gain” and we will be with Him, but be concerned because we will have to give an account for the time He gave us here on the earth to partner with Him in His work, and most of us are not using our time as effectively for Him as we could be. How are you doing in that area professing Christian? Are you living every second of your life for Christ? Do you allow Him to Lord over all things and direct all of your steps or is He just allowed access to things in your life when it is convenient for you? Jesus is to be Lord of all, as He is Lord of all. All authority in Heaven and in Earth has been given to Him… He is Lord! And He has commanded us to go an make disciples! Are you doing that? Ask yourself who am I discipling? Who am I, right now actively trying to reach? We need to be able to answer that question at ALL times and in all stages in our lives. It is not just for those of us who are young, or in the prime of our lives. I hear so many people who are older and profess Christ often use their age as an excuse for inactivity as a Christian. I have never understood this and have often been angered with the thought of having to be subjected to one day sitting around a house staring at a glass box with a picture on it because serving Jesus actively is only for the young. That to me has always been a total copout or just the depressing reality that is this life. Now however, I 100% believe that anything less than active faith at any age is just simply not Biblical. Does life change? Sure physically, emotionally, and mentally we change as we age, but our faith shouldn’t change by slowing down but should rather mature and become more active, visibly expressed, be shared with others, and passed onto the next generation. (2 Timothy 2:2) If you are older and you know you’re active in your faith and can answer those questions with confidence then don’t take offense to this as it is not referring to you. If, however, you are not…or even if you are young and you want to get a glimpse into how our attitudes should be about aging in a Biblical way, give our newest Francis Chan Sermon Jam (which God in His Sovereignty knew I’d be working on when my grandma passed away) that will not be officially released until next month a watch and feel free to share it when you’re done: