Death has such a sting, it cuts us to the very core. To lose a person you love is one of the greatest pains that we will ever experience. And so there are many people grieving over Bill's death. I had opportunity to speak at Bill's funeral and what I wanted to express was the fact that none of us knows our final day but it will come for each of us and we need to be ready, we need to have our life in order.
What does it mean to have our life in order…for me, it's do I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour and when ever I go to a funeral I am aware once again of how short life can be and how critical it is that we know Jesus. And my heart is that everyone would know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. As John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
What does it mean to believe in Him...it means you surrender your life to Him, you walk in His ways. You believe that He is the Son of God, that He died and was raised to life and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus is the bridge that gives us access to the Father.
The penalty for sin is death but Jesus God's Son took our sin upon Himself and was crucified in our place so that we can now have freedom but we need to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives…all of our lives…not just a piece of it. I think we live in a culture where some of those who believe in God also want to believe that everyone goes to heaven. I hear it said why would a loving God send people to hell. It's not His heart to send people to hell, it's the consequence of our actions if we don't accept Jesus as Lord of our lives. If we continue to walk in sin and ask for no forgiveness then a God of justice cannot accept us.
It's like being married. You make a covenant with your spouse to love them till death do you part, to keep yourself just for them and no other. You're committed to them. But what happens when you start doing your own thing, you give your love to a person other than your spouse, you give your body to a person other than you spouse and then you repeat this. What happens if you don't change your ways if you don't seek forgiveness and you forget about the one you pledged your heart to…is it any wonder your spouse turns their back on you and walks away. And it's understandable because you can't make a marriage work when the one spouse chooses to share what was intended for one with multiple others.
Our God is a God of justice and mercy. But His mercy cannot flow through when those who do wrong don't see it as wrong and so He has no other choice but to allow the consequences of our actions to take place. He is more than willing to forgive us but we must ask Him.
…so here's what I'd say…there will come a day when each of us stands before God and gives account of our lives, know that He is a loving God but He is a God of justice and He cannot waver from that. As it says in 2 Peter 3: 9b "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." You must come to repentance or He cannot accept you. He wants your heart, He wants your allegiance because in that there is freedom. He has given you everything, every breath you take is from Him, the blessings you have are from Him, the beauty of this creation and the abundance in it comes from Him. And yet we turn our backs to Him. Oh we may call out to Him in our desperate hour but when it passes, He is forgotten and how that breaks His heart. Yet He still waits to take us back when we come to Him just like the story in Luke 15: 11 - 32 of the lost son. The younger son took his inheritance from the father, left home and squandered it all in wild living. He then realized that what he had at home was far better and so he went home with a repentant heart hoping his father would at the very least give him a servants job. As he was nearing home his father saw him in the distance and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. And then they had a big party for him because the son that was lost had come home. That's the Father God I serve, a loving God who longs to have a relationship with us. But it takes two to have that relationship.
Life is short, we don't know our final day, are you content that you're ready when that day arrives? More and more there is a burden on my heart to share this good news, this salvation news with others because what if it was my only opportunity, what if it was their only opportunity. I hold this truth, this hope in my heart and I must share it with others because I don't wish that any perish either...
Jesus conquered death on that cross and so it can be said..."Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15: 54b, 55
Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14: 6