Harry C. Meserve- A Christian has been defined as one who makes it easier to believe in God.
Last Sunday we talked about how godliness holds promise for the present life. Mainly want us to remember that godliness brings peace and contentment in this life, godliness brings freedom from sin and power to overcome temptations, godliness brings an escape from this life, we have a measure of unconcern for this life with its troubles and trials. How can godliness bring an escape and a measure of relief to this weary life? By letting us know that this life is preparing us for the next life. For the godly, this life is preparing us for eternity.
The Gentile heathen, who had no revelation from God except from the creation, always had an idea of an afterlife. Humanity has always had this belief that this life is not the end. The only ones who do not believe in an afterlife are those who have been taught that way. This idea that the grave is the end must be taught because it goes against our nature. The Gentile heathen always had this concept- “There must be another state in which the GREAT AND JUST ONE will rectify all wrongs — reward the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” They thought it proved that there would be another life; they could not, however, speak with any assurance. That is reserved for the Bible and faith. What was believed by the great thinkers of antiquity, has been brought to light in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Talked last Sunday about how living a godly life holds promise for the present life. Now talk about...
Thesis: Talk about how godliness holds promise for life to come
No such promise to the ungodly
1. Let’s say that we give into hedonism- the pursuit of fleshly pleasures. If it feels good do it
This idea, popular today, must ignore, at all costs, the idea of a day of Judgment. Must get enjoyment now because that is what life is all about. Only thing that matters is the present
Where do people get these pleasures? Sex, drugs, music, parties, money, possessions, power, popularity, anything that brings pleasure in this life. Where does all of this pleasure lead? Solomon talked about many of these pleasures and here is his conclusion: “Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:11. “The heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 7:4, NIV.
Save some trouble and take to heart what Solomon says. Where does it lead? To bad health, to bad finances, to a bad name, and the only thing left is death which is a frightening thing. Immorality does not promise hope for the life to come. “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5, NIV.
2. No, let’s not go that route but the route of being a good person.
Must have money so we can live comfortable life and that we can retire and pass on an inheritance to our spouse and family.
Must have a respectable job so that I can have a good name in the community. Must do some charitable work and some volunteer work in the community so that I can have a good name.
Must keep up my figure and my health so people will like me. Also I can enjoy my family and friends into my old age. I will deny myself and be disciplined so that my family is well off and I am well liked.
Where does this lead? Yes, a good life here (too much like Keeping up Appearances?) but what about the life hereafter. Keep thoughts of Judgement Day far away. Even so, trying to prepare a resume to impress God. I’m a good fellow and I did my part on earth so the Lord will let me into heaven. My good name and praiseworthy service will save me.
Without Jesus Christ, we are ungodly both those who live for pleasure and those who live to please others and build up a good name. Speaking of Gentiles, Paul said: “without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12, 13, NIV.
Invitation to salvation
II. Living for eternity
One brief life. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14, NIV.
Only this life to lay up treasures in heaven. ““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21, NIV. Everything we see in the world today will one day either be rust or dust. Every material thing, even the nicest and finest of cars, the biggest and grandest of buildings: one day none of it will matter.
Through the gospel and the Word we believe that Jesus Christ will satisfy all our needs. Knowing that Christ will supply all of our needs is misunderstood if we believe we will receive everything we need to make ourselves look good, or fancy, or wealthy or cool. It means we will have all of our needs met that would allow us to bring glory to Our Father in Heaven and live for Eternity! God's Word speaks against what has consumed so much of America today: the love of money and materialism. God's Word speaks against what will keep many out of eternity in heaven: the love of money, loving His gifts more than the Giver of Life.
Look at these verses: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:6-11, NIV. This reminds me of what Jesus said one time: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26, NIV.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV.
People who believe the Gospel know this: God is enough! Jesus is all satisfying for this life and the life to come! My purpose on this earth is to bring Him glory and My Heavenly Father will bless me with all I need to complete this task! The gift of the Cross is The Greatest Gift that we have been given because without it; we are undeserving of anything that we may receive and without it our lives are mere dead end streets without reason and without purpose!
Evaluate our priorities
In this New Year, are we living only for this life or for the life to come?
“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:18, 19, NIV.
What or who comes first in our lives? Many will say God but is He first? We tend to put our own comfort ahead of God. Is our main priority in life to retire and live comfortable in our old age or is our main priority sharing, living and spreading the Gospel?
2 Corinthians 5:1-11. People Who Live For Eternity:
1. Walk by Faith not by Sight. (5:7)
2. Look forward to being with the Lord in Heaven (5:8)
3. Want to be well pleasing to God. (5:9)
4. Live with the Judgment Seat of Christ in mind. (5:10)
5. Try to persuade men (vs. 11)- This is something we can do on earth but unable heaven. Everyone in heaven is convinced.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25, NIV. Godliness, living in the fear of God, prepares us for anything life might throw our way. Dwight Moody was traveling by boat on one of the Great Lakes when a bad storm developed. The other passengers on the boat cowered in fear. They even started an impromptu prayer meeting asking God to deliver them from the storm. Moody chose to avoid this prayer meeting. When asked why he did not attend, he answered with these words, "I have a sister in Chicago and one in heaven and I don’t care which I see tonight."
By C.T Studd: “ Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life's busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day' my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.