Summary: A classic sermon by Dr. Adrian Rogers on facing the future with hope, confidence, and the assurance of heaven.
I’m going to speak to you today on this subject: how to face your future. Now Americans are obsessed with the future. We want to know what’s in store for us. So if you read the newspapers today, or listen to the radio, there will be plenty of prophets, and pundits, and prognosticators who are going to tell us about the future. It’s amazing how people try to learn about the future. Some look in tea leaves, or some go to soothsayers. We call them today fortune tellers, and by the way they are all of the devil. Some are so foolish as to read the pages of the astrologer, trying to look into the future. Others are different. They bring their intellect, and their intuition, their minds, and they say, “Well this is what has happened. These are the trends I see, and this is what shall happen.”
I listened to a group last night called the Capital Gang. I watched it on CNN, and they were talking about what the year is going to be, who are going to be the candidates for the presidency, ta da da da da da. And with all of their wit and wisdom, they were forecasting the future. Some people, maybe they study books like Megatrends, or whatever. We all want to know the future. There’s only one who knows the future, and that’s God. Put it down big, plain, and straight. But whether we know the future or not, we have a future that we must face.
I would like for you to take God’s word, and turn to James chapter four, and I’m going to begin reading in verse thirteen. Because here’s a passage that deals with the future. It tells the story of a man. He was a first century wheeler dealer. He was a business man, and he was planning his future. And we’re going to find the story, and in the story we’re going to find three great mistakes that he made. We’re going to learn from those mistakes, and we’re going to learn how to face the future, not only as a church, but for your family, and for you as an individual.
Now here’s James chapter four, verse thirteen. Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will enter into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then (poof) it vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Now here’s the story of a man who made three tragic mistakes in the first century, and he has plenty of brothers in the twentieth century.
Now here are the three mistakes that he made. Number one. He made the mistake of what I want to call Godless planning, Godless planning. Here’s a man who’s planning, and he’s sitting down. He’s a business man, so he’s thinking about how he’s to run his business. First of all he gets out his calendar, and he plans the period of time. He says, “Today or tomorrow.” He looks at his calendar, and he says, “I could do that today, or I could do this tomorrow.” And so he considers the time, and the period of time, and so forth; a wise thing to do.
And then he not only considers the period, but he considers the place. He puts up his calendar, and he gets down his, his maps. And he begins to look at the maps and make his charts of the various cities, and so forth. He says, “That’s the city I want to go to. I will enter into such a city.” And then not only does he, he plan the period and the place, but he also plans the procedure. He, he’s saying, “I want to be a merchandiser. I’m going to buy, and I’m going to sell.” Evidently he knows a good supply, and also he also knows a good market. Maybe he has a degree in marketing from the University of Jerusalem.
He’s a smart man. And so he, he, he figures the procedure. He knows how he’s going to do it. And then he, he also, like any business man, he looks at the bottom line. He considers the profit. I will buy. I will sell, and I’ll sell for more than I buy for. I’ll get gain. I’ll make a profit. So he’s already counting up the shekels. He’s already counting the profit. He is planning, planning shrewdly, evidently planning well. But he, he’s made a tragic mistake. Did you notice it? There’s no mention of God. He doesn’t take God into his consideration at all. Verse 15 says that he did not say if it is God’s will, I will live and do this or that. He has not considered the will of God. And that is tragic. That is sinful. That is prideful. That is, matter of fact, it’s arrogant.