Summary: This sermon is about making each day count for something, because our days are numbered.
LAST DAY ON EARTH
Text: Revelation 21:1-6
I remember the days of writing term papers in school on the type writer. Yes, you could cut and paste, but you had to literally cut and paste. You had to use white out. You had to learn to try to make as few mistakes as possible when your correction ribbon was running out. But, then one day I took a course in computer science and saw how much easier and better it was to write papers and go back and edit them when I got finished. What I learned about computers made the type writer obsolete.
Before we knew Jesus, our old way of life was like a typewriter---it was obsolete. It might have taken us a while, but eventually through God’s grace we learned that Jesus makes all things new. Once we made that discovery, we wanted that newness that only Jesus can give. We wanted that peace that only Jesus makes possible. When we accepted God’s gift of salvation, we received a makeover. As we continue to walk with God, in the journey of our sanctification, He continues to make us new. As we think about growing up into the likeness of Jesus as the journey we are all on, a question comes to mind. That question is “What if this was our last day on earth?” That is what the journey prepares us for isn’t it? The coming of another New Year reminds that with each passing day we are closer to our last day on earth.
Every single person who has received God’s gift of salvation is a new creation. If we are new creatures in Christ (Second Corinthians 5:17), then the old ways are things that we consider obsolete. Once we have become new creatures in Christ, our outlook in life changes. We see the that worldly standards do not mean much any more. If we are born again in God’s life giving Spirit (John 3:3-8), then we do not have to worry about our last day on earth as long as we walk with God.
Material things are nice, but they do not give us eternal life. Have you ever seen a hearse with a U-haul trailer hitched to it (Job 1:21)? The world teaches us that material things and success are the ways that people measure each other. The world teaches that “he who dies with the most toys, wins.” Jesus teaches us that “he who dies with the most toys, still dies” (Matthew 19:16-22). Jesus teaches us that a life that matters is not a life that has an abundance of things, but a life that has been receptive to God’s gracious gift which comes through Jesus.
A man can have the best material things and all the fame that the world has to offer and still be miserable. Why is that the case? Ted Turner is one of the world’s wealthiest men (consider Matthew 19:16-22). But, if he were to die today what would he do? If this were his last day on earth would he spend it in peace? Or, would he be so scared of death that he would be paralyzed with fear? Someone might ask why I am picking on Ted Turner. I remember years ago, I read an article about how Ted Turner, in his younger days, quit believing in God when God did not answer his prayers for the healing of his sibling (his brother or sister). Do those who do not have the gift of salvation that God offers have any hope beyond life as we know it?
There are many who hunger for the kind of peace that only Christ gives. There are many who try to make the very peace that they hunger for. Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) once said, “A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do: all we have to do is enter into it”. (Wayne A. Detzler. New Testament Words In Today’s Language. Wheaton : Victor Books, 1986, 303). The way that we enter into peace (John 14:27) is by having daily fellowship with the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). When we have this peace, do we have to worry about our last day on earth (Matthew 6:25-34)?
The kind of peace that Christ gives us can help us endure hardship and even tragedy. “H. G. Spafford was a businessman in Chicago. He was a dedicated Christian. [There were times in his life when the wisdom he followed was earthly, unspiritual, and subject to the enemy’s schemes]. He had some serious financial reversals, and during the time of readjustment, he lost his home.”
He realized his family needed to get away for a vacation. Spafford decided to take his entire family to England. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead . . . In midocean the French steamer carrying his loved ones collided with another and sank within twelve minutes; 230 people lost their lives. The four daughters were drowned, but Mrs. Spafford was rescued. She wired her husband, “Saved alone.”