Title: “How Then Should We Live?”
Text: James 4.13-17
Introduction: As we are gathered here today to pay our respects to a friend and a loved one, we are reminded again of a truth we often try to forget. Today we are once again reminded of the brevity of life and the certainty of death. In light of this unpopular truth we must ask our selves How then should we live?
The Scriptures express this same truth in James 4.13-17 which says:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will spend a year there, by and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
The Bible warns us about boasting of our future plans without a proper sense of the uncertainty of life and our absolute dependence on God. Plans made with this attitude are wrong.
“If the Lord wills” is the proper attitude. In all of this the Bible gives us a proper view of life. It reminds us of three things:
I. To live right we must understand that Life is short (v14).
“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
1. John Quincy Adams, was taking a walk one morning when he meet a friend who asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?” The former president replied, “John Quincy Adams is fine, but this old house I live in is getting pretty rickety.”
That’s true with all of us. Time takes its toll on the body and life soon vanishes away.
2. In Isaiah 40.6&8 the Bible reminds us of this truth as it reads:
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flower of the field, The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of God endures forever.”
Conclusion: You can be assured that whatever path we take it leads at last to the grave. The grave waits for all. Medicine may prolong life and doctors may perform miraculous surgery, but we will at last die Life is a vapor. Life is short.
II. To live right we must understand that Death is sure (Hebrews 9.27).
“It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”
1. Augustine, once said, “I don’t know whether this is a living death or a dying life.”
Either way we are all destined to marry death. It seems that our lives are marked more by tombstones than milestones.
2. Robert Alton Harris was right: As he stepped into San Quentin’s gas chamber he quoted a line from the 1991 movie, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey:
“You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper.”
Conclusion: Our only certainty in life is that each day we live we are one day closer to our eternity.
III. To live right we must understand that God is Sovereign (v15).
“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”
1. To acknowledge the sovereignty of God makes a difference in the way we live and the way we die.
2. Lord Byron, who early in his life wasted himself on the pursuit of pleasure, wrote a year before his death:
MY days are in the yellow leaves;
The flowers and the fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone.
3. Adam Clark, whose commentaries on the Bible are used around the world said at age 84:
“I have passed through the springtime of my life. I have withstood the heat of summer. I have culled the fruit of the fall. I am now enduring the rigors of winter, but at no great distance I see the approach of a new eternal springtime. Hallelujah!”
Conclusion: What makes the difference? My friends it is Christ and Christ alone. If Christ had not risen from the dead, or hope is in vain. Trust him today and you’ll know how to live and you’ll be ready to die.