Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: If you had 40 days to live what would you do with your life? God gives the Ninevites this opportunity and their response is something we can adopt for ourselves.


What would you do if you knew you had 40 days to live? This question is not totally without some foundation in our life because many of us have gone to the doctor’s office and received news that turned out to be life transforming. Some have been told they have cancer, others that tumors are found. Still others have bad backs requiring surgery. There are reports requiring dialysis or a regular regimen of pills. These and other diagnosis truly make you stop and think about not only the quality of life but also the quantity of days. How many days do I have before the pain gets too great? How many more days do I have before I find myself limited?

When such news comes to our attention in the present we often discover that our minds will wander to our past. Back in the day we could drive without limitation or work those extra hours without too many problems, life was good or at least easier. Of course we could go back to our youth and remember the endless energy that we all used to own. Besides looking back to our past, we also think about our future. We wonder how we are going to cope with these new concerns. We might find ourselves becoming angry that we must deal with such issues or we might simply become numb.

But what if we were given exactly 40 days to live? Would we get busy living or get busy dying? Would you try to make the most of your 40 days or would you just wait for it to come? Some might say that when a doctor gives us an unhealthy diagnosis, we are in fact being given a second chance. I cannot tell you how many times I have ministered to people who knew they were going to die fairly soon, and who took that diagnosis as a wake up call. Such people mended broken relationships with family members or tried to do some things they always wanted to do but put off. I know of many souls who suddenly desired to hear the word of God, after receiving the not so good news from the doctors. Their hearts were now open and they saw life with a greater sense of hope.

There was a movie that came out somewhat recently with Jack Nicolson called THE BUCKET LIST. If you have not seen it already I encourage you to do so. In the movie two main characters discover they have a limited time to live and so they jot down on a list, all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket. The movie shows us what life can be like when you get busy living, even in the face of death.

I think most of us here, if we knew we only had so many days to live would make an effort to get busy living. Yet when God gives to us the great and terrible news that sin destroys our relationship with God. What do we do? Do we get busy living for God or do we get busy dying in our sins? What if God gave us only 40 days to get rid of our sin? Would we wait until the last day to get rid of it or would we seek to get rid of our sin just as soon as we became aware of how much God hates it? How would we get rid of it?

The answer to those questions depends on how terrible you view sin. Some Christians look at sin like a trash can that to them takes forever to fill but God looks at sin like a trash can that does not have to be full to stink. At home if I have a trash can near empty and I throw in a Tessa Diaper, then the entire trashcan would be in need of emptying right away. If I let things sit for awhile, with that Tessa Diaper lingering, we would have to fumigate the house! Well, that is how God sees our sins. Just one sin, one piece of trash, is enough to keep us from a relationship with God. Just one sin is enough to cast us eternally into the pit of despair. God’s task therefore is to help us see just how much he hates sin and what he is willing to do to destroy it. I believe that is one reason why we have the opportunity to go back in time and look at Jonah and his encounter with Nineveh. Here we see not only an example of how much God hates sin but, what he is willing to do to those who joyously live for it as well as in it.

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