Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series


Text: James 4: 14 “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that

appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”

Ask anyone you meet to give you a definition of LIFE, and no two people

will give you the same answer. Even in this congregation, the answers

would be as varied as the flowers of the field. We each have our own

interpretation of life, but the non-believer thinks of life as an

accident, while the believer acknowledges life as a sacred trust from God.

If you had listened to the Hippie generation in the sixties, you would

have heard a song with lyrics that described life as “what you do

while you’re waiting to die”. An early Eighteenth Century

philosopher penned it this way…… “Life is an unpleasant

interlude of nothingness”. Most of us would at least agree that

these two quotes are sad comments on life, and we might even counter them

with our own rebuttal that would go something like this:

“Life is like a mountain railroad, With an engineer that’s

brave; We must make the run successful, From the cradle to the grave;

Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels; Never falter, never quail, Keep

your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.”

In our biblical text, James does not give a definition of life, but

rather, he expresses its brevity as that of a vapor that appears and then,

just as quickly, vanishes! How true! Even those of us who live to a ripe

old age are here only a short time in comparison to the time we will spend

in eternity. According to James, a human life of one hundred years is

nothing more than a vapor when you compare it to the limitless expanse of

time we will spend in the Celestials, or elsewhere.

It stands, therefore, that its length cannot determine the value of human

life. And if not its length, then what? The meaning of the precious gift

of life is predicated, not on quantity, but on quality. This gift of life,

however brief, should be spent living in such a way that the very One who

created us will not look upon His investment as a waste of time and


When we measure the QUALITY of our lives, let’s use some very common

punctuation marks. In the English language we have Periods, Commas,

Colons, Semi-colons, Question Marks, Apostrophes, etc. The use of any of

these marks often adds vivid description to the written word. For example,

a question mark signifies the need for additional information. There is

something missing that prohibits one from drawing a conclusion. But a

period at the end of a sentence signifies a “closed case”; a

completed task with an accomplished mission.

As we reflect on the variety of punctuation marks, I wonder what mark you

would use to measure the quality of your Christian life today. Let’s

look at five different categories of punctuation for the Christian life:

1) the QUESTION MARK Christian, 2) the PERIOD Christian, 3) the HYPHENATED

Christian, 4) the COMMA Christian and 5) the EXCLAMATION POINT Christian.

It’s time for a little personal reflection.

We’ll start with the Question Mark Christian. When you look in the

mirror, what do you see? Does your lack of commitment leave a lot of

unanswered questions about your Christianity? Does your attitude toward

Church worship services and programs cause people to wonder if you are

really converted? Does your irregular attendance signify to the other

believers that you really don’t like being in the company of other

believers? Are your club buddies receiving the best of your service, while

the Saints of God beg for volunteers? Is your lack of faith in God’s

ability to bless you demonstrated in your Tithe? Does the language you use

“blow your cover” and reveal the truth about who you serve?

Now these unanswered questions are serious matters, but only for the

Question Mark Christian who must honestly answer YES, YES, YES! Too many

members of God’s church are Question Mark Christians. We all want to

believe they are sincere and genuine born again believers, but when they

fail to obey so many of God’s ordinances and rules, it leaves a big

Question Mark.

It’s time for the Question Mark Christian to recognize church

membership as a spiritual marriage, a commitment to Christ in sickness and

in health, in prosperity and in poverty. It is pledging our allegiance to

Jesus Christ and to Him only. It is pledging to honor and obey Him as long

as we live. Yes, this is a marriage relationship. Christ won’t shack

with us; He won’t indulge in Light Housekeeping; He won’t

participate in sleep-in arrangements just so we can slip out when

we’re bored. Yes, your relationship to the church is a spiritual

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