April 8, 2008


Did you know the Bible has a story about leftovers? I’ll bet you remember it. Luke 9…five loaves…two fish…five thousand men…and twelve basketfuls of broken pieces “left over” (9.17). Here were leftovers no one could complain about! Twelve baskets of bread standing forever in our memories as monuments to the abounding grace of God. He is willing and able to give blessings more numerous than we can imagine—or even fully enjoy this side of heaven! I’ve been reminded, in fact, of God’s superabundance of blessings as we’ve worked through Hebrews at PRBC. As I complete my sermon each week, I am well aware of much spiritual food for which we’ve had no room—many precious truths that, in a six-month study of Hebrews, must be left not fully explored. At least one of those breadcrumbs may be found in the passage on which we’ve been lately feeding (9.1-10.18). I am referring to Hebrews 9.27: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” There has been simply no room on the Sunday morning table to place this small, but rich platter of truth. So let me offer it to you as a snack between meals. Notice a few things…

First, “it is appointed for men to die.” This is inevitable. We may try, with modern medical might, to avoid it. We may hope, by pushing it to the back of our minds, not to worry about it. But the angel of death is always treading hard upon our heals. He will catch up with us—often in the moment when we least expect it, as we have learned painfully in recent weeks. So we are fools to push death out of our minds—to try and ‘not worry about it.’ No, we had better take death seriously. We had better prepare ourselves for that last day. It is coming sooner than we think.

Second, “it is appointed for men to die once.” Once that death angel grabs hold of the back of our collar; once he drags us down to the grave—there is no coming back. Don’t believe the books, the TBN interviews, and the Reader’s Digest articles. People do not die, have a cup of coffee in heaven (or hell), and then come back to tell about it (nor would that be helpful to us – Luke 16.30). And don’t believe the pope either—there is no purgatory from which we can spring if we are good enough long enough (or if someone lights enough $9.00 candles for us). No, the Bible is clear. “It is appointed for man to die once.” There is no coming back. There are no second chances. So we would do well to ready ourselves before it is forever too late.

Third, “it is appointed for men to die once.” In other words, we do not get to decide when we die. That moment is “appointed” for us. By committing suicide you may think to speed your death up, but one thing is sure—you cannot slow it down. The end of this life has already been appointed for you. And it is an appointment God will surely keep. Thus, you must not delay in making peace with God, saying to yourself: ‘I have plenty of time to live. I will prolong my life a little while…and then turn to the Lord.’ Jesus called people who think this way fools (Luke 12.20): “This very night your soul is required from you.” And when God requires your soul, there is no delaying the inevitable!

Finally, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” When you die, you will not float into oblivion. You will not cease to exist. Nor will you be promoted instantly to a place of bliss and comfort. No, first you will stand at the bar of God’s justice…to give an account for your dealings with Him in your life on earth. It will be shown, from your own life, that (Romans 1.20), because of what you saw in creation, and what you felt in conscience, you knew there was someone who made you and owned you—indeed carried you along in love. Then it will be uncovered, again from your own life’s history, that “even though you knew God, you did not honor Him” as you knew you should have. The gavel will fall. The verdict of ‘guilty’ will be pronounced. And since you only get to die once, the verdict will be final. Only if you have entrusted yourself to Jesus, who took your punishment for you, will the verdict not be followed by a sentencing hearing (one that always leads to the punishment of hell). Only if you have believed on the crucified Savior, who died in your place, will the guilty verdict be withdrawn. Only if you believe in Christ will you enter God’s bliss and comfort. But if you believe in Christ, you most certainly will! So, will you be sure you believe in Christ…before it is forever too late?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kurt I linked to your blog via Anthony's and have a feed on it... I have been helped by your entries on several occasions. I hope Tobey is well, and I miss y'all! I am just discovering this whole world of blogs and stuff... few years behind but still pluggin along!
Heather D.