I have been thinking this week of the fleeting nature of life. The first of the week there was a young (30 something) singer who took her own life. I couldn’t help but reflect on the futility of what the world offers. Here is a young woman who in the world’s eyes, at one time, “had it all”. Fame, success, relative fortune and yet in just a few short years her life ended in extreme desperation. She had lost her children, her life was caught up in substance abuse and the end was suicide. What desperation for one so seemingly “successful”?
How often we forget the words of the scripture? John 15:5 reminds us “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. “ And in John 3:5-7 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” How quickly we forget? Or is it that we have never understood that God is our only hope?
It is only when we look to God that we have the power to walk and live successfully in this life. Paul gives us a picture of “successful” Christian living. 2 Timothy 4:1-8 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” We are to fight the good fight and that will cost us something—death to ourselves and living in Christ. (Phil 2:20) To walk in the spirit not the flesh. (Gal 5:16,&25) To know and follow truth not fables. That is a task that I cannot do without the presence, power and provision of the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus. As we look at the things that he mentions here to Timothy, the message was so important to Paul that he wrote it down for Timothy (and for us) before his death. Generally we put great import on the final words of those we love. Let’s receive this challenge as from our Lord Himself, which in reality it is. To preach, stand, reprove, rebuke, exhort—to do the work of God and prove ourselves faithful before HIM! Oh, to heed the call to faithful service unto God!
We will give an account. Romans 14:10b “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ”, and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire”, we see that we shall all give an account of the works we do in the flesh. Paul contrasts 6 kinds of material-3 are flammable and 3 are inflammable. Which works will I present before the Lord to go through the “FIRE” of judgment. The thing we must remember is that “we shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ” , and that “every man’s work shall be made manifest”—we will give an account to God. Remember that both of these judgments are for believers, NOT the lost.
The warning to the lost is different and is found in Revelation 20:12-15 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” There is no second chance!!! As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 “…except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…” and verse 5 “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And Jesus himself asserts in John 14:6 …, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ONLY ONE WAY! The world is a “life” stealer! Are we sharing the “life” of Jesus with those around us who need deliverance from this world of death?
Are we abiding in Jesus? Is He abiding in us? Are we being salt and light in a world of darkness (see Matthew 5:13-16)?—this world is dark! Who in our lives right this moment is on the verge of something tragic? Are we extending hope and truth to those around us in danger? May we be faithfully shining and seasoning the world around us with Christ, this week, and always.