2000-06-08 - Last Stop
The Judgment Series, Part 7
John 5:28-29 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (NAS)
Businesses close their doors "forever" on a daily basis in the United States. Whether it is the parents retiring and their children are not interested in carrying on the family business, or the books finally will not balance and the harsh reality must be faced, it happens every day. Some file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy forms, moving them out of the reach of their creditors, so that matters can be settled as best they can. Others simply sell off the assets and disburse the proceeds as they see fit. For some, it is the end of an era. For others it is retirement with a smile and chance to rest. Their final stop depends on how well the business ran.
There are many people who believe that this life is all there is for us. Once they die, they believe that they will simply merge with the elements and disappear. I have had some people just about mock, somehow thinking that God will not be able to touch them once decay sets in to their remains. They will simply disburse amongst the earth or the sea and escape whatever wrath there might be for their shortcomings. But this is simply not so. Believers will be raised to life everlasting with the Lord and Savior in a place of peace and rest that words struggle to describe. Those who refuse to believe will be raised immortal as well.
Isa 64:6-7 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 And there is no one who calls on Thy name, Who arouses himself to take hold of Thee; For Thou hast hidden Thy face from us, And hast delivered us into the power of our iniquities. (NAS)
Just like the last stop on a bus or airline route, each one of us has a final destination. The deciding factor is not who was good enough or not. Any goodness that is found in anyone is there because of the grace and mercy of God working in our hearts and lives. None of us go looking for God. If we seek Him out, it is because He has called to our hearts and we have answered. None of us is righteous. We are no different than the people of Israel as they lament in Isaiah that God has turned His face from them. We need the forgiveness of God as a result of our repentance. To repent simply means "to turn away from". If we turn away from our sins and agree with God that they are wrong, and turn our hearts away from them, God has promised to save us from the eternal punishment we actually deserve and restore us to fellowship with Him.
Where will be your last stop? There will be one and it will not be a quiet escape to nothingness that some look forward to finding. The essence of who we are is mortal, but will put on immortality at the irresistible call of Jesus to eternity.
1 Cor 15:51-57 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
The sting of death is the power of the law to condemn us. But Jesus will share his victory with anyone who will come to Him and ask with an honest heart for forgiveness and humbly turn away from their sin. Do you have to understand it all exactly? There are people who study all their lives to understand, and will admit that they do not. But they have the promise of God that is freely given. The sting of death has been broken by the victory of Christ at the cross. It is free to anyone who comes. But you must decide before that last stop if you are going to try to pay for the trip yourself, or allow Jesus to share His victory with you.
Isa 55:1-3 "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 2 "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. 3 "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to (NAS)
Grace & Peace,