|Vol. 15 No. 12 December 2013||
I received word that a good Christian friend of mine who was a member of a congregation where I had preached several years ago was in a hospital in critical condition, having suffered a series of strokes. The problem was at that time I did not know in which hospital he was a patient. As soon as I could I called his home telephone number hoping that some of the family members might be there. The person who answered the telephone was a granddaughter of my good friend. I asked, “Where is your grandfather?” In a very sweet loving voice and without a moment of hesitation she replied, “He is in heaven.” Of course it was then that I knew my brother in Jesus Christ had passed from this life into eternity to be in the care of our Heavenly Father. I thought to myself, what an impression this brother had made on his granddaughter that she would speak with such confidence concerning her grandfather’s eternal destiny.
Now I realize that only God knows for certain the eternal destiny of every person who dies. We do know that “the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). In addition, the child of God does have this precious promise from our Lord Jesus Christ: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…” (John 11:25-26). The apostle John later wrote in 1 John 5:11-13, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” This is the blessed assurance that a true believer in Christ, one who has been redeemed by the blood of our Lord and is a child of God, has when he passes from this life into eternity. This young lady’s grandfather was a Christian, and that is why she answered me with such confidence.
I habitually read the obituaries in the local and area newspapers because of my acquaintances of numerous friends and brethren. Often the writer will say that their loved one has gone to be with the Lord and similar statements regarding his or her relative or friend. This may or may not be true. God will be the Judge and not man (Matthew 25:31-46). Some people die without believing and obeying Jesus Christ, and some may be unfaithful members of the church, but their survivors desire that they might all inherit eternal life. Yet, stating such in an obituary would not make it so. Regardless of what might have been written or what some preacher might say at the funeral service regarding an individual, that will not have any effect on the deceased person’s eternal destiny. That has already been decided. The person who died made that decision while he lived. Jesus Christ has given each individual a choice when He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV).
Think, my friends, what will your precious loved ones say when you pass from this life into eternity? Will there be any hope in their hearts that you will be with God? Or, will there only be sadness, sorrow and grief, knowing that you did not have the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and that your life was not lived for Him? While the mercy of God lingers, you have the time to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that He died for you on Calvary’s cross. In true repentance submit to His will and be immersed for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:36-38). If, as a child of God, you have not been faithful, repent and confess your sins to your Heavenly Father (1 John 1:6-10). When death overtakes us, it is then too late for us to have anything to do with our eternal destiny.
The Clock of Life
The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just where the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
As no man can restore.
The present only is our own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in ‘tomorrow’
For the clock may then be still.
by Robert H Smith
D. Gene West
Before 1921, the most feared and dreaded disease in the world, one that was taking thousands of lives all over the earth, was called simply, “sugar in the blood.” Researchers into the nature of this disease called it “sugar diabetes.” There was no known cure or treatment except extreme dieting. Many people, in an attempt to keep from dying of sugar in their blood dieted so severely that they died of malnutrition or starvation. Imagine starving yourself to death in a vain attempt to keep from dying from some other disease!
In 1920, Dr. Frederick Banting and a medical student, Charles Best, were conducting research into diabetes at the University of Toronto in Canada. In 1921, they discovered the hormone that they called isletin; we call it insulin. It was the first step taken to help control this horrible disease that still takes thousands upon thousands of lives in the most advanced countries in the world, including the US. Researchers say there are more than twenty million diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetics in our nation. Today, one advance after another is made in the care and handling of this disease, but eventually all must return to the use of insulin to “control” diabetes, and today the best we can hope for is control, for as yet, there is no cure.
Take just a minute to stop and consider what Banting and Best did for untold generations of diabetics, many of whom have never yet been born. How can one calculate the good done for the people of the world by these two scientists? Their work has improved and lengthened the lives of millions of people and unleashed a torrent of research the likes of which the world has never seen. What can we do but praise their memories? If we can begin to appreciate the contribution of these men, let us go a step further to note an even greater Benefactor.
Twenty-one hundred years ago in a nondescript village in Galilee Palestine there was growing to maturity a young man Who, if He was known for anything at all, it was His carpentry skills. He never wore the title Doctor, He never discovered any kind of medication to benefit mankind until the end of time, He attended no school, college or university except the rabbinical schools that were common in His time. However, in the days ahead of Him, He did cure all manner of illnesses and He even raised the dead from their graves, but He invented nothing of any great note.
About two and a half years into His preaching career He ran afoul of the powerful Jewish establishment and especially the “High Priest” Caiaphas who determined that he must bring this young man’s life to an end. Toward that end, he moved and finally succeeded in persuading the Roman Procurator to have this highly popular Benefactor of the people crucified on a Roman cross. However, he did not end His ministry or keep Him from benefitting the world in spiritual ways—ways that no mere human could hope to bring to us. Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and brought salvation to the souls of untold millions, maybe billions. He rescued our souls from sin to prepare us for heaven. Many today do not even know His name. It was Jesus!