June 7, 1998

Shortness

 

James 4:13-17

Heb 3, quoting Ps 95, tells us that today is the day.

FIRST:

Here the Spirit says to give serious and speedy attention to the word of God.

The Spirit speaks to us through his WORD, so read it for ourselves.

The Spirit speaks to us through his MEN, so listen to it preached.

The Spirit speaks to us through the AUTHORITY over us.

We are warned here in Hebrews to listen to the Spirit, apply it and put it into action by his grace, speedly. Tomorrow may be too late.

SECOND:

He cautions them against hardening their hearts --- THAT IS, turning a deaf ear to the calling of the Spirit. It is human nature to IGNORE THE SPEAKING OF THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

The word of God no longer impresses us to action -- that is, he feeling that we should be doing a certain thing according to the word of God no longer gets our attention enough to act.

The call to Salvation should be answered immediately.

The call to separate from sin should be dealt with immediately.

The call to obey his word must not be ignored.

THIRD:

The Lord warns them by the example of the fathers at Meribah, Ex 17 (v. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?).

We should learn from watching what is going on around us, especially in the lives of our relations. The sins and punishments of others should be a warning to us. The righteousness and blessings of others should be an encouragement to us to follow the ways of righteousness.

FOURTH:

Heb 3:10, they erred in their hearts.

Sin starts in the heart. It is in the heart that we say the small things do not matter.

Their hardness against God's voice, v. 7, provoked the Lord, and caused them to miss the blessings of God.

The hardening of the heart to the call of God, the word of God, is the spring of all sins. As we ignore him in the small things, we soon ignore him in the large things.

Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

It is an extremely dangerous thing to be past feeling -- that is, to the point where we are able to ignore the small things the Lord deals with us about from his word. We are able to ignore doing what we know we should be doing for the Lord.

MESSAGE

Over the past few weeks, we have all been struck with the insecurity of life.

Some of the people we know or know of have had a few days or weeks to get things together. Others have not. But all the events show to us that the time is NOW.

Dave Swank was told by the doctors that he had a very slim chance of living. On the other hand, Jeremy had a confidence that he would live forever.

It is the divine providence, however, that determines the length of life:

Psalms 31:15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Psalms 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

1) Salvation --- now is the day, for there may well not be another day.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Luke 12:13-21

2) Making things right with God and man: the angry words or the hard feelings,

Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.

No matter how hot our anger is, we must not let it control us.

The wrong things that anger might motivate us to say or do must be settled before the evening.

3) Speaking to others

Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

It will soon be too late to speak to that friend, loved one or coworker.

4) Serving God

Ecc. 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: 8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Ecc. 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Certainly, he is telling young people here to serve the Lord now. However, he is just as clearly speaking to older people. SERVE THE LORD NOW WHILE WE HAVE A CHANCE. WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE OF TOMORROW, OR EVEN OF THIS AFTERNOON.

James 4:14, Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.