In this wonderful country of ours, that allows all Americans freedom of religion, some people believe the Bible was written by inspired men. They believe it describes a God who created man, the earth and the entire universe. They also believe it contains God’s plan of redemption, from the Old Testament through the New Testament culminating with Christ’s death on the cross. In God’s plan, Jesus lives a sinless life and was sacrificed so we can have forgiveness of sins. The New Testament also describes the establishment of the Lord’s church, and the spread of the gospel throughout the known world. We believe the New Testament reveals that men will be judged and will either go into heaven to be with the Lord or suffer in hell with the devil and his angels.
There are other people who choose not to believe in God. They refuse to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that when we die there is no life after death. There are still other people that believe in parts of the Bible. They believe there is a God and some of the Bible is inspired by Him, but some of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, was written by uninspired men and is mostly composed of myths and fables.
Now let’s consider the above scenarios. I believe with all my heart the Bible is from God and that we will be judged for the way we live. But for this discussion, let’s say there is no Heaven or Hell, when we die, all ends. Those individuals that followed the Bible lived a wonderful stress free life. They did not cheat on their spouses; therefore they were not eaten up with guilt, always afraid of being caught by their mate. They did not cheat on their income tax; therefore, they are not afraid of an IRS audit which would catch them. Because of their spiritual training before they married, they do not commit sexual sins that might lead to a pregnancy or contracted some type of sexually transmitted disease. If they get sick or become incapacitated in any way, their brothers and sisters in Christ will take care of them. When they lose a loved one, their brothers and sisters in Christ will be there to comfort them, prepare food for their family and many other acts of kindness. There are many more reasons I could give why being a faithful Christian results in a wonderful life on the earth.
Now for all those that reject God and his Bible nor accept God as our Creator but reject parts of his Holy Scriptures, would their life be as happy as the individuals described in the above paragraph? I have personally known some that I worked with that rejected God and his teaching. They decided to enjoy the worldly life style. They wanted to have a good old time doing what they wanted to do. Some were having affairs, always lying to there mate, always worrying about getting caught. I have known others addicted to drugs and alcohol that lost their family and jobs. They were mental wrecks. I have known others addicted to the internet and all the things it had to offer, i.e., pornography and other impure things. They would spend hours on the computer filling their mind with filth and garbage found there. How could anybody be happy with this life style?
Now let us fast forward to the end of time, and we find out there is a God, there is a judgment day when all people will be judged for the way they lived. We find out there is a Heaven and a Hell. What happens to those that loved the Lord and lived their lives as His children? We read in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do my commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and enter through the gate to the city.” Also in Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from your eyes there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
This is what happens to those individuals that reject all or part of God’s Holy Scriptures, and lived a life contrary to the scriptures. We read in Luke 13:27-28, “He will say I tell you, I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the other prophets in the kingdom of God and yourself thrust out.”
Also, in Revelation 21:7-8, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the cowardly, unbelievers, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstones, which is the second death.”
What if you make the wrong choice???
My wife Linda and I were sitting by my ninety-five year old aunt’s bed. She had suffered a heart attack several days ago. Her condition had worsened over the past few hours; she was struggling to breathe as her lungs were slowly filling up with fluid because of her failing heart. I was thinking to myself how long she had lived. She was born in December 1913, and what amazing things she had witnessed in her life. Going from horse and buggy to regular space flights. Then I remember James 4:14 Which says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanisheth away.” This verse made me realize that ninety five years is actually a very short time when compared to eternity. I thought about my aunt and uncle’s lives, and felt good. You may question how anybody could feel good when you are watching someone slowly die. The reason for my happy feeling was that I knew that my aunt had obeyed the gospel at a very young age, and served the Lord her entire life. A few days before her heart attack she told some one that she was ready to go home, I knew exactly what she meant. She was not talking about going back to the house that she and my uncle lived in; she was talking about going home to be with the Lord.
Aunt Claire and her husband, Uncle Ed, who passed away 5 years ago, had been married 63 years. They both had made a decision to serve the Lord all the days of their life. They kept this vow. Although she never said how much she missed my uncle, because of her failing mind, I know she missed him very much. They never were blessed with children; they only had each other and their Christian family.
Linda and I decided it was getting late. We would go home and return to her bedside tomorrow. We left our loved one with the very caring Hospice nurse. Early the next morning I receive a phone call from the facility that my Aunt had passed away. Linda and I did not shed many tears because we knew that she had departed from her old worn out 95 year old body. She was now living peaceful in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22).
I would like to think of another scenario. Suppose my aunt decided at a very young age to do what many other young people do, she would reject Jesus and enjoy the things the world had to offer. Suppose she spent her entire life searching for the pleasures the world had to offer her. She let the devil control and direct her life. She never wasted her valuable Sundays worshiping the Lord God. She enjoyed sleeping in, and having a late breakfast, and going to do the fun things the world had to offer. How would one feel sitting by the death bed of that aunt. You would have to remember what is said in Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say unto them on the left depart from me, ye cursed unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” When one puts the pleasures of the world ahead of our service to the Lord, we will receive this judgment. On the other hand if we, like my aunt, serve the Lord as he would have us, Matthew 25:34 would apply: “Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand; Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the earth.”
I urge every one to think very seriously about what path you have chosen in your life. Have you chosen to serve the Lord or have you chosen to enjoy the pleasures of this earth for a season. When you stand before the Lord on the judgment day, and you will because we see in Romans 14:10-11, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Where will you spend eternity??
In Genesis 25, there is an account of Isaac and Rebekah having twin boys. The oldest boy was named Esau, and the youngest one was named Jacob. The Lord told Rebekah in Genesis 25:23, “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body, one people shall be stronger than the other and the older shall serve the younger” (NKJV). Esau was the firstborn and came out of the womb red and was like a hairy garment. His younger brother Jacob looked very different.
As the boys grew, their lifestyles were quite different. Esau liked the out-of-doors and was a skilled hunter, whereas Jacob was a mild man that liked to stay in his tent.
Isaac and Rebekah did not use good judgment as parents, they chose favorites. Isaac loved Esau because he was a great outdoorsman as well as a great hunter. Rebekah loved Jacob more. The first point I would like to make in this article is that Parents should never show favoritism to their children. This can only lead to an unhappy dysfunctional family. This point is well illustrated in this Bible story; it will damage the husband and wife’s relationship and cause problems between the children.
In Genesis 25:29-34, Esau makes an incredibly bad decision. He had been out in the fields hunting and came home extremely hungry. Jacob had cooked a large pot of stew. In verse 30, Esau said to Jacob, “Feed me some of your red stew.” Jacob thought a minute and said “sell me your birthright, and I will. In verse 32, Esau said, “Look, I am about to die from hunger, what profit shall a birthright be.” In verse 33, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
What was Esau thinking? Maybe you could better understand his decision if he was literally starving to death, but he wasn’t; he was only hungry. His decision absolutely makes no sense when you understand what the birthright meant in the ancient world.
At the father’s death, the oldest child received this valuable inheritance including a double portion of the father’s assets as well as special blessings from the father. The child that had the birthright usually had the privilege of assuming leadership of the family. Not in a million years could Esau ever imagine all the ramifications that would hinge on this rash decision. This poor decision would be felt for countless generations.
A person might ask how Esau could be so incredibly stupid to trade such a valuable thing for a simple bowl of stew. Perhaps we need to stop and think about some of the bad decisions we have made in our life. Have we thrown away some valuable opportunities for things that look so good to us at the time but were nothing more than a bowl of stew?
How many young people have wrecked their lives for a few minutes of passion in the backseat of a car that lead to a child being conceived?
How many happily married people have had their marriage destroyed by a brief affair at work?
How many young people have had their life destroyed by drug addiction because they tried a drug just out of curiosity?
How many normally honest people have given in to temptations to cheat on their Income Tax? They may reason after all I need it more than the Government.
How many men going on work related business conferences where alcohol was flowing freely resist its temptation? The alcohol dulled their senses of right from wrong, and the women were available. A one night stand infected them with the dreaded AIDS virus. Their life is ruined forever.
In all the above situations, people are trading something very valuable for a BOWL OF STEW. Don’t trade your birthright in Christ for these things.