Life is fragile, life is a gift and your life has purpose. Do you know what God has destined for you?
Well you already know the title of my sermon, "Life is Fragile." I would dare say that we all know that but actually this leads into a larger question and that is: "What is the purpose of our life and again, I'm sure this audience already has studied that. Some of the most popular literature the church has ever produced deals with this topic of "Why was I born" or "What is My Destiny"? I know that we understand that incredible miracle of the Resurrection. Yet having said all of that, I do feel that we live at this time in our lives in a very fragile, tense as Paul called it, to learn some very, very valuable lessons.
While I was away I did hear of the tragedy of Brenda being rushed to the hospital with toxic shock, I don't know whether they fully understand what it was and I understood how the church rallied around the whole family. I also realize we have other serious ailments and injuries in the congregation. You know Phyllis and Hector are suffering from cancer and you know I shouldn't even go here because I'll leave somebody out. No doubt many of us have problems and difficulties that make us wonder what will happen tomorrow and that brings the larger question of what is going on in our country?
It was fascinating I guess for all of us to see what happened just a few months ago, literally six months ago, probably around this time. Wasn't it August 23rd I think the weather forecaster said that out there in the Caribbean there was a little bit of activity that was growing into a potential storm? They had to name it Katrina which was really quite something to go that far down in the alphabet and literally a week later a class 4 or 5 hurricane rips into the gulf shore leaving 15,000 people dead and $75 billion dollars worth of property loss and who knows what it will cost to rebuild that part of the world if it ever will be rebuilt to that degree?
Also we realize that there could come earthquakes any minute now. A lovely thought. Living here in California you could wake up only to find that your life would be in jeopardy. We're not the only people on the planet that asks the question: "What is life all about?"
So I want to take the rest of the sermon time to just remind us of some of the most quintessentially powerful truths that God has revealed to us, the purpose for life.
Open you bibles if you will to James 4 in verse 14, kind of breaking into the thought where he's talking about people boasting what are they going to do with their lives. I just want to start out with this thought kind of ringing in your ears. James says:
James:4:14 Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. (And that is a fact) For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
I read a book last summer by Peter Stark entitled "The Last Breath, the Limits of Adventure." It's really kind of a book for adventure junkies like myself and a few of my buddies and although after reading that I certainly get a little different view of life because pushing things to the limit and ultimate sports have a downside and Peter Stark was able to tell little vignettes of people who tried to get the most out of their sport and pushed it just a little bit too far and died. He says this in his book, I'd like to read it to you: "If you set the small belt or margin that offers the precise conditions necessary for human life against all the rest of the planet, against all the earth's surface that is desert and ice and rock and ocean, you realize exactly how limited our life sustaining environment actually is. More important you realize how simple it is to step beyond it and how easily we can break through the thin web of life that supports the delicate human organism and if you set that band of life against the enormity of the solar system or the Milky Way or the unknown regions of the universe, we are a species that occupy a nitch far smaller then a tiny tuff that wildflowers sheltered by a small boulder atop an otherwise barren mountain peak. This is why at some level science and religions both are trying to tell us how infinitely small the scale of human life is against the scale of the cosmos."
Sometimes we do need to just stop and ponder what a miracle it is to be alive and it's also quite interesting that many people throughout history have asked this question and let's just go to some of the more prominent. How about Job back in the sixth chapter? Job who was thrust in a battle for his life seemingly unaware that God Himself had offered him to none other then a fallen arch angel, Satan the devil and remember Satan wanted to just punish him and just play with him and try to get him to curse God and took away some of his children, all of his possessions, started to afflict his body. God said: "Just don't take his life now." In one sense he tortured him for months at a time and Job said something very profound. Of course there are many profound statements in this incredibly good book. I'll have to give you my sermon on Job; it's one of my favorites. I always think of this line, maybe it's in chapter 3 when his advisors, his good buddies, his good friends are trying to help him, he says rather cynically: "When you die, will wisdom, but when you stop speaking will wisdom die?" Anyway, I like some of the rumor of Job. But anyway, Job 6, verse 11 Job says:
Job:6:11 What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?
So again, people are pondering just why do we have to go through life that includes suffering. Sometimes there are all kinds of acts of depression, sometimes acceleration; oftentimes there are challenges that seem to be beyond our ability to cope. What is it all about? Is it the matter that whoever gets the most goodies at the end wins? When we read very clearly the bible says when you die you do not get to take it with you although some people don't seem to believe that.
How about the teacher, the preacher in Ecclesiastes? Remember he was given a bank account that none of us could probably ever rival unless you sold your house. But he was able to try all kinds of things. He could build projects, he could have singers and of course we know his pensive for women. He had a thousand women and he was trying to explore and probe all of the various realms of the human experience and finally he came to this. This is found in Ecclesiastes 5, verse 18.
Ecclesiastes:5:18 Here is what I have seen: (Remember he was given divine wisdom, not to say this was God's wisdom. This is what is known by man with the spirit in man and it was toward the end of his life that he put another dimension with what he could see with his eyes and hear with his ears.) It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for this is his heritage.
Aren't you glad to know that? That you are privileged to just eat and drink and work and most people in this country do that an awful lot don't we? So much so that I think we exhaust ourselves and don't really spend the time to think about what's really important and what this life is really all about.
I think if you really want to get the answer to the question we have to go to the real teacher and master, Jesus Christ. Let's go to Matthew 6, a fascinating part of the bible as you know because you're students of the bible. Christ has said many, many things in Matthew 5 and 6, the Sermon on the Mount; He talks about some incredible things about what people spend their time on. Let's just break into the thought in verse 25.
Matthew:6:25 Therefore I say to you, (He's talking about the flowers of the field) do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Well there are an awful lot of people that haven't figured that out yet. In the race to get as many things as a person can get seems to consume his time and his energy and when it's all said and done, we know because God has opened our mind, we realize that most of those people have what we call a redo. They come up in a Resurrection and God says: "Well did you learn some lessons? Well guess what? You have to redo your life. This time we'll give you a teacher that will stand in your way and guide you in the process that will lead towards eternal life." Now brethren, that's not for us. Our life is in a different realm. Our life has a purpose that we really better ponder, especially eight weeks out from the Passover.
You know we do live in a physical world that is as four spaced time dimensions. You've probably studied this. What are they? Length, width, height and time. The God of the bible however deals in a very different dimension, it's a spirit realm. As a matter of fact that realm is where God tells us we have to worship Him in spirit and in truth and that as we all know doesn't come inside of a man's psyche or a man's life. It is gifted to him by the great God.
As a matter of fact, that one other dimension that we have, the Spirit of God, I wonder if we can even measure that. How long is your spirit? How wide is your spirit? How deep is your spirit? How long have you had that spirit? You know, even that we might say at the time of our baptism I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered later that God started working with us a long time before He gave us the earnest or the down payment and wrote our names in the book of life. But we don't know the things of the spirit world do, we? We only know the length, the width, the height and the time that we have right now.
Isaiah 57, I think one of the quintessentially most exciting scriptures in the bible because we have God speaking through, well actually speaking Himself and written down by Isaiah the prophet. So what does God say on this subject? Let's read that in Isaiah 57, verse 15. What an amazing thing to literally open up your bibles and have God speaking. Of course we know every scripture is God breathed but this is God Himself speaking.
Isaiah:57:15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, (Well how long is that? How wide is that? How high is that? How long is eternity? That's well beyond our capacity as humans to even grasp.) whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with Him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Right here God is revealing that He is given us this four dimensional timeframe that we call our lives, threescore and twenty to come to reconciliation with the most important truths of all; that we are needful to be humble and contrite before the great God of the universe. How many people understand that? How many people realize that God is going to give us whatever trials it takes to humble us, to get us to admit we don't know and we need God and He's given us even some time that He set apart from other time called the Sabbath day to I think, punctuate that incredible importance of this great teaching.
You know I was rehearsing this, this morning up in Bakersfield and I still muse at this, Christ's ministry on the earth and we all certainly believe that He lived and breathed and walked on the sandy soil of the Middle East, born in the little town of Bethlehem, raised up in the mountain villages, worked His way down into Jerusalem and maybe even had a summer home or other home in Capernaum with some of His family members. We read about details in the life of Jesus Christ. Imagine His ministry with three and a half years of hand picked disciples that He would teach them various lessons about the purpose and plan of God. Remember they were well schooled in the Torah, they understood some of the letter of the law and here is God Himself putting context and meaning and insight into all of this fabulous truth. Remember, some things He said included: "One day you will be a king of Israel and one day you're going to be a fisherman, not of fish and have to get out in the smelly boat and go out in the lake but you're going to go out and be a fisherman of men and you're going to do the work of My Father in heaven." I can only imagine the excitement of people that others ridicule because they said they were uneducated and they lived and worked, ate, and slept with the Master. Then came that incredible time when He was betrayed and He was led away to the Romans where they scourged and they beat Him and they killed Him. Now can you imagine all their hopes and aspirations probably hung on the fact that this is Jesus, the Son of God but He's dead. Three days, three nights. Remember they were all just stoned back and He was not there. But what happened? Well they huddled themselves. Let's pick it out because this is a fascinating story in John 20. This was as it says here:
John:20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, (this was after they found out that the tomb was open and Christ was not there) when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, (because they wondered if they were going to be next to be captured and apprehended because remember there's a false testimony that this was a false king and anybody that was supposed to be His soldiers, if you will, might also be implicated in a conspiracy. So here they are, huddled up in a room with all of the three and a half years of Christ's preaching, probably bouncing around in their heads; remember the Holy Spirit was not poured out yet and in walks Christ through the wall, the door was shut and in walks Jesus and says Shalom) Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."
Now come on, you can't tell me that wouldn't be somewhat startling if you were one of those in that room as you were pondering, was this the Christ? Is this the hope of Israel ? Well He's dead! Then He walks in the room and says hi guys, how's it going? Well that's not exactly what it says He said. "Peace be with you." But also notice verse 26, same chapter:
John:20:26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, (remember Thomas wasn't there the first time. He left them alone for that interminably long week, wondering where did He go? Will He come back? Now what do we do?) and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Shalom ("Peace to you!")
Verse 27: Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
Verse 28: And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Verse 29: Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
I hope that includes you and me.
But you know that started probably an amazing time in that group of people who started this church that Jesus Christ started with because remember until the day of Pentecost, Christ appeared and worked with them for almost fifty days and probably reinforced them in lessons that He taught and you know: "I wasn't kidding about that, all this is going to come about." Then we read about the life of Christ again and again and try to put the meaning in the context in the things as He probably was doing with His original twelve disciples.
Then we come to Act 1, verse 9. This of course is right before the day of Pentecost.
Acts:1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, (I'm just breaking into a thought) while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Verse 10: And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
Verse 11: who also said, "Men of Galilee , why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
In other words, get to work. That's really remarkable stuff isn't it? What's the height, the breath and the depth and the time of this? Well this is extra worldly and we live right now with the hope of this gospel and return of this King.
But brethren, there is something more to the story. That story is what God is doing with a few people who are on the clock if you will. That God is evaluating, judging, encouraging, serving, helping, maybe challenging from time to time because their time is going to bring them to a time when they will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye and they're going to be a part of the team that God will use to teach the rest of humanity. I know you know that but sometimes we just have to reflect on the incredible gift that we have and the understanding of one of the most imponderable questions for most people.
You know, Paul said to Timothy in II Timothy, the first chapter, trying to get him to understand this vast concept that many very well educated people cannot grasp, that God works outside the framework of time, time as we know it; time is not a problem with God. II Timothy 1, verse 8, let's read this, Paul talking to the young minister, Timothy.
II Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, (I sometimes wonder if we do get ashamed of our small little church, knowing that there are so few of us, we don't seem to conform almost at any level in the eyes of the people around us. I had a man the other day ask me what I did for a living and I told him, well I'm a minister. He said: "Where's your church?" I said: "Well, I have several churches." "Oh really, well where is it.?" I then mentioned Fresno , Bakersfield , Los Angeles . "Really, wow that's quite impressive. Well, how big is your church?" They want to know you know how big is the cathedral? How many people kick in money and how wealthy are you? How do you even go there? To tell them that we're a small scattered persecuted group of people and that basically we don't conform to almost anything the world calls religion would just blow them away. So maybe there are a few who are embarrassed at this testimony. I hope not you because of what I'm talking about, we understand time from a different prospective. Anyway, he goes on to say:) but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Verse 9: who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, (we've never claimed that we're earning anything but God has called us for good works, we're going to be a part of an amazing plan) but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Now I challenge you to get your mind around that. Before what we call life and time that we can only measure by height and depth and width, God had a plan for us and for each, I think every one of us specifically. Notice in Titus I, just one book over, again notice this concept.
Titus:1:1 Paul, a bond servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness,
Of course a lot of these concepts are just filled with meaning, that's not my point but let's just savor that for a minute, if we are bond servants, what kind of servitude do we have? Well we're filled with the faith of God's elect; we acknowledge the truth which accords under godliness.
We understand that God is teaching us the way that works that will provide for us the greatest gift of all, eternal life, the something to do throughout eternity, to serve and to help and to give and to share with other people. Now notice he goes on to add:
Verse 2: in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.
Brethren, that is one of the most inspiring and memorable and exciting things that I can get my mind around and frankly it's a stretch. To realize of all the people on the planet, God has decided to select us, put us through a grueling program and make us ask the question over and over and over again, why am I here? What's this all about? Why do I have to go here and do this and suffer this? Why do people abuse me? Why do I not get ahead like other people around me or why do I prosper? It works both ways, because God is dedicated and totally committed to getting us ready for our potential which is beyond what any man can really grasp.
You know some of the challenges today for our world deal with of course evolution and the fact there is no God and we realize as we get closer to the end, even this nation that founded our governing documents on principles of Christianity and revere the bible and thought that the bible was the final arbiter of all disputes, a country that claims that it trusts in God, puts its faith in God and always asks God to bless it. This country is showing more and more that it doesn't want to deal with God and that brings a tremendous struggle, especially with the sciences and the faith aspects and one of the most exciting developments in recent history is what is called intelligent design and I'm sure you've heard about it, if you spend two weeks with Mario Seiglie you'd hear nothing but that. He's really a fan of it, he's attended a few seminars, he has an article in the current Good News on that, he reads extensively and it is really quite exciting.
I'd like to read you a couple of quotes and then I want to make a comment. This comes right out of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Quote: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successes slight modifications, my theory, which is a natural selection would absolutely break down." Guess what Charlie? That has happened.
How about Douglas Adams who says: "Imagine a puddle (you all know what a puddle is? I know it doesn't rain around here but) waking up one morning and thinking, this is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, it fits me rather neatly doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well; it must have been made to have me in it." Now if you start hearing puddles talking like that you need to counsel.
But what is the definition of intelligent design and I'm making this point, I think you'll see what I'd going to drive at in a minute. Let me give you the definition as we're using it in the church and as we understand it. Intelligent design refers to the theory that intelligent causes are responsible for the origin of the universe and of life in all of its diversity. Advocates of intelligent design maintain that their theory is scientific and provides empirical proof for the existence of God or super-intelligent aliens. Of course some don't want to go the God place. They believe that design is empirically detectable in nature and in living systems. They claim that intelligent design should be taught in the science classroom because it is an alternative to the scientific theory of natural selection. Right? Well how complex is the cell which of course has been the one area that has just rattled some of the scientists and the detractors almost to the point where they don't know what to say?
So I want to quote a little bit out of an excellent book called "The Blind Watchmaker" by Dr. Beaty. Zoology professor and evolutionist Richard Dawkins notes that the cell nucleus contains a digitally coded data base larger in information content than all thirty volumes of the encyclopedia Britannica put together. Now did you get that? Now this is a quote, "scientist", obviously an evolutionist but he still has to admit that the cell nucleus contains a digitally coded data base in information content that would be all thirty volumes of the encyclopedia Britannica put together and figure this is for each cell. The number of the cells in the body of a human is what? Anybody know about? I won't hold you to a perfect guess. Well maybe, this one says ten trillion. Can you imagine ten trillion cells, each of them containing enough information equivalent to thirty volumes of the encyclopedia Britannica all put together? Later in his book Dr. Beaty discusses the complexity and intricacies scientists have discovered quote, "over the past four decades." Modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of the cell; the progress has been hard won. It has required tens of thousands of people dedicating the better part of their lives to the tedious work in the laboratory. We actually had a young lady who got her degree in microbiology and worked on some projects that were very, very exciting and I guess there have been hundreds of thousands of universities doing similar work in the last few years.
Anyway, back to Dr. Beaty, he says the results of these culminate efforts to investigate the cell, to investigate life at the macular level as a loud clear piercing cry of design, design, design. You couldn't see it any other way. The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein and Pasteur and others. The observation of the intelligent design of life is as momentous as the observation of the earth going around the sun or diseases caused by bacteria or that radiation is emitted in quanta. The magnitude of the victory gained at such great cost through sustained efforts over the course of decades would be expected to send champagne corks flying in labs around the world. This triumph of science should evoke cries of "eureka" from tens of thousands of throats, should occasion much hand slapping, high fiving and all the other, perhaps even to the excuse to take a day off work. But no bottles have been uncorked, no hands slapped; instead the curious embarrassed silence surrounds the stark complexity of the cell. When the subject comes up in public, feet start to shuffle, breathing gets a bit labored and private people are a bit more relaxed which many explicitly admit the obvious but then stare at the ground, shake their heads and just let it go. Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? Their dilemma is while one side of the elephant is labeled intelligent design; they fear the other side is called God. They just can't go there. These discoveries reveal that the simplest living cell is so intricate, complex and marvelous in its design that even the possibility of its coming into existence accidentally is unthinkable. The evidence of intelligent designer is overwhelming.
Why would I bring up that point? We live in an amazing time. A time when God is going to make an entrance on the stage here; not so many years as we measure time, I feel from today. I know people claim there is no God. They're going to be surprised when they hear a voice, "Hello, I'm back." They're going to be surprised that they did not understand life and they will have to do it all over again. Now is that sobering to you and to me to realize that for us it's a little different? God has given us, He gifted us His spirit, an understanding of the purpose of life and offered us a chance to be a co-worker with Him and a part of His family and to have as our first commission to be teachers to help people who are so stubborn (of course under the deception of Satan the devil who will have to be removed) that God will give them another whole period of time to get it right.
Let's go to Ephesians 1. We know that God has a plan, it is timed; not any of us can tell exactly how long it will be to the day or the minute or the hour. We speculated maybe it's only seven thousand years, we hear all kinds of rebuttals to that, frankly we do not know, the bible does not say, we just have to wait and see. Seven thousand years starting when? When He created Adam and Eve? Well, that's what the assumption would be, but when was that and when will He return? Of course we learned long ago that we just need to give that up, God is not going to allow that knowledge to be known because that's not the point. The point is to be jealous for every second that you have to get on with the work that you have to do. That's why Christ said: "My meat, My drink is to do the work of God." He knew He was on the clock and He only had so many days and weeks and years that He could work with His disciples and then He'd have to go back to the Father and He's now waiting, perhaps impatiently (I don't know whether God's can be impatient) for the Father to send Him back to the earth and He can get about His Father's business once again. Anyway we read in Ephesians 1, verse 4:
Ephesians:1:4 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
That God is going to work in the lives of those who are called to prepare in us something that is sacred, that is holy.
In I Peter 1, verse 20, fascinating scriptures and it should be humbling and encouraging to us as we have to leave here and go back out into the world and realize most people around us are busy about their pursuits and many of them have gained great advantage and many people probably mock us for going through our rituals. If you told them that you couldn't wait for the foot washing they probably look at you and wonder if you need to see a shrink.
I Peter 1:20 He indeed was foreordained (referring to Christ) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
Verse 21: who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, (and we have witnesses of that, that there was to be a first fruit of many brethren, that there would be a captain of our salvation. There would be a being that would commit Himself and we should be confident that He'll work with us and bring to the stage where we can be a compatible mate, a wife, His bride.) so that your faith and hope are in God.
Verse 22: Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
Verse 23: having been born from above or born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
Why would I choose this scripture? Because it goes right back to the theme of my sermon:
Verse 24: "All flesh is as grass, (I'm not talking about marijuana people, they're talking about like weeds, it is something that is here today, gone tomorrow) and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away,
Verse 25: But the word of the Lord endures forever."
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was made out of what was visible (I'm sorry) and that which is seen was not made out of what was visible. In other words the physical universe that we hear, we feel and experience was created not from existing matter but from a source independent of the physical dimensions of length and height and width and time. So what does that mean to us? This gift that we call life has a purpose.
Let me give you three points I'd like you to muse on in the next few weeks as we prepare for the Passover, knowing that we do live in tumultuous times, there's always sad and perhaps tragic to read of the loss of some of our brethren. It seems to occur more and more as people get older and God allows some of the saints to die, which are precious in His sight. But we don't grieve as those who have no hope. No, as a matter of fact we look around, we realize that the clock is running and we'd better get on with our business, the business of our Father. We only have so much time and we have to prepare ourselves to be a part of the family of God. Life is so fragile, life is racing by.
Number 1: Life is fragile. We need to think about that. It's easy to think about that as we get older. You know I've been hobbling around here with a bad back the last couple days and I actually went to Hawaii as I told you and we tried to play tennis every day. I'm very stubborn about my exercise and I learned something about Mr. Siegle. He saw me all crunched over and barely walking and he tried as hard as he could to hit the ball short and long and get me to run all over the place. One of these days Mario. Well anyway, we played cut throat so when Bonnie and I had him on the other side we ran him to death. Anyway, life is fragile. We need to appreciate that.
Number 2: Life is a gift. Life is a gift you cannot create life. It's amazing to me that this country is grown to the point where we take life and treat it so cheaply and millions of babies are aborted every year. What do you think God thinks of that? There are so many precedents in history when children were sacrificed; God's wrath began to arise. I think as Darris McNeeley said recently in one of his messages that we're about to reap the whirlwind because we don't respect the life giver. We don't understand the precious gift of life. Now I want you to all understand if you don't already, life is a gift. But all gifts are given to us for a purpose and that's number 3.
Number 3: Life has a purpose and if you know that, if you understand that then you are among some of the most blessed people on this planet and no matter what happens to us, we realize that we're involved in something incredibly important.
Two more scriptures; people love to hear that don't they? One more scripture, two more scriptures. We'll read the book of Hebrews, no I'm just kidding. Let's go to Hebrews 11, verse 3, very important scripture.
Hebrews:11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Now brethren that's so important because you can't talk to people who don't understand some of the things that God has gifted you with because they're beyond them. They're outside their realm. They cannot relate to it, it does not compute and for that reason when they have to come up in a Resurrection God will say: "Guess what? This is a redo, you have to redo your life perhaps for another 50, 60 or 100 years only this time I will take Satan out of the picture at least for most of the time and I will give you a teacher and you'll learn these things so that your life will have context and meaning."
James 4, verse 14; remember we started with this scripture. One of the great questions of mankind has always been asking about life.
James:4:14 Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Verse 15: Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."
Verse 16: But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Verse 17: Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Of course we realize that people cannot know the truth about God's Spirit. Do you know God's truth? Well if you have God's Spirit you have to say you do because that's one of the things the Spirit does. It convicts you of sin and of judgment and righteousness. You know intuitively what is right and what is wrong so that means our lives have to be about our Father's business. Now that's pretty heavy.
James 5, just a few verses down.
James:5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? (We've had here, people in the congregation who have and are suffering, what should we do? Well it says:) Pray for him.
You know the prayers avail much of God's people because when we pray for people's suffering we understand that suffering is a great roadblock to accomplishing our mission and we need to have deliverance, we need to have encouragement, we need to learn from all of our sufferings. I might just add to that thought, pray that he understands how fragile life is and what a gift God wants to give to those who understand His purpose; that is we get to live as a member of God's family for eternity.