Apologetics, Biblical Doctrines, Christian Living, Culture & Society, Death & Dying, Faith

The Brevity of Life

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:10-12)

Do you number your days? Do you realize how important every single day is? You may live to be 70. You may live to be 80. But every day you live is important. So how do you spend your days? What are you doing with your time?

The average man in America lives to be about 71 or 72. The average women lives to be about 74 or 75.

The Bible says if you live to be 80, you are likely to have a lot of sorrow, and difficulties.

Many years ago in the South, a person was passing out cigars to celebrate the arrival of a train. He offered a cigar to the conductor. When asked why he was passing out cigars he said it was because the train was on time. The conductor said, “I can’t take your cigar.” “Why?” “Because this is yesterday’s train.” Many people are like that train. They are running late. Time is passing them by.

While many people are wasting time, time is not standing still. I was born in 1954. Within 50 years there were many incredible inventions, and some remarkable discoveries.

1955    TV Remote Control

Microwave Oven

Polio Vaccine

1957    Birth Control Pill

1958    Jet Airliner

1961    Cordless Tools

Industrial Robot

1962    Communications Satellite

LED Light emitting diode allows computers to convey information

Video Games

1963    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

1966    High Yield Rice allowing for more than 20 percent increase in production

1969    Automated Teller Machine

A man steppd onto the surface of the moon

1973    Cell phone

1978    GPS

And the list goes on and on. How quickly time has passed.

It is hard to keep up with the Industrial Revolution and all the modern technology.

A little girl talked to her mother because the clock had struck 13 times at 12. “Mother, it is later than you think.”

Time is speeding onward. In the days of Jesus, the fastest a person could go was as fast as a horse could run. In 1969, NASA’s Apollo 10 astronauts traveled at a peak speed of 24, 790 mph on their way back from a lap around the moon.

As time speeds on, individuals need to ask, “How much time do I have?” They also need to ask how they should spend their time.

The world has an idea of how time is to be spent. It is to be spent in the pursuit of pleasure. The philosophy of many is, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you may die.”

The flesh has an idea of how time is to be spent. Time is to be spent on self. If ever there was a self-centered generation, it is the Millennial Generation. We have gone from the Greatest Generation, those who fought and died in World War II for our freedom, to the Baby Boomers, those who came after the war.

The Baby Boomers gave way to Generation X, a turbulent time period stretching from the 1960’s to the early 1980s. This generation dealt with Civil Rights, Vietnam, Watergate, and nuclear proliferation.

Then came Generation Y, dating from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, and then the Millennials.

As a group, Millennials are classified as those born between 1982 and 2004. Millennials have a reputation for being difficult, entitled, and spoiled. They spend a lot of their time taking selfies, and texting, about themselves. They Snapchat, and constantly update their Twitter account. You can get almost a minute by minute report of their life on Facebook. Their motto? “Life is all about, ME!”

The Devil has an idea of how time is to be spent. The Devil wants you to spend your time in open rebellion against God, and all human authority, if necessary. You were born free, so live free. Be the captain of your soul. Be the master of your fate. In that way you will be like God, and you will be like me, says the Devil, for I too have said, “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14).

God has an idea of how time is to be spent. Time is to be spent doing His will, and knowing Him more fully. The Westminster Confession of Faith declarers that the Chief Duty of Man is to know God, and enjoy Him forever.

The Psalmist asked the Lord to teach him to number his days that he might apply his heart unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Ps 144:4

Wisdom is needed, because on this earth we are but a shadow of time. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

We are all dying. We are all headed toward the grave. We are all under the sentence of death.

What are you going to do with your years?

While alive, each human being has exactly the same amount of time. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. There are 168 hours in a week.

If you live to be 70, your first 15 years cover adolescence and childhood.

You spend 20 years in bed.

The last 5 years of life see activities curtailed, and are filled with limitations. So what are you going to do with the 30 years left? Part of that time has to be spent eating, living, and figuring up how much money you owe the government. Taxes are as certain as death.

The Bible asks this question. “What is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Our times are in God’s hands. God has an appointed date for your death, just as He had a date established for your birth.

You may die of a heart attack, cancer, or, you may die peacefully in your sleep. But it has all been determined.

The Bible says that after a person dies, they will stand in judgment before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

There need be no fear of this judgment, if you are in Christ, and if you do not walk after the flesh. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1).

To be in Christ is to receive Jesus Christ as personal Saviour. You need a Saviour, and so do I. The Bible says there is none righteousness, no not one. We are all sinners. We have broken the Laws of God. We have disobeyed God. We have rebelled against God. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

In matchless grace and love, God the Father has provided a Substitute for our sins. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for sinners. But you must believe that, repent of sin, and enter into Christ by faith alone. Then, you can walk after the Spirit.

To walk after the Spirit is to follow the Holy Spirit in a life of righteous living. Living righteously is how God would have us to spend our lives. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

When we walk after the Spirit, we can redeem the time.

It is instructive to notice that rich people cannot purchase more hours.

Scientist cannot invent more hours.

Time cannot be saved to spend it on another day.

Time marches on. It marches through life. It marches to the grave. Time is marching toward the Judgment Seat of Christ. Time is marching towards eternity.

So the questions comes. “Are you in Christ?” “Are you walking after the Spirit?” “Are you doing right by other people?” “Do you love mercy?” “Are you walking humbly with God?” “Are you redeeming the time?”

There is an urgency to time. The Bible says, “Redeem the time because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).

The days are very evil. Each day brings reports of evil at home and abroad. By August 6, 2018, in the city of Chicago, 1, 785 people were shot. Hundreds died. And that is just one city, and one crime. Murders are committed every day all across the country. Then there are rapes, robberies, and muggings to report. In addition, there is White Collar Crimes of cheating and embellishment.

Humanity is sick with a spiritual disease. The Bible calls this disease sin. And Christians who want to go in a different direction face a monumental task. Those of us who want to build a new world, a better world, find it very difficult to influence society. Society wants nothing to do with Christians or Christianity. There is an open hostility to the Church, and to any expression of religious faith.

Living under the threat of a nuclear holocaust, it would not be unreasonable to think people would want the Church to show individuals how to love one another, and how to get along. The survival of the human race depends on the message that Christ has given. But it must be embraced.

Nuclear submarines prowl the coastlines of America. There is an arms race in space that is being fought. Global satellites need protection from enemies of the state that would wipe out our systems of communication and commerce. Anxious hearts want to know, “Who is in command?” “Who is in charge?” “Who is in control of the weapons of mass destruction?”

The world has witnessed what happens when mass destruction is unleased. The world remembers the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese during World War II. More than 100,000 people died in each of the two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On March 28, 1979, there was a nuclear meltdown of a reactor at the Three Miles Island power plant on a strip of land, a little south of Harrisburg, PA. It was a terrifying time, but not as terrifying as the Russian, Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986. In the explosion and ensuing fire, more than 50 tons of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere, where it was carried by air currents.

One accident, one bomb in the hands of a terrorist, or a terrorist state like Iran, or North Korea, can destroy millions of people, and yet the world continues to laugh, and work, and play, without a thought of tomorrow.

Time! How precious it is, and how little time we might have.

Some people have decided to tithe their time. They want to consciously give God ten percent of their time in Bible study, prayer, worship, and good works.

People waste time through all the modern creations in order to save time. The automobile was created to save time. And now people waste time as they are stuck in traffic.

The gospel call comes to every heart today, “Redeem the time.” Serve Christ. Love the Church. Love your family. Serve your neighbor. Look for good to do. Put yourself at God’s disposal.

The Psalmist did. “Lord,” said the Psalmist, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15).

“Have you committed, not only your time, but your eternity to God?” “Are you sure that if you died today, you would go to heaven?”

If you are not sure, why not make sure right now. You can make sure of your place in heaven, by repenting of sin. That means you change your mind about God, and the way you are living. You want to change. You want to be different. You want to stop the cycle of sin that robs you of the joy of living, and brings secret shame.

As you repent of sin, you can look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of salvation. You cannot save yourself. No one else can rescue you from the power and pollution of sin except Jesus Christ. But you must call upon Him in order to be saved. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

The Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).

Once you are in Christ, once you are walking in the Spirit, you can finish the work God has for you to do. Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

Will you finish the work God has given you to do? Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29).

Have you believed on Christ? Come now. Come while there is time. Come to Christ. “For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 10:11).

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