James 4:14 – …For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Job 8:9 – For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow.
Psalm 39:5 – Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
One thing you’ll hear me say over and over when I teach is that we’re not guaranteed another day. My purpose in saying that is never to scare people into accepting Christ, it’s simply reality. When we die or when Jesus comes back (whichever happens first), our eternal destination has been decided. That’s an exciting thought for Christians, but it should be a terrifying thought for those who have rejected Christ.
We just started the book of Philippians on Saturday at Awaken and I’ve entitled our study To Live is Christ. Of course, that title comes from Philippians 1:21 where Paul says “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For the Christian, it’s a win-win situation. Live for Christ? Awesome! Die for Christ? Even better!
Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that today could be it for us. However, living in a military town like Clarksville, we’re faced with the harsh reality of death far more than elsewhere. Everywhere you look, men and women are in camo – a constant reminder that our freedom is constantly being fought for. Tonight, we had Jason, a friend from the church, and some others over for dinner. Jason informed me that, in prep for the soon-approaching deployment, he had put me as the “officiating pastor” on his death papers. His position in Afghanistan just got switched from driver to door-gunner, which in his words, “ups [his] chance of dying about 45%.” The harsh reality of death is very real for him…and for those around him. It’s very foreign to talk to a guy that has to fill out paperwork saying which songs he wants played at his funeral, who his pallbearers will be, and who will do his funeral. As exciting as dying and spending eternity with Christ is for the believer, death can be an intimidating thought. I’ve never thought more about the fact that, especially with the Army guys in the congregation, I may not see them again. Although that can be a bit saddening, it puts some fire in my preaching!
So, when you die, will that be a “gain” for you (as Paul put it in Philippians)? It can be. Death is very real and could happen at any time. That’s reality. Don’t play with eternity.