Priorities. Everyone has them. Some folks make family a priority, while others set a goal of fame and fortune. Many a young businessman sets his sights on making his first million by the time he's thirty-five. Middle aged folks make a priority of saving enough money so that they can retire at 55 and enjoy the rest of their years. For some young people, the priority is making the football or basketball team, or perhaps the cheerleading squad. Getting accepted at a good college ranks high, and winning a scholarship makes it even better. For some, the goal of life is just to be liked: to have friends and be popular. For many, the priority is simply to "have fun." So, while priorities differ from person to person, rest assured that you, and I, have established in our own minds what is really important in this life.
The Bible talks about a man and his priorities in Luke 12. This fellow was very rich, with an abundance of lands and barns. In fact, his crops came in so well that he had run out of room to store the grain. What a dilemma! This wealthy farmer reasoned with himself as to what he should do. Should he simply give the excess crops to his poorer neighbors? No, that would never do. After all, though he already had much, it never hurts to have a little more, and next year's crop might not be so plenteous. Surely that could not be allowed to happen! It was a priority for this man to gain as much of this world's goods as he could. So he made this decision: "I will pull down barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods." What an idea! Sure, it would cost a little now in construction. But, with large barns in which to store this bumper crop, he would probably be set financially. And then......The Good Life. He says to himself, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat drink, and be merry."
Sounds great, doesn't it? To have so much of this worlds' money and possessions that you never need to work again. To eat the finest foods, travel to exotic locations, live in a grand estate, and bask in the pleasures and rewards of a job well done. His priority was to take care of himself, and he succeeded far above his wildest dreams.
There was only one problem. That night, after he had fallen asleep giddy with the thoughts of success, God came along. He makes one statement, and asks a question. They go like this:
"Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: Then whose shall those things be that thou hast provided?"
You see, the rich man had one fatal flaw in his master plan for life: he forgot God. He made all the right business and investment decisions. But in his haste to make his fortune he neglected the most important question that he could ever face: where will I spend eternity?
The Bible tells us that although our life may seem long, it is in fact simply a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
" Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
The Psalmist wrote that we are like the grass that flourishes and grows in the morning, but is cut down and withers in the evening.
"Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
But still many people spend much time considering their station in life without ever preparing for the fact that they will someday die, and spend eternity somewhere. The Word of God tells us that
In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth." Psalm 90:5-6
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement." Hebrews 9:27
When faced with the prospect of standing before Almighty God in judgement, life's priorities get rather insignificant, don't they?
Let me ask you this: are you prepared to meet God face to face? You say, "Well, I've got plenty of time to worry about that." I believe that's what the rich man thought as well. He foolishly believed that he had "many years" to go before he had to concern himself with anything besides himself. But that very night he died. My friend, let me rephrase the question: If you died tonight, do you know that you would spend eternity in Heaven?
Some people teach that no one really can know if they are headed for Heaven. Yet the Bible tells us that the Scriptures were written so that we
"may know that ye have eternal life." I John 5:13
True Biblical Christianity is not a guessing game made up of "I hope so's" and "maybe so's". Where Heaven and Hell are concerned, God is absolute: you can know and you must know.
"But I don't know for sure," you reply. May I take a few more moments of your time, and show you what the Word of God has to say? In Romans 3:23, God states that,
"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
All humans are sinners. We have all done something wrong at one time or another. In fact, if we will be really honest, we are continually doing, saying, and thinking things that are contrary to the Bible and displeasing to God. We all come short of God's glory. We don't all commit the same sins, and in a human sense some of us do "better" in the eyes of the world that others. But the fact remains that none of us measure up to the standard of perfection which our holy God has established.
So what is the result of our sin? Romans 6:23 tells us that
"The wages of sin is death."
In other words, what I earn, or deserve, for being a sinner, is death. And not simply the death that puts my body in the grave, but eternal punishment in Hell as well. Rev 20:14-15 states that
"death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast in the Lake of Fire."
Therefore, the Bible teaches that my sinfulness earns me a one-way ticket to Hell, a place of unspeakable torment and agony from which I could never escape.
That's a sobering thought, isn't it? You say, "Well, I admit that I'm a sinner, and the Bible says that I am condemned to Hell. Isn't there some way to escape this fate?" Yes, my friend, there is. Romans 6:23 continues by saying,
"but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
You see, God does not want us to spend eternity in Hell. He desires for us to be saved, and spend eternity with Him in the glories of Heaven. He offers us a free gift-- the gift of eternal life. It isn't something that we can earn by being good or religious. The Bible tells us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; ......" Isaiah 64:6,
and that salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost:" Titus 3:5,
but rather through the great grace and mercy of God.
What is God's plan for salvation? In Romans 5:8, God tells us that He showed
"His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, The Creator and Sustainer of the universe, came to this earth to be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. He lived for thirty-three years, and during that time He never committed one sin. Yet He allowed Himself to be crucified. The only one who never deserved to die, was willing to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. He took my sin, and yours, upon Himself, and offered Himself as our substitute. What great love He must have for us! And, praise God, Christ did not remain in the tomb, for on the third day He arose from the dead, thereby proving that He is indeed God, that He is able to conquer sin, Hell, and the grave, and that He is an acceptable sacrifice for my sin!
"Oh," you say, "I know I'm a sinner, and I know that I deserve Hell. I know that Christ died on the cross for me so that I could have eternal life. What do I need to do now?" My friend, all that is left to do is simply repent and receive God's salvation through Christ. Romans 10:13 tells us that
"whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 16:31 says to
"believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
Repentance is simply a change of mind, where you realize that you aren't good enough to get to Heaven, and you confess that Jesus truly is God in the flesh, the only sacrifice for sins, and the only way to be saved. Then simply believe that He will save you, and ask Him to do it. If you will accept Christ's death for you by faith, then He will save you, and you too can know that Heaven is your eternal home.
Well, what about it? The most important decision in your life awaits you. What will you do with Jesus? Will you trust in Him as Saviour, or will you continue on hoping in vain to achieve Heaven by your own goodness? Will you accept Him now, or will you risk eternity in the hope that God will not allow you to lose your life tonight? God tells us that
"now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation," II Cor 6:2.
You may not have tomorrow. Why not stop right now, ask God to forgive you, tell Him that you believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for you, and ask Him to save you.
I hope that you have received Christ as Saviour today. He promised that if any one would come to Him, He would in no wise cast them out.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," John 6:37.
This means that if you accepted Christ, then you can know from now until the day you die that you are a child of God, and Heaven is your eternal home. If you did get saved today, please contact us by e-mail and let us know. We would love to rejoice with you, and help to get you started in your Christian walk with the Lord. If you still have questions, I hope that you will contact us as well. Our priority is that you receive Christ as Saviour, and we want to help you in anyway that we can to understand the Scriptures and make that decision. Don't be like the rich man, and put salvation at the bottom of you priority list. Get saved today, before it is eternally too late. I promise you that you'll be glad you took the time to settle this important issue both now and for all eternity.