Eternity

Today we are going to talk about something that we don’t talk about a lot.  We certainly don’t talk about it enough and that is eternity.  Forever.  We use these words often in our daily living but we have reduced this amazing truth down to mean things it really doesn’t.  We may think chapel feels like an eternity.  A school weeks lasts forever.  Trust me.  Those things aren’t even close to forever.    

Because we live so much in the moment, the idea of something or someone who has no beginning or no end is so hard to grasp.  Living forever.  By faith, we believe this to be true.  But the question is do we actually live like we believe that there is more to this life, then what we can see, feel, taste or touch right now?

We can’t see heaven or hell so we often live like they don’t exist. If there is no heaven or no hell, then there is no reason to do anything that King David tells us to do in Psalm 1. If you are not held accountable for every thought, word or action, then it doesn’t matter what you say, what you think or what you do.  The righteous person believes in something that cannot be seen, tasted, or felt because, by faith, he knows that what he says, thinks or does, right here at this moment, will count for eternity.  The righteous will stand on the day of judgment but the sinners will be swept away.

In Psalm 1:4, King David writes,

The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.”  

Chaff is a farming term.  As the wheat gets ready for harvest, it turns a beautiful golden yellow and the heads of the wheat are cut.  The wheat kernel itself is protected by a strong husk that must be broken off to get to the wheat itself.  That husk, when it is broken off the wheat kernel, is called chaff.  In fact, before farmers had all these fancy machines, early farmers would toss the wheat in the air so that the wind would blow away all the chaff and the heavier wheat would fall to the ground. The wicked are like the hard, dry chaff.  The contrast is the righteous are like a beautiful tree, with deep roots, planted by streams of water.

In Psalm 1, King David has made several huge points about life.  First, he said, you see the wicked and ungodly, don’t go there. Their path leads from bad to worse.  Second, there are lots of people who are giving you counsel, they are giving you advice, from TV, movies, friends, parents, teachers, and pastors.  Listen and meditate on the counsel from God’s word and listen to those that counsel you according to the Bible.  Third, you will reap what you sow.  Ideas, actions, and words all have consequences.  Sink your roots into the sturdy hope that comes from knowing and living according to God’s word.

It will satisfy your soul like nothing else will.

Wow, we have talked about a lot.  Here is why all of this is important to talk about again and again.  You are more than a body.  You have a soul.  OK, so why is that so important?  If you were just a body, just skin and bones, what would happen when you die?  Nothing.  You would just die.  But you have more than a body, you have a soul.  And that soul will live on forever.  Why is that important?  You are living for things that are bigger than you.  There are things greater than what you are thinking and saying and doing at this moment.  Everything you do matters.  Not just right now.  But for eternity.  We don’t like to think that way because we would rather believe that we can do whatever we want and it doesn’t matter. In the New Testament, James 4:14 says

“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.”

Let me summarize James 4:14.  This is your life. Poof, it’s over. I hope you had a good time. Then at that time, we will find out if God exists or not.

If God does not exist, there is no eternity, and no judgment which means you and I can live however we want.  You and I can do whatever we want with no consequence.  Get as much pleasure, control, power and comfort as you can.  Because all that matters is right now.

On some level, that sounds pretty good, but that’s not the reality.  If the Bible is really a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, then we know the reality is that it is not all about here and now.  We will stand before a judge.  Eternity exists. Heaven and hell are real.  We do not get to make up our own rules and law.  There is a right way to live and a wrong way to live. Our life is a vapor. Make it count. Embrace the days that God has given you. He has you here at Annapolis for a purpose. The time you have here are moments that count for eternity. Make the most of them.

If we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we want to live our life as if God does not exist and that there is no eternity.  We want to make our own law for ourselves and live for the moment with no consequence. We talk back to our parents, do something sneaky when the teacher isn’t looking, decide to be lazy instead of working on something that we don’t like to do, push someone at recess, cut in front of someone lining up, look at things we shouldn’t, lie, cheat, steal.  We are living like there is no God and no eternity. In fact, it is even worse, we act like we are god.  We all need to repent of this, myself included.

The good news of the gospel is so good because the bad news of who we really are is so very bad. We desperately need Jesus change our hearts. We need him who knew no sin to take our sins and misery and in exchange give us his righteousness.  So when we stand before a holy, righteous judge, we will stand and not, poof, be blown away like the wicked. We must believe in our heart that Christ is our only hope of saving us from ourselves and by faith believe that we will stand on the day of judgment and cling to the righteousness that we have because of Christ.