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Living for the Future

New Years Eve

December 31st, 2007 


“Look to the rock from which you were cut and the quarry from which you were hewn: look to Abraham, your Father”. Isaiah 51:1-2  

You’ve got to believe in something beyond yourself, you’ve got to have faith.   Christians wouldn’t disagree with this statement, yet it is just as important for us to ask the next question  “Faith in who”?   Our bible verses says look to quarry from which you were hewn, …meaning…look to Abraham.   Why?    He is the great O.T. example of faith.  Here are just a few examples from his life.   The almighty God almighty called him out of pagan life, and he went to a place he had never been.  God had him look at stars, and said these would be his descendents.  Abraham was going to sacrifice his son in faith, but instead by faith sacrificed the ram God provided for him.  Abraham died having been promised the promised land as his own, but only owning his wife’s burial plot.  His faith, not his perfect holy life, rested in a God who broke into history with a whole bunch of promises that he would fulfill in the living Jesus.  This isn’t just believing in something, but rather trusting in the God who gave a future to Abraham, and the same God who will sustain us.  Our future begins with true faith.    


The resurrected Jesus said this to his disciples after his resurrection “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44 

“We can learn from those in the past”.  After all isn’t this why we study history, isn’t this why we have sayings from great men of history.  The bible, like any number of ancient books can provide wisdom for our life.   While wisdom is part of the bible, there is so much more.   Paul writes in 2 Timothy all scripture is “God breathed’, in other words it is living and active, it does something to the reader, hearer, and partaker of that word.  Ultimately it doesn’t give us just words to live by; ultimately the written Word shows us the death, resurrection of Jesus Christ for all people.   Every section of the bible Old and New Testament is pointed in his direction.   In other words we read and hear it, not just for a little encouragement, but to encounter the living Savior who calls us to repentance and forgiveness.  May our future be filled with the utterances of the living God from his written Word.   

Now is the T- Time.

“I tell you now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”.  2 Cor. 6:2 

In 1989 there was a movie titled “Dead Poet Society” in which Robin Williams starred.  In this movie the phrase “Carpe Diem” or “seize the day” became quite popular.    “Seize the day, live each day to the fullest” sounds like a good way to live life.     While this isn’t all bad, there is something far better.  Jesus words “now is the time of God’s favor”.   What a blessing that in Jesus Christ, we don’t have to wait to wonder what God thinks of us.   Our text says now is the day of God’s favor.   Live each day confident that as a baptized believer you are literally in the good graces of God.   How do we know this?  The written word says “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.   God doesn’t say “I’ll wait until the end of the world, the end of your life and then I’ll let you know how  you did”   He lets us know right now, that his favor is for us, and through faith we can be assured right now both of his forgiveness and love.  To really live in the future, is to live in the now ness of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.  With that in mind, we really can seize the day. 

U- Unafraid

“Do not be afraid little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32  

Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural address   said “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”.  This is a nice catchy phrase that has endured and inspired many.  Yet, it seems that there is much that can go wrong in this world, much that can make us afraid.  Anything from international conflicts, to individual trauma’s of all sorts.     We know from the bible that the devil is real and is very influential as he roams the earth. We know that we live in a fallen world, and even in our own heart is something called sin.  The reality is there is much that can go wrong, and so naturally there is much to fear.  Jesus says “Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom”.   Not only has he given us the kingdom, but he also provides out of his mercy our daily food, our clothing.  If he cares for the lilies and the birds, how much more will he care for you.  The world is fearful that it will come up short in the end.  Short on all the things it needs, so it strives and frets and worries.  Our God says we will not come up short.  Oh we may be sheep that are not smart enough to know that the one who cares for the flowers and the birds will in so many more ways provide for us.  Have no fear, not because there isn’t anything to be afraid of, but rather because you have a God who provides protection and relief from all those fearful realities.  The devil, the world, and our sinful flesh don’t stand a chance where our gracious Jesus is present.  Our future is one that can be lived unafraid, because we have one who destroyed all that which can harm us on the cross.  Have no fear little flock. 


“God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to Repentance” 2 Peter 3:9  

Get right with the Lord.   This is one way of saying that before we die it is important to get things straight with God.   Again, this is true, but how exactly does this happen.  In an interview with Muhammad Ali’s present wife a few years back, she said that he is trying to do as many good things as he can in order to assure his spot in heaven.  To get things right with the Lord according to many means to straighten out ones life.  The question is, who does the straightening?  For many the Lord may be involved, but in the end its up to us to get our act together.  In 2 Peter, it says that “God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to “Repentance”.   Rather than us straightened out our life, God wants us to be honest with him in terms of our sinful life.  That before we can say I believe, we first are to say “I can’t”.   To repent is also to trust that he has taken care of all that which isn’t right about our life.   This is repentance, an acknowledgement that we simply cannot in any way shape or form straighten our life in God’s eyes.  He has to do it all, and he has done it all in Jesus.  When encountering this Jesus whether we have 50 years or a couple of days left we are to do this in repentance.  In the book of Romans “Paul says “God’s kindness leads us to repentance.”.   Getting right with God starts and ends with repentance.  Thanks be to God he uses this to bring us to himself, and it is through his gift of repentance both now and in our future we are right with God. 

E-Eternal  Life

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  

“Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”.   The sad part of the statement is not so much the eat drink and be merry, but that tomorrow we die.   Understood correctly Christians could say “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we live”.   How about this phrase “you only go around once”. Next time you heart this, you may want to respond in this fashion.  “You only live forever”.    Eternal life is in our future, it is in our tomorrow, but it is also in our today.  When we first were given the gift of faith, eternal life started.  While it is ours now by faith, it will be ours by sight when we go to heaven. We live in a world that assumes eternal life is theirs simply because they have been created by God.  However, our text says something different.  It gives the picture of a world of all sorts of natural dangers.  Rebellion by God’s people meant snakes in the desert, of people dying left and right.  In John 3:16 it says that without Jesus we perish.     In John 3:17 it speaks of condemnation.   These things are not just wished away.  It takes someone perfect, and someone righteous, and someone more loving than any of us to rescue us from the snakes of this sinful world, from perishing, and yes from condemnation.  God’s love did this, and it led to action by sending Jesus Christ. Looking to him alone means that our eternal life is ours both now and forevermore.   Amen.