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A MESSAGE FOR THE SEASON

 

A NEW YEAR, WILL THERE BE A NEW YOU?

 

 

Another year has come to a close.  Another new year has begun.  Is it just me, or do you also feel that time goes by quickly?  The changing of one year to another certainly makes us think about “time”, does it not?  Our creator God exists in eternity, outside of time.  Time is meaningless in eternity.  Time is part of the physical universe and we, therefore, live in time.  God has given an equal amount of time to each of us every day.  Have you used your time wisely?  Was there a time when you were saved from your sins and the wrath to come?  The Bible, the Word of God, has much to say about “time”. We read for example, in the book of (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted …a time to break down, and a time to build up, a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance ..A time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time of war, and a time of peace”. It reminds us of the affairs of life to which each of us have experience.  There are many other things the Bible has to say about “time”.  There are five particular aspects of time that are mentioned in the Word of God that I would like to bring to your attention.  These include the following:

 

  1. THE ALLOTMENT OF TIME – We each have a divine allotment of time.
  2. THE PASSING OF TIME – Time passes by quickly.
  3. THE MISUSE OF TIME – Time is often misused or  wasted
  4. THE FULNESS OF TIME – The time when God’s Savior came into the world.
  5. THE ACCEPTED TIME – The time of when God’s salvation is to be received.

 

 

  1. The Allotment of Time

 

We read in (Psalms 90:10,12) “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70), and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80), yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away”. We are reminded from these words of the “divine allotment of time” for mankind, for each of us.  We are reminded too, of the frailty of life, its shortness of 70 to 80 years in normal circumstances.  How short life is in the light of eternity. Why is it so?  The answer is a word of three letters – SIN.  Note (verses 7 & 8) of this Psalm, “We are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled”.  “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance”. God knows we are sinners by nature and by practice. God is able to see our sins and our sinful acts, even our “secret” sins.  It says in (Job 14:5) that God has set bounds on the life of man. “His days are determined, the number of his months is with Thee, and Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass”.  And (Psalm 31:15) “My times are in thy hand”. Our times are in the hand of God.  (Job 12:10) speaks about the hand of God and says “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind”.  Many people do not get 70 years, for one reason or another. A walk through almost any cemetery will make this very apparent. The prophet Isaiah, being sick, recognized his time of life would be shortened and said (Isaiah 38:10) “I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave, I am deprived of the residue of my years”.  There is “a time to die”, as we mentioned above.  None of us know when that day will be. It says in (James 4:14a) “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow”.  How important it is, therefore, to be saved, to be ready for eternity, to be prepared to meet God.   

 

  1.  The Passing of Time (The Brevity of Life)

 

Time passes by quickly, does it not?   We are about to embark on another new year.   Job alluded to life passing by so quickly in (Job 16:22)”When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return”.   Ask any elderly person, and they will tell you that life seems like just “a few years”. You have heard the phrases as I have, “time is short”, “time is running out”, “we are out of time”, etc.  It says in (James 4:14b) “What is your life? It is even a vapor (a puff of smoke), that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away”. The apostle Peter also wrote about the brevity of life.  It says in (1 Peter 1:24) “All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away”. It is a description of the brief and transient quality of natural life which is presented as withering grass.  Human life is as impermanent as grass.  The glory of man, their physical beauty, etc, is brief, like a flower that will soon droop and die. The hymn writer, William Kirkpatrick wrote the following words regarding mans need to be saved before it is too late;

 

Fairest flowers soon decay, youth and beauty pass away

Oh, you have not long to stay, be in time.

While God’s Spirit bids you come, Sinner do no longer roam

Lest you seal your hopeless doom, be in time.

 

Time is gliding swiftly by, death and judgment draweth nigh

To the arms of Jesus fly, be in time

Oh, I pray you count the cost, ere the fatal line be crossed

And your soul in hell be lost, be in time.

 

  1. The Misuse of Time

 

The Lord Jesus Christ issued a warning to anyone who is covetous. He said in (Luke 12:15) “Take heed, and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses”. He continued to speak a parable about a certain rich man who had ground that brought forth plentifully. The man became totally preoccupied with his success, his wealth and possessions and his desire to accumulate more and more.  The plan of the rich man is recorded in (Luke 12:19) “I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry”. In verse 20, we have God’s response to the retirement plan of the rich man. “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided”?  The rich man had his future all planned, but God said that for him, there was no future.  By not preparing for eternity the man had misused and wasted his time.  The world measures men by their bank account.  In the eyes of man’s fellowman, success or greatness is measured in proportion to a man's ability to gather wealth.  Have you been misusing your time?  Do your plans end at the grave? Have you been preoccupied with obtaining material possessions while neglecting the eternal well being of your soul?  God says in His Word, (Mark 8:36) “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul”?  Did you know that you are in danger of losing your own soul?  God’s indictment of all humanity in general, and you individually, is found in His Word, in (Romans 3:10-23) “Both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin … There is none righteous no, not one.  There is none that that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good no not one … For there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  There is no difference in the spiritual condition of all men by nature.  All humanity comes into this world by means of a physical birth and all are possessed of a sinful nature.  Over time, all become sinners by practice.  All are guilty, lost and helpless to save themselves. Dear reader, have you ever acknowledged your sinful condition before God?  Have you repented of your sins?  Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior?  The Word of God is very clear as to the danger of all who have not trusted Christ as their own Savior.  To reject Him is to die in your sins, and to die in this condition is to be lost eternally. God has provided a way of escape in the Person of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  This leads us to another important “time” revealed in the Bible.  It is called;

 

  1. The Fullness of Time

 

This phrase is found in the Scriptures, in (Galatians 4:4,5) “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”.  Note from this verse, we have the following important points;

 

  • The time of His coming – “When the fullness of the time was come”.

This refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world at the time appointed by the Father.  It was the “time of divine appointment”.  He did not come into the world too early or too late.  The time of His coming was divinely determined.

 

  • The plan of His coming – “God sent forth His Son”.

This speaks of the deity of Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God.  (John 3:16)”God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  God had a plan to redeem sinful man.  Back in (Genesis 3:15), when Adam and Eve first fell into sin, God promised a Savior through the “seed of the woman”.  The hymn writer wrote the words;

 

Oh the love that drew salvations plan

Oh the grace that brought it down to man

Oh the mighty gulf that God did span, at Calvary.

 

  • The manner of His coming – “made of a woman” – “made under the law”.

He was “born of a woman”.  This is how the Son of God was incarnated.  This refers to His virgin birth and speaks of His humanity.  He was man.  He was man without ceasing to be God and He was God without ceasing to be man.  (1 Timothy 3:16) “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh”.  He was “born under the law”.  He was born a Jew, born into the Jewish race.  He was subject to Jewish law and was the only person who ever kept the law of God.

 

  • The purpose of His coming – “To redeem them … that we might receive the adoption of sons”.

Sin is slavery.  Sinners are slaves, (John 8:34).  By nature, men are the slaves of sin, (Romans 6:17, 20) (Titus 3:3), and Satan, (Hebrews 2:14, 15) and are absolutely powerless to free themselves.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the “redeemer”.  The word “redeem” means “to buy”, “to ransom”, “to rescue from loss”.  The work of Christ on the cross, the laying down of His life, the shedding of His precious blood was the ransom price that was paid to free the sinner from the guilt and power of sin.  Notice the following scriptures, (Ephesians 1:7) “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.  (Titus 2:14) “Who (Jesus Christ) gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity”.  (Matthew 20:28) “The Son of Man (Jesus Christ) came … to give His life a ransom for many”.  God has made adequate provision for the blessing of all, yet multitudes still reject His offer of mercy.  Dear reader, have you availed yourself of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus?  Are you saved?  Have you been born again?

 

Since the work of salvation has been completed and the redemption price has been paid, God will now receive all who accept Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior.  Notice our scripture again “that we might receive the adoption of sons”.  The Biblical meaning of adoption is very different to the way it is used in the world.  All believers are born into the family of God by the new birth, thereby imparting to them a new and divine nature.  In the Bible “adoption” means “son placing”.  Believers are placed into the family of God with all the blessings and privileges of son ship.  Have you been received into the family of God?

 

 

5        The Accepted Time

 

We find this phrase in (2 Corinthians 6:2) “Now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation”.  Someone has said;

 

  • Yesterday is history – You cannot erase or change the past.
  • Tomorrow is a mystery – You do not know what will be in your future.
  • Today is an opportunity – Now is the time for action.

 

You can be saved today.  This is the meaning of “the accepted time”.  Today, now, you can find acceptance with God.  The time is coming when the “door of salvation” will be closed and “the day of vengeance of our God” will come.  This is the day of God’s grace when God’s salvation is offered to whosoever will receive it.  Will you accept God’s offer of salvation?  It is a New Year; will you be a New Person?  You cannot make yourself a new person by any New Year’s resolution or reformation by your own efforts.  You cannot inherit or merit God’s salvation.  God says in His Word (2 Corinthians 5:17) “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (creature)”.  Are you “in Christ”?  Are you saved?  The good news is that your need has been met by the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God.  On the cross He bare your sins, took your place in judgment and died in your stead.  On the third day He rose again.  If you believe in Him, and receive Him as your own personal Savior, you will be justified or declared righteous by God.  You will be saved and be a new person in this New Year.

 

Why not, just where you are, and as you are, own yourself before God as the ruined sinner He declares you to be?   Believe the good news of the gospel.  Receive Christ as your own Savior and rely entirely on His work on the cross for your salvation.  If YOU remain unsaved it will not be because God does not love you or because God’s Son did not die for you, but it will be because you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Which will it be for you, reception or rejection of the Savior?  You are traveling the “HIGHWAY OF LIFE”, passing through time (a very brief time) into eternity.  Now that you have read this message you have come to the “CROSSROADS”.  Which way will you go?  Will you continue to reject the Savior and God’s free gift of salvation?  Or, will you believe in Him and receive Him as your Lord and Savior?  It is your decision and your responsibility. 

 

Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Will you be a believer or a non-believer?  What will YOUR eternal destiny be?  Will it be the eternal bliss of Heaven or the eternal torment of Hell and the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15; 21:8).  YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY DEPENDS ON YOUR DECISION.  Remember, no decision IS a decision.

 

 

Christian Messenger