Eternity Waits

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down (Psalm 104:19).

The fall season feels like it has already arrived on this particular morning, even though it is not officially here until the 22nd of September. Going outside, we are greeted with a strong cool breeze that dipped the temperature enough to chase away any lingering humidity from days earlier, and to remind us that the change of seasons is upon us. School is back in session; football has begun; big yellow buses line up for the opening of school.

Seasons were God’s invention. On the fourth day of creation He said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14).

Time helps to bring perspective to our lives. Our lives are predetermined from birth to death whereas the clock is even now ticking down on the time that each has been divinely allotted. Scriptures teach that life finds satisfaction when it finds its purpose in Christ. So that seasons, days and years should not be squandered away with riotous living, nor should we choose self-will and personal interest over time spent serving Christ; in such cases we have only ourselves to blame for lost opportunities. Time can never be retrieved, bought or stockpiled; once it is gone you will never see it again. The Scriptures speak of a man who wished to add to his growing assets and busied himself to the point that it consumed his remaining days, and when he thought he was nearly complete in filling his barns with goods, his time ran out and he died (Luke 12:21). While you may seek for happiness in your work and what it may bring you, it may become a distraction and lead you away from its real value if money and advancement is the only objective. A recent survey poll of over five thousand workers showed that they are unsatisfied with their employment. Not so surprising they sought better working conditions and a better life-work balance over higher wages. Even youth are finding emptiness. When asked about life and happiness one out of four had responded that they had contemplated suicide in the last year. The reason for unhappiness is not so much about circumstances that require change, but has to do with the condition of our hearts. Changes on the inside are needed first before a person can truly experience the kind of fulfillment and joy that Christ speaks about. How this happens can best be defined in Scripture as a spiritual transformation that occurs in the heart where the Holy Spirit regenerates a person and changes that person’s outlook and motives. From that point, the Believer sole objective is to live for Christ.

In the earlier proverb about the man who stockpiled his goods, he did a most foolish thing that nowadays seems commonplace. He was willing to trade what little he had left – time – for something that he already had– wealth – a pitiful exchange at that. We must manage our time better than our bank accounts, because no amount of money can buy back time and the opportunities that come with it. The use of time is about making it count for eternity and a good way to do this is to seek souls and build God’s kingdom. The gospel is given in hope that people are prepared for eternity. Eternity waits and where we spend it will really rest with whether or not we have accepted and believed in the gospel and repented of our sins.

Strive to Enter God’s Rest

The Bible tells us we need Christian fellowship so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25). Fellowship is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honour one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).

Any who claim to have faith in Christ are not expected to persevere alone. Instead, it becomes a community project with Christians encouraging Christians to stay true to their profession. The moment you think that you are excluded from building each other up or that your participation is unnecessary you hurt the well being of your own soul and that of others. We are told in Hebrews 3:13 to encourage one another in order that none of you be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Mutual involvement in each other lives is required to build up the faith of others, especially weaker members. Hebrews warns that some have chosen to leave their assembly – forsake not the assembling of yourselves as some have (10:25) – an intentional defection by some who may in time turn completely away.

It is common practise for those who belong to Christ to have a desire to enter into the company of other Believers to pray and worship and receive His Word. God puts it in the Believer’s heart to fellowship and worship with other Christians. It is an anomaly and a sure sign of spiritual decline when avoidance of fellowship and worship is preferred. While Hebrews sets before us a clear warning that it is possible to fall away from God; consequently, we are to fear, lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. (4:1)

What should we fear? We should fear unbelief! Fear not trusting God! The Israelites were not able to enter into God’s rest because of unbelief. Therefore, fear from descending into a faithless state and ruin. Not trusting God will keep you from entering God’s rest—God’s haven of salvation and God’s heaven. Not trusting His Gospel, not responding to His Word!

Apostasy was a common concern in Old Testament time. On his return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah warned the exiles about Israel’s unbelief in rebuilding the wall (9:9-20). About a thousand years later again Israel’s failure was chronicled in Psalms 95 during King David’s day, and 1st century Jewish Believers were cautioned about their forefathers’ sin and told to make every effort to enter into that rest and not fall into the same sort of disobedience. For any to think that this same hardening that happened to Israel cannot be our experience is prideful thinking. We must strive to keep our faith alive and active, and to rest inwardly in Christ finished work, and that he will carry us through tempestuous times. Our daily efforts to remain faithful must be united to our faith in Christ, who is at work in us through His Holy Spirit.

So think about this the next Lord’s Day or prayer meeting night. A person cannot be much help to exhort others to remain faithful when he chooses to stay home from meetings. Plenty of good comes when care is taken to encourage others. While Believers do their part, spiritual maturity grows, and the weak are strengthen. It may be that you have not made a commitment to Christ and are disobedient in many things. You have trained yourself to hear the Word but have never mixed it with faith. Very dangerous to keep on hearing and not believing what it says. Make a commitment to obey Christ today, and harden not your heart.