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"Being Ready to Meet Our God"

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2021 5:00 am

"Being Ready to Meet Our God"

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hi there, this is Lon Solomon and I'd like to welcome you to our program today. You know it's a tremendous honor that God has given us to be on stations all around the nation bringing the truth of God's word as it is uncompromising and straightforward. And I'm so glad you've tuned in to listen and be part of that. Thanks again for your support and your generosity that keeps us on the radio.

And now, let's get to the Word of God. You know I remember when I was a child growing up and my parents and my grandparents would talk often about Pearl Harbor. And I remember they would always comment that they knew exactly, they remembered exactly where they were when they heard the news Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Now, as a child I couldn't really relate to that until that is 1963.

November the 22nd, 1963 to be exact. I was sitting in health class just outside the gymnasium in Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth, Virginia. I remember the desk I was sitting in.

It was around one o'clock in the afternoon when over the loudspeaker came the announcement that President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. As long as I live, I'll never forget where I was at that moment. I can see it in my mind. This past week we as the American people have experienced a tragedy just as serious as the attack on Pearl Harbor or the death of President Kennedy. None of us will ever forget where we were the morning of September the 11th, 2001. None of us will ever get out of our minds those horrible images of the trade towers falling down or the Pentagon being on fire. Our generation has just experienced a tragedy so mammoth that it will be imprinted on the American psyche for the rest of our lives and beyond. And yet we dare not forget, my friends, that in every one of these events that we talk about, every one of them involve the lives of real people, people like you, people like me.

People who each one has their own unique and special story how they ended up as part of the events of last Tuesday. I think of Barbara Olson, wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, also a CNN correspondent and author in her own right. And many of you know her story. She was laid to rest here in Washington yesterday. But she was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Monday, the 10th of September. Tuesday was her husband's birthday.

And so she decided to stay and postpone her trip for a day so she could have breakfast with her husband and celebrate his birthday before she left, which is why she ended up on American Flight 77 Tuesday morning that left Dulles Airport at 810 and ended up crashing into the Pentagon, killing her and everybody else on board. Of course, our sympathies go out to Mr. Olson. Many of us know him, his family. But this is just one of hundreds and thousands of stories of real life people who were just going about their business, minding their own business, doing their daily routine. And because of some little decision they made, they either were or were not in harm's way on Tuesday morning. Now, what are the lessons we learn from all of this?

I mean, our sympathies go out as much as we know how to these people. But there are lessons for us. What are the lessons for us? Well, I've been thinking all week, God, what do we learn from all this? Because there are lessons in everything. And I don't have time, obviously, to go through them all. There are many lessons.

So I've just picked one to talk to you about today. And we kind of find this lesson very well summed up in Proverbs Chapter 27, verse one. Here's what the Bible says. Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. James said it the same way in the New Testament. He said, James 4.14, we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Why, we don't even know what will happen to us tomorrow. And in light of this, because this is true, it led the Old Testament prophet Amos to give us a piece of advice. It's a good piece of advice.

Here's what he said. Amos 4.12, he said, be prepared to meet your God. Be prepared. You know, I was riding with my 16 year old son, Jonathan, Tuesday afternoon, all the events had basically taken place. And as we were riding in the car, we got to talking about what it must have been like to be in one of those airplanes as you realize suddenly what was about to happen to you.

And John said to me, I'll never forget it. He said, you know, dad, he said, if I were in the plane, I wouldn't have wanted to die. He said, but I know I'm ready.

So it would have been OK. He said, I could have been able to relax because I know I'm ready. Well, out of the mouths of babes, huh?

Teenagers. All my son John's really saying is that he's taken Amos's advice, that he's prepared himself for whenever eternity hits. And folks, the results of being ready like this are staggering. It means that we can face anything, even eternity, that life brings along without fear. This is where God wants you to be, my friend. Be ready to go into eternity at a moment's notice, because the truth is that's all any of us may get. Billy Graham, who spoke, I saw him speak down at the National Cathedral on Friday.

And here's what he said. He said, and I quote, This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. I doubt if even one of those people who walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning ever thought it would be the last day of their lives. We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity. And that's why each of us needs to be ready.

Now, this is what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about how you and I can be ready for eternity. I mean, what if you or I were sitting in the trade towers last Tuesday morning and suddenly you looked out the window and here comes this airplane right for your floor? What if you had been sitting in the Pentagon and you looked out the window of your office and here comes this airplane headed right for your office? What if you'd have been on one of those airplanes? What would it have taken for you and me to be able to face death unafraid?

Well, let's talk about that. The Bible says that for us to be ready to meet eternity, for us to be ready to face God, a person needs to have in their possession eternal life. They say, what do you mean to have in our possession eternal life? I thought eternal life was something you get when you die. I mean, you die, you get eternal life.

No, no, no. It's not what the Bible teaches at all. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches the opposite. The Bible teaches that eternal life is something we either possess or we don't possess right here in this life, right here on earth.

And that heaven is merely a place where people who already have eternal life go when they leave this world. Listen to what Jesus said. John 5, verse 24. He said, I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes in me has, present tense, right now, eternal life. John 6, 47.

I tell you the truth. The person who believes in me has, present tense, right now, eternal life. 1 John 5, verse 11. And this is the record that God has given us eternal life and that life is in his son. He who has the son of God has, present tense, right now, eternal life. Folks, possessing eternal life is the key issue as to whether a person is ready for eternity, ready to meet God, and every one of us can have that eternal life right now, right as we sit here. 1 John 5, verse 13. These things I write to you who believe in the son of God so that you may know, look at that, so you may know that you've got eternal life. We can know we have eternal life with just as much certainty sitting here today as we know what our name is.

Now you may say, Lon, you know what, I got to tell you, I think that's a pretty arrogant statement. I think that's pretty haughty to walk around and say, well, I know I've got eternal life. Well, friends, that's what the Bible teaches.

It's not haughty or arrogant. It's what God wants us to have. God's not trying to make eternal life a mystery. God's not trying to make eternal life a secret. God wants us to know we have it, to enjoy possessing it, to build our hope on it, to draw comfort from it.

And he says, you can know you've got it right now. And the way we acquire eternal life is by coming in to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Eternal life is a gift that God gives everybody who comes into a personal relationship with Jesus. Look what Jesus said. John 17 3. Now this is eternal life.

I don't know how you're going to say it any simpler than that. This is eternal life. What does Jesus say? That people know in a personal way that they know you, the one and only true God, and that they know me whom you have sent.

Let me repeat. Eternal life is a gift that God gives every person who comes into personal relationship with Jesus. And so as we close this morning, the question we got to ask is, how do you do that? How do you come into a personal relationship with Jesus? How do you establish this kind of personal connectedness so God gives you eternal life?

We want to answer that. And I ask you to turn to Luke 23, where we find one of the most famous stories anywhere of somebody doing exactly that. We're going to look at somebody come into a personal relationship with Jesus and get eternal life. Now, we don't know the person's name, but we do know their crime. They were a thief and they were hanging on the cross next to Jesus. This man was.

So let's look at the story. Luke, twenty three, verse thirty eight, and there was a written notice above Jesus as he hung there on the cross, which read, this is the king of the Jews and one of the criminals who hung beside him, hurled insults at him and said, aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself if they're Messiah and save us, too. He is one thief joined in with all of the others.

They're mocking Jesus and ridiculing Jesus. But look what the other thief did. Verse 40.

But the other thief rebuked his friend. We are here being punished justly, he said, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man, Jesus, he's done nothing wrong. And then he turned to Jesus and said, Lord, please remember me when you come into your kingdom. Now, what are the two things this thief did to God him eternal life, that got him a personal relationship with Jesus?

Well, it's real simple. Number one, the first thing he offered Jesus that accomplished that is he offered Jesus personal repentance. Repentance is a word that throws a lot of people off because we make it far more complicated than it really is. Repentance is really very simple. Repentance simply means, A, accepting the full responsibility for your own actions. And B, in your heart, want a U-turn. That's all it means.

Sincerely wanting a U-turn. Did the thief do that? Well, sure he did.

What did he say? He said, it's our fault we're here. We are justly accused.

We're dying for the stuff that we did. It's not anybody else's fault. He didn't make any excuses.

He didn't make any rationalizations. He didn't say, look, I couldn't help it. It was my parental upbringing. It was my socioeconomic condition.

No, no, no, no, no. He said, it's my fault I'm up here. I deserve what I'm getting. And Lord, I want to make a U-turn. Repentance. Lord, I need a change. That's the first thing he offered Jesus.

And the second thing he offered him was just as simple. Personal faith. The key word here is the word Lord. Lord is a word of faith, of belief, of surrender, of reliance.

He says, Lord, I believe you're the Messiah, like you say. Lord, I believe what you're doing on the cross is for me. Lord, I want to be in your kingdom.

I know I'll never get there on my own. And Lord, would you have mercy on me? Would you have mercy on me?

I know I don't deserve it in light of my actions, but would you show me mercy anyway? This is the second step to coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith in who Jesus says he is.

Personal repentance, personal faith. And you know what's interesting is that all these hundreds of people standing around the cross watching, Jesus didn't have a thing in the world to say to any of them, but he had something to say to this guy. Look what he said for verse 43. Jesus answered him and said, I tell you the truth. Now, friends, when Jesus says that, you can take it to the bank. I tell you the truth today. Look at this today.

You will be with me in paradise. Why did Jesus say today? Well, because the thief needed it today. He was going to die today and he didn't need it tomorrow or next week.

He needed it today. And Jesus said today, you've come into personal relationship with me today. I have given you eternal life as a result. And today, when you die on this cross and leave here, you're going to heaven with me today. It's a wonderful story. And it shows us that in order to get a personal relationship with Christ, in order to get eternal life, no human works, no religious activity is necessary.

I mean, look at this guy. He got a personal relationship with Christ. He got eternal life, but he was nailed to a cross. I mean, he couldn't go sing in the choir, put money in the offering plate, attend church or be baptized. He couldn't count the rosary fast for Yom Kippur, make a pilgrimage to Mecca or bathe in the Ganges.

He couldn't go repay the money he stole, do community service, become an Eagle Scout or recycle. This guy was nailed to a cross. And if there had been any kind of religious activity, any kind of human works that were necessary to get eternal life, this guy is up the cross without a paddle.

Couldn't do it. Isn't it wonderful that Jesus said today you're going to be with me in eternity? Because, friends, it's not about human works. It's not about religious activity. It's about what the thief did.

What did he do? He gave Jesus repentance and he gave him faith. And that's what gets us eternal life. That's what gets us a personal relationship. It's what got it for him.

It's what will get it for you. You know, I go to a gym here in Washington. Three days a week I work out and I know it shows, so thanks for saying that.

I appreciate you all saying that. But anyway, and I've been going there for years and years and years to this gym. And so I've kind of become the unofficial chaplain of the gym, sort of. They all know who I am. And let me tell you what it means when you're the chaplain of a gym. It means that most of the time nobody wants to get near you. But that when they get in trouble, they want to talk to you. That's what it means to be the chaplain of the gym. So I was riding a life cycle, this is about a year ago, maybe a little more. And this guy came up to me and we started chatting and he said, you know, my life's really a wreck.

I need some help. He said, can people like me come to your church? I said, well, sure. He said, I think I'm going to come to your church. He said, because I really need to get some religion in my life. I said, well, you know, I hate to tell you this, but we don't offer religion at McLean Bible Church. He said, what? I said, no, no, no, we don't do religion. We don't give out religion at McLean Bible Church. He said, of course you do. He said, of course you do.

Bars sell beer. You give out religion. This is the way it is. What are you talking about your church and you don't give out religion? I said, no, no, no. Religion is a bunch of rules and regulations that man's made up to try to figure out some way to work his way to God. The Bible never offers that to anybody. We don't offer that to anybody. What we offer people is a personal relationship with Jesus, because that's what the Bible offers them. Now, if you come into personal relationship with Jesus, God will give you eternal life, forgive your sins, move into your life and start changing you from the inside out.

If that's what you want, we help you with that. Can't help you with religion. Friend, if you're here and looking for religion, came to the wrong place. God doesn't offer anybody religion. He offers people Jesus, a personal relationship with Jesus.

And when we come into that relationship as a gift, God gives us eternal life. And you got it right now. As much as you're ever going to get, you got it. And when you know you got it, then you can face anything, including death, without fear. One other thing I love about this story is that it reminds us it's never too late to do this.

Never too late. You may think you've done too much, messed up too bad. You've committed things to horrible nonsense. This guy's being executed. He's being executed for what he did. And it wasn't too late for him. Jesus didn't turn to him and say, well, you know, you ought to thought about that before they tacked you up here on this cross, man.

No, no, no. What did Jesus say to him? Jesus said, today you'll be with me in paradise. Folks, if you've got blood going through your blood vessels and you got air coming into your lungs, it is not too late for you to turn to Jesus. And he's there for you. He was there for the thief.

He's there for you. He said, well, I got one last question, and that is, are you telling me this is the only way I can get eternal life? Are you telling me this is the only way I can get into heaven?

Because if that's what you're saying, I got to tell you something. I don't like that. That's narrow minded. That's parochial. That's exclusionary.

I don't like that. Well, let's let Jesus answer the question, shall we? John 14, verse six. I am the way, Jesus said, the truth and the life. Here's our key word. Nobody.

There's our key word. Nobody gets into heaven unless they come by way of me. So I don't like that.

Well, all I know how to say is, friends, guess what? You're not run in heaven and neither am I. And if this is what the person run in heaven says, it really doesn't matter that much whether we like it or not. Smart people don't argue with the person in charge. Smart people figure out what the person in charge demands and they do it.

Now, friends, I think the same principle is true when it comes to going to heaven. Jesus is the one in charge. Smart people don't argue with him, tell him they don't like how he set up the system.

I mean, you can do that if you want to. Smart people figure out what he demands and then we do it. Jesus has told us today what his demands are, what the conditions are. It's easy.

And if we're smart, we'll do it. Billy Graham, as I watched him come down the aisle there at the National Cathedral, so feeble, so frail. I really doubted the poor man was even going to get to the rostrum to talk.

But, boy, did God give him power. And here's what he said. He was reflecting on the assurance, the confidence that comes into our lives when we know we have eternal life.

And here's what he said, and I'll close with this. He said, and I quote, I've become an old man now and the older I get, the more I cling to this hope that I started with many years ago. Many of those people who died this past week are in heaven right now and they wouldn't want to come back.

It's so glorious and wonderful. And that's the hope for all of us who put our faith in Christ. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart. Well, friends, that's what I pray and that's what God wants. And if you need this hope in your heart, we're going to give you the chance right now to get it. So let's bow our heads together, shall we? With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, may I say that, you know, many of you who've come here for quite a while, some of you may be new with us, but if you've come for a while, you know we talk about having a relationship with Jesus every week. But we don't try to close the deal every week. We're happy if you want to kick the can down the road a little bit every week. That's great. But, folks, there comes a point every once in a while where it's time to decide whether we're ready to tie the knot in the bag.

This is one of those moments. So if you've been thinking about it, talking about it, praying about it, and you're ready to close that deal with God, to give your life to Him, and let Him give you back, among many other things, eternal life, we want to give you the chance to do that right where you sit today. You don't have to raise your hand. You don't have to get out of your seat and go anywhere.

Right where you sit. And here's how we're going to do it. I'm going to pray a prayer and I'm going to ask you if you want to do this to pray silently, one phrase at a time, right after me, right where you sit. And let's give Jesus the same thing the thief gave Him. Repentance and faith. And He'll give us back eternal life. So if you're interested in doing this, you pray silently, one phrase after me, right where you sit.

Here we go. Lord Jesus, I come to you today because I need help. I need to know that I have eternal life.

I need to know that I'm ready to meet you whenever that might happen. And so today I admit to you that I've done wrong. I admit to you that it's my own fault I'm in the situations I'm in.

I admit to you that I need a U-turn in my life. I also tell you today that I believe you're who you said you were, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world who died on the cross to pay for my sins and who rose from the dead to prove you were telling the truth. And so today I invite you to come into my life to be my personal Savior, to forgive my sin and to give me eternal life, to begin changing me from the inside out. Lord, have mercy on me like you did on that thief in Jesus' name. Father, I want to pray for the folks who prayed this prayer, that you would confirm in their heart and in their mind right now, right as they sit here, that a great transaction has taken place, that as the Bible says, they've passed over from death to life, eternal life.

And Lord, I pray that you would confirm in their hearts that the deal is done, the contract is sealed, and they now belong to you. Lord, thanks for offering us as people a way to face eternity unafraid. Lord, we're so grateful you've done that for us.

We love you for that. And our prayer is that every person here would leave today either being absolutely certain that they have eternal life and they're ready to face you whenever it happens, or determined that they're going to think about it and that they're going to move towards the point where they make a decision. Help us be smart people, God. And we pray this in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to So What with Dr. Lon Solomon. So What is an outreach of Lon Solomon Ministries. To listen to today's message or for more information, visit our website, lonsolomonministries.org. Thank you for your support. If you would like to contact us, please visit our website or call us at 866-788-7770. We hope you will join us next time when Lon seeks to answer one of life's most important questions, So What.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 19:00:36 / 2023-08-19 19:10:57 / 10

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