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Life's Fleeting Pilgrimage

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2020 7:00 am

Life's Fleeting Pilgrimage

So What? / Lon Solomon

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December 31, 2020 7:00 am

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Good morning everybody is wonderful to have you here and off you brought a Bible today would like you to open it and go to Genesis, the first book in the Bible, Genesis chapter 47 if you would. There was an article this week in the Wall Street Journal that talked about how the events of September 11 have really caused Americans all over to reevaluate their working lives. For example, a lot yoga young lady lady name Roberta measured no watch the twin towers fall from her daughter's apartment in lower Manhattan went back after that took early retirement from Kraft Foods sold her home in Massachusetts and moved to Hilton Head and here's what she was quoted as saying she said I did not get a handsome retirement package, but I just had to make the change. Seeing all that made me aware that life is short.

Then there was Dan Morgan who decided to retire early from Verizon communications.

After he went to the funeral of a friend who died in the September 11 attacks, he said and I quote I suddenly realized that I wasn't going to live forever. The Wall Street Journal said, quote financial planners say they are seeing people willing to settle for leaner retirements so they can leave their job earlier than planned. The collapse of the World Trade Center provided people everywhere with a swift and dramatic reminder that life is fleeting." This is what we want to talk about today. As we look forward to a brand-new year starting in a couple of days. We want to talk about this issue that our life really is fleeting here on this earth and how we as followers of Jesus Christ can maximize the time that we have here and use it in a smart way. So that's our plan to kick off.

We want to look at this passage here in Genesis 47 and if you live in the background. If you remember Joseph now is become prime minister of all of Egypt, and Joseph has invited his father in all of his brothers and their families to come down and emigrate into Egypt which they have done when they arrived in Egypt. Of course there was a tearful reunion and then Joseph took his dad and they went all to go see Pharaoh verse seven.

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh and Jacob last Pharaoh and after that Pharaoh asked him how old are you now, Jacob was 130 years old at this moment in time and I think his age so impressed Pharaoh that the very first thing Pharaoh thought to ask him his man.

How old are you anyway and here's what Jacob said and I go to given Pharaoh real simple answer go to said I'm 130 but he didn't actually he gave him a very profound answer. Here's what he said. Verse nine Jacob said to Pharaoh, the years of my pilgrimage are 130. My years have been few and difficult and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my father's then Jacob last Pharaoh and went out from his presence. Now there was a word that two times in verse nine Jacob uses to describe his earthly life.

He describes it with the word pilgrimage baffles what exactly is a pilgrimage well. The essence of the pilgrimage is that were on our way somewhere, but we haven't arrived yet. The essence of the pilgrimage is that our present position is not our final destination. We are in transit and this is exactly what Jacob meant when he referred to his earthly life is a pilgrimage he meant that he was merely in-transit through this earth moving through this earthly life.

On the way to his final destination which was an eternity that from cover to cover. This is the perspective on life that the Bible presents first of all, the Bible tells us that as pilgrims moving through this world.

Our time here is temporary and it short.

For example, Job 14. One man was born of woman is short-lived and full of turmoil, like a flower. He comes forth and then withers James four verse 14 what is your life.

You're like a vapor that appears for a little while and then passes away, which is why David then said Psalm 30 90 Lord, show me how fleeting my life really is.

I read an article a while back about a young girl who had cancer and had to have her leg amputated and the reporter asked her in the article whether or not she was terminal. I love her answer this young teenager she said and I quote where all terminal it's just that some of us are more aware of it than others. A great answer and you know whenever I do a funeral. I try to remind people of this biblical truth that we are just pilgrims that were just passing through, that God never intended this world to be our final destination. So the fact that our life here is short and the fact that our life here is temporary shouldn't shock us. It shouldn't surprise us.

And it certainly shouldn't depress us. This is not our home was never intended to be our whole.

The second thing the Bible teaches about this pilgrimage were on is that our ultimate destination is an eternity where we meet God. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27. It is destined for human beings to die once and after that to face God to face judgment friends.

The Bible tells us forget reincarnation. Forget recycling nobodies going to get recycled Shirley McClain is not Joan of arc. She is not Cleopatra. She is Shirley McClain to go to live once. She's going to die once she's going to face the Lord wants like everybody else does in the Bible goes on to tell us that in eternity, which is our final destination. There are two landing pads and every body will land on one of these two paths. One of them. The Bible calls heaven the other.

When the Bible calls Helen, the Bible says whichever pad you and I land on.

That's where were going to be forever. The Bible also tells us that what determines which pad we land on its determined exclusively by what we did with Jesus Christ. While we were on our earthly pilgrimage. Did we embrace him as our Messiah, our Lord and our Savior didn't we trust his death on the cross to be the only payment that we offer God for our wrongdoings.

If we did that the Bible is very clear that our landing pad is going to be heaven, and Endo listen to what Jesus said to the thief on the cross who made that decision, he said, Luke 23 today when you leave this world, let me tell you.

Were you going to Lance on you are going to be with me in paradise. This is why the Bible says Philippians chapter 3 verse 20 that for followers of Christ our citizenship is in heaven. That's where were going and second Corinthians chapter 5 verse a for us as followers of Christ to be absent from our body. When we leave here means for us to be present with the Lord focus of the wonderful news of the Bible at your follower of Christ, is that regardless of the vicissitudes the struggles the heartaches and even the tragedies of life, our eternal destination is settled.. W. And that's wonderful to know our landing pad is secure.

Now let me say if you're here and you've never trusted Christ in a real and personal way that your eternal destination. I'm afraid, is not quite that attractive and doesn't give me great joy to tell you that but focus what God says in the Bible and undo any of us any good, sugarcoated, however, the good news of the Bible is that you can change your landing pad whenever you want to you can switch it to heaven whenever you want to. By simply doing what God tells us to do in the Bible trusting Christ as our personal savior, God is not only willing to change your landing pad.

God is anxious to change your landing pad but you just gotta do what he ask you to do. You can do it here today, before you ever walk out here just bow your head to accept Christ and change your landing pad before you leave your today, what a wonderful weekend and do it to begin the new year but folks landing on the wrong pad in eternity is a nasty affair.

You don't want to do that if you're here and you're not absolutely sure your landing pad is secure, make it secure and make it secure.

Why you got the time to do it well. It summarize what we learned so far we've learned since most of us here are followers of Christ. Today we learned that were on a pilgrimage they were headed through this world on our way to our final destination called heaven that folks that pilgrimage could last all of 2002 and you could be right back here at the beginning of 2003 and were talking about sawmills for 2003 that be good or that pilgrimage could end in 2002 for you and you could actually go and arrive at your eternal destination that could happen, but either way I want to spend the rest of the time I got left this morning talking to us about 2002, being smart pilgrims we know were pilgrims that would God wants us to do is be smart pilgrims not done pilgrims and I got for suggestions about ways in which God wants you and me to be smart pilgrims in 2002.

Go number one God wants us to be smart pilgrims number one in the way that we use our time. Ephesians 5 verse 16.

Paul says redeem a the time. Make the most of the time use time strategically because as a pilgrim you know you don't have an unlimited supply of this stuff. Use it wisely in the verse that we read earlier in our Scripture reading Psalm 90 Moses rights teach us to number our days properly that their short so that we might act with wisdom and it's very interesting. As I look around our world. I noticed that most people in our world use time as though they got an absolutely unlimited supply of it.

That's how they treated it it said that it took a tragedy like 911 to wake some people up to what God's been trying to tell us from the beginning that our time is limited and we gotta be smart in how we use it. Pay your pilgrim your time is not indefinite and a smart pilgrim understands that in says okay as a smart pilgrim, I gotta be strategic about the things I do with my time. I remember about incredible story the Chuck Swindoll told a few years ago about an incident that happened to him when he was in the Los Angeles airport. He was waiting for his flight and is looking around, and he noticed there was an elderly man sitting over it all by himself. Looking out the window on the tarmac there in the waiting area and the man was just weeping uncontrollably. He said that he tried to ignore the guy for a while but finally when the when he just couldn't so weak he got up and he went over and he put his arm around the man and he said Sir you know it's about you not notice over there that you're over your cry and and and I'm a pastor I don't know if I can be of any help means you need emergency medical personnel do you need some kind of assistance you need me to call some emergency people for you and the guy was not unknown and no nothing like that and then he said this guy told him this amazing story.

He said you know my wife for years and years and years. All she ever wanted to do was go to Hawaii. She asked me for her birthday take her to Hawaii just before anniversary take me to her why she asked me for Christmas. Take me to Hawaii and he said you know I always have some excuse why wouldn't work to go to why we didn't have enough money. I was too busy at work. Children needed too much. We need to spend the money on the house.

Whatever is about two months ago my wife took ill and passed away and he said she was lying there in the hospital about ready to die, was visiting with her and she took my hand in hers he said to Chuck and she looked at me in the eye and she said would you do me a big favor and he said sure. Anything she said when I die, would you go to Hawaii please and so I said here I am. I'm off to Hawaii by myself. Having buried my wife and I'm sitting here saying to myself what in the world was so potent that all those years I never took my wife to Hawaii truck settles on the most tragic things he's ever experienced in his life. That poor man that folks are smart pilgrims will do no better than put things off like this is smart pilgrims will do no better than procrastinate important things in life because we don't know how much time we got but we know we don't have unlimited time and so in 2002.

If you want to be a smart pilgrim and if I want to be a smart pilgrim. It means that we don't put off the important things like serving God and investing in our family and speaking to people about their relationship with Christ and caring for all the people around us because we don't know how much time we got we got to make it strategic and how we use number two smart pilgrims number two distinguish themselves in the way that we approach future planning. James chapter 4 says now listen, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that city and carry on business to make money why you don't even know what will happen to you tomorrow. James says so instead you ought to say if it's the Lord's will, we will live and do this or do that some of you may remember Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and if you remember he went into his office one day walk past a secretary closed his door to work on is up or it is a business when his secretary came to getting to keep his lunch appointment, he was dead in his office. He had a heart attack slumped over his head was down on the desk. He was gone.

That poor man couldn't even keep his lunch date and smart pilgrims understand there are no guarantees on this pilgrimage that this is a very high this is a a very uncertain pilgrimage in terms of when were leaving and so smart pilgrims plan the future but they plan very lightly and they never say I will do this they never say I will go there. They always say deal Valente, Lord willing, I'll go hear the Lord willing, I'll go there because the Lord might be willing for me to come home, in which case I'm not going anywhere else down here I'm going home. You know I drive my family crazy say in this. My kids are coming out. Can we do this.

Can we do that we did nothing.

I was go, Lord willing, and ago. What is wrong with you. What did you just ever say or say no. Why you always gotta say, the Lord will live. One son said to me you just say this to irritate me. Don't know I don't say this to irritate you.

I say this because this is biblical truth. I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring how can I say we will go anywhere will go there. Lord willing friend. Smart pilgrims plan but they plan lightly, because they realize it's all up to the grace of God.

When we do anything tomorrow number three smart pilgrims distinguish themselves in the way that they use their material wealth first Timothy chapter 6 verse seven for we brought nothing into this world.

I was there when all for my children came out the womb and they came out the womb with nothing. I was there to see it nothing and it is certain.

The Bible says certain that we can take nothing out of this world. We've all seen pictures of the pyramid.

Some of us to visit the pyramids, you know, the pyramids of course were just big tunes, that's all for the pharaohs and when the Pharaoh would die they would bury all the material possessions of the Pharaoh right in the tomb with them because they figured he need him for the afterlife will, of course, most of these tombs of all been robbed centuries ago. There's nothing there but in 1922. Mr. Howard Carter found the tomb of Pharaoh took on Kyle moon we better know is that King taught, and in there found the most in audible treasures. And this was a minor Pharaoh. He only ruled for nine years and and and if you know it staggers the imagination to think what must've been in some of the tombs of these major pharaohs we see what was in the skies to the here's the interesting thing, though, when they found all of this 3500 years later, guess what everything was right where they put it, not one thing had moved 1 inch you know why because it is certain we can take nothing out of this world with us and friends, even if they bury you in your BMW. It does make a bit different. It's gonna be there 3000 years later you're not taking that with you now this is why the Bible goes on to tell smart pilgrims how to handle their wealth.

The Bible says. First Timothy chapter 6 commandos who are rich in this world you say will that's good, that's not for me. All if you've ever traveled anywhere outside of the United States.

You know that people who make the average salary in Washington are rich women and rich men compared to the rest of the world. Oh yes, this applies to us commandos who are rich in this world not to put their trust in uncertain riches, command them to do good with their money to be rich in good deeds to be generous and willing to share.

For by doing this they will lay up for themselves treasure in heaven see friends as pilgrims. The only riches we can take with us to heaven all the riches we give away to the work of God while were down here that's it and I hope you and I cannot misunderstand what I'm going to say, but this past week I was sitting in my office at home and I was get ready to write out my end of the year, giving check to McLean Bible church.

I'd address the envelope and everything and I wrote the check and just let me say for where my family and I are right now.

It was a fairly substantial amount that we were going to give and I wrote the check and and I went to stick it in the envelope and then I hesitated. I couldn't get it in the envelope and let me tell you I couldn't get in the envelope because I was sitting there thinking about all the things I could do with this money if I didn't give it to the work of God in all the things I could buy and so I'm paralyzed. I cannot get this check in the envelope sitting there. Try it was right at that moment that the Lord spoke to my heart and said lawn hello yes Lord, he said lawn you lead tours of the Middle East right yes I do, Lord you been to Cairo. I guess I have Lord you been in the Egyptian Museum right I have Lord you seen the treasures of King taught I have Lord did any of that go with him on the lawn. Don't be a dumb pilgrims on his smart pilgrims everything you buy with this money. If you keep it by stop is all stay in right here but you give that money to the work of God, and you have my promise.

When you get to your destination in heaven. It'll all be in that bank account every dollar of it waiting for you when you get there not be a smart pilgrims you know what I put that check in the envelope licked it sealed Senate and everyone thought about it again folks it's amazing how little bit of biblical truth will change the way you handle your resources down here and I'm here to tell you that if this world were our home.

If this is where we were staying permanently, God would be telling us in the Bible to hoard everything we could get our hands on not be up here telling you to do it. Follow my example I would.

But this is not our final home. This is not where were going smart pilgrims understand that and they make sure they send enough on ahead that when they get to their final destination. There's enough weight and therefore them that they're happy with their bank account. Be smart in 2002 smart pilgrims in the way you use your material will number four and finally his smart pilgrims number four are distinguished by the way we make our choices in life. First Peter chapter 2 verse 11. I urge you, as foreigners and pilgrims in this world as our word to stay away from sinful desires that wage war against your soul. Instead, live holy and doglike lives as you look forward to the day that you and God will meet you know Merv Griffin. Some of us here know who is the we remember his talk show years ago on television is also the creator of a number of a very well-known game shows no wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy family feud survey says. Young said you know what anyway. He was on TV a while back and here's what he said and I quote he said 100 years from now, who in the world is ever going to know what any of us did so why worry." Well, I say to Merv survey says and Merv.

You got that wrong because the Bible says exact opposite. The Bible says not only does God know everything that you and I do.

But as followers of Christ.

When we arrive in heaven. He's going to give us a performance review. Were we go back over everything. You and I've ever done.

Not not in terms of whether or not we stay in heaven. I mean, that was settled. The day we trusted Christ, but in terms of reward or lack thereof, the God hands to us when we arrive friends. The Bible speaks of this performance review all the time.

Second Corinthians 5 verse 10 for we as followers of Christ must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one of us may receive what is due us reward or lack thereof, for the things we did while we were on our pilgrimage in this human body for Romans 14 verse 12 so then, as Christians, each of us will give an account of himself or herself to God. I think knowing this if you're a smart pilgrim makes a huge difference in what you choose to do down here me.

Why is it that I try and choose to try not to cheat not to lie not to steal, not to commit adultery not to help women not to defy authority to keep my wording when I'm sorry I gave my word. Why not because I'm afraid of not going to heaven if I do some of these things plaintiff because I know that I'm going to face Jesus Christ, eyeball to eyeball. When I arrived and I'm going to give up personal accounting of every thought, every word, every deed, every action that I did all my pilgrimage. I'm telling you that scares me. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm here to tell you every one of you is going to have the opportunity to have that same appointment with the Lord Jesus that did make a difference in the choices that you and I make that all I can say is we are all pilgrims go. I believe that smart pilgrims are always asking themselves a question many times a day and what is that question.

It's not. So what that is not the question. The question that smart pilgrims ask themselves is this question here we go.

Am I prepared when I arrive in heaven to look the risen Lord Jesus square in the eyeballs to explain what it is I'm about to go do and then to accept the consequences that follow going to tell you it's pretty amazing when I run things through that that little question how quickly things I really wanted to do 10 seconds before look unattractive after I run them through that I say to myself, well, you know, I really wanted to do this, but if I gotta stand in front of Jesus and explain this and I don't think I want to do with that. There are young let this one go friends is a question we should ask ourselves for we say things before we do things.

Many of us face this question after we done it. That's the wrong time to ask the town ask is before we do it because as pilgrims we know were headed for that showdown were headed for that meeting and for smart we let that that knowledge affect the choices that we make here owner what we learned today about being a smart pilgrim in 2002.

What we learn number one that a smart pilgrim is distinguished by the way he or she uses their time they use it strategically because they realize they don't have an unlimited supply number two. A smart pilgrim is distinguished by the way we approach future planning. We approach it lightly, the Lord willing. That's how we plan number three. A smart pilgrim is distinguished by the way we spend our money and manage our earthly resources.

We realize were leaving here were leaving everything material behind. We better make sure we send someone ahead by giving it to the work of God, and number four smart pilgrims are distinguished by the way we make our choices in life. We know we have a performance review, a Morgan a look Jesus, eyeball to eyeball. When we get there and we make choices that were knocking to be ashamed of when we have to face this is how smart pilgrims live my prayer for you. My prayer for me in 2002 is that we will distinguish ourselves by being smart pilgrims were pilgrims, we can't change that we can be done.

Pilgrims are wing be smart pilgrims and I hope will be smartphones. Let me close by saying that, do you know what the biggest obstacle here in Washington DC is in trying to bring people to faith in Christ ago. Yeah I know what it is. People here to educated note say whether to secularize no father to affluent, that's not it is the Supreme Court that the wife would get in the way no no no, not the Supreme Court friends here is what it is the biggest obstacle of bringing people to Christ.

Here in Washington is that most people in this city don't see any real difference between the way we as followers of Christ live the way they live. We tell them what their need for Christ and how Jesus can change your life and they look at people claim to be Christians. And I say well you know what I look at the way she lives.

I like the way he lives.

Otto seen a big change. They live just like I live see God wants us to live so differently that when people look at our lives in the good sense they say yeah I do see a difference I see that person living out a biblical worldview and they may not know these words, but they will end up saying in concept that person be in a smart pilgrim. I can see the difference difference in the way they use time difference in the way they plan the future difference in the way they use their money difference in the way that they make their choices. I see a difference as a wholesome difference. And if willing to make an impact on the city for Jesus Christ were knocking to do it by just putting stuff on the radio were not going to do it just by having church programs friends away were going to make an impact on the city is having thousands of smart pilgrims go out there and live a pilgrim biblical worldview in the eyes of everybody around us. That's the only way were going to make that different. So that's my challenge to you and me is in 2002. Let's live like smart pilgrims.

Let's make an impact on this because you know the hymn goes. This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue the angels beckon me from heaven's open door and I can feel at home in this world anymore. That's truth.

Now let's go out live it. What you say is pretty Lord Jesus, thank you so much for talking to us today about write down where we live everyday life. Lord, you know, the world entices us in the world lures us towards making decisions, making choices, spending our money using our time making our plans in ways that that reflect that were to be here forever, that this world is our final resting place. My prayer is that you would give us a biblical perspective, a biblical worldview. My prayer Lord, is that you would remind us were just pilgrims were just passing through, and that our final destination is with you.

We need to live like that.

We need to handle our resources like that.

We need to make choices in light of that use our time that way. So God change our lives because we were here today and made that change be conspicuous to the people around us so that we might have the privilege of seeing many of their lives changed God. May 2000 and to be a wonderful year for us a year where, regardless of the difficulties you find us living like smart pilgrims and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen

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