"...think on these things" (Phil. 4:8)

SEVEN SOBERING CERTAINTIES

In this age of change and changing things there seems to be nothing that is certain or absolute. People are going to and fro feeling that there is nothing upon which they can depend. Changes and turmoil are all over the world, even in the USA! All seems so lacking in dependence. As a result people are forgetting the things that really count. They are laying aside those things that are of eternal value and turning to earthly things is search of happiness. We need today some certainties upon which we can depend; certainties that will awaken and sober us to things that are real, lasting, and valuable. Things that will give one a "sure-footing" in this fleeting world. Are there any such things? Yes! Let's take a look at some of them.

I. There is the certainty of exposure--one's sins will find him out. "But if you will not do so, you have sinned against the Lord and be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23). While this may not be done in this life, be assured that there is a time coming when the sins will be exposed - in the judgment. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with ever secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecc. 12: 13). We may succeed in fooling our friends and relatives, but we cannot fool God. He knows our life and heart "all things are open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13}. We can depend on this. The certainty of exposure is as certain as God. "So then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12).

II. There is the certainty of leaving our earthly possessions! One thing that experience should teach us is that "we can't take it with us." We say this jokingly many times, but it is also as certain as God Himself. Regardless of how much of this world's goods we accumulate, when we die we will leave it all here. One man asked another as they looked on the remains of a rich man, "How much did he leave?" The solemn reply was, "He left it all." The apostle Paul declared: "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out" (1 Tim. 6:7). Even Job understood this reality: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there" (Job 1:22). What we possess is given to us by God to use faithfully while here for His glory and the benefit of men. By faithfully using what God has entrusted to us we can expect to enjoy the results in the world to come. We can, as Jesus taught, "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven!" This is a certainty that should sober us all and cause us to be worthy stewards of what we have of this world's goods.

III. There is the certainty of harvest time. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Gal. 6: 6-7). Not only shall we reap (harvest) as we sow, but the reaping is inevitable and certain. We can depend on it. It should sober us and make us very careful of the sowing that we do, that it is done so we will be glad to reap accordingly.

IV. The certainty of death is too certain to be even questioned. Experience teaches us this sobering truth, to say nothing of God's word. We know this is true and yet it seems to fail to have the sobering effect on us that it should. We must all die. "No man has authority ... over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it" (Ecc. 8:8). Paul wrote: "...it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment..." (Heb. 9:27). Knowing that we shall die and not knowing when should cause us to give more concern to being prepared for thai event. Are you prepared for that event? How foolish indeed is he who knowing the certainty of this event fails to prepare for that time. The proof of death is all around us. Are you prepared?

V. As certain as death is the certainty of the judgment. "... because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment..." (Heb. 9:27). This day is set; it is an appointed day. It is coming to you and it is coming to me. That day is coming to all mankind. "For we must all appear before the judgment- seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5: 10}. We can depend upon this certainty. We shall be judged, and this judgment will be according to what we have done in the body; that is, in this earthly life. A sobering certainty indeed. "Are YOU ready for that day to come?"

VI. Then there is the certainty of the separation of the wicked from the righteous. This will finally be done at the judgment bar of God. "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all nations will be gathered before Him: and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on the left" (Matt. 25:31-33). This is a sure and certain event. In which group will I be is a question of the greatest importance. We determine this, our final destiny, now in this lifetime. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life..." (John 10: 27-28). His sheep hear I l is voice and they follow Him. They follow Him all the way. Is that what you are doing constantly?

VIII. This brings us to the certainty of final reward. What our rewards will be depends upon how we have lived here; how we have obeyed and followed Jesus. For His faithful sheep Jesus says their reward will be: "Come you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). These, the righteous, shall go into "life eternal". On the other hand just as sure and certain is the fate of those on His left hand: "Depart from me, accused ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:46). The "everlasting fire" is "everlasting punishment" that shall last as long as the righteous enjoy "life eternal." What a sobering certainty! Just think of it! An endless suffering, all because one failed to obey the Lord's will, spurned His mercy and grace, and lived a life of lust and pleasure. How foolish!

Careless soul why will you linger, unprepared to meet your God? Today is the day of salvation; harden not your heart. --- cah