Gambling With Death

James 1:15

Essentially, there are only two important matters to consider in this life.
One is the uncertainty of life.
The other is the certainty of death.

There are two kinds of death.

There is physical death.
Almost everyone prepares for physical death.
We make our wills.
We buy our life insurance.
We make plans for families in preparing for physical death.

But too few give attention to spiritual death.

There are also two kinds of people who come to death -- the saved and the lost.

Death is no respecter of persons. (Hebrews 9: 27)
The young die as well as the old, die.
Death is everywhere.

Just catch the daily news, and you hear of fatal car wrecks,
plane crashes, train wrecks, earthquakes, hurricanes
-- and all who die are going out to meet God in one way or another.

As we think of the awfulness of death, and especially, of a person dying without Christ,
let us think of three essential facts.

The Frailty of Life

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow?
For what is your life?
It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away
." (James 4:14)

The Bible warns of the uncertainty of our days, the frailty of life,
and the necessity of making our peace with God.

God's Word warns, "Prepare to meet thy God."

Jesus said in John 3:36:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abideth on him.
"

Jesus also said in John 6:37:
"Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out."

The outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross plead for all to come.
Even as He died, He did not turn one away.
The thief believed and received Him as Saviour.

Down through the ages, God's faithful prophets have been calling upon people everywhere
to repent of their sins, and to trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

To those here without Jesus,
I would urge you to prepare to meet God for you have no promise of tomorrow.
You have no promise of another day.
You have no promise for even another hour.

Life is so uncertain, so make preparation to meet God today.

Foolishness of Playing With Sin

The Bible tells us that God hates sin.
The Bible tells us that no one can prosper who walks in the way of sin.

You may say, "I know a lot of people who are prospering, and they are not Christians."

And I would have to answer that you don't know anyone who is prospering in sin.
No one prospers who walks in sin.

God doesn't measure time by 40, 50, 60 or 70 years.
Time is eternal!

Remember, God doesn't settle all debts in October.
God doesn't measure time by the way man thinks,
and no one can prosper who practices sin.

The Bible warns, "The wages of sin is death."
That is not success!

The foolish person may say,
"I want to enjoy life. I am going to have a good time.
No preacher is going to scare m
e."

So, he who sins goes on in his ways, but then, death comes,
and he faces God and receives God's final judgment.
Then, he will know the truth of eternal punishment.

Oh, the foolishness of sin.
How horrible it is to turn away from God, and refuse the way of salvation.
How foolish it is for one to enjoy the little fleeting pleasures of this life,
and turn away from eternal life.

Many keep grasping for the pleasures of this day
-- just for a bit of time, just a few hours -- then it is all gone.
Then all eternity is ahead.
They go out unprepared to meet God.

Others have put off salvation, the heart has become hard,
and now they have no interest in salvation.
They intended to be saved sometime,
but all desire to receive the Lord Jesus has now been taken away.

They can hear the Word of God preached and say,
"I don't need your God. I'm not concerned."
And they go on their way of sin.

Sin has dulled their sensibilities and their ability to understand that they need Jesus.

Beware of playing with sin,
and thinking that someday you will turn to the Lord Jesus.

Sam Jones, an evangelist of years ago,
illustrates what we are trying to impress on all those without Christ.

A man rode into town on a beautiful black pony.
He rode around the square for several minutes.
Soon, a crowd of boys was following him.

At first, he didn't say anything.
He just kept riding, and the boys kept following
and admiring the black pony with the beautiful bridle and saddle.

He came to a store, climbed up on the porch, and began to talk to the crowd of boys:

"I'm going to raffle off this pony.
I will sell chances for you to win this pony at two dollars each.
These chances will be put in a hat, and a name will be drawn.
That boy will be the winner.
The pony will be his
!"

The boys came up, and paid their money.
When all of the boys had paid their two dollars, it amounted to a lot of money.
The man asked someone from the crowd to draw a name out of the hat.

A name was drawn.
A boy about the age of 12 won the pony.
He was tremendously excited.
The pony was his.
He thanked the man over and over.

The boy climbed up on the back of the pony, and rode around town for several minutes
while all the other boys watched with envy.

After a while, he said that he was going to ride out and show the pony to his mother and father.
The boy rode down the main road toward his home.
As he neared home, he saw his father sitting on the front porch reading the newspaper.

He rode the pony into the yard, and called for his father to come and see his pony.
He said, "Dad, look what I won for two dollars."

The father looked up at his boy for a moment, and then quickly looked back at his newspaper.
On page 1 was a picture and story of a black pony.
The story related how vicious it was, and how the pony had already killed four men.

There was a warning for folks to beware,
that someone might try to sell that vicious animal to someone in town.

The father dropped his paper, and ran toward the boy pleading with him to get off the pony.

But the boy said, "No way!"
Then he rode out of his father's reach.

When the mother came out of the house, the father explained what was happening.
The mother cried, "Son, get off! That pony is dangerous!"

But the son said, "No, it's not the same pony. It hasn't hurt me."
Then he began to ride up and down the road.

The boy rode down the road for more than a mile.
His parents could see him in the distance riding back and forth.
Then they saw him turn around and start back toward the house.

As he came riding up the road, the pony came to a turn in the road,
and then galloped off into a field.

He was running hard and fast toward the age of a cliff.
As the pony galloped to the edge of this high cliff,
he plunged over the cliff carrying the boy with him to the rocks below.

When the mother and father came to the place they had fallen,
they found his body crushed on the rocks, and the dead pony over to the side of him.

What a tragic story!

To all, who are not Christians -- are you listening?
It is foolish to say, "Oh, I'm going to make it."
Yet, you go on your way stubbornly clinging to some sin.

It may seem like an innocent little black pony.
It may be a habit of drink or drugs.
It may be dishonesty in business or in friendships or in marriage.
It may be...

You may be clinging to all this, and thinking that you will get by -- sin and all.
But remember -- "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)

The uncertainty of life, the awfulness of sin, and the foolishness of going on in sin...
Stop before it is too late!
Receive Jesus as your personal Saviour now!

The Folly of Rejecting Jesus

There could be someone thinking,
"I'm sure what you are saying is true, but I'm going to put it off for a while.
I will be saved one day
."

Oh, the folly of rejecting Christ.
Listen to this verse:

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck,
shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy
." (Proverbs 29: 1)

Every rejection of Christ makes it harder the next time.
Every rejection makes the world more determined against God.

Every single time you say, "No," and every time you refuse the invitation to come to Christ,
your heart becomes a little harder.
It becomes more difficult for you to say, "Yes."

A pastor was visiting a dying man in the hospital.
The man was not a Christian.

The pastor asked, "Wouldn't you like to be a Christian?"

In a voice so weak, the pastor could hardly hear,
the man whispered, "I don't know whether I want to be a Christian or not."

Imagine a dying man, on the very brink of eternity,
with death staring him in the face saying,
"I'm not sure I want to."

The pastor continued to talk to him, but he still said, "I'm not sure I want to."

Beware of putting off the matter of salvation until your heart becomes so hard
and your will so stubborn that you will reject Jesus even with death staring you in the face.

Oh, the folly of rejecting Jesus!

I read the sad story of the Conemaugh Dam.

Engineers were sent to the valley to inspect the dam.
They pointed out the weakness of the dam, and declared that it was unsafe.
In fact, they said that it was going to break.

After discovering that the dam was unsafe, they rode through the valley warning people:
"Move out! Move to high ground! Get away as soon as possible!"

The engineers went away, but the people remained in their homes.

The engineers returned for a second time.
They inspected the dam again.
They warned the people again.
They urged them to move out before the dam breaks.

This time the people laughed,
"You were here a short time ago, and nothing has happened. Everything is just as it was."
And they stayed on.

The engineers again went on their way, knowing that they had done all they could do.

Then, for a third time the engineers came back.
This was in the spring of the year.
This time their warning was more urgent.

They wrote a letter to every person in the valley.
The letter warned, "You must get out at once! Move out of here! Move to higher ground!
The dam is going to break. You must move to a safe place
!"

Again, the people ignored their warning.
They said, "You're just trying to get our rich, good land, and we are not going to move."
They continued to resist the warning.

The engineers rode out of the valley.

Fifteen days later, a man came riding like mad through the valley on horseback crying out,
"The dam is breaking! The waters are coming!"

He continued to shout and scream and cry.
It was said that some of the people just stood and laughed at him.

But he was not out of sight before they could hear the sound of the rushing waters.
The dam had busted and in just a few minutes,
3,300 people had lost their lives.

It took over six weeks to dig their bodies out of their muddy graves.
3,300 people died!

They had been warned -- not once, not twice, but three times
-- just like I am warning all those who are here without Christ.

Turn to Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Saviour.
You need not be lost.
You need not die and spend an eternity in hell.

Do not wait until it is too late!

To say,"No," to Jesus is the most horrible and deadly sin that one can ever commit!
That sin is unpardonable!
It is the unpardonable sin.

Say, "Yes" to Jesus while there is still time and opportunity.

Today is the day to decide!
Today is the day of salvation!

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White