TITLE: Ready for Heaven? 7/9/10
By Richard McCaw
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Ready for heaven?
A family we knew went to the beach one day, where the father and mother relaxed under an umbrella carefully watching their children as they played with each other. Suddenly, their ball bounced into the sea, and the father rushed after it and caught it on a wave. But then screamed, struggled and suddenly, sank swiftly below the waters sucked in by quicksand. He was so young, leaving everyone, taking nothing; his hopes, dreams and plans, gone in a moment! Not ready to die, nor ready for heaven!
Some Sundays, my best friend Tony Falloon and I visited the sick in the hospital. We soon found out that life can really be beautiful, but sometimes terribly cruel! The odor of medicine mingled with the stench of the sick and dying, could not attract the weak and faint-hearted. One could not escape the awful reality of sin with its consequences of sickness and death.
We soon discovered that many of the sick were merely religious and believed that God would approve their church attendance, baptism or good works they by and slip them into heaven. With others physical sickness sometimes reflected their spiritual condition of long resentment toward others while others despised the church. Many others had no clue that Christ was the answer to their ills. Still others had surrendered to despair and saw no reason for living.
One Sunday afternoon, while visiting Kingston Public Hospital, we stood by the bed of Rudolf Slue, a man whose body was swollen perhaps twice the normal size. We ministered the Word of God to him and he professed faith in Christ. Afterwards he expressed a longing for some of his favorite foods. So, we left the hospital, hurried to a nearby shop and returned with *sprats (a Jamaican delicacy of small fried fish) and a soda..
The following Sunday, I returned to visit Rudolf.. At the door of the hospital ward I remarked to a nurse passing by, “I don’t see Rudolf’s bed!”
“Oh!” she replied coldly: “He died about Thursday!”
I stood dumbfounded as I met death face to face. Rudolf’s passing reminded us of words we had heard probably in a sermon somewhere: “Life is short, death is sure; sin the cause, Christ the cure!”
Luke, the apostle, once referred to a previous letter he had written to Theophilus, a Roman official, in which he had recounted ‘all that Jesus began both to do and teach.’
Jesus not only preached, but demonstrated the power of God in action. He reached out and touched the leper, that outcast whom no-one wanted to be near. He visited and ate with Zachaeus, the publican, that rich extortioner, whom everyone despised. To the woman caught in adultery, whom the self-righteous Pharisees condemned, He showed mercy, and sent her away forgiven with the hope of a new life.
The love of Christ compels us to reach out not only to the lost and rejected of society, but to all.
I remember an itinerant preacher during a crusade at Bethany Gospel Hall, who would say quite often, “I’m a dying man preaching to dying people!” A sobering thought for me to contemplate as a young teenager starting out in the Christian life! Now, I was beginning to experience the seriousness of what he meant.
The reality of life lived on the edge of death came forcibly home to me as I read frightening verses in the Bible such as, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” and “Death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
I shuddered to think of the horror of being cut off from this life. I needed to know Christ not just as a Savior from sin, but in His power to deliver me from the fear of death, a spirit that all my life kept me in bondage to the terrible dread of leaving this life and going out into the dark unknown.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift of His Son, Who died to free us from every fear, and prepare us to live with Him forever.
Peace can rule our hearts. Jesus Christ said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
When the patriarch Abraham became God’s friend, he separated from those who worshipped idols. God enabled him to live a holy life, separate from sin. Once we come into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ, we escape from the control of Satan.
When Madame Currie, the great French scientist, discovered radium treatment for cancer, it was a major breakthrough in medical science. That discovery no longer remained locked up in her laboratory, but the whole world waited and received the good news.
Although many advances in medicine are prolonging many lives, life is still short. Men are still waiting to hear the good news that Jesus Christ is God’s eternal cure for sin! In everything we do or say, therefore, let us lift Him higher and higher so that the entire world may know that He is the only cure for sin, and that He is waiting to forgive and to receive all who acknowledge their sins!
In all this God was gently burning in my heart His passion for the lost in this end time generation.
Anyone led by the Spirit will walk on the narrow way and follow the Savior. He came to seek and to save the lost. How sad that many stand hungry and waiting, hoping for someone to show them the way, but so few of us ever become workers in the kingdom of God!
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