Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No End

Every book has an ending. Every train has a caboose. Every guarantee has an expiration date, and every musical has a finale.

Jesus had the end clearly in His mind when He hung painfully and limply upon the Cross. Hebrews 12:2 describes what was going through His mind. “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Giving birth to a child would be almost unbearable and unthinkable if it were not for the realization that there will be an end to the pain, and the birth of the child will make it all worth while.

Paul was obviously focused on the end when he wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Matthew 24 is like a Bible study maze to many of us. It raises so many questions that beg for answers. It tantalizes Bible Scholars, terrorizes the timid and fearful but throbs with excitement in the breast of sincere seekers who desire to discover God’s map of the future. When you look at it from that vantage point, it boils down to two verses.

Verse 8 – “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Verse 14 – “And then shall the end come.”

There it is: the beginning and the end. It’s the story of life as we know it today. We see the beginning of things we wish had never started, and we see the end of thing we never wanted to be over.

The disciples were so overwhelmed with mounting pressures, problems and mystifying episodes that they cried out, “When?” will the end come to all this mess? How soon will it all be over? (Matthew 24:3) As I read this, it doesn’t sound like profound, Holy Scripture. It sounds more like a line from the script of my life. When will the end come to:

  • Waiting that is driving me crazy
  • Justice that has been inverted
  • Titans of the faith who betray their followers
  • Bad things happening to good people

Finding no answer in sight, 500,000 attempted suicide and 30,535 succeeded according to a recent statistic. More and more people are finding it difficult to answer “what’s wrong” when nothing seems to be right.

One man lamented, “If someone could tell me when this would all be over, I could take it, but no one seems to know.”

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. God has promised to put an end to some things to make it possible for us have some new and better things. Revelation 21:4 promises us that “the former things will pass away.” In the same paragraph, he explains what will be coming to an end for believers. Death, tears…sorrow, and pain. These are the former things that will come to an end for believers. They will pass away never to return again, and that will make way for the new things that God has in store for us. (Revelation 21:5) And I might add---THEY WILL HAVE NO END!

They are called everlasting, without end and eternal. Isaiah described it in this picturesque language. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the EVERLASTING Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, THERE WILL BE NO END.

God has promised to take us from never-lasting to ever-lasting.

In Psalms declares, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (30:5) Weeping is never-lasting. It comes. It goes. Joy is ever lasting for those who put their trust in Christ.

Look at some of the ever-lasting things that God has promised us.

#1: Everlasting Mercy.

(Psalms 103:17 – “But the mercy of the Lord is from EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING…”)

#2: Everlasting Life.

(John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE.”)

#3: Everlasting Joy.

(Isaiah 35:10 – “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return…. and EVERLASTING JOY upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”)

#4: Everlasting Consolation And Hope.

(II Thessalonians 2:16 – “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which loved us, and hath given us EVERLASTING consolation and good hope…”)

#5: Eternal Refuge And Everlasting Arms.

(Deuteronomy 33:27 – “The ETERNAL God is thy refuge, and underneath are the EVERLASTING arms…”

Add it all up, and this is what it means to you. You are secure in His mercy, sustained by His life, satisfied with His joy, supercharged by His hope and safe in His EVERLASTING arms. Join me now, and let’s make a stanza from Amazing Grace our closing prayer and confession. “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first began.”

Selah

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

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