The 2008 theme of the North Valley Baptist Church stems from this passage of Scripture:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
– Hebrews 10:25
The anticipation of that glorious day expressed by the writer of Hebrews continues to find an echo, even hundreds of years later, in the hearts of each of the Lord’s children. Church family and Christian friends around the world, we know that the Lord Christ Jesus is coming soon. We sing, “Maybe today, my Lord will come for me”—yet do we believe that He might truly return today? Do we live and serve as if He will come for us “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”?
My wife recently asked her father—a wonderful, godly man who has pastored the same church for fifty-five years—“Dad, when do you believe the Lord will come again?” He immediately replied, “Today—I believe He is coming today.” His response was not meant to be received as a prediction but rather as a wise Christian’s perspective on the second coming of the Lord. Unfortunately, many of us regard our Lord’s return as a future event, one that may transpire sometime in our lives—but not today. Having this casual spirit about the second coming will inevitably lead us to possessing a casual Christianity, serving and living as if the Lord will return soon but not today. Why does it seem as if the servants of God must be propped up in order to stay in the race, limping and stumbling along?
Why must we plead with God’s people to come to the house of the Lord? Why must invitations to church sound all too close to a sales pitch? “Will you please come to Sunday school? We have a special day planned!” I am certainly not opposed to planning special events and organizing campaigns in the ministry; yet we must realize how far removed we are from what the work of the ministry really is when we gauge the success of our service to the Lord by the number of church members who respond to our continuous begging and pleading to be on time to a service. Why must we plead with God’s people to come to the house of the Lord? It is a sad day when choir members must be urged to be faithful. It is a sad day when special music people must be prodded to practice. It is a sad day when God’s people must be coerced into tithing in their New Testament local churches. It is a sad day when we don Christian apparel on Sunday but attire ourselves like the world the rest of the week. It is a sad day when we preach prayer in church but do not practice it at home. All of this is a result of possessing a casual Christianity, stemming from how a people view the Lord’s return—He will come again soon, but not today. There is then no urgency or need to accomplish “so much the more” because we “see the day approaching” soon but not today.
A few hours ago, I was speaking with a dear preacher’s wife who is standing at the bedside of her precious husband. He will likely draw his last breath today. He has preached for a lifetime, and his race on earth is almost ended. His wife said that he shifts in and out of delirium, lucid one moment and incoherent the next. In this state, he preaches and, many times, gives invitations and pleads with the lost to come to Christ Jesus. He has run a good race and, even on the threshold of eternity, is still running. I challenge God’s people to run “the race that is set before us,” a course granting us the unparalleled privilege of serving the Lord. Sell out to Him. Let us not be 90% or even 99% Christians; let us be faithful and give ourselves wholly to God “so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
As I grow older, I find in myself a greater desire to do more and not less. I well realize that the days I have served my Lord in the past far outnumber the days I have left in my future. Time is quickly passing, compelling me to do more for Him. It is my prayer that I will accomplish more now in the Lord’s work than I have ever done before in reading the Word of God, praying, attending the house of the Lord, preaching, tithing, sacrificing, giving, and soul winning. Death may come today; our Lord may return today. Yet if He chooses to tarry in His coming, let us not be counted as casual Christians but as sold-out servants giving our best to the King of kings.
Thank you for being a blessing and an encouragement to me. God bless each of you.