LET THE BIBLE SPEAK – What Is Your Life?


Announcer: Today on Let
the Bible Speak – In a time where life
has been cheapened, the Bible asks us an
important rhetorical question: what is your life? We’ll talk about that today
on Let the Bible Speak. From the churches of Christ From the churches of ChristLet k Let the Bible Speak with Kevin Presley ♪ Intro Music ♪ Greetings and welcome
to Let the Bible Speak, it’s wonderful to be with you, it’s a great privilege to
be invited into your home or wherever you are
to open up God’s word and to study it
for a little while. And I wanna talk to you today about a very, very
important question, and how you answer this
question will determine how you live, and
ultimately how you die, and where you spend eternity. That question is what is life? Now, sometimes we ask that
question in a very broad, philosophical sense, but
literally, what is your life? What is life itself? Where does life come from? What does life mean? Now, while science searches for the answers
to that question, and many search for the answers with the assumption that life
is just some random accident that occurred somehow, the word of God has a
different explanation. And the word of God has
provided us some wonderful and some important answers to
that question, what is life? I suppose about all of us
at some point in our lives ask the question what
is my life all about? Why am I here, why do I exist? Perhaps as we near
the sunset of life, we look back and we think
what was it all about? Did I really make a difference, did I make the most
out of this life? Was it worth living? The apostle James asked a
sobering question in James 4 that should make us
stop and really ponder all of these things from
a spiritual standpoint. James 4:14, James
rhetorically asks, “For what is your life? “It is even a vapor that
appears for a little time, “and then vanishes away.” In one sense, that’s
almost a gloomy assessment, you’re here, you’re
here for a brief time, and then you’re gone. But is that all life amounts
to, or is there more to it? What is your life? I want us to ponder
that question together, and we’ll do so
in just a moment, so stay with us for
our study today. – If you would like to dig
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Bible Correspondence Course. James’ familiar rhetorical
question is a challenging one, and it should provoke a
great deal of reflection and introspection in all of us. Perhaps it’s a question that
seems easy to answer on paper, it’s a question, though,
that the great sages, theologians, and philosophers
have waxed eloquent while trying to answer down
through the stream of time, but today it’s a very personal and very real and
sobering question, if we will let ourselves stop
and really think about it. What is your life? Sometime ago I conducted
a funeral for a man who really wasn’t very old, and like many other
funerals I have preached, it caused me, this
one especially, to pause and consider that very
question, what is your life? Sometimes we struggle for
appropriate words at a funeral because, well, I
for one, wonder, what did that person really
make of his or her life? How do you sum it up? Here I am trying to
summarize however many years that person lived
upon this earth, the impact that they made,
what their life amounted to, how do I do that? Did the things that he or she chose to spend
time on earth for, and the things that
he or she invested in, did they really matter? And more importantly,
do they matter now? When we lose someone young
and strong and vital, we come face to face
with our own mortality, and it makes us think
about the brevity of life. When we say goodbye to someone
who has lived a long life, we’re then prompted to
step back and evaluate what life really amounts to. What is the meaning and purpose of this time that we have here? Well, we’re gonna take a look at a few answers to
that question today, because it should tell us
some very important things, some critical things
about ourselves. First of all, I wanna
stress that your life is a brief and uncertain
existence, don’t
ever forget that. We are always but one step, one heartbeat away
from eternity. James 4:14, James says,
“For what is your life? “It is even a vapor that
appears for a little time “and then vanishes away.” Now, what James is talking
about is like the morning fog. It appears nestled down in
the valley in the early dawn, and just as the sun begins
its upward and westward climb, it’s gone, like a handful of steam that you might try to
catch in your hand, or a cloud that
forms in the sky, and then within
moments scatters away. James says that’s
what your life is. He says that because
he wants us to remember that life is far from
a permanent thing. In fact, he begins that
very verse by saying, “Whereas you do not know
what will happen tomorrow.” Well, here we are, laying plans, thinking that we have a
long, long time to live, many dreams to pursue,
goals to accomplish. I daresay that you
have plans already made for the week ahead, if
it be the Lord’s will, you may have long range goals
and aspirations for your life, you may have your
life all laid out as to how you want it to go,
and the course you wanna take. James says that when it
is all said and done, no matter how long we
spend upon this earth, it was but a vapor. When Job was languishing
in his suffering and sorrow after death had come and
taken his loved ones, life became a real
mystery to him. In Job 7:6, he said, “My days are swifter
than a weaver’s shuttle.” In the scriptures, we also find life compared
to taking a journey, or a frail and fragile flower, life’s been referred
to as a dream, or likened to a tale that is
told, compared to a hen breath, suggesting it has very
limited dimensions. And those are only a few of
the many figures of speech used in the Bible and
beyond to remind us of the brevity and the very
fragile nature of life. I hope that today you
will consider life as a precious gift from God, and a real treasure,
because it is. But it’s also a
very brittle thread that can break at any moment. We’re always but
one step from death, one heartbeat from eternity, and as we get caught
up in living our lives, we tend to forget about that. The Psalmist in
Psalm 39:4-5 said, “Lord, make me to know my end, “and what is the
measure of my days “that I may know how frail I am. “Indeed, you have made
my days as handbreadths “and my age is as
nothing before you. “Certainly every man
at his best state “is but a vapor, you see.” Psalm 144:4, “Man
is like a breath, “his days are like
a passing shadow.” The wise man warned
us in Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, “for you do not know what
a day may bring forth.” Just as James tells us
that life is a vapor, all of these passages remind
us not to place much confidence in the future, and
in our earthly lives. One of my favorite
little poems says the clock of life
is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will
stop, at late or early hour. The present only is our own,
so live, love, toil with will, place no faith in tomorrow, for
the clock may then be still. For many years, I worked
in television news, and one of my duties besides
anchoring nightly newscasts was to go out
sometimes and cover what we called breaking
news or spot news. There were many times,
especially late at night, when I would be sent to
the scene of a tragedy, maybe a house fire,
many car accidents, occasionally a crime,
such as a murder. And after a time, you
become a little bit jaded, a little hardened to
the scene of it all. You get to the point,
like people who work, for example, in
the medical field, where it’s just another story, and you really don’t
personalize it very much, you don’t give it a
whole lot of thought. But I’ll tell you a thought
that I was never able to escape no matter how many times
I saw the coroner come and take a victim away,
here was a person, who an hour or two ago,
was just as alive as I am. Here was a person who
woke up this morning and went about his daily
tasks or her daily tasks, and if they stopped
to think about it, they had every confidence that they would be home that
night with their family, but they didn’t come home. Life is just that fragile. You see, those people
that I’m thinking about weren’t all 70, 80,
or 90 years old, many of them were 40 or 30, 20, high school students,
even little children. Life is a brief and
uncertain existence, it is a vapor, and we
need to remember that. Number two, your life
is a precious gift and a sacred trust from God. Acts 17:25, Paul so
masterfully preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill, he said since God gives to all
life, breath, and all things. You know, there’s
an axiom in science that says that life
only comes from life, and that tells me that
the idea that somehow life just accidentally or
spontaneously emerged from non life in the
universe is preposterous. Life comes from other life. The apostle Paul said
in the above scripture that God is the source of
life, God gives life to all, the eternal self existent
God has given to all temporal and mortal beings life. Life does not just poof,
come out of nowhere. The beginning of life is not
repeated over and over again, life was originally
placed here in this world by the hand of God, and that alone makes life a
rare and precious commodity. James 2:7, “The
Lord God formed man “of the dust of the ground
and breathed into his nostrils “the breath of life, and
man became a living soul.” Not from an animal
through evolution, but He formed man from the
dust, and made him in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God
created man in His own image, “in the image of
God created He him, “male and female,
created He them.” In other words, man is different from all
of God’s other creation. Life in any form is precious, but when it comes to human
life, life is sacred, period. But human life in particular, because human beings are
made in the image of God. He made man a rational being, He made human beings
not merely with a body, not merely with
the breath of life, but with an eternal soul. We are a living soul
that can think and feel, that can respond to God’s
overtures of mercy and grace. Have you every thought about
the fact that there was a time when you were not? It has been said that
when the Caesars conquered the ancient world, you
were not, none of us were, but there will never come a
time when you will not be. When the founding fathers
signed the Constitution of the United States
almost 250 years ago, you were not, you didn’t exist. But there will never come a
time when you will not be. You see, we’re not
only rational beings, we are eternal beings, we
will never have an end. God made man above
the animals, in fact, He made the animals below man and gave man dominion over
them, there is a difference. Ecclesiastes 3:21 says, “Who
knoweth the spirit of man “that goeth upward and
the spirit of the beast “that goeth downward
in the earth.” You see, human life is sacred, and the atheist, the
Darwinian evolutionist, the secular humanist
wants you to believe that you’re really just
a mass of molecules, that you’re a series
of chemical reactions and electrical impulses
and nothing more than that. Well, surely we
can see that that is such a depressing philosophy, that that would mean that
life really has no purpose. Now, I know that its proponents
try to gloss over it, saying that life has
whatever purpose you give it, but seriously, step back
and think about the idea that if we are merely
a cosmic accident, if we were not created,
but just happened to be, life has no real purpose,
what would its purpose be? The universe has no meaning, and there are multitudes
of people who believe that, and that’s a sad thing. We certainly, as human beings, have no meaning
for our existence if that philosophy is true. It’s merely a random
accident, a happenstance. Friends, I don’t have enough
faith to believe that. From this godless philosophy
is born the notion that life is cheap, and
without any real meaning. This philosophy is what
allows mass killers to shoot people
down in our streets, or it’s what allows murderers to callously take
the lives of others. It’s what allows our society
to sanction the taking of millions of unborn lives
every year through abortion, and to do so with clear
conscience and to justify it. Psalm 139:13, though, says, “For thou, thou God has
possessed my reigns, “thou has covered me
in my mother’s womb, “thine eyes did see my
substance, yet being unperfect,” that is, incomplete, “And in thy book all my
members were written, “which in continuance
were fashioned “when as yet there
was none of them.” Before you were born
into this world, God had a record of you, God
had a schematic design for you, life is precious, yet today, we’re told that a baby, for
example, is just a fetus, just a mass of tissue with
the potential for life. We worry about the
many ramifications for people here who
are already born, but I’m gonna tell you that
every life is precious, every life is significant and
matters in the eyes of God, every life is recognized
and loved by God, every life is permitted
of God, sustained of God, and is a sacred trust from God. Don’t cheapen your
life, your life matters. Don’t cheapen
anyone else’s lives, because their lives matter, and their lives matter as
much as your life matters. It’s sad that we live
in a time where life has become so cheap, but God
doesn’t consider it that way, life is a sacred trust. God placed you on this
earth for a purpose, and it is a divine purpose. You know why God put
you in this world? You know why God gave us life? You were born and I was
born for His good pleasure, and for His glory, and
it’s as simple as that. In other words, you were born and I was born to
serve the Lord. Did you ever stop
to realize that? But our pride causes
us to take away that which is for God’s use and turn around and
give it to ourselves. The Bible teaches that
one day we will be judged for how we spend our
precious time here, why? Because our lives
are a gift from God, our lives are
given to us by God, He forms our bodies,
He allows us to live, therefore we are accountable
for how we use that life that creator God
graciously gave to us. Paul in Acts 17:28 said, “For in Him we live and
move and have our being.” And then certain of
your own poets have said for we are also His offspring. Friend, you don’t take a breath that God doesn’t
allow you to take. Romans 14:10-12, “We shall stand before the
judgment seat of Christ, “for it is written as
I live, saith the Lord, “every knee shall bow to me, “and every tongue
shall confess to God “so that every one of
us shall give account “of himself to God.” Now, you mark it down,
that day is coming when every single person is
going to stand before the Lord and give an account
for the life, the time, the years that God allotted
us here upon this earth. Therefore, we will answer
for how we spent our time, for who we served, what we
loved, what we invested in, what we devoted our time to. Paul is reminding us that
we are each a steward of the life that God gave us, and we will give
an account to Him for how we spent that life. But we’re told by a
lot of people, oh no, your life is merely
about you, life is short, and you shouldn’t
let it pass you by without doing what makes you
happy, why do they say that? Well, because whether
they realize or
acknowledge it or not, what they’re really saying
is what they really think within their heart of hearts
is this life is all there is, there is no life after this,
you’re just an accident, a series of chemical reactions, you’re only here
for a little while, so you better grab
it all while you can, because you’re going to be gone and there’s nothing
more after that. The Bible says that God has
set eternity in our hearts, we are eternal beings, and
life is not all about you, life is not about temporal,
fleeting pleasure, life is not all about
me and what I want, what makes me feel good, life is not about
fleeting, temporal desires. God said of the people
He called in Isaiah 43:7, “For I have created
him for my glory, “I have formed Him,
ye, I have made him.” Revelation 4:11, they
said to the lamb of God, “Thou art worthy, O
Lord, to receive glory “and honor and power, for
thou has created all things, “and for thy pleasure they
are and were created.” 1 Peter 4:11 says,
“If any man speak, “let him speak as
the oracles of God, “and if any man minister, “let him do it as of the
ability which God giveth, “that God and all
things may be glorified “through Jesus Christ
to whom he prays “in dominion forever and ever.” Your life and my life was
given by God for one purpose, to bring Him pleasure and glory, and when you boil it down
to life’s most simple terms, there are two duties that
I have as a human being entrusted with life from God. You know, when we hold
that newborn baby, we often look at that
child, we close our eyes, we dream of what life
will be for him or her, what they will accomplish,
what career they will choose, will they have success in life, or will they have
some great achievement that will change the world? But when God breathes into
a body the breath of life and He sets a heart to beating, He is the one who has
a plan for that life. And Solomon tells
us what that plan is in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion
of the whole matter, “fear God and keep
His commandments, “for this is the
whole duty of man, “for God shall bring
every work into judgment “with every secret thing, “whether it be good,
or whether it be evil.” Solomon is telling us that
life is a sacred trust, and we will answer
for how we use it. Remember, Jesus said the
two great commands of all are to love the Lord
thy God all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength,
that’s the first commandment, the second is to love
your neighbor as yourself, and that sums up
everything that it takes to live for God and obey Him. We love God with all
we have and all we are, and we love our fellow
man, and when we do that, we will keep the word of God, we will fulfill God’s
purpose for our life, but because of our sins,
we’re not loving God, we’re not loving fellow man. People who live for self, people who live for
their own desires, they are wasting the
life that God gave them, which is a sacred trust. Finally, I wanna say your life is a short window
of opportunity. You know, even Jesus saw His
own earthly life that way, John 9:4, He said, “I must work the works of Him
that sent me while it is day, “for night cometh
when no man can work.” Jesus had just over 30 years to accomplish His
purpose on earth. To some, 30 years may
seem like a long time, but not to anyone
who’s lived 30 years, I can tell you that from
experience and then some. Those years fly by,
they’re like a dream, they’re gone forever. You look up one day and
say where did it all go? Life has passed by. Jesus felt a great burden
to use the golden hours and precious moments to do
what God had sent Him to do. Psalm 90:10 says, “The days of our years are
threescore years and 10, “and if by reason of strength
they be fourscore years, “yet is there strength,
labor, and sorrow, “for it is soon cut
off when we fly away.” Literally He’s saying if
you live 70 years, 80 years, most people would say
that’s a pretty full life. He says it’s soon cut
off and we fly away, life at its longest
is still short. The moments are flying by, the years are counting
down one by one. Your life is slipping away, and there is a judgment
and there is an eternity that is looming. On every tombstone there
are two dates etched, and I’m always fascinated
to walk through cemeteries and to read the headstones
and their inscriptions. Those dates are
significant to somebody, the day we entered this world and the day we left this world. But there’s something
else on that headstone that God is more concerned
with than those two dates, and that’s the dash
in between them. And I wanna ask you today
how are you using your dash? You may be very concerned
about what day it will be when you leave this world, you may celebrate the day
you came into this world. What really matters is what
you’re doing in between, what is your life,
what is your life? And I hope you’ll seriously
think about that question today in lieu of God’s will. – The Psalmist said,
“Through Thy precepts, “I get understanding.” The Bible is the
revelation of God to man and you simply can’t live for
God until you know something about the Word of God and you may say,
“Well, I want to read “and study the Bible, but I
don’t know where to begin. “I feel overwhelmed” or “I
don’t understand the Bible.” I want to offer
you a wonderful way to get acquainted
with the scriptures. You’ll learn about
some of the most basic and foundational
teachings of God’s Word and you’ll get a better
handle on how to read and approach and study
the Bible as a whole. Won’t you get in
touch with us today and ask to be enrolled in the
Bible Correspondence Course. It won’t cost you a penny
and we’ll mail the lessons to your home and you take
your time to read and study through the lessons, I think you’ll be surprised
how much you’ll learn. (( Sound of heart monitor )) (( Sound of heart monitor
flat line )) I really do hope
today that you’ll stop and assess your life, the
life you’ve lived so far, and the life that you
believe is before you. What does it amount to? Are you living that
life for the Lord? Friend, quite frankly, if you’re not living
that life to glorify God, if you’re not living that
life in obedience to Him, and to fulfill the purpose that
God has for your existence, well, you’re wasting this
precious thing called life. You can turn that around today, God can make your life count, Jesus Christ can make
your life meaningful, and it would be a wonderful
day for you, for us, even the angels in
heaven will rejoice if you’ll make
the decision today to give your life to Jesus
Christ in gospel obedience. I hope that you’ll turn to
Him in repentance and faith, and be baptized this very day for the remission of your sins. You’ll rise to walk
in newness of life, and you can begin living a life
that is truly worth living. If you’d like a copy
of our lesson today, we’ll be happy to send it
to you, it’s always free, just simply get in touch with us and ask for the lesson
What Is Your Life? We need that title to make sure to get the right lesson
to you, What Is Your Life? You can reach out by
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from week to week and listen to it on the go. Thank you for joining us
today for Let the Bible Speak, I do hope you have
a great week ahead, and I hope you’ll make your
plans to join me back here if it be the Lord’s will
for another study next time. Until then, God bless you. – [Voiceover] If you
would like a free copy of today’s sermon, would
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