Autumn of Life

ARE YOU PREPARED TO MEET GOD?

This short message is for people middle-aged and above. Have you ever thought about what's going to happen when you die? Are you prepared to meet God? In light of the Gospel message, Autumn of Life provides answers to the Christian and non-Christian. If you are already a baptized Christian and are not living according to the Holy Commandment, this is an invitation for you to ask God for forgiveness and walk right. If you are not a Christian, this is an encouragement for you to become one and live according to the will of God in Christ our Lord.

Introduction

Everyday over 168,000 people, from every nation, kindred and language pass from this material world into what is unknown to the living and breathing--eternity. Annually that is over 56 million people! But the phenomenon of death has always elicited questions, fears, anxiety and apprehension. And, while it is true that persons of any age can and do meet untimely deaths by accidents, by sickness and even by natural causes, this tract is specifically written to inquire about the readiness of persons who have already, by God's grace, lived many years—so long, that they know, within themselves that they are certainly in the Autumn of their lives.

You have been many places, and seen many faces. From your youth up you have seen the wonders of technology explode, as if in a moment of time. From giant T.V.'s to hand-held screens; from land-line phones to wireless cell phones; from buggies to sleek rides; from trains to planes. What's next?

The world is a much smaller place and, for all the inconveniences that yet beset us, we have more choices than ever. And in the busyness that is life, it is easy to forget that, one day, all the routines we call “life” and “living” will all end. And at the end—what? What comes at the end? And what comes after religious backgrounds, do not pay much attention to the question of what does eternity hold in store for us? Is there anything at all? Or will it, as Atheists claim, be nothingness?

Our Life Continues After Our Body Dies

There are some who believe that, upon death, all life and awareness cease. According to this idea, this three dimensional material realm is all there is. After death there is neither reward nor punishment. No God, no angels and no devil. No heaven to aspire to, and no hell to avoid. These are beliefs which are shared by Atheists and Agnostics—the former are sure there is no god, and the latter are not completely sure if there is enough available evidence to say there is one or not.

And then there are some Oriental religions which teach that man, upon death, returns to an impersonal source where he may come back, in one living form or another, to re-experience life in ever-winding cycles of birth, death and rebirth.


The Jewish Bible


The Jewish priestly Book of Daniel, on the other hand, teaches that at one tribunal alone, 100,000 people stood before God, judgment was set and books were opened. Found in Daniel 7:13, it is the first time in the Bible that a picture of accountability before God could be expected at the end of life. The New Testament follows Daniel's lead and has many stories about men who stood before God and either were able to be justified before Him for a life well-lived, or fell short, for any number of reasons, and went away into outer darkness condemned.1

How Have You Lived Your Life?

So how have you lived your life? Have you spent your time preparing to meet your Maker? Or have you lived it chasing after one form of pleasure and distraction after another? How is it with your soul? Has your soul been fed with the richness of the Word of God? Or is it skinny with poverty or shriveled up for want of living waters? Have you given your life to the Lord Jesus? Or have you only lived to please your own insatiable appetites? Have you become acquainted with the New Testament, which is God's New Agreement with mankind? Or have you kept up with the Joneses or fashions and the latest gadgets and trends? Have you loved God with all your mind, soul and strength? Or was it your thought that abiding by legislative rules and civil laws made you a “good person”?

Have you loved your neighbor as yourself? That is, have you done unto others as you would have others do unto you? Or have you had two rules of conduct: How others should treat you, and how you treat others?

Have you been rich towards God, or did you think God was too big to need your attention? Have you praised and worshiped him—not just on Sundays, and not only in church, but at home and everyday? Have you visited the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and kept yourself clean from the pollutions of the world? You see, the basic duties to please God, revolves around loving service to Him and to our fellows—giving thanks to His Name and a helping hand to those in need, without the hope of material gain, self-aggrandizement or fame.

Any Root of Bitterness?  Any Thorns and Briars?

The Scriptures discuss at length the human condition. And they show God as healer and man as broken. In the metaphor of Potter and clay, God desires to make and reshape our lives to be conformed to the image of his glorious Son, Jesus Christ. Many will attest to being hurt, in the process of living. Loving relationships which seemed as if they would last forever, for some of us, ended in disaster, spoiled by a third party—or an accident or a tragedy. For some of us, cherished loved ones, who seemed with their joy and innocent eyes, a never ending source of happiness, were snatched away in some senseless fluke of fate. A job, a career, a home or savings, a pursuit to better oneself through education, and then a lay-off or a loss of sponsorship or support, being misunderstood, or, without reason, an outcast—these are wounds in our souls, an Achilles heel, a perennial source of inward pain and the cause of silent screams and desperation that dare not speak its name! And out of all these situations and circumstances one can look up to God and say, “Thanks, it must be for my good, I will praise You anyway—I will live my days for You, most glorious King.” Or one can follow the advice of Job's foolish wife who, when Job had nothing left, counseled him to curse God and die!

Pause and Reflect—And Do So Often

Now that you are here, in the twilight of your life, you might want to think about God a little more—a lot more. Indeed, you would not go wrong if you spent enormous amounts of time meditating on the question of whether during your time here you did what He sent you here to do. Have you ever thought about that? Did he give you some gift—maybe a way with words—that you have never used for His glory? Or perhaps you have a patience and kindness that was used to make lots of money at sales, but maybe that patience and kindness can be used to teach people skills so they can better support themselves and be off the streets?

There could be any number of God-given talents you have which, through the indoctrination of the world, you only used for a way to enrich yourself, that could be used as a way to give to others in order to make bearable their situation.

Remembered and Rewarded

The Bible says that God is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love that you have done in His name. And, if you live your life in view of the approaching departure that each and every one of us must make, you can do it with the thought of both how you want to be remembered and with the expectation God will reward you according to the abundance and richness that you have heaped in His lap.
Do you want to be remembered as the man or woman who left astonishing amounts of money in the bank or between mattresses? Or do you want to be remembered as someone who was truly loving and concerned about others? A person that would give the shirt of his or her back to someone in need.

And do you want to be rewarded by God for being a person who continued in well-doing in spite of being misunderstood and talked about? Or do you want to be rewarded by God as a person who never lost a chance to get even with your enemies?2

Does God know you as a person who enriched the lives of others? Does He know you as a person who shares their wealth and talents? Does His holy gaze see a servant who brings joy where there was despair, who wishes the very best and even regularly prays for the well-being of their worst enemy? God, who sees all, is looking at all our conduct.3 And his judgment will be a righteous judgment. And, since his Law is Love and His Gospel is peace, it behooves us to live it out, especially now, if we fully understand the gravity and seriousness of being in the autumn of our lives.

It Might Be Excusable

Finally, Sir,or Madam, it might be excusable, if in the last 20 or 30 years, you never gave much thought to actually meeting the Being Who is your Maker. At such times as the hey-day of our lives, it's hard to fathom not being here, not being on earth, not having a physical body. In full or reasonable health it's difficult to picture oneself spiraling through a tunnel towards a Glorious Light. It's hard to imagine meeting loved ones who have gone on before, surging out to meet us as we enter that Strange Land. But if we are Christians, and if we believe fully in the running theme of the Bible, we must live our lives in such a way that men may glorify God for our having been here. It would be a shame if our coming into this world never made a difference!

Jesus said, "What does it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and then loose his soul? And what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"4 If it is autumn in your life and you have not done the will of God, and have, maybe all your life been negligent, won't you begin now to consider what you should be doing in the time you have left?

Love Paid the Price
(The Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir)

If You Are Not a Christian

What if you are not a Christian? What is the most important question to ask at this time? I believe the answer is this: Anyone who is not saved should ask themselves, What must I do to be saved? This is an important question because it is echoed all over the Book of Acts of the Apostles. Men and women, from all walks of life, ordinary people attending a religious festival in Jerusalem, a high official in the Court of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, a man who imprisoned and killed many Christians, fishermen, Scribes and Levitical priests, Greeks and barbarians—even kinsfolk of the Emperor Nero— became Christians.

Becoming a Christian involves hearing the Good News (the Gospel). What is the Gospel? According to the Scriptures, it is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In this message we are told and must believe that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, that he was buried and that he arose on the third day. Do you believe that? Because the Bible teaches you that if you believe in this testimony, which has come down to us preserved in the New Testament, then you need to repent of all your sins. Well, what is repentance? Repentance means changing your mind and your will from wanting what you want to wanting what God wants from you. And what does God want from you? Does he want your money? Does he merely want your time? Does he want to see you perform? What does he want? According to Jesus, God wants you to be free! Free from what? Free from sin. But in order to be free from sin you must cease from sinning. And that can only be accomplished by first being sorry for everything you may have done that is not the will of God.

Then confessing your belief that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God. That He is the Holy One promised in the Scriptures of the Hebrew prophets to come into the world with spiritual blessings. (Isaiah 7, 9, 53; Micah 5) And when you confess Jesus to be Lord (God with us), you must also be baptized into Christ. Why is water baptism a part of this? It is a part because in it you reenact (in a symbolic way) going into Christ's tomb and coming out alive. It is a very simple procedure, but when you undergo it successfully you are pledging to God that you will live with a good conscience before him.5
After you are baptized into Christ your journey in a personal relationship with your Creator blossoms and will not fail when you attend to and focus your attention on adding to your faith, virtue, and adding to your virtue knowledge, and adding to your knowledge, self-control, and adding to your self-control, patience, and adding to your patience, piety, and adding to your piety, brotherly kindness, and adding to your brotherly kindness, love. And the Holy Apostle, Simon Peter, has assured us by God, “if you do these things, you shall never fall.”6

To be a true Christian you must confess Jesus Christ to be the God of us, for that is what he claimed for himself—nothing else and nothing less7 You can pray to him and, if it is according to his will, he will hear you-1 John 5.

Fellowship With Other Christians

Christians meet in little groups to study God's Word and to encourage one another in our walk with God. Fellowship involves giving thanks to God and singing praise to His name. It also involves giving thanks to God and singing praise to His name. It also involves reminding one another of God's law of love and his Gospel of peace. Through worship and praise and fellowship we each are reminded of our destiny: the blessed hope of life after death in eternity with the saints that have gone on to glory before us. Atavist Biblical Churches are dedicated to fostering private devotion to Almighty God, through Jesus Christ his Son. We are also committed to public worship and sharing the Good News of the Gospel on a perpetual basis. If we may assist you in any way, contact us.

End Notes

[1] Matthew 25:14-30.

[2] Love your enemies (Romans 12:17-21).

[3]Conduct (Hebrews 4:11-13).

[4] What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26).

[5] Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21.

[6] 2 Peter 1:4-10. We have this promise: we will not be unfruitful and we will not fall.

[7] Jesus as our Savior God is the cornerstone of our Christian truth and experience: Revelation 1:11,17-18 and 21:6-7.