Unconsciously or knowingly there are many who presume they are invincible. Nothing can shake them. They rely upon their own power, training, self-determination, and personal success. They act as if they are going to live forever. But they fail to realize that their life has an expiration date. The Bible speaks about this kind of belief and shows that it is a deceptive perspective.
Notice the brevity of life in these descriptive phrases: “…swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6); “wind…” (7:7); “as the cloud…” (7:9); “…swifter than a post [i.e. a runner delivering messages]: they flee away…passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey” (9:25, 26); “…of few days…” (14:1); “…like a flower…cut down…” (14:2); “…as a shadow” (8:9; 14:2; Psalm 102:11; 144:4); “…as a handbreadth…” (Psalm 39:5); “…we are dust…” (103:14); “…as grass” (102:11; 103:14; Isaiah 4:6; I Peter 1:24); “…as a flower of the field” (Psalm 103:14-15; Isaiah 40:6; I Peter 1:24); “…as a tale that is told” (Psalm 90:9); “…consumed like smoke…” (102:3).
Jesus spoke to those who were living presumptuously or arrogantly in James 4:13-17 and described life as “a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (4:14). Jesus also gave the illustration of a man who planned out his life…without God (Luke 12:16-21). Six times the personal pronoun “I” was used, but he never included God. He thought he would live an easy, prosperous life for many years, but he died and lost everything. Our lives are a gift from God. He gave it and He can take it away. What will you show for your life? “Only one life ‘twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
The wonderful, miraculous happening in a person’s life that changes their destiny from hell to heaven and gives them a new life in Jesus Christ was referred to by Jesus as “conversion.” “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
True Biblical conversion means to make a complete turn-around in the road, willfully by faith turning from our old life and its sin unto Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul used his own personal testimony as he explained true Biblical conversion to King Agrippa. The apostle related that as an enemy of Christ he was on his way to Damascus to kill Christians. Having come face-to-face with Jesus, his heart spun 180o from his evil intentions and in saving faith acknowledged Jesus as “Lord” (Acts 26:15).
Paul then explained to Agrippa that he now preached to Jews and Gentiles alike that “they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20). On another occasion, when speaking in the region of Lycaonia, the apostle Paul declared we “preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God” (Acts 14:15). An unsaved man does not have the power to change his old life; but, praise God, if he will willfully turn from it to Jesus, the miracle of conversion occurs and by faith he is given a new life in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Such was the happy end of those in Thessalonica who “…turned to God from idols…”; they experienced true Biblical conversion.
One year, while attending Bible college, I lived in a rescue mission and ministered to men whose lives were being destroyed through bondage to alcohol. I learned in a very practical way the truth of Biblical conversion. When a man was truly willing to turn by faith to Jesus Christ from his alcohol and its bondage, the miracle of conversion occurred and he experienced deliverance. But when a man wanted to be saved but was not willing to in repentance turn from his alcohol, he remained a slave to drink.
True Biblical conversion is promised to those who are willing to turn in repentance from the old life and in faith receive Jesus as their Savior.
In this final message on “one thing,” we are looking at the “one thing” of commitment. There are many things that will try to distract us and lure us away from our commitment to Jesus Christ. Even people can distract us from our determination in following God. The apostle Paul knew about this struggle, and yet he did not give up. He writes, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
Paul was running the race of life. He hadn’t laid hold of the prize yet. He hadn’t yet reached the finish line and obtained the reward. And, so, he purposed to do this “one thing.” He would forget or become oblivious to all those things behind him, those past failures and sins as well as his past victories and achievements (3:3-8). He was not going to allow them to hinder him from his commitment. Instead, he was stretching himself out farther, extending himself beyond, and straining for what was before him. And, so, he drove himself forward, endeavored earnestly, and pursued the goal on which his eye was fixed. Jesus was at the finish line cheering him on (Hebrews 12:1, 2). He had the prize or reward that He would give to the winner of the race at the bema platform. Paul wanted to hear that “high calling,” that upward summoning or invitation of God to receive his award (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). And, so, Paul made sure he followed the rules so he wouldn’t be disqualified (I Corinthians 9:24). There is a crown to be won. Don’t give up the race (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Don’t be distracted with past failures. The goal is before you, not behind you.
Peter wrote to believers who were scattered and being persecuted for their faith in Christ, and encouraged them in their suffering. How long will it last? Why doesn’t Jesus come and deliver them? What’s taking Him so much time? What they needed to learn, and what we need to know as well, is that God’s perspective on time is completely different from our own. One day God’s people will be justified and vindicated, and sinners will face the judgment (cp. Psalm 73). And, so, Peter writes, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). This is what we need to consider.
Jesus will come at the right time. The rapture will take place in God’s perfect time. Judgment upon the world and sin will happen at the proper time. He will never be too early or too late. Suffering and sorrow will end. God’s plan is greater than our limited understanding, for “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (3:9). God is not subject to our timetable. He is still at the door (James 5:9). What we may think as a delay in His promise is actually an expression of His grace. The reason why Jesus hasn’t come yet is because people still need to be saved! God is not willing, wishing, desiring, determining, or decreeing, that any should be lost and die in sin. He does not delight in the death of the unsaved (Ezekiel 33:11). God’s grace and longsuffering does not mean He excuses your sin, but it shows that He is giving you opportunity to repent (Romans 2:4). God waited 120 years before He sent the universal flood, and He is still waiting for you. The rapture hasn’t happened, but it will come. He may be waiting for YOU! Consider this one thing.
Confidence of a changed life. There are many things we may not know or understand in the Bible; yet, we can know that our salvation is secure in Christ. Jesus had healed a man who had been born blind (John 9:1-12). When asked how he came to receive sight, the man attributed the miracle to Jesus (v. 11). That’s all he knew and there was no other explanation. When brought before the religious council, he was harshly interrogated. The man didn’t really know much about Jesus, but he knew without a doubt that Jesus had changed his life. Here are his words: “Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not; one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (v. 25). Later the man was able to see Jesus and said to Him, “Lord, I believe” (v. 38). Jesus had made a radical difference in his life. You may not know much, but you can speak with confidence that once you were dead in sin, but now you are alive in Christ (II Timothy 1:12; I John 5:10-15).
Confidence in a faithful God. In Joshua’s closing challenge to the people (Joshua 23-24), he tells them that when he dies, God will still remain. They can have confidence in a faithful Lord who keeps His promises. “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth; and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Joshua 23:14; cf. I Kings 8:56). All of God’s promises are sure (II Corinthians 1:20). Not one word will be unfulfilled or come to nothing. You can believe God, who is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). All of God’s promises are facts, even when they have not been fulfilled in your time frame. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18),
Last week we looked at the “one thing” of conversion, the need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through salvation. This message, and the next three that follow, are built upon the basic need of knowing Christ as Saviour. Without the foundation of faith, nothing else makes sense.
After a person receives a changed life in Christ, then there is the “one thing” of communion or fellowship. In Psalm 27, David confidently declares that Jehovah is his light and salvation (27:1). He continues in this confident strain (vv. 2-3) before he shares the desire of his heart. He had a deep longing only God could satisfy. David says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (27:4). His greatest longing in life was not his health, riches, fame, or anything that pointed to him; instead he asked the LORD for one thing. He would seek and strive for it with all his being. He longed to be at home in the House of the LORD, to dwell there for as long as he lived. He wanted to commune with God above all else (cf. Ps. 63; 73:25-26),One day Jesus went to Martha’s house (Luke 10:38-43). Martha served while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Jesus’ word. Martha was “cumbered about much serving”; that is, she was being dragged or pulled all around in different directions, being distracted and over-busied with much serving. Her work got in the way of her communion with her Saviour. Her labour of love became tedious toil full of anxiety and trouble. Jesus told her that “one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken from her” (10:42). Service is no substitute for fellowship with Jesus. Communion will empower your ministry. Spend time with the Lord today lest you become so preoccupied that you lose
What is the “one thing” you need to do today? There are several passages in the Bible which help us to know the “one thing” we need to do. The first thing we will consider is that of conversion. In Mark 10:17-27 we read of the incident of a rich man who asked Jesus what he could do in order to inherit eternal life. Sadly, many people have been deceived into thinking they can merit salvation or enter God’s Kingdom by doing something. But there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to earn or merit eternal life (Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).
Jesus used the second half of the 10 Commandments to produce the knowledge of sin (Ex. 20:12-16), but the unnamed man boasted of his perfect observance of the law since his bar mitzvah. Yet it is clear that by keeping these commandments the man had not inherited eternal life. There was something missing. His life was empty even though he was full of riches. “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me” (Mark 10:21). The man fell short of God’s required standard (Rom. 3:23). He had money, but not the Master; riches, but not redemption; silver, but not salvation. The man needed the one thing of conversion. The selling of his possessions wouldn’t save him, but it would remove the ‘god’ of riches which kept him from coming to the true God.
Many people are going through life
spiritually deficient. They have
everything they want but don’t have what they need. No one can satisfy the missing ingredient in
your life except Jesus. Salvation is the
work of God alone, and is received by faith through Jesus Christ (John 14:6;
1:12). If you reject the “one thing” you
need in this life, then you will be lost for all eternity.
Receive Jesus Christ into your life and enjoy the “one thing” of conversion.