Are you Ready For Your Date?

Bible Book: Hebrews  9 : 27
Subject: Death; Judgment; Salvation; Eternity

The Scripture is plain about life. It tells us we're here today and gone tomorrow. That is a scenario each of us ought to consider. In writing his letter in the pages of the New Testament, James speaks to the brevity of life. He says “...Come now, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit, yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14) One cannot read that without the thought of eternity coming to the forefront of the mind.

Our writer in Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “It is appointed to man once to die and then comes the judgment.” Every one of us will have to stand before God and give an account of our lives. The question I want to ask you this morning is simple but penetrating: Are you ready for your date?

The other night I was walking out of the kitchen into our garage to go preach at an event. Stephen, my oldest, and Brook, his steady, have been so busy this summer working as interns here at the church; they have not been able to go out that much. When Stephen walked through the kitchen, I noticed there was a difference about him. He'd taken a bath, spruced up, put on some of his best clothes, was smelling fine, and was ready to go see the one he loves.

You and I must consider, are we ready spiritually, cleaned up, and ready to meet the One we said we love face to face. You're here today but you don't know when your date is going to be. All of us know our beginning date, our birth date, but no one knows the ending date of our lives, and for some it may be closer than you think! It is appointed to man once to die then comes the judgment.

Illustration - Metro Church in Dallas, Texas - A little over a month ago 100 youth from Metro Church in Dallas, Texas boarded a couple of buses to go to youth camp in Louisiana. Could you imagine the excitement as they were considering the joy of camp that week? Maybe they were singing songs of faith. Maybe they were chatting back and forth with one another, but I doubt very seriously that any single one of them really felt eternity was just a few miles down the road.

As they were journeying toward their destination, the bus began to sway. The youth pastor who was following in a vehicle behind the bus watched it begin to sway. He passed the bus to see what was going on. As he got in front of it, he looked in his rearview mirror and watched the bus swerve into the median of the expressway, then hit the pillars of a bridge killing the driver and four of the teenagers, and sending 39 others to the hospital. I doubt even one of those kids thought when they boarded the bus that in just a matter of minutes "I'm going to meet Jesus face to face." It's appointed to man once to die.

Illustration - Rick Ferguson my heart cringed a little over a week ago when a friend called and said, "Have you heard about Rick?" He was speaking of Rick Ferguson, a friend, a pastor at Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado. He served the Southern Baptist Convention as First Vice=President the year before I did. At fourty-seven years of age, he and his family were traveling from Colorado to Missouri to a family reunion as they have done every year for many years. On this particular day, Rick was sitting in the front passenger seat of their Ford vehicle, and his 17-year-old son was driving and pulling their boat. The joy of anticipating that family reunion must have filled the air of that car. Then suddenly, one of the front tires exploded, the 17-year-old lost control of the family car and they wrecked. Everybody in the family walked away from the wreck except Rick Ferguson, who immediately stepped into eternity.

You're here today and then gone tomorrow! The question is: Are you ready for that date, the appointed time when you will stand before God?

There are three brief things I want you to see this morning.

I. A Powerful Declaration

The Scripture is plain that everyone is going to die. I wish I could be here when Jesus comes again. It would be wonderful to go out and look into the sky and see Jesus coming for us! But the reality is probably most of us, if Jesus tarries, will go into eternity through the door of death. Listen, it's not a matter of if you're going to die.He says every man has an appointment with death. It's not even a matter of when you're going to die. The Scripture says your date with death has already been set. The Scripture says that God knows the length of your days here on the face of the earth. The Scripture says your appointment has already been made. It's not even a matter of how you're going to die. The sovereignty of God knows how you came into this world and He already knows how you're going out. What a powerful declaration from the Word of God!

II. A Penetrating Discovery

Years ago I had a sermon I preached in revivals on sixty seconds after death. What will you discover sixty seconds after you leave this world?

A. There will be a Continuation

Write it down! Death does not end it all! There are people who believe that when you leave this world you just cease to exist. The Scripture teaches us that when you breathe your last, you step into eternity and there is a continuation of your existence.

Years ago I was preaching a revival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On that particular night I was preaching on the subject of Heaven and salvation. In the audience was a lady and her brother who was a medical doctor in Chattanooga. We engaged in conversation after the service, as he was intrigued about eternity and the place called Heaven. He told me he used to not be a believer and then he shared how he came to know Christ.

One night he was on call and a man was rushed to the Emergency Room suffering from a heart problem. The man was about to die and this cardiologist was called in to try to save his life. He said he was not prepared for what he was about to experience that night. He said the man would lose consciousness and they would revive him, and when he was revived he would cry out to the doctor, "Doctor! Save my life! Save my life! Don't let me die! It's terrible!" The doctor said the man would slip back into unconsciousness and when they revived him again, he would cry out, "Don't let me go there! It's terrible! Doctor, save my life!" After this happened two or three times, the doctor, not being a believer, looked at the man and said, "Sir, I've heard preachers say if you'll say this prayer, Jesus will save you. Say, 'Lord Jesus, save me!'" The man repeated the prayer and lost consciousness again, and when he was revived again, he said "Oh Doctor, it's so peaceful!

"That doctor went back to the lounge after stabilizing the patient and got on his knees and said, "Lord, I haven't been a believer, but if You're real, I'm asking You to come into my life tonight and save me." That doctor looked at me with joy on his face and tears in his eyes and said, "He came in and radically changed me that night.”

You see, what the patient in that hospital room in Chattanooga, Tennessee discovered that night was that death does not end it all. There is a continuation.

Believe me, a second after death you're going to know that death does not end it all.

B. There will be a Consciousness

In other words, you will have a full memory. You will remember every time you heard the gospel. From the first time you heard the gospel to every account of the gospel that's been presented to you up until the point of your death. You'll remember you had the opportunity to respond to Jesus! You'll remember every revival, every youth camp, every Sunday morning, every Sunday night. You'll remember every person who ever brought the Gospel to you. You will remember the times you said no to Jesus.

Illustration - Skit by Randy & Dale - "Too Busy" Many are like Randy and the skit you just saw. Too busy! Busy gaining the whole world. The Scripture says, “What does is profit a man if he gained the whole world and loses his own soul?” How many times in this skit did you see someone come to Randy and introduce themselves to him and he said, "What's that to me?" Well, if you continue to reject Jesus Christ in this life, on that Day of Judgment when you stand before Him and say, "God, it's me!" the only response you'll hear is, "What does that mean to Me?" And then you'll hear those dreadful words, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity”.

Yes, you'll remember the people who came with the gospel and the times you said no to Jesus.

C. There will be a Consignment

In other words, there will be a reality that your eternity will be sealed forever. When you die you need to understand there will not be a frequent flyer plan where we can move from destination to destination. Once you die your eternal destination will be sealed forever and forever and forever. All you have to do is go back and read Luke 16:19-31. There are many things I could draw from that text. i. There is a reality of hell and the torment. (v. 23)

ii. There is the reality of Heaven. (v. 22)

iii. And there is a reality of the permanence of your destination. (v. 26)

iv. There is a reality from those in the pit of hell for those of us who can still do something about our destination to take action. (v. 27-28)

When you die without Christ the Scripture says the Lord will say, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” The Scripture says take your place in the lake of fire. The Scripture says you will be spewed away, separated from the love of God for all eternity.

Listen, it doesn't have to be that way!

III. A Purposeful Decision

I'll never forget being in Room 452 of Northside Hospital when my wife died. As I stood in that room after she stepped into eternity, waiting upon the doctor to come to legally declare her dead, my mind raced back over the 2 1/2 years we fought that malignant brain tumor. One of the things that will always stand out in my mind is that death and the knowledge of impending death always puts you on the path to make a purposeful decision. For Debbie, it was to make sure she was saved. For some of you right now it may be determining whether you'll go to Heaven or to hell.

God sent me here with a message this morning to say to you, "Get it right! " Quit trusting in the wrong things for your relationship with God.

Wealth, Morality, Health, Church membership from hell, hear the voice of your loved ones. Listen to what he's asking so that you will not come to this place.


The invitation this morning is very simple:

Salvation - Admit, Believe, Confess

Soul winning – Who do you know that you need to warn about the reality of death and eternity?