April 30, 2021
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Jonesboro. Paducah. Columbine. The list goes on. Another school shooting after another school shooting. One was in Chardon, Ohio. And, you know, having spent so much of my life on high school campuses, my heart sinks every time. I see these all-too-familiar scenes; students running, crying, parents desperately seeking information, SWAT teams moving in, law enforcement briefings, shooter profiles, ambulances converging, and then those heartbreaking candlelight vigils.
And, you know, when those happen, once again for a very brief window in time, there's an eternity moment. After the Chardon shootings, one national reporter said, "These students are talking way beyond their years today." See, suddenly checking Facebook, and sweating the test, and talking about everyone's social "drama" seems so unimportant. Because, well, there's been a brush with eternity that changes everything. At least for a little while.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Another Eternity Moment."
You know, for those traumatized teenagers in a shocked and grieving town where there had been a school shooting, the eternity moment came with gunshots in the cafeteria. But we all have those moments. I mean, that narrow miss, like in traffic, or in a natural disaster when we know how close we were to no tomorrow. The sudden death of someone we didn't expect to lose, then the unwelcome, insistent reminder of our own mortality.
It's hard. It's slightly unnatural to imagine ourselves as being the name and the picture on that funeral home memorial card. But then comes that brush with eternity when we realize, "It could have been me."
It's not something to dwell on, but it's something to be ready for. After all, we go to a lot of effort to be ready for a job interview, a date, a financial future, our own retirement. None of which holds a candle to eternity; that vast forever that's just beyond our final breath.
The circumstances that bring our mortality close are often painful. They're even tragic like the wrenching events of the school shooting. But those brushes with eternity can also serve to help save our soul.
A Biblical prophet once warned us to "...prepare to meet your God" in our word today from the Word of God. That's Amos 4:12, because that's what's on the other side of our last heartbeat - our unpostponable appointment with God. The Bible says, "Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Bank accounts and "to do'' lists and earth stuff? In an instant, they're going to matter no more. All that will matter is whether we're right with God. In a moment, we're suddenly facing destination time; where I'm going to spend my forever.
Surveys show that most Americans think they'll go to heaven when they die. But Jesus talked about "the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:14). That's not His fault. He did everything He could to clear away the curse that disqualifies all of us from God's heaven - our sin. Our arrogant control of a life that God gave us and He was supposed to run. All those lying things, and hurting things, and selfish things, and dirty things, the God-ignoring things we've done. The verdict is clear: "Nothing impure will ever enter" God's heaven (Revelation 21:27), the Bible says.
No religion can get us in, because my sin carries an eternal death penalty, "the soul who sins will die" (Ezekiel 18:4) the Bible says. And no religion can die for me. A perfect God can't welcome me into His perfect heaven with my sin.
And a death penalty can't be paid by being a good boy. Somebody has to die, and somebody did. Jesus did. God's one and only Son. The Bible calls Him, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Listen, when you give your heart to Jesus, every sin you've ever committed is erased from God's book forever. And what would keep you out of heaven is removed.
It's awesome to know that because of Jesus, you're ready for eternity whenever and however it comes. You're not sure you are? Get it settled today. Tell Jesus, "You died for me. I'm yours." Listen, go to our website. It will help you get all the way home. It's ANewStory.com.
The Bible describes "eternal life" as a gift that becomes yours at the point you take it for yourself. My friend, this could be your day!