James 4:14
A View of Life

On February 5, 1986, The Green Pond Baptist Church invited my family
to pastor this church.  Thirty years is a long time.  For some, 30
years is a segment of life called a career, from some it is a segment
called marriage, for some it is a whole life time.  It is rare today
for people to spend 30 years doing any one thing; but doing so can
give some wisdom, some understanding, some perspective that others
may not have.

Let me share my Biblical perspective on life.

I. Life is our choice.
    A. When I first had that thought, I wrote it "life is A choice."
        but it is more than that.  Life is OUR Choice.
        1. God has granted to each of us freedom and free will.  We
            determine our own destiny.
        2. Each of us makes of our life what we wish by the decisions
            we make.
            a. Every choice—the little ones and the big ones—
                either sets us on a direction or moves us further
                down a pathway.
            b. I have learned that the godly choices I select are
                always the best choices.
    B. There are many things in life we can not choose.
        1. We can not choose when we were born.
        2. We can not choose who our parents are.
        3. We can not choose our race, basic abilities, or our
    C. However, there is much in life we can choose.
        1. We can choose to live THIS LIFE.
            a. Life is a gift from God.

Ecc 3:11  He hath made every thing beautiful in
his time: also he hath set the world in their
heart, so that no man can find out the work that
God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ecc 5:18  Behold that which I have seen: it is
good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and
to enjoy the good of all his labour that he
taketh under the sun all the days of his life,
which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

            b. Too many are wasting the gift of life.
                (1) In 2005, there were 32,637 suicides nationally
                     (over 1%).
                (2) highest age group was the elderly - 5,404 (14.7%)
                (3) next was youth - 4,212 (10%)
                (4) White men attempt suicide more than any race/
                     gender group — 23,478 (71.3%)
                (5) Over 52% of all suicide attempts are with
                (6) You do not want the period at the end of your
                     life to be that you took it.

            c. Some are indirectly killing themselves
                (1) drug abuse - DEA estimates as many as 12.7
                     million  people in the US used illegal drugs in
                     the last month.
                (2) 30 to 40 million in the last year
                (3) There are two problems with that figure:
                     (a) The survey was done by a telephone meaning
                          participants had to have a phone, answer
                          the phone, and tell the truth.

                     (b) That does not count the Elvis Presleys or
                          the Michael Jacksons who are finding ways
                          to get "legal" drugs.
            d. Some are slowly killing themselves - Alcohol,
                cigarettes, and other risky lifestyles are
                accomplishing about the same thing (i.e. premature
        2. We can choose to live ETERNALLY.
            a. The best day of my earthly life is when I chose to
                start living for eternity.
                (1) The greatest day in my life was the day I chose
                     Jesus as my Savior.
                (2) It was a choice for me.  God was drawing me,
                     but I was resisting.
                (3) I could have said no, but I am glad I did  not!
            b. Somehow there is a notion that I can either live for
                Jesus or have fun.
                (1) I am here to tell you that living for Jesus is
                (2) Christians are NOT loosing out.  Don’t give me
                     this poor, poor Christian routine.  I know it is
                     a lie.  I have seen people live with Jesus and
                     without and the ones who have the least regrets
                     and the most happiness are always the
                (3) Christians have peace, power, purpose in their
                     lives and they get to have REAL FUN.
                (4) The Christians’ fun has no regrets, no hangover,
                     no addictions, no lies to remember, no children
                     left abandoned, no mates left betrayed, no axes
                     to grind, no revenge to seek, and no chains that
                     need to be broken.
                (5) It all begins with choosing Christ.
            c. However, choosing Christ was just the beginning of my
                life in Christ.
                (1) The second greatest day of my life was choosing
                     to date and marry my wife.  She and her family
                     have been the second greatest Christian impact
                     in my life.
                (2) The third greatest day of my life was having our
                     children.  Having young eyes and hearts in our
                     home forced me to have a genuine Christian walk
                     with Jesus.
                (3) The fourth greatest day of my life was being
                     called and staying at Green Pond Baptist all
                     these years.  That calling has forced me to
                     face my mistakes and failures for I have no
                     place to run and hide.
            d. Having chosen Christ, we can choose to enjoy BOTH
                LIVES and to get the most of BOTH.
        4. There is no conflict between having God’s best and the
    3. I speak this to both the saved and the lost.
        1. Life is a gift.
        2. Get Christ and then get most out of both lives.
        3. How can this be done?

II. Life is just a lay-over on the road to eternity.
    A. This one tenet will do more to shape your earthly existence
        that all other beliefs combined.
        1. Life is not all there is.
        2. If you believe that this world is all there is, you
            SHOULD live it without restraint in any manner that you
            deem appropriate.
            a. There is little reason to consider others.
            b. There is no reason to consider eternity.
            c. There is no reason not to get everything you can in
                life as fast as you can and to get by whatever means
                you can.
        3. That is what the godless do and understandably so.
    B. However, if you believe this life is not the whole journey but
        a stop on the road to eternity, you will have a completely
        different perspective.
        1. You will have a different perspective about Jesus.
            a. Jesus makes the destination heaven.
            b. You will trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.
        2. You will have a different perspective about your
            a. Christians are not living this life merely for today.
                We are living it for eternity.
            b. The things that the world is seeking, Christians
                are waiting for the best of it in heaven.
                (1) Our nicest things
                (2) Our greatest wealth
                (3) Our highest recognition
                (4) Our highest position
                (5) Our greatest happiness
        3. You will have a different perspective about how to live
            your life.
            a. Christians are looking for something different in this
                (1) They look for pleasure.  We look for peace.
                (2) They look for fun. We look for forgiveness.
                (3) They look for enjoyment.  We look for joy.
                (4) They look for the carnal.  We look for the
                (5) They desire freedom to sin.  We desire freedom
                     from sin.
                (6) They are stuck in the present.  We look to the
            b. We have found that by doing so, this life is better.
                (1) That does not mean, "Poor Christians."
                     Christians are not to be pitied, for we are
                     getting the best of two worlds.
                (2) I heard Richard Dawkins, popular atheist and
                     scientist, make the statement that, even
                     though he did not believe in God and
                     Christianity, he understood why people wanted
                     to.  He could  see where our beliefs in
                     forgiveness, eternal life, and so forth would
                     make you "feel" good.

III. Life is an opportunity.
    A. Of course, life itself is filled with opportunities.
        1. That is one reason why I told you at the beginning of this
            message to live it.
        2. As an American, you have access to some of the best this
            world has to offer.
            a. education
            b. comforts
            c. opportunities
            d. resources
    B. However, life IS an opportunity for you to either score big in
        eternity or to loose everything.
        1. Saved people have the opportunity to use their life to
            impress God.

Matt 25:14  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man
travelling into a far country, who called his own
servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another
two, and to another one; to every man according
to his several ability; and straightway took his
16 Then he that had received the five talents
went and traded with the same,
and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also
gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged
in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants
cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came
and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou
deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have
gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good
and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and
said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
behold, I have gained two other talents beside
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and
faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a
few things, I will make thee ruler over many
things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

            a. The first two servants used what they had while they
                had to make an impression on their master.
            b. As a result, the master promoted them to some task
                commensurate with their abilities and drive.
            c. However, the servant who wasted his opportunity, lost

Matt 25:24 Then he which had received the one
talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that
thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast
not sown, and gathering where thou hast not
 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy
talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that
is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou
wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that
I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I
have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money
to the exchangers, and then at my coming I
should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give
it unto him which hath ten talents.

            d. Lost people are certainly wasting their opportunity
                but so are many saved people.
                (1) Don’t live your life like there is no eternity if
                     that’s not what you believe.
                (2) There are all kinds of opportunities available to
                     (a) There are lost souls who need to be told.
                     (b) There are saved people who need to be
                     (c) There are hurting people who need to be
                     (d) There are mission projects both within and
                          outside of the United States.  Some last
                          for a week, some for a month, and some you
                          could spend the remainder of your life on.
                     (e) Just in our area, there is every kind of
                          need you can imagine…
                           i. There are cities with thousands of
                               people within one-half hour’s driving
                               distance to the north, south, east,
                               and west of us.
                          ii. Are you a compassionate person?  We
                               have some of the best hospitals in the
                               nation right around us.
                         iii. Do you want to work with foreigners?
                               Between Birmingham and Atlanta, you
                               probably have 1/3 of the world’s
                               nationalities represented.
                          iv. Do you want to work with the military?
                               We have an Air Force base in
                               Montgomery and a Navy base in
                (3) Do something big and lasting for Christ!
        2. You may get away with complaining about your lot in this
            life—your lack of talent, your lack of connections, the
            bad breaks you had—because you didn’t get to choose many
            of the factors in your life.
        3. However, you are deciding everything about your eternity.
            a. Where you will spend it.
            b. What you will do there.
            c. Even what position you will have.
        4. And here is the clincher, you know it!

IV. Life is as short as a vapor.
    A. That is the truth that our text is giving to us about life.
    B. The point is that you and I can not count on life lasting.
        1. There are a lot of unexpected funerals going on this
        2. There are a lot of people complaining about going to work
            on Monday who will not be going.
    C. What is the point?  Do with your life what you plan to do!

Ephesians 5:16  Redeeming the time, because the
days are evil.

        1. I have already issued the challenge not to waste your life
            in idleness.
        2. If you have spent your whole life dreaming about what you
            are going to do and have not done anything with it,
            you’re stuck in neutral and need to get it into gear.

V. Life ends in a judgment.
    A. If death is not the end of the road we are on, what is?
    B. The answer is that every human being will one day stand
        before God.

Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and
him that sat on it, from whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away; and there was found
no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
before God; and the books were opened: and
another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those
things which were written in the books, according
to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in
it; and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them: and they were judged every
man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake
of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the
book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

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