Bob Dylan sings a great song titled ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ the lyrics of which state that man either serves God or he serves the devil, even if by default. As an aside biblically speaking the service of God is not servitude; it is an attitude of mind based on the understanding that our very existence is a result of God’s planning and power, we did not create ourselves nor are we capable of sustaining ourselves contrary to what the majority of people believe. If man could truly sustain himself, keep alive his own soul as the bible defines it, the first thing man would do would be to make himself healthy and fit and live forever, reverse the aging process as many have attempted to do, drink of the fountain of youth, so to speak. Little does ignorant and foolish man realize that all these things have already been promised and freely offered to him by the very same Creator who created him in the first place! The Creator alone gave us this life and The Creator alone can give us life beyond this present life, once this mortal body dies. Just as you did not create yourself nor give yourself this life neither will you be able to create life for yourself once you shed this mortal coil. Man ignorantly believes that he himself is in control of his own breath, he neither understands nor cares to understand that if he has a Creator, a Maker, for what purpose has the Creator and the Maker created him? Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3, King James Version) All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. (Psalm 22:29, King James Version)
No matter how many life extension technologies man attempts to create, no matter how many ‘enlightened’ men may come and promise him the fountain of youth, none of these supposed immortals have been able to extend their own lives or attained eternal youth except for one man, and that man is God, his name is Jesus Christ! Having conquered death, Jesus is not only immortal, He is eternally youthful. God is not a wrinkled old man like George Burns, in bodily form He is a young man who never ages. That promise of life eternal, of freedom from death and aging is THE PROMISE of God to man among other wonderful promises that He has promised us throughout the bible. So what is it that holds people back from racing to God, to beg Him, to petition Him, to pay Him any price just to drink a sip of water from the river of Life, to have one bite from the fruit of the tree of Life that grows in His Paradise? The answer to that question is a tragic one since all people live for is this present life, they live only for this bodily life not having a clue how many or how few the number of days, God, their Maker has allotted to them on Earth. How many people are going to depart today even while they were thinking that they still had lots of time to fulfill their dreams and ambitions? Dreams of what: Fame, Fortune, Freedom? Ambitions of what: to reach # 1, to get to the top even at the expense of trampling everyone else beneath them? To gain what: A few days or a few short years of temporary Earthly comforts, maybe a mansion, a boat, an airplane? Temporal gains always come at the expense of eternal riches that have no relationship whatsoever to money.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23, King James Version) God has not only promised us eternal life He has also promised us all things that go along with life, both present and future. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (2 Peter 1:3, King James Version) So what is that holds people back from greater riches than this entire universe can contain? If every planet in the universe were made out of gold and belonged to you, it would not begin to compare with the riches of having ‘EVERLASTING LIFE’ that you may actually have all the time you will ever need to enjoy all the riches to be found in God’s universe. The answer to the puzzling question of why people put so much faith in the temporal, in the here and now, rather than the eternal that will come as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow is to be found in the following scripture: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:4, King James Version)
The ‘WORLD’ in the bible refers to the system that governs life on this planet, and the system is controlled by a spirit entity we know as Satan. Therefore the system that governs life for the majority of people on the planet is Satanic, and that system is the system of ‘Commerce’. Commerce, buying and selling, has become the very purpose for living for the vast majority on planet Earth. They SELL their time at best, and their bodies and even their souls at worst to be able to BUY, to be able to enjoy the good life as they put it even as their very soul is being mutilated and destroyed. Little do they realize that this taste for the good life does not end when their body fails, no their soul with all its appetites, all its lusts that they have so carefully cultivated over the course of their lifetimes will follow them beyond the grave as the rich man discovered to his horror in the story told by Jesus to his disciples and recorded in book of Luke. 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:19-25, King James Version) All that the rich man lived for, when alive, was the good life, to acquire good things, a goal that he seems to have more than adequately accomplished. He was termed a great success in the world, probably had his picture published on the cover of Fortune magazine but tragically all the goods he acquired could not accompany him to the great beyond. His entire raison d’être when in the land of the living was to have as many material comforts as possible but little did he realize that his appetites would not cease when he died or rather when his body died, no they would continue as before except now there would be no way for the man to satisfy even the most basic of these appetites. The very things that he lived for his entire life are the things that he would never ever be able to attain over yonder and yet his desire and need for those things would never die! This is the true meaning of death; death does not mean non – existence but rather it is a state of torment; of hungers, and of thirsts that can never be fulfilled, FOREVER! Non – existence would be a much preferred alternative!
THE TROUBLE WITH 'MR. NORMAL'
So how does the god of this world (system) blind the minds of them that believe not? Simply by making them believe that the purpose of their life is ‘Commerce’, that the purpose of living is just to make a living. The very road that ‘Normal’ people travel leading very ‘Normal’ lives is the same road that leads to perdition! The road to perdition therefore is a very deceptive one for people mistakenly believe that just because they are not out committing murders, raping and pillaging like Attila the Hun that they are OK, they will somehow slide into Heaven, that God will really not judge them, that He will definitely not condemn them! They are wrong on all counts! And they will go down for the count when the bell rings and their time is up! As a rule normal people live very uneventful, even boring lives. They allow themselves to be so thoroughly indoctrinated in the cult of the ‘Normal Life’ that they seldom, if ever, stop and consider the very source from which their life originates, which is God. It is not in man’s nature or in nature for that matter to create something without purpose and once having created it to leave it completely to its own devices. For example, man does not build a house except for the purpose of dwelling in it just as a bird not build a nest or a rabbit burrow a hole except to dwell in. Yet man readily believes that His Maker made him (man) and then completely forgot about him and left him entirely to his own devices. He does not consider that His Creator may have a specific purpose for each and every person that He builds just as man has a purpose for each and every building he constructs.
No, Mr. N considers no such thing; from the time he is born to the time he dies he thoroughly and willingly immerses himself in the erroneous doctrine that his life is limited to the time he has in this body and he conducts his life accordingly. He may mouth some philosophies about the great beyond and even have some religious affiliations but he has no belief in God as his Creator and Maker, as a being who might have at least the same degree of interest in his life choices as did Mr. N’s Earthly parents. Following in the footsteps of the generations that have preceded him Mr. N believes and conducts his life with the intent of making his present as comfortable as possible, and accumulating as much merchandise as possible. He not only consumes as much as he possibly can giving no thought to the ones whom life has not afforded the same opportunities, he actually comes to believe that consumption is the very purpose of his life. He himself accepts the moniker of ‘Consumer’ that is bestowed upon him by his political leaders and the media, and he wears it as a badge of honor.
Having bought this fatal bill of goods that the purpose of his life is Commerce, merchandising and trade, he earnestly begins to acquire tools that will help him in these endeavors. He goes to school to get an education that fits him to do a certain job that will pay him money that he will use to buy things. The more money he wants the harder he works at his education whether academic or in the arena of business. The more degrees and titles he adds to his name and the higher up he goes on the rungs of the business ladder the more ‘successful’ he perceives himself to be as do his peers. This perception is not altogether incorrect for according to this world’s standards a person’s worth is measured by the size of his bank account. But those who lay up all their treasures on Earth disregard Jesus’ admonition to not lay up treasures here on Earth but rather in Heaven, treasures that have eternal value; not treasures that may or may not last one’s Earthly lifetime. So the successful man of the world does indeed have his rewards even as Abraham pointed out to the rich man, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things... Since Mr. N’s raison d’être is to accumulate as much wealth as he can, and to live the good life as much as he can over the span of this life, then he ought not to complain when he crosses the gulf into the other side and discovers that his permanent and eternal existence begins only after the death of his body, and he has as much need of life over there as he did here.
When Mr. N does reach the end of his allotted and brief time, long though it might have been by human standards, he discovers the tormentingly painful truth that all he had believed about his own existence was a lie. He comes to the understanding that he needs life as much or more on the other side as he does on this. He also discovers that it is too late to do anything to change the situation he finds himself in; the despair that this knowledge must surely bring is impossible to imagine. What was it during his lifetime that prevented Mr. N from gaining this knowledge that would have given him greater treasure in the form of life eternal than he could have ever earned in a million lifetimes? Here is a list of reasons (excuses?) Mr. N might give for his ignorance in the knowledge of God, his Maker, his Creator and the giver of life to him:
- WE ALL NEED TO MAKE A LIVING: Mr. N defined a ‘Living’ as a six figure salary to start, preferably a seven figure or higher income for himself, his spouse, two kids and the family dog. Mr. N did not agree with God’s definition of a living as defined in 1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. He did not agree with his Maker who taught us to labour not to be rich (Prov. 23:8) but rather to labour to enter into his rest (Heb. 4:11)
- IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW GOD: 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them (But they willingly refused to see). 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Mr Normal found it more convenient to believe in the impossible theory of evolution for his origins and chose Darwin as his god (yes he did make this choice by choosing not to understand that God is his Creator); tragically for him his choice was wrong, and therefore fatal (for his soul)! Understanding our own existence is a fundamental DUTY for man not just a philosophical pursuit! (Romans 1:19-20, King James Version)
- THE BIBLE IS TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND: 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. (Proverbs 8:8-10, King James Version) 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20, King James Version) Mr. N did not find it hard to understand football or hockey or tennis or his golf game scores or the performance of his portfolio or the evening news or the difference between communism and democracy or the philosophy of Socrates or the existentialism of Camus.........No, all Mr. N found hard to understand were words that are plain to understand, according to his Maker!
- THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME: Tuesdays and Sundays Johnny has hockey, Wednesdays is Julie’s ballet lesson, Thursdays the wife is out with the girls so Mr. N has to babysit, Fridays is pub night with the boys, Saturdays are usually reserved for socializing with friends or family; just dunno where the time goes! By his own admission Mr. N makes choices that leave him time for everything but God, for his Maker he is too busy! Mr. N does not understand nor does he want to understand that his Creator whose hands have stretched out the heavens, by whose command the galaxies and the stars stay their course, who designed, created and breathed life into Mr. N, may have just a bit more understanding of what’s best for Mr. N than Mr. N has for himself. No, Mr. N. would rather convince himself that if there is a God, he will understand Mr. N’s choices and excuse them! After all what can be more important than Hockey Night in Canada or NFL Sundays or little Johnny’s hockey tournament or little Julie’s ballet performance or pub night, after working so hard what’s wrong with a bit of fun, some entertainment, a little relaxation? So God waited patiently for Mr. N to turn to him so that he could show him what God desired of him even has Mr. N so diligently showed his children what he desired of them! I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (Isaiah 65:2, King James Version)
Rather than continue on I will conclude here by saying that man does not stop to consider that God who created the Universe and gave him life may have a purpose for which he created all these things. He does not consider that as a parent knows what is best for his infant and young children, so does God know for what purpose he created mankind in general and each individual person in particular. However man is taught right from birth that the very purpose of his existence is to accumulate things that pertain to this life that he lives in the body. In pursuing these material gains, he comes to believe that life means ‘material things.’ And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:15, King James Version)
Man does not stop to consider that ‘material gain’ means ‘spiritual loss.’ In his blindness he chooses to spend all his time and energy on attempting to gain material things that at best can give him bodily comforts but have no relationship whatsoever to the welfare of his soul and spirit. Whether by choice or through wilful ignorance the majority of mankind ends up serving the devil. His pursuit of material gain breeds in him fleshly lusts that war against his very own soul; he becomes his own worst enemy and the cause of his own eternal damnation. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, King James Version)
Spiritual wealth which cannot be purchased with money because it is a free gift from God is defined in the bible as follows: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26, King James Version) We did not choose to be born into this life, neither is it within our power to stop death and continue our present bodily existence forever. Unlike our entry into this world, we do have a choice to make before we enter that world: we need to choose life or death and if we neglect to do so the choice will be made for us; the choice is made by default for most people and that choice is a fatal one. Because most people choose to stay wilfully ignorant about eternal matters when in the land of the living, their ignorance proves to be fatal when they cross over into the land where there is no life. The questions of our mortality and what lies beyond have been more than adequately answered by God our Creator. He has had all the information we need written down for our benefit, and He also gives us of His own Spirit that when we study the written Word it may become energized within our souls, that we may be certain, have no doubt of that which we believe. Therefore we who believe will enter into Eternal Life when our bodily life comes to an end as it must for all mankind.
‘I don’t believe any of this’ you say! Besides who has time to think of such morbid things as death, life is too short, we need to enjoy it now! We’ll deal with what comes after when we get there, I’ve don’t hurt anyone, I live a decent life, that’s what I believe, just be good and enjoy life! I’m too busy to read the bible right now, Julie’s ballet lessons start in an hour, then I have to run Johnny to hockey, he’s playing Rep this year so there are 4 games a week and 2 practices, no time left for anything. I’m so worn out I need a vacation, Mexico is beautiful this time of year, I think I’ll go for two weeks this year instead of one! Yeah, this is what life is all about!
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:25, King James Version)