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The Final Exam

Mark Howard
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The 3rd angel warns about the final test of loyalty and the role of our daily choices in the formation of our characters and our final destiny.

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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

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  • October 21, 2016
    7:00 PM

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It was my freshman year in the University of Missouri in Columbia Missouri and I had Unfortunately I know something most of you are not going to relate to this but I had in high school cultivated the bad habit of procrastination. That's when you put things off and. I did OK and I school you know waiting till the last minute to do my reading assignments and term papers in and I thought I was going to be the same way in college. Well I didn't quite work that way and I remember I don't know why I did this when I made my schedule but I had in my it was my psychology class and I had a psychology lab at I want to say it was seven twenty in the morning and as an eighteen year old I thought that was the most I'm godly hour to do anything and I remember that my alarm clock would go off at seven twelve well it would go off at seven twenty to get me to class. It probably seven fifteen right. It actually went off a little earlier than that and I remember on many occasion looking at that alarm clock and thinking you know forget about it especially in the winter time I thought forget about it. I am not getting up and going in that class today. Og. I'm going to skip it. Today. And one sign made that decision and hit that snooze button or that off button on my arm I want to tell you I felt good. I felt like I made the right decision and that wasn't the only time I skipped classes I was dating a young lady at the time who is now my wife Stephanie is sitting right over here. And so there were some times that I didn't go to class because I would have rather been with her. And I want to tell you that when I skipped class and hung out with her. I felt really good about it I felt like I was doing the right thing but I will never forget the end of that semester. When I came into the now we have twenty five thousand people there. Approximately University of Missouri. Of course your classes were smaller but it finally exam day comes and you go into that vast lecture hall and you've got all of those chairs and everybody quietly sitting at their table with their paper and I remember going in and sitting down on exam day that final exam. And I remember looking in that paper and everything on it kind of starts swimming. I don't know if you've had that kind of and you recognize nothing. And you realize only too late that you're not prepared for the final exam. And there's nothing you can do about the message tonight is intitled the final exam. I want to tell you that happy you for it. Feeling I had when I hit the snooze button became an ugly red dragon on exam that the final exam the one thing we've been talking about this week as we've been talking about the three angels messages in fact I'm going to have you guys advance to the first slide for me here. This is something I've shared. And I hope you can follow along the statement here from the book testimonies for the church Volume nine page one thousand it says in a special sense Seventh Day Adventists have been set in the world as watchman and like bearers. To them has been intrusted the last warning for perishing world. I really want that to sink into your ears. When these young men from Salt came up and shared what they did it and rather you said been too. We grow up with it and we don't have a clue how many people have never heard these things before totally unprepared for the coming of Jesus. Says on them that his seventh day adventists a shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given. A work of the most solemn import the proclamation of the first second and third Angel's messages notice there is no other work of so great importance there to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. That's pretty serious isn't it. And this isn't this is not listening to the message this is us giving the message any case I forget to say it later. I want you to be clear on something tonight most people are not going to receive the message like this and they're not going to be so receiving it in the evangelistic meeting. Most people need to get it one on one and the Lord has enlisted every one of us and given us the ability. One of the Apostle Paul say I'm a debtor both to Jews and to Greeks do you know Jesus tell somebody who doesn't. Amen. So we've been talking about this. I've been wanting to dwell on some of the practical aspects I mean we talk about talk about the three of those messages and if you talk about having this just when you go way back to William Miller and all of that business for a lot of us. It's we're far removed from it. So I've been trying to draw out some of the practical implications of those messages for example the first angels message the message stirred the people with the soon coming of Jesus and lead them to examine their own profession of faith in Christ with their actual experience with Christ. And I think we don't do well to do that. It's easy to say I am a follower of Jesus. But if Jesus were here in person when I be going where he's going. The second message expose the message of the warning against Babylon exposed to danger of the truth an error mixture of Babylon. And her teachings grooming us. And I'm going to pick up on this in a minute grooming us to receive the mark of the beast the third in just message has to do with the mark of the beast but far more and if you have your Bibles and I hope you do. We're going to Revelation fourteen. And we're going to look at the third angels message here Revelation fourteen starting in verse nine. Revelation fourteen in verse nine. The Bible says here then a third angel followed them that is the first in the. Second angel saying with a loud voice. If anyone worships the beast in his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand. He himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. I'm going to quiz you here real quick. Who on this earth has ever drank. The cup of God's wrath full strength. There's only one. And that's Jesus Christ and he drank it so nobody else has to right. Now this with the Bible says whoever receives this. Mark. Or receive the wrath of God The wine of the wrath of God poured out full strength into the cup of and his indignation he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy and hills and in the presence of the Lamb and the smoke of their torment ascends for ever and ever and they have no rest day or night who worship the beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name here is the patience of the Saints Here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus and I'm not sure exactly how it is today. I know how it was when I was growing up as a young Abu Anas and the mindset was this. Oh we know about the mark of the beast this is going to be the Sabbath Sunday thing right. And here's what I'm going to do. I've got this down cold pastor here's what I'm going to do when they pass the Sunday law. That's why I'm going to start going back to church and it caught up in my back time they're going to start drinking decaf and at that at that I did it up right. I want to get everything right. When they passed the Sunday law it's all about this. I know the right answers I got the cliff notes and when the test comes I got it. Was not going to roll out that way. See the mark of the beast is the final test is the final exam for humanity. I want you to understand something as we read in this passage here. You know the mark of the beast is a warning but it's not a solution. I want to go to the screen with me and look at something. Ellen White wrote interestingly about the third and his message this is what she says several have written to me. Inquiring of the message if the message of Justification by Faith is the third angel's message and I have answered it is the third angel's message in verity. Justification by Faith. Let's look at one more that I have on the screen for you. It's from the book early writings and it says this the third angel closed his message or closes his message in this way. Here is the patience of the saints here are they that keep the commandments of God in the faith of Jesus. Notice what it says next as he repeated these words he pointed where to the heavenly sanctuary the minds of all who embrace this message are directed to where the most holy place why because it's where Jesus stands before the Ark making his final intercession The point is this the warning message of the thirteen joules not the solution. The warning of them are against the mark of the beast is not the means of resisting the mark of the beast any more than a warning about a coming storm is what prepares you for the storm the warning should lead you somewhere else for preparation and the mark of the beast message at their dangerous message should lead you to Jesus Christ as the only one who can help you stand at that time. And we're going to see that as we unfolded a little bit. One more similar statement the eyes were directed to the sanctuary notice Mrs great controversy of the sanctuary in heaven is the what is the very center of Christ work in behalf of men. You know that means. Folks listen to me carefully. Jesus is really somewhere right now he's in the heavenly sanctuary. I hear people whom you have minister to even say we just need to focus on Jesus and they never talk about the sanctuary folks that's where he is. You want to focus on him. You've got to focus on where he is and what he's doing and what he's doing. There is what we're talking about tonight. What he's doing. There is we're talking about tonight I want you to go to Matthew chapter twenty two and I want you to look at two parables first in Matthew twenty two that Jesus gave in fact before we do that before we do that. Go go back to Revelation I missed something here. Go to go to Revelation thirteen. I want to I want to draw something out of this idea of the mark of the beast that a lot of people read over. We're going to Revelation Chapter thirteen in Revelation thirteen verse sixteen. The Bible says He causes all both small and great rich and poor free enslaved to receive a mark on their right hand or their well foreheads and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the watch the what the name of the beast or the number of his name along to that we're going to come back to it first eight hundred says here is wisdom let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man whose number is six hundred sixty six Keep reading the chapter breaks were not there in the original John says then I looked and behold the lamb standing on my own and with him one hundred and forty four thousand having his father's name written where on their foreheads and after reading the N.I.V. it says having his name and his father's name written the four heads. Here's what I want you to see there are not there's not only one mark in the Book of Revelation there are two there are two marks there marks of Allegiance and they're posing marks and nobody has both you can only get one. But more importantly each mark notice the mark of the beast and the mark in the hundred forty four thousand four heads contains the name. Either the name of the beast or the. Name of God. There's anybody know what name symbolizes in the Bible. You know in the Old Testament times you got names given for example the name of the promised child a to Abraham and Sarah. What was his name. Isaac anybody know the name Isaac means means laughter wives you name laughter because both they were him and Sarah laughed at the whole idea that they were going to have a child their old age right names meant something they were tied to it. Some things so characteristic. When Moses in Exodus Chapter thirty three said to the Lord Lord show me your glory. God answered by saying Moses I'll make all my goodness pass before you and I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Name is a reference to character and the point I would make here is this the mark of the beast is about character more than anything else. If the end of time you're going to be on one side or the other not because of the answers you know on the quiz. But because of the character you're forming now because the character you form now is going to default to whatever side you're going to end up with. And will display what will demonstrate this is we go on this evening. Whether or not a person receives the mark of the beast will be determined by character rather than by knowledge. There's this next statement I got on the screen here. The question is asked What are you doing brethren in the great work of while preparation those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and doing what preparing for the mark of the beast you get that if you can prepare for it. It doesn't just happen. You're preparing or being prepared for it even now. Perhaps somebody knows to you. You're being groomed just like of credit. Grooms his victim the devil is grooming us. To receive this Mark. It's an issue of character and the Jesus illustrated this in a number of places we're going to look at two we're going to the two. Parables the first one is in Matthew twenty two. This is the parable of the wedding garment Matthew twenty two and we're going to start here tonight. Matthew twenty two verses eight. How many of you are familiar with this have read the parable of the wedding garment before. OK I see a number of your hands. Matthew twenty two starting in verse eight. Now I'm not reading the whole passage here in the passage. There's a wedding feast that is thrown by a king and he invites people to this feast. But not everybody who is invited to the feast wants to com In the parable the king is God and the feast is the invitation to the supper of salvation. OK now you need to understand that in this parable. And I'm just saving some time by giving the explanation you can read it later. But the point is this those who accept the invitation to this feast are the ones to say yes I accept Jesus Christ as my sit. There except in salvation. Now knows what it says in verse eight because there were those who rejected the invitation and so it says in verse eight then he the king said to his servants the wedding is ready. But those who are invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways as many as you find invite to the wedding. So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found both bad and good and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests. He saw a man there. Who did not have on a wedding garment now it was customary in those days for a king. If he was storing a big feast to provide the guests with a fancy garment. Because it would it would add to the palm of the whole event. You know it was dressed up or was dressed up nice and what have you. So as a man came on and the king saw him a man came in who did not have on a wedding garment so he said to him friend. How did you come in here without a wedding garment. And he was what. You have your bible verse twelve he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants bind him hand and foot take him away and cast him into outer darkness there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth for many are called but few are chosen. And I want you to understand what Jesus is conveying here in this parable. Though the feast is the invitation to salvation. There's a man who shows up there and he's sitting in the banquet hall what that tells you and me is in his mind he's accepted salvation. He's accepted justification by faith in Jesus Christ and he sits there perfectly content. He has full assurance of salvation. King comes in he's not intimidated by the king coming in. He feels like he has every right to be there. And the king comes up and asks him a question friend how did you get in here without while a wedding garments. And that wedding garment we would say represents the righteousness of Christ or the righteous character of Christ the kind of character that God intends to give to every one of us to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. It's part of the salvation process. It's. When the king goes in and asks the man where his garment is what does he say. What the man said to him. Says he was speechless. Now listen to me carefully. If I showed up at a place like that. And I was glad to be there and I felt I had a right to be there in the King came up and asked me or anybody for that matter came up and said hey what about your supposed to wear that blue shirt tonight. If I'd never heard anything about as a woman wait a minute I did hear that. Oh wait a minute. I didn't wear blue shirt he talk about what wedding garment are you talking about. The the the reason this man says nothing is because he knew about the wedding guard but somehow or the other he didn't think it was important that he had it all. Now let me connect the dots for you. There are a lot of Christians today I'm going to tell you the Bible says that false teachers false teachers will exist to the end of time in the Bible says one of the things the false teachers do is they promise God's people liberty freedom in Christ while they themselves are slaves to corruption. This is a man who accepted Christ. And somebody taught him that it was important. Once you come to Jesus to walk with Jesus and let Jesus renew your character but probably some well meaning somebody or the other came up and said All man that's legalism you don't gotta worry about that look all you got to worry about is you accepted Jesus and you're OK And evidently he bought it hook line and sinker because there he was sitting in that banquet hall feeling like he was perfectly OK until the final exam came in the King showed up and said Where's your wedding garment and he didn't our one. In regardless how much assurance he had of sound. Ation sitting there he was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. That should be sobering to us here the sea. I'm going to talk about that weeping and gnashing of teeth in just a moment. But the point of the parable is simply this The Million had a title to heaven but he didn't have a spotless for heaven he did not have the character he needed to pass the final exam. Now incidentally Jesus gives this concept in another parable that also has to do with a wedding cake and it's in Matthew twenty five. Matthew five. And we'll start there in the first verse. This is the parable of the ten virgins or the ten bridesmaids bridesmaids. Bible says. Matthew twenty five one then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom now five of them were wise and five were foolish those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed they all what. Slumbered and slept. The world slumbered is a very interesting word in the Greek the Greek word that's translated slumbered in our Bibles is the word to nod. Now this may not mean anything to you but it means a lot to me as a preacher to knob. Right. I see that sometimes to nod. And we use the phrase nodding off. Have you ever heard that phrase before somebody nods off they falsely but here's a question I have for you. There is a. Difference between nodding off and going to bed. What would it be. Listen carefully. A person plans to go to bed. But nobody plans to nod off. Who nodded off. The foolish virgins right. What's it say all of them did all of them did here the universe history Jesus said everybody's going to nod off. Listen don't get intimate Don't don't don't get into a debate with me about conservative liberal blah blah blah blah. Are you committed to Jesus or not. Don't get caught up in the politicizing of everything today. We are getting brink of eternity and the question is am I living for Jesus and Jesus said they're going to be people on both sides and not off or on all sides or whatever you want to say but something happened after they nodded off the Bible says in verse six and midnight a cry was heard behold the bridegroom is coming go out to meet him then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps and the foolish said to the wise Give us some of your oil for our lamps are going out but the wise answered saying no less there'd should not be enough for us in you. Now has anybody read that besides me and thought being what kind of Christians are those mean their brothers and sisters need help and is like no forget about it because you're not going to enough for me and you and I'm going to make sure I get there. But there's an important lesson in it that Jesus is making in a Porton point that Jesus is making the Bible says verse ten that the foolish virgins went to by and when they did the bridegroom came and those who were reading went in with him to the wedding the door was shots. And afterward the other virgins came also saying Lord Lord open to us but he said and answered sinisterly I say to you. I do not know. So you. Now what was it that was lacking. In the lives of those foolish virgins What does it mean they didn't have extra oil well if you study this for is all of that the Holy Spirit they needed more of the Holy Spirit. But what does that mean. I'll tell you that means it has to do with character. It has to do with character has to do with what they've allowed the Holy Spirit to do in their lives in once again Jesus gives us a parable where you have two groups of people but one group of people has put off be developing the character they need for the crisis. And here's the thing about character. Character is not formed in a day or even a week. And if you put off the forming of character. There is no time left to do it. And that's what this parable brings out there was no more time for the foolish virgins. Go to the screen with me. You notice a statement from Christ object lessons page four twelve it says the great final test comes at the close of human probation. When it will be what it will be too late for the souls need to be supplied We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here and yet be fitted for his companionship in heaven. And a lot of us keep Christ apart from our lives not intentionally we just get too busy for. This coming a time when there's no more to look at this next state you know this one is especially on satellite describes the foolish virgins. You have to understand something. The Bible uses the term virgin to talk about somebody as a pure faith. These are not hypocrites in this with the statement says the foolish virgins do not represent those who are hypocrite of coal. They had a regard for the truce they advocated the truce that means they stood for it and shared it. They were intending to go forth and meet the bridegroom looking for the second coming of Jesus had every intention be ready. They are attached to those who believe the truth they like to be in a church and hang around with other seventy AD minutes in haystacks together fellowship meal. There are tasks of the church those who believe the truth and go with them having lamps which represent a knowledge of the truths. When there was a revival in the church their feelings were stirred the appeals were made they came down to the front. But they failed to have oil in their vessels because they did not bring the principles of godliness into their daily life and character. They did not fall upon the rock Christ Jesus and permit their old nature to be broken up. Is it possible. Oh to know the truth and love the truth and being around the people who also believe the truth. And yet not the less let or not allow the truth to affect your life. Yes it is. So how do we form that character I just want to look at. I'm going to look at two passages one how we are to form that character the first is in the book of Romans Chapter five. Romans Chapter five. And I'm just going to touch on this briefly there's a lot that we could do and look at on forming character Romans Chapter five starting in the first verse the Bible says here. Therefore having been justified by. A faith. We have peace with gone through our Lord Jesus Christ a notice. Having been past tense of already been justified but now what is the Apostle say Verse two through whom We also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. You know what the glory of God is this character issue with the Apostle says we rejoice in the hope of while. What's the hope of the Christian. The hope of the Christian is it will be like you. Isn't it. I'm I don't want to be like me. I want to be like Jesus. I don't want to treat people like I treat people. I want to treat people like Jesus treats people. I don't want to love people like I love people I love people like Jesus loves people. They rejoice in the hope of the glory of God to notice this verse three and not only that but also we also glory in what tribulations why knowing that tribulation produces perseverance. I like the King James says tribulation works patience as anybody and as anybody here ever prayed to God for patience. OK look at the text and look at what you're asking for and don't be upset with God when tribulation comes because that's what produces patients. I get this all the time and people say to me things like this. Well listen I'm sorry I lost my temper I'm usually a pretty patient person. Have you ever said that you know what that means that means I'm usually patient that is when everything goes my way who isn't patient when everything goes their way. Patience is demonstrated when things don't go your way tribulation works patients no notice. We're not done tribulation are going to find a place to get a verse three produces perseverance and persevered. Arendt's character and the King James says experience those two go together very well. Tribulation brings patients patients experience or character and character hope. Now the hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has given to us all. He's saying is this. And here's what I want you to get a character comes through a process. You see then it's not just boom you have character tribulation comes and you've got to wrestle through that and you've got to exercise your Christian experience and you've got to plead with Jesus to help you respond differently than you normally would and that produces perseverance in you and as you wrestle through those experiences it develops character in you in that character as this develop in you gives you hope because you know you can't build character by yourself. It's a divine thing. And so you see the working of God in your life and you know the Bible says you has begun a good work in you will complete a them to the day of Jesus Christ. And so you have that hope. But don't miss the brain point here that character is a process that comes through a process of learning to walk with Jesus every day. It's not a whiz bang one moment thing. Which is why the man when he didn't have the wedding garment couldn't suddenly get a wedding garment which is why the foolish virgins couldn't suddenly go out and get the oil and it's why the other virgins couldn't give them oil because you can't give character to somebody else. Are you following that. Now I'm going to resign I'm not going to go to the other text one recite it you're probably familiar with the says. What it sounds and second in these three eighteen is says that as we behold the glory of the Lord as we behold in a glass. Or in a mirror of the glory of the Lord we are strange and in the same image from glory to. Glory even by the spirit of the Lord. Are you familiar with that passage. Don't miss the language were changed from glory to glory that is from one stage of character to another once again you're looking at a process. And there the apostle says that we receive that character from the time we spend with Jesus and I just want to put in a plug here for devotional time and I'm going to draw a distinction between a devotional time in reading your Bible because reading your bible is not necessarily devotional time any more than eating lunch with a girl or a guy as a date. I might eat lunch with one of you ladies here but that doesn't mean we're dating right. It has to be in a certain context and I know a lot of Seventh Day Adventists who all I got my reading time and I'm going to go plow through my reading time but they don't do it. Devotional leading. Are you just punching the clock or when you spend time with the Lord. Are you spending time with the Lord. So you can get to know the Lord and understand his will for your life and follow His will for your life. And sayings I want to tell you I've been a pastor for over fifteen years I've worked with a lot of people in a lot of levels old and young we debate all kinds of theological things we're debating splits lifestyles standards and we're debating ordination we're big Never thing under the sun but we're lucky. Many of us if we spend five minutes in the Bible in a day it. And then we're going to debate stuff like we know anything. Without having devotional time with or we're lucky if we spend five minutes in prayer with the Lord. What can I expect my character to be if I don't walk with Jesus. If I'm no spin real time with Jesus. The final exam is coming and the character rebuild today is going to decide the action we take I'll give you a real it's a historical example a Bible example in the life. Peter Now let's talk about the apostle Peter on closing with this dog. You remember when Peter denied Christ. Let's back up your member when Jesus told Peter he was going to deny him and what did Peter say hey listen Lord the other guys may deny you dive for you. You remember that and then Jesus told Peter you're not going to die for me. Peter before the rooster crows three times are good or did not the crows true twice are going to deny me three times. Peter said No way that's not going to go down that way with me now let me ask you a question do you think Peter meant what he said I guarantee you Peter was as sincere is the day is long. I guarantee that Peter meant every word he said but here's the problem. Peter didn't realize that his character was so weak. And Jesus knew it that when his test came as much as he wanted to do the right thing he would default to the wrongs. Is much as he intended to stand for Christ when the pressure of the test came because he was worried more in his life about his reputation than his relationship with Christ when the test came he defaulted to the wrong side. You know the Bible tells us that in Galatians chapter six that we are going to reap what we sow in the context of Galatians six is talking about character and I want you to see one of the most. Fascinating statements I've read in the pen of bar from the pen of Ellen White in the book education on the screen here it's from education. Page one zero eight. Says by the laws of God in nature effect follows cause with unvarying certainty. The Reaping testifies to what the reaping testifies to the sowing In other words the harvest tells what you planted. It goes on to say here no pretense is tolerated men may deceive their fellow men and may receive praise in compensation for service which they have not rendered but in nature. There can be no deception on the on faithful husband in the harvest passes sentence of condemnation let me just break that down. If a farmer plants corn and he goes around and tells everybody he planted tomatoes. Sooner or later it's going to be evident to everybody that he planted corn no matter what he's talking about the harvest pronounces the sentence. You will report you so you plant corn you get corn you plant tomatoes you get tomatoes you pimply plant teaches you don't get apples. The harvest. Passes sentence. No notice and it goes on to say and in the highest sense the highest since this is also true in what realm the spiritual realm. It is in appearance in not in reality that evil succeeds you look at the world today say what evil evil seems to be growing not only in appearances not in reality and you see what that means in just a moment a child who plays truant from school the youth who is lawful in his studies. The clerk or a. Prentiss who fails of serving the interests of his employer the man in any business or profession who is untrue to his highest responsibilities may flatter himself that so long as the wrong is concealed he's gaining an advantage you know when I was in high school my senior year in high school I switched high schools. I moved I was living my parents were divorced I went from living with my mom to living with my dad and my dad wasn't home when school started. So when school started and they needed a signature. I signed my dad's name when I was in the principal's office. You know what that meant that meant any day I wanted to skip school or leave early. I needed was a note from my dad and guess what signature they had on file mine so I forget I told you I I built these habits and I school skipped was the name to go sign my own though and I thought I was getting away with something. Is not a serious person may find himself that as long as the wrong is concealed he's gaining in advantage. That's what led to my college experience and on exam did the jig was up. He may think he's gaining an advantage but it goes on to say this but not so he is why he is cheating him self listen to the last sentence here. The harvest of life is character. And it is this that determines destiny both for this life and the life to come. What kind of character argue. Building I told you I was going to come back to weeping and gnashing of teeth remember says they were cast out into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and I used to wonder what that meant weeping and gnashing of its is talking about. International T.V. What do you think about me. Think of national T.V.. I think initially for me I think of anger but this is weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it's not gnashing of teeth in anger. It's anguish. It's anguish in the best I can describe it. I think. I really tried to figure this out for a long time. I wondered what it meant. And so I actually get a little taste of it. I had a car that was under warranty and I started having a problem with the car when I would go around the corner and he was clunk clunk in the back of it. And I had bought this car and I had him and Adam and us just a warranty on the suspension up to a hundred thousand miles and I was at ninety eight thousand. And I thought man I ought to get that in while it's under warranty. Ninety eight thousand I got two thousand miles to go. I put it off and I put it off and I put it off and I put it off and I put it off and I finally get to ninety nine thousand nine hundred or something and thought I gotta get this thing in so I remember taking it into the dealership and I described the problem I said Well check it out. I said it's under warranty. Oh the lady tells me what it's going to cost and I said it's under word. Oh she said have done towards you want to pay it. It's a good. She calls me back later that day so we checked it out. We found the problem. Yeah it's what we thought it was but I got some bad news for your warranty was one hundred thousand miles or seven years and your seven years ended last week. I'm going to tell you there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and let me explain what I mean the anguish in the situation. The frustration comes from the reality that I could have done something about it but I waited too long and now it was for ever too late. And I'm not talking about a warranty repair on a car. I'm talking about eternity. We're talking about eternity tonight and what kind of character. We're building and what we may be putting off. I could have done something about it but I waited until it was too late and there are no words that can give the full impact of what that's going to be at the end of time. No words. There are those here tonight who have been putting your spiritual life on the backburner waiting for some day I don't know when some day is. And I understand from your school paper that you just buried a friend this week that nobody expected be bearing this soon. My young friends. It is no time to play with your relationship with Jesus. The Spirit of God is giving us opportunity tonight to make our calling election sure where's my standing with Christ. What kind of character. Am I. Building now. How is my walk with Jesus. Now and I want to courage you tonight. I don't know where you've been I'm not here to condemn you for where you've been the Lord Jesus is here tonight to say to you regardless what your past has been up until this moment tonight. Jesus is inviting you now to make your spiritual life your priority is that why you're here to a Christian school. That's a concept anyway I want to challenge you tonight I want to ask how many of you want to say to my Lord Jesus help me to have the character fit for heaven. So your desire tonight. Let's pray together Father in Heaven Father is reflected upon these things tonight in your word. Lord you've spoken through clay. But I do pray that the Spirit of God does speak clearly to our hearts and our minds Father we thank you for your great and everlasting love the love that draws had us. To walk with you and to learn of you and to build those characters now. But the enemy knows all too well that our characters will default us to our final choice and he does everything he can. To get us to put our relationship with you. I pray Lord tonight that you would help us to repro your ties if necessary or that our walk with you would be. We thank you for the sound and our spending time with you since this media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio or.

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