It’s not like people don’t know about God. But today, fewer and fewer will even acknowledge Him, much less seek to learn of Him, know Him and serve Him. Romans 3:11-18 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of snakes is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
That’s our world today, just as it was then. But there was a time in our American history when God was first and foremost in the lives of almost everyone. Even in the public schools, children were taught to read from the Bible. The famous “McGuffey Readers” used in public schools were filled with Scripture lessons as well. Pastors preached the whole Word of God from their pulpits and they taught and led their flocks with courage and conviction. Families prayed together and stayed together. There was a reverence for God. It seems those days are gone now.
All mankind is without excuse. People inherently know God exists, yet they turn away from Him, to their own destruction. Romans 1 tells us, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools...”
I’ve never before seen a generation that is so adept at suppressing the truth. Suppressing the truth has become commonplace, not just in public and private life, but even mandated by social media, news media and our government, to name just a few.
How is it that you can know God exists, that He created the entire universe and everything it contains, that He created all living things, including you and me and yet still not have a burning desire to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him? Even as I look at His awesome creation, all around me, I look in wonder and awe. He designed our planet to be the perfect habitat for all the people, animals, birds, fish and plants — and it’s HIS hand that sustains everything. He designed man and woman to be His most beloved of all — to have a relationship with us, to commune with us, as He once did with Adam and Eve in the garden. Yet, so many despise Him.
What sort of life do people have, when they deliberately choose to deny God and purposely choose to live apart from Him? On January 12, Lisa Marie Presley died of a heart attack at the age of 54. The daughter of Elvis Presley had the world at her feet, and had every opportunity to come to know the Lord and serve Him. Yet she was married and divorced four times and was a member of the Church of Scientology until 2014. In the many obituaries put forth in the media, there’s no mention of any relationship or knowledge of God, her Creator.
Another celebrity, Jerry Lee Lewis, died October 28th of last year, 87 years old. Known as “The Killer” of Rock and Roll, Jerry Lee Lewis was described by those that knew him as “a thief, a bigamist, an adulterer, a sexual predator, a family abandoner, and a liar.” He believed the rules of society never applied to him. Lewis was married seven times. His third wife was his 13-year-old cousin, though technically, he was still married to his first — and second — wives. His fourth wife got a divorce, but was found mysteriously drowned in a swimming pool just days before the settlement came through. He married his fifth wife in 1983. The 25-year-old was also found mysteriously dead 77 days later. Within a year he was married again, to wife number 6.
Jerry Lee Lewis was also the cousin of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, and Lewis attended Southwest Bible Institute in Texas, until he was thrown out for playing rock & roll versions of sacred hymns. One of his Bible school classmates met him again, years later and asked Lewis if he was still playing the devil’s music. “Yes I am,” Lewis answered. “But you know, it’s strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I’m playing for the devil and they don’t.” Now THERE’S a ‘mic-drop’ statement!
Yet another person, who had every opportunity to know and serve God, but refused, and found himself given over to a reprobate mind. Many older Christians, even today, will remember listening to gospel and hymn records by Jim Nabors. I still hear some older folks talk about how much they love his singing of those old beloved hymns. Nabors was best known as “Gomer Pyle” from his days on the Andy Griffith Show and others. But he also had a music career, and was greatly admired for his singing of gospel music.
Few know that Nabors had a secret life as a homosexual, and when the Supreme Court rendered it’s Obergefell decision on June 26, 2015, Nabors and his homosexual partner were the first couple in the country to get legally “married.”
Finally consider what it would be like to live your entire life apart from God and end up in your old age sitting in the Oval Office, knowing that your whole life was a lie. “And what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” Joe Biden’s stories of his life have been repeatedly called out — even by the mainstream media — as being lies. He sits now, in the Oval Office, as the result of yet another lie. And you can pretty much guarantee that any time his lips are moving, he’s lying. Yet he claims to be a devout Catholic.
Friends, these, and billions of others on the planet down through history, had every opportunity to come to know the Lord God, their Creator, and the Savior of all mankind, His Son, Jesus Christ. They are all without excuse. They had the choice to learn of God, to know Him and to commune with Him on a daily basis. They had the opportunity to receive the very Holy Spirit of God within them, to be their Comforter, Teacher and Guide throughout their lives. They had the opportunity to have the peace that passes all understanding. God never hid Himself from any of them. But they chose darkness rather than light.
Understand that God doesn’t send anyone to hell. We choose to go there, by our denial of Christ. And our Heavenly Father puts obstacle after obstacle in our way throughout our lives to try to turn our hearts toward Him. He waits for each of us, patiently, and He seeks after us, as lost sheep. We are without excuse.
Because, you see, in order to end up in hell, you have to purposely ignore everything about the Savior that God puts in your path all throughout your life. You have to ignore every story you heard at Christmas time about the birth of Jesus. You have to turn away from every Gospel message you’ve ever seen on a billboard along the highway. You have to shun every prayer of a heartbroken mother, father, grandmother or grandfather on your behalf. You have to throw every Bible or Gospel tract ever handed to you in the trash. You have to rely on your own flesh and your own stubborn will through every cancer scare, every close call with a traffic accident, and you have to sit impatiently through every Christian wedding and funeral, tuning out every word you ever heard about the eternal salvation available to you through Jesus Christ.
How can people live without God? I can’t imagine. I love Him. I trust Him. I rely on Him. I talk with Him daily. And His Holy Spirit guides everything I do. Because of Jesus, I can go directly to Him — the Creator of the universe, and everything in it, including me, and talk with Him, and He with me. And no matter how awful this world continues to get, I know my Savior and He knows me. I also know that this world is only our temporary home — and that not only is the Holy Spirit living inside me right now, but when I leave this earth, I will spend eternity in service to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
As I serve Him here in this life, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so. But it grieves my heart to see so many turn away, thoughtlessly tossing aside the greatest gift to all mankind, instead choosing a life of sin, debauchery, hedonism, selfishness and darkness. And for those who turn away from God, the darkness of this world is only a tiny fraction of the darkness in which they’ll spend eternity... eternal separation from the Most High God. Eternal loneliness and regret, and the worst part is, they’ll know they chose this and have no one to blame but themselves.
Friends, if you’re hearing this message, consider what’s at stake. I hope you will take this seriously, because we live in perilous times and tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. On the contrary, more people than ever now are “dying suddenly.” It’s in the news every day. Not just athletes and celebrities. Ordinary, everyday people, just like you.
I skim the headlines of our local news every day. One of the things I read is the obituaries. It’s alarming to see how many young people have been in the obituaries over the past year or so. I see people 57 years old; 41 years old; 33 years old; 18 years old. The first paragraph seems to always say the same thing: they “died suddenly,” or “died unexpectedly.” Many today wonder if we’re in the “last days.” The truth is, for nearly 200,000 people, today IS the LAST day. Could it be your last day? What about tomorrow? Will you live to see it?
I’m not trying to scare you. God never forces anyone to come to Him. He waits with open arms and gives us every opportunity but the choice is always ours. He doesn’t want people to go to Him because of fear. He wants to remove all fear and give us the gift of peace of mind, heart and soul. He wants to give us power, love and sound minds. He wants us to know Him, and He wants to know each of us — because He loves us. He’s not waiting to pounce on us and punish us. Rather, He would like nothing more than to remove the punishment and just judgment we deserve by the blood of His Son, Jesus, on our behalf.
Jesus came to give us life, and life more abundantly. Nothing in this world can compare to a personal, loving relationship with our Creator. All the fortune, fame and enticing morsels the devil can dangle in front of our greedy eyes will never compare to such a relationship. There is no greater love you’ll ever experience — in this world or the next.
God’s not hiding from you. He’s seeking you. Start looking and watching the obstacles He places in your path — obstacles meant to get your attention, and to turn your heart toward Him. They’re out there every day. I see the wonders of His creation and the signs of His mighty hand all around me every day. Go to Him. Call on His name, and you’ll see them too. There’s no excuse, no reason to live in denial any longer. You instinctively know God is there. I’m telling you, He is there and He’s waiting — for you! Turn to Him today, learn of Him, come to know Him, repent of your sins and plead the blood of Christ for your soul. Though the world may not accept you, when you go to the Lord in humble repentance and faith, He always will. But the choice is yours. The only thing you have to lose is your soul. So... what are you going to do now?