I used to own a Cadillac. Now that should tell you how RICH I am – because Cadillacs are one of the most expensive cars in all of Canada. But let me tell you a little secret! I only paid $100 for that car, and the man who I bought it from, a man who loves God and who is a pastor, said, “Are you SURE you want to buy this car?” I said, “Yes, I’m sure!” So I bought it. Now what a deal — that is, if you’re looking for spare parts. You see, the man warned me at least two or three times that I ought to be careful before buying that car. It’s not that it was a “bad car” – the car itself worked fine! However, it was the SMELL that was the big turn off! And did it smell! It smelled of gasoline INSIDE the car, and even though the leak had been fixed, the smell was so powerful inside the car, that the man decided, “I’ve got to sell this thing!” And so sell it he did – to me! (A sucker is born every minute, they say!)
Well, I tried as best as I could, and sunk a few hundred dollars into that car, but I soon realized (err, too late!) that this car was definitely NOT for me! So I put an ad in the newspaper advertizing the car for something like $325.00 (you can see that I did not want to lose my investment on that one). I had actually spent just about that much by that time, so I would be making and losing a net amount of precisely zero. And that suited me JUST FINE! As long as I could GET RID OF THAT CAR! (Any of you who have had stray cars “lying around” and doing nothing, you know how bothersome that can be. It is also very bothersome to call a tow truck to have to pull your car out of there and even have to PAY those people to do that!)
Well, I was very fortunate indeed, because a very nice French man came along and said he wanted to look at the car. Of course, I said, “You know, it has quite a smell!” He said, “That’s okay. I have the exact same car and I need a new bumper! Paying $325 for the whole car will give me my new bumper at far less than I would have to pay the dealer just for the bumper!” So he purchased the car (phew!) and off he went, happy as a duck in a pond of insect infested water! And I was a happy duck, too, needless to say. But you know, that was a close one! If it hadn’t been for that nice gentleman, coming along and rescuing me like that, I’d have an old, unusable, Cadillac on my hands, and would likely have had to pay a tow truck close to $100 to take it off my hands. Talk about adding insult to injury!
You know, like that man, who warned me about the car – and he warned me several times, nonetheless – sometimes we, as human beings, receive warnings from God, either through preachers, or by reading the Bible, or through every day people who love God and are concerned about others people’s lives, who simply say, “You know, you really need Jesus”. Time and time again, we may receive the warning, but fail to heed it, and so get caught in an unfortunate trap. The trap is, trying to live our lives apart from Jesus. The truth of the matter is, Jesus is waiting for all those who have not yet trusted in Him to do that right now. And, the sooner the better, because, contrary to what you might have been told, life really STARTS when you start to trust in Jesus. (Perhaps you were told that it ENDS when you start trusting in Jesus! That’s a big lie!)
Today, the warning is sounded yet one more time: You really need Jesus. You know, I’ve “been there” when it comes to “not heeding the call”. Just think of the Cadillac that I had on my hands that would have weighed me down if I had not gotten rid of it! In life, there is something that weighs us all down if we don’t get rid of it. Call it a pressure. Call it a pain. Call it a distress. You can decide – if you want – to use any or all of these words. What it really is, is intimately tied in with your fear of putting your complete trust in God. If you’re not completely trusting God today, it is because you are afraid to do that. “Who is He?” you may be asking. “How can I know I’m really trusting the right one?” “Is Jesus really “the way, the truth, and the life” as the Bible says He is?
Let’s face it. These are some reasonable questions, which deserve a reasonable answer. And there are reasonable answers for you. If you really want to study the matter, why don’t you go to a Christian bookstore (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that you went!) and fetch copies of Josh McDowell’s two books, “Evidence that demands a verdict” and “More evidence that demands a verdict”. In the end, though, you’re going to have to exercise some faith and trust Him. And then see what happens. I think – in fact, I know – you will be favorably impressed.
But before I go, let’s revisit this thing called a pressure, or a pain, or distress that is weighing you down, as I mentioned earlier. You see, you long for acceptance, and you long to find favor and unconditional love from another person, but you’ve been terribly disappointed, right? Deep down inside, you also know that you’re not perfect, right? Come on, now, you can admit it. (Remember, I won’t tell anyone!) Well, if you can be “man” or “woman” enough to admit that you’re not perfect, and that you have, in fact, made some terrible mistakes in your life (do some soul-searching if you are currently coming up “empty” on this one), well, then, it’s time to look to Jesus, who actually gave HIS life for YOURS in a “free trade agreement”, as it were. That’s right! That’s the LOVE and the ACCEPTANCE that you have been looking for all of these years. His name is Jesus. The Bible says that He died for you, and paid the price of your guilt before a God who always does what is right.
You long for the “right thing”, right? And you hate it when other people rip other people off, right? And you hate it when people who are obviously guilty of some crime get acquitted because of some legal loophole, right? Come on, now, just think about all those times when you knew the guy got off scott free and should have been locked away, hook, line, and sinker (“they should have thrown away the key”, you might have even thought!). Well, did you know that the THING that makes you FEEL that way is your God-given sense of justice? But admit it, your own ability to judge is not 100% perfect. But God’s is. He is TRULY just! Now when it comes time for YOU to stand before HIS throne of judgment – which you shall indeed do – do you think He will find you 100% clean and without guilt? Now be honest. Though you’ve been ripped off, and people have scammed you, and even taken advantage of you – forget about THOSE people for now, will you? How will YOU fare before a holy and just God?
No imperfection can enter His kingdom – that is how holy He is. There is no way that either you, or I, are going to be able to stand in His awesome presence without some “rescuer” by our side to take our place of punishment. Now Jesus PAID that price when He hung there on the cross! He said, at the very end of it all, “It is finished”, which means that He finally DID what He planned to do since the very beginning of creation, knowing that Adam and Eve would fall into sin. Yes, that’s right! He created us KNOWING that we would “mess up” royally. Forget about $100 purchases of Cadillacs for a moment, if you will. Our “mess up” was really the “royal mess up” indeed. We messed up so much that we basically turned our backs on the very One that created us. Now imagine if your pet dog or cat did that! They’d starve to death! In like fashion, we are “starving” for the forgiveness that only God can bring. That’s right. Without Christ, we’re starving indeed.
Now imagine standing by the Judge, for moment, at the end of your life, without Christ by your side. How will you fare?
“… it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
The judgment. Now that’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus paid our price when He hung there on that cross. With Christ, there is forgiveness indeed. So today, if you have not done so already, choose LIFE! For it IS appointed unto man once to die, and after this comes the judgment. Now how will you fare without Christ? Think about it. The time you take in thinking about right now could save you for all eternity.