OceanSide church of Christ
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THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR 2017
Victor M. Eskew
It is not often that the last day of the year falls on a Sunday. What better way to wave goodbye to 2017 than to come together as the church and worship the heavenly Father? It is He who has granted us the privilege of living throughout 2017. He has blessed us. He has kept us. He has led us. He has helped us. He has forgiven us many times. He has been our source of strength. He has seen us through the difficult and stressful times. He has healed us. He has heard us. He has never forsaken us. We need to honor Him with deep expressions of praise and gratitude on this last day of the year. The psalmist exhorts us well with these words: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; his truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:4-5).
As I was thinking about this Sunday as the last day of the year, it occurred to me that we have many last days in our lives. One of them is our last day of high school. We attended classes for 12 or 13 years. We gained a general education that will assist us in college and throughout our adult life. We worked hard. We studied diligently. We took many tests. We wrote numerous papers. We laughed and cried with our friends. Then, the last day comes. High school soon becomes history.
Another last day involves our last day at home. For 18 or more years, we have been living under the roof of our parent’s house. They provided for us. They made the rules. The supervised our actions. In one day, all of that changes. We pack what few things we had into a car, a truck, or a trailer, and leave home. We went to a college dorm. We moved into an apartment. Perhaps, we moved into a home with our spouse. We waved goodbye to mom and dad. We said “so long” to the familiar. Half of our heart hurt. The other half was excited about beginning a new era in our lives. Home was never the same after that final day there.
Many have experienced the last day of being single. It occurs twenty-four hours before our wedding day. We know that we will soon walk down the aisle, and say: “I do.” We will be joined with a person that we love will and will promise to be with them the rest of our lives. Now all that we have and all that we do will be shared with another person. No longer will we operate by the “me” principle. Everything now begins with the word “we.” Self will take a backseat to someone more important. The days of “doing as one pleases” are left behind. These thoughts, and others, have terrified many. Some have gotten so fearful that they cancel the wedding on the wedding day. They just do not want to face that they will no longer be single. This is one of the most important last days of our lives. It impacts some two thirds to three fourths of our lives.
Another last day that some have experienced, and others want to experience, is the last day of work. For years, a person has risen early and gone to the job. He has labored 8 to 10 hours a day. This has been done for thirty or forty or more years. Then, comes that final day. The desk or locker is cleaned out. There is a party with many kinds words said on the individual’s behalf. There are hugs and tears. The keys are turned in. At the close of the day, there is a lonely walk to the car. Tomorrow will not be the same. A void will have to be filled. That last day of work can be difficult for some. Their job has been a huge element of their life for so long. That last day is difficult to accept. The job will now continue without us.
Still another last day is the last day of one’s life on earth. That day may come after many years lived on earth. It may come after an illness. It could come as a complete surprise. It is the last day of one’s earthly affairs. It is the last day of earthly relationships. It is the last day for us to serve and to love others here. We slip from time into eternity. We lose our earthly tabernacle, this physical body, and enter into the spirit world. We remember our life here, but there is no coming back.
One more last day that all will experience is called just that “The Last Day.” This is the last day the earth will stand. Peter tell us: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). This will be the last day for anyone to make a decision to obey the gospel of Christ. When this day comes, the opportunity to be saved will come to an end. Man will then look only to the judgment. Jesus taught about this in Matthew 25:31-33. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Those on the right will hear the words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). Those on the left will hear another message. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). This last day is final. Time will be no more. Only eternity will exist. This is by far the most important last day of all.
The best way to prepare for THE last day is to make this the last day you will serve sin. One does this by putting off the old man of sin and putting one Jesus Christ. It all begins with faith in Jesus Christ. This faith moves one to repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19). This is when the old man dies. Prior to the act of baptism, one confesses his faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:36-38). Then, the old man is buried in the waters of baptism. Jesus’ blood cleanses the soul and one arises a new creature in Christ Jesus (Acts 2:38; 22:16). “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you has have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Dear reader, prepare for THE last day on this, the last day of 2017. Make the last day of 2017 your last day to serve sin. Make the last day of 2017 your first day to be free in Christ!