R.S.V.P. Before You R.I.P.

May 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Eternity, Ezekiel, Salvation | 12 Comments
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Very often, at the end of a church service, there will be a time of what is called “invitation.” This is when people who feel that the Lord’s Spirit has spoken to them through the preaching of His Word may come to the front of the church and pray with, or receive Biblical counseling from, the pastor or another spiritual leader. The area between the first row of seats or pews, and the pulpit, is sometimes called the “altar.” During funeral services, it is often the place where the coffin is set, as well.


Sadly, for many people, the first time in their whole lives they come to the altar is when they are wheeled there in their own coffin. Possibly even more tragic, though, are those who attend funerals, and are unaffected by the graphic illustrated sermon on display. I have seen people attend the funeral of a loved one who died prematurely due to drug or alcohol abuse, or due to the effects of an immoral lifestyle. As these people pass by the coffin to pay their last respects, they seem to be grieving or seriously shaken (and no doubt they are). Then, they proceed out of the church and immediately return to the type of actions and lifestyle which caused their loved one’s death.

Surely, these people do not think that they are the exceptions to God’s rule that people do not live forever.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27

What seems more likely is that they have the attitude of the people who heard the prophet Ezekiel’s warnings.

Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.

Ezekiel 12:27

The Israelites in this passage of Scripture thought there might be truth to the prophet’s warnings that judgment would come upon them, but, since he had been prophesying for a while, and nothing had happened yet, God’s judgment must be far off. They even had quaint little sayings and proverbs which made a mockery of the seriousness of God’s impending judgment. God’s response to this, relayed through Ezekiel, was that the consequences of our sins are always nearer than we think.

Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 12:28

It was about six years after this prophecy that the Babylonians broke through the city walls of Jerusalem and brought disaster and destruction upon God’s people.

Do not wait for some mythically future “right time” to respond to the Holy Spirit’s invitation. When you are prompted by Him, move with urgency. Generally speaking, there are two things that keep people from confessing and forsaking their sin, and from calling upon the Lord for forgiveness. One is pride. (“What will people think of me?”) The other is procrastination. (“I’ll get right with God one day…”) When David returned to the cities of Israel, gloriously victorious in his wars against the Philistines, the women of Israel sang a song, comparing him to King Saul. They sang,

Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

I Samuel 18:7

If you are putting off the invitation to respond to God’s Word in your life today, my song to you is: “Pride hath slain his thousands, and procrastination his ten thousands.” Do not presume upon God’s grace a day longer. Call upon Jesus Christ this very moment.

plenty of time


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