Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year Is Over - Are You Ready for the Harvest?

It's New Year's Eve.

I don't know about you, but for me and my family, a lot changed in 2012. Some of the changes that actually took place were things that seemed within the realm of possibility a year ago, and other changes never even crossed my mind.

Realizing the limits of human ability to see the future might cause us to be apprehensive of what may await us in 2013. Even though we Christians know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, there are no guarantees that our path through this world will be easy or pleasurable. Indeed, for many of our Christian brothers and sisters in different parts of the world the path to heaven is marked with deep pain and suffering.

But, no matter how dark the world around us becomes, no matter what we are called to face for the sake of the testimony of Jesus, we can have confidence that because we Christians have been saved, these things will work out for our joy and for the greater glory of God.

But for those who have not been saved, there is no future of blessing to look forward to. There are many for whom the year 2013 will be their last. None of us knows when our life will end. The transition of years is a good time to take stock of where we stand with the Lord and commit our souls to His care.

Spurgeon says it well:

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Jeremiah 8:20
   Not saved! Dear reader, is this your sorry condition? Warned of the judgment to come, invited to escape for your life, and yet at this moment, not saved! You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and still you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved! You will be without excuse when the Lord shall execute judgment. The Holy Spirit has blessed the Word that has been preached in your hearing, and times of refreshing have come from the divine presence, and yet you are still without Christ. All these hopeful seasons have come and gone - your summer and your harvest have passed - and still you are not saved! Years have followed one another into eternity, and your last year will soon be here: Youth has gone, manhood is going, and still you are not saved. Let me ask you - will you ever be saved? Is there any likelihood of it? Already the most favorable seasons have left you unsaved. Will other occasions alter your condition? Every means has failed with you - the best of means, used perseveringly, and with the utmost affection. What more can be done for you? Affliction and prosperity have equally failed to impress you; tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart. Are not the probabilities dead against your ever being saved? Is it not more than likely that you will forever stay as you are till death forever bars the door of hope? Do you recoil from this idea? Yet it is a most reasonable one: He who is not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy to his end. The convenient time has never come - why should it ever come? It is logical to fear that it will never arrive and that like Felix you will find no convenient occasion until you are in hell. Think carefully about hell and of the dreadful probability that you will soon be there!
   Reader, suppose you should die unsaved - no words can picture your doom. Write out your dreadful predicament in tears and blood; talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth. You will be punished with everlasting destruction and banished from the glory of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Allow my words to startle you into serious thought. Be wise, be wise in time, and before another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to save you completely. Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if you are brought to deep repentance, it will be well; and if it leads to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all. See to it that this year does not pass away with you still unforgiven. Do not let the new year's midnight bells sound  upon a joyless spirit! Now, now, NOW believe and live.


(Spurgeon selection above from Morning and Evening, by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and edited by Alistair Begg, Crossway Books, 2003, p. 351.)