ARE YOU PREPARED TO MEET GOD ?
Scripture Text: Amos 4:12(b) "... prepare to meet thy God ..."
As a person becomes older, there is a decided tendency to reminisce. Like most other people, I often find myself thinking back in retrospect to the first time I heard the true Gospel being preached in such a manner as to cause me to be deeply convicted of my need for a Saviour. I was raised in strict subjection to Christian parents who attended a small store front meeting place called the "Gospel Hall" in Donora, Pennsylvania. It was there that the Gospel was faithfully preached, not only in the Sunday School, but every Lord's Day evening by God-fearing men, all of whom have since gone to be with their Lord, Whom they loved and sought to serve.
Being unsaved during my teenage years, I was often upset by the soul-stirring Gospel messages which were preached by both visiting evangelists and the local brethren. However, I believe that the most soul-piercing message I had heard in those days was preached by a man in the assembly who was about 5' 2" tall and weighing about 130 pounds. He preached on a phrase found in Amos 4:12 one evening, and the whole "Gospel Hall" seemed to vibrate by his booming voice shouting forth in clear and repeated expression, "Prepare to meet thy God."--"Prepare to meet thy God."
To those sitting near me, being the procrastinating sinner that I was, it was quite obvious that I was glad when the meeting was over and my mind could once again be filled with secular thoughts. But I thank God today, that down through the years when His love, mercy and grace prevailed, I was aroused time and time again by the thoughts of that booming message coming forth from the mouth of the little man-"Prepare to meet thy God."--"Prepare to meet thy God."
Today, I would like to bring to you who are unsaved and reading this message, 4 questions relative to our text, "Prepare to meet thy God", and I believe that these questions may often have been in the minds of those before whom the Holy Spirit has brought this portion of scripture. I also predict that no one reading this entire message will ever forget these 5 solemn words of warning, "Prepare to meet thy God !"
The first question we might ask is this, "WHY should we prepare to meet God?" Well, the answer to that question is relatively simple. The reason why we all should prepare to meet God is simply because we all have to meet Him. Yes, regardless of the fact that we may give little or no thought to eternal matters, the fact remains that we must meet God ! There is absolutely no escape! Every individual in the world must meet God. And it is sad to see mankind going on in sin and rebellion to their Creator, as though they were never going to meet Him. In Acts 17:31, God says that He has already "appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." Over in Hebrews 9:27 we read that "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment." Yes, we're all going to meet God.
And for those who die without having accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, we read in Revelation chapter 20 that they will meet God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, at the judgment of the "Great White Throne". Friend, if you begin reading at verse 11 of Revelation chapter 20, I believe that you would be jolted by the solemn fact that you must meet God, the One in Whose hand is your every breath. And that meeting may be a lot sooner than we think. Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Christ makes a very significant statement in John 5:22 where He says, "For the Father judgeth no man, but He hath committed all judgment unto the Son." Yes, you're going to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, too. Friend, he'll either be your Saviour or your Judge. Which shall He be?
The sad part about the history of mankind, aside from being a sinner by birth and by practice, is the fact that he has never had any real desire to meet God. From Adam on down to the present time, people have been trying to run away from God. And Friend, it just can't be done! In Genesis chapter 3 we read how our first parents sinned against God by partaking of the forbidden fruit, and what did they do? Did they drop to their knees and repent before God? No! Did they confess their sin of disobedience? No! We read in Genesis 3:8, "Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." And that, my friend, is the sordid history of mankind. He has continually sought to hide from God. And if you're unsaved, whether you realize it or not, you also are trying to hide from God. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:11, "There is NONE that seeketh after God." Oh, how true that is! Yes, and over in Isaiah 59:2 we read, "your iniquities have separated between you and your God."
Another reason we have no desire to seek God is because our minds are too involved with the sin-filled thoughts of time and sense. Our every word, thought and deed, if we're unsaved, bring no glory whatsoever to the heart of God. Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." So that's the way it stands. All of our so-called "good works" and "religious activities" are an abomination in the sight of God. In fact, in Isaiah 64:6 we're told that "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." So again, let me say that the reason why we should prepare to meet God is simply because we must meet Him. Friend, you'll either meet God in time as your Heavenly Father, through Christ---or you'll meet God in eternity as your Judge, through Christ. The choice is up to you!
Now the second question we might ask concerning our text is "HOW should we prepare to meet God ?" And here again, the answer is very simple. For us to meet God with our sins unforgiven, would mean that we would appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment and ultimately cast into the Lake of Fire. Therefore, we must see what the Bible has to say about forgiveness of sins. In Acts 13:38,39 we read "that through this Man(the Lord Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." I hasten to add that the word "justified" means that in God's sight, we are cleared of all guilt, as though we had never sinned at all.
That same scripture tells us quite plainly that only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can a person make proper preparation to meet God. And that was made possible by the shedding of His precious blood at Calvary's cross. In Hebrews 9:22 we're told that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission" for sin. And so it was, that in love for sinners, God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die the shameful, cursed and ignominious death on Calvary's cross. The word of God gives us those wonderful words of comfort, even to the vilest of sinners, in I John 1:7, " the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from ALL sin." Oh, how thankful we should be that God loved us so much that He was ready, willing and able to part with His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, could be restored to a new and proper relationship with God. Yes, we're told in Ephesians 1:6,7 that God "hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." And nearer to God we cannot be, for in the person of His Son, we're just as near as He.
Had we all been left in our sinful condition, we would all be doomed and damned to a justifiable place called "Hell", and the ultimate "Lake of Fire", for all eternity. But we're told in Romans 5:8,9, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Friend, God has made it possible for everyone in the world to have eternal life; yet countless billions, down through the ages, have refused His offer of forgiveness of sins, through faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, alone. We're told in I Thessalonians 5:9, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
Do you still need further assurance as to how you can be prepared to meet God? If so, then turn to the best known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, where the Lord Jesus Christ declares, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Another verse, Acts 4:12, makes it very clear that a sinner can only be prepared to meet God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
If we were to turn over to John 10:9 we would hear the Son of God declare, "I am the door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved." He follows that up by saying in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME." Here we have God's Son, stating very emphatically that HE, and HE ALONE, is the only means of gaining entrance into the Heavenly presence of God. Tell me friend, are you prepared to meet God? Are you absolutely sure? If not, then be sure!
The Bible makes it crystal clear that there is no salvation for your soul, or my soul, apart from faith in the finished work of God's Son at Calvary's cross. Regardless of your preconceived ideas, and regardless of the religious denomination of which you may be a faithful member, you, nor anyone else, can find in the word of God where it says that eternal life in Heaven can be attained by good works, rituals such as baptism, confirmation or dedication, ethics, morals, culture, education, philosophy, sincerity, or anything else we can do. In Titus 3:5 we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." You may recall the question which the Apostle Paul and Silas were asked by the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:30, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The answer they gave him in the next verse is still as valid today as it was then, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
Now friend, let me reiterate some previous thoughts and tell you as simply as I can how you can be prepared to meet God. First of all, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner who cannot do anything of your self to either merit or inherit eternal life. If you could, then there would have been no need for the Lord Jesus Christ to die on Calvary's cross. Secondly, you must believe with all your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for your soul's redemption by shedding His precious blood, which alone cleanseth you from all sin. And furthermore, if you are saved and delivered from coming wrath, then you will show evidence of your conversion by telling others about your new-found Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There are no "still born" in God's family. Finally, you must believe God's word that gives you the assurance of salvation. You are not saved by "feeling", but rather by "faith". Your feelings may change, due to conditions, physical and otherwise, but the word of God standeth sure, endureth forever and it cannot be changed.
Perhaps someone reading this is convinced that I'm committing a "hate crime" by stating that salvation can only be obtained through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, thus ignoring the claims of all other so-called "religious leaders" who were, and are, so dominant in various parts of the world. Friend, I don't have to apologize for preaching the God-given fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Saviour for sinners. And if that is a "hate crime", then I'm GUILTY !
Now this leads us to the third question concerning our text, Amos 4:12, and that is "WHEN should we prepare to meet God ?" Once again I must refer you to the word of God, because it isn't a question of what I think or what you think that matters, it's what God's word says that counts. The Bible is the only and final authority we have for such matters, and there is no need for a "second opinion" in matters of divine doctrine.
In Job 22:21, we're exhorted to make peace with God with these words, "Acquaint NOW thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." Over in Isaiah 1:18 we read, "Come NOW, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Yet again in Acts 17:30 we're told that "God ... NOW commandeth all men everywhere to repent." And in II Corinthians 6:2 we read, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation."
Friend, of the most prominent and nonspiritual faults displayed by the unsaved, the most devastating, detrimental and damning is that of procrastination, or "putting off" accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour, till a "tomorrow" which never comes. In Hebrews 4:7 we're exhorted, "TODAY if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Again, in II Peter 3:9, we're told that God "is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Even the wise man, Solomon, warns us in Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of TOMORROW; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." And finally, I would direct you to what we read in Isaiah 55:6, "SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, CALL YE UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR." Friend, there are billions of souls in Hell today who had expected to get saved, and thus prepared to meet God "someday", but their "someday" never came. And even now they are weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth. How about you? Are you prepared to meet God? If not, WHY NOT?
Friend, if you were to die today without having been prepared to meet God by trusting His Son as your Saviour, you will remember throughout those countless ages of all eternity, how you read this message of warning. Yes, you'll remember me pleading with you to accept the salvation made possible through faith in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, alone.
In faithfulness to my God, and in love for your soul, I must also remind you that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Yes, all indications in the world today point to the imminent return of God's beloved Son. Every tick of the clock is shortening the day of God's grace. Please friend, for your soul's sake, don't be like King Agrippa in Acts 26:28 who said, after hearing the Gospel presented by the Apostle Paul, "ALMOST thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Yes, he was "almost" saved, but today and forever, he is COMPLETELY lost!
Now let us consider very briefly the last question regarding our text, Amos 4:12, and that is, "What is the RESULT of being prepared to meet God?" Friend, mankind today can boast of many achievements in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the arts, law, space exploration and warfare, yet the one problem that man has never been able to solve is still with us today, and that is DEATH ! But thank God, there was One Who conquered death. He was the One Who could say in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life." He is the One Who lives today as the One and Only Mediator between God and mankind. Listen to what He promises in John 5:24, "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Again we read in John 3:36 a truth that involves everyone in the world. Ask yourself, in view of eternity, in which part of this verse are you found? "He that believeth on the Son HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM." I ask you again, which part of this verse are you in today?
Friend, the result of proper preparation to meet God is, and shall be, everlasting life. And that life will be in the presence of Him, Whom to know is life eternal. Yes, according to what we read in Revelation 1:5, those of us who are saved are going to spend eternity singing, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood."
In conclusion, let me ask you who may be unsaved, and reading this Gospel message for the first, and perhaps the last time, "Are you prepared to meet God?" Let me repeat, "Are you prepared to meet God?" Now you'll have to admit that you prepare for everything else. You prepare in the evening for the next day's work. You prepare in the morning for the evening's entertainment. You prepare when you're young for your hope and time of retirement. You prepare in the winter for your summer vacation. Yes, you prepare for many aspects of your life here on earth,--but what preparation have you made to meet God, for meet Him you must?
Well friend, you may not be prepared to meet God, but I want you to know that GOD IS PREPARED TO MEET YOU ! Yes, in Psalms 9:7 we're told that God "HATH PREPARED HIS THRONE FOR JUDGMENT."
So friend, I plead with you today, in love for your soul, and in view of the fact that you must meet God, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. And if you'll do that right now, where you are and as you are, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be saved for time, and thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, my friend, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk