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Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?

Milton Berle told the following joke about a really pathetic football team. The team had fumbled the ball ten times and dropped a dozen passes during the course of the game. A substitute was pacing the sidelines. Finally he sat down, but he missed the end of the bench and fell to the ground. The coach looked at him and said, "I think you're ready to go in!" The question, "Are you ready?" is a relevant one for every accountable person now living. Why? Because, in the words of the beautiful but somber old Gospel hymn, "There's a great day coming." The great day of God's judgement, that is. A great day when, in the words of the song, "the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left." A bright day, "but its brightness shall only come to them that love the Lord" A sad day "when the sinner shall hear his doom, 'Depart, I know ye not.'" Over and over and over again the song repeats the sobering question, "Are you ready for that day to come?" ("There's a Great Day Coming" by Will L. Thompson, 1887)

Our modern world largely considers itself too sophisticated and enlightened to believe there will be a fmal judgment. Added to that is the fact uncritical tolerance is now the rave of the day. Nobody believes in judging anybody for anything anymore. Even many preachers and churches silence the clear, frequent, and forceful Bible teaching of the Judgement Day by refusing to preach and teach it. The sad and tragic result is that the church and culture around it, to a large degree, are deprived on the strong incentive of the threat of God's displeasure and the prospect of going to Hell. All the more reason to listen to one of the most sophisticated and enlightened persons who ever lived — ancient King Solomon of Israel. As he closes the fascinating and thought-provoking book of Ecclesiastes, he writes words millions of people either outrightly reject or force down to some subconscious, out-of-sight, out-of-mind part of their brains. The words are simple and straightforward but they form one of the most profound and gripping statements in all the Bible — "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (King James Version). Lest you think this is simply an Old Testament doctrine, check out places in the New Testament like Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-29, Acts 17:30-31, Romans 14:10-12, 2 Corinthians 5:9-11a, and Revelation 20:11-15. Billions of people are headed for a judgement they don't believe in — like students facing a pop quiz or a fmal exam for which they have not studied — unaware and unprepared. Theologian R. C. Sproul said, "Modern man is betting his life that this is it, and that there is no judgement and that there is no eternity." This is not a joking matter. And it is inescapable. God still seeks to get our attention by announcing, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Let me close where we began. There's a great day coming. Are you ready for that day to come?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ