Israel, God's chosen people, were in a backslidden condition. They had, to a large extent, forsaken Jehovah, their God, and embraced the false gods of the surrounding nations. God, however, in His great love and concern for His people, raised up a herdsman, Amos, in whom He put the spirit of prophecy and sent him to warn Israel of the coming judgment and call them to prepare to meet Him.
God loves you
The Bible assures us that God loves all men. Jesus said: «God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believethin him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.»John 3:16. Which means He loved you too, and gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for you, too.
The message God sent to Israel through the prophet Amos, tells us that He is not willing that anyone should stand before Him to be judged, unprepared. That is why He urges us to prepare for that meeting, and says to you, who are reading these lines, «Prepare to meet your God.»Amos 4:12.
There are mainly two reasons why this preparation on your part is absolutely necessary.
First, because that meeting nobody can escape. It is as certain as God is true and cannot lie. Whether you believe it or not, whether you want it or not, some day you shall meet God. The Bible says: «It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.» Heb. 9:27. While you are living you are free to decide and choose. If you want, you believe; if you don't want, you don't believe. If you want, you repent; if you don't want, you don't repent. After death all this will drastically and dramatically change. Beyond the grave you won't be free any more. Then you will have to give an account to God for your attitude toward His great gift of salvation through Christ. The opportunity God gives you now is unique. Won't you avail yourself of it? Stop for a moment and give death a serious thought! How terrible! What a fearful enemy! Outside the Bible we have no light at all, as to what happens to us after death.But, in the Bible, we have so much light on the subject, that there can be no excuse whatever for ignorance. Anyone interested in the destiny of his or her soul can find full and complete information about it. But indifference and unconcern keeps men in darkness, with all the ensuing tragic consequences. According to the Bible God did not create us for death, but for life. He brought us into existence in order that we might learn of His love, come to know His great plan of salvation, and, by accepting Christ as our personal Savior, become His children and heirs of His heavenly kingdom. Refusal to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ means eternal damnation. If you perish, you won't perish because you are a sinner by birth, and consequently you cannot help sinning, but because whereas God offers you salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, you refuse to accept it, preferring rather to live in sin and disobedience. Christ shed His precious blood on the cross for the sins of the all mankind, and has obtained eternal salvation for every sinner. This salvation we can receive and enjoy now by just acceptingHim by faith as ourpersonal Savior.
A certain man tried to cross the street while traffic was heavy and dangerous. As he stepped down from the sidewalk, an automobile was coming straight on him and would have, undoubtedly, hit him hard and either killed or wounded him seriously. But just then a strong hand reached out to him, and pulled him back on the sidewalk. The just-about victim thanked his benefactor from his heart and they parted from each other. Some years later he committed an offence against the law of his country and had to stand trial. As he entered the courtroom he recognized on the chair the man who had saved him from the automobile accident. A feeling of relief came into his heart. «The man,»he thought, « that saved me then from that accident, will, sure, do something for me now too.» Hearing was over and the judges withdrew for deliberation and decision. All indications were against him and his condemnation seemed rather certain. At that moment he ran up to the judge shouting: «Your Honor, your Honor, please...» The judge stopped and asked: «What is it?»«Don't you remember me?I am the man you saved from that automobile accident there and then. Now aren't you going to do something for me, too?» «Yes,»said the judge,«I remember you, but there is nothing I can do for you now, because I am obliged to carry out the law, and the law condemns you. I am sorry, but then I was your savior, whereas now I am your judge».
Just so it is going to be with Christ. When He came the first time, He came to «seek and to save that which was lost.» Luke 19:10. But when He comes back, He will come to judge the world, and condemn all unrepented sinners to everlasting punishment. Christ pleads with sinners now and invites them to go to Him for salvation. With His nailed-pierced hands outstretched He waits for you to go. He will embrace you with infinite love and give you forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. Won't you go? Stop and think for a moment if anything this world offers can compare with what Christ offers. And if you agree that nothing can compare, I plead with you to accept Christ as your Savior now.
It makes no difference how bad a sinner you are or how many and what kind of sins you have committed. Jesus shed His blood for all mankind. If you acknowledge your sinfulness and come to Him by faith, He will forgive you of all your sins and make you a saint fit for heaven. If you do that, not only you won't be afraid of meeting God as your Judge, but, on the contrary, you will be looking forward to meeting Jesus as your Savior and live with Him eternally in peace, joy and ineffable happiness.
Second. The second reason why you should prepare to meet God is the fact that God is absolutely holy and you are a sinner, both by birth as well as by practice. Consequently, you are not prepared to meet Him. And, please, don't start excusing yourself by saying: «Why am I not prepared, what have done?» etc.,etc. You know full well what you have done in your life; what and how many sins you have committed. And God knows infinitely better. But that's not the point. We are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners, and cannot do otherwise. An apple-tree is not an apple-tree because it brings forth apples, but it brings forth apples because it is an apple-tree. Now you may ask: «Why should I be held responsible for what I am not? If I am a sinner by birth, and I cannot help sinning, surely it is not my fault.» Reader, the Bible is very clear on the matter: God will not condemn anyone just because being born a sinner he couldn't help sinning. Jesus said: «This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.» John 3:19. So, you see that meeting God unprepared, that is, as you are, without repenting and accepting Christ as your Savior, means sure condemnation, which, in turn, means being cast
into the lake of fire to be tormented for ever and ever! The Bible says: «The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.»Rom. . Accept, then, that gift of God by faith now and be thus prepared to meet Him as your Savior and not as your Judge.
Two great sinners
When Christ was crucified, there were also crucified with Him two thieves. At first both of them joined the watchers and passers-by in mocking Jesus. But suddenly, the one of them, perhaps after hearing the Lord pray: «Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,» was illumined and experienced an inward change and turning to his comrade said:«Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.»Luke 23:41-43. If Christ forgave this thief of all his crimes and assured him that he would be with Him in paradise that very day, do you think there is any reason why He would not forgive and save you too?
Another great sinner was Saul of Tarsus. He persecuted the early disciples, casting them in prison and forcing them to blaspheme the name of Jesus. But, one day, as he journeyed to Damascus on such an evil mission, «suddenly there shined round about
him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?» Acts 9:4-6. And the Lord told Saul what to do and thus he was converted and from a persecutor of the Christian way became the great apostle Paul who preached the gospel all over the Greco-Roman world and finally died a martyr's death in Rome, thus going to ever be with His Lord, leaving behind him thousands of believers that had been won to Christ through his preaching of God's saving grace. You see, reader, Christ saves the vilest of sinners, and Paul, towards the end of his earthly life, in writing to his co-worker Timothy, said:«This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.»I Tim. 1:15. And if Christ saved these, and so many other great and notorious sinners, who wouldn't believe He can and is willing to save all others? Yes, the Lord loved you and died for you on the Cross, paid for your sins with His precious blood, and all He expects of you now in order to save you, is to humbly acknowledge your sinfulness and by faith accept Him as your own personal Savior. If you do that, you will be immediately forgiven of your sins; the Holy Ghost will regenerate you and make you a child of God, and you will experience such a peace and joy that only He can give.
And one final word: Only Jesus saves. Peter, preaching to the multitude in Jerusalem declared: «Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.» Acts . Believe, therefore, on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Then you will be prepared to meet God and live eternally with Him in ineffable bliss, happiness and joy. Amen.
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