Game winning shot!
Former NFL Head Coach and now ESPN analyst, Herm Edwards, in a moment of exasperation following a tough loss, echoed these words that still ring in my ears five years later: "you play to win the game"! Now Coach Edwards is not a student of theology, and you won't find those words in the pages of scripture, but in the game of life, when you come to the final quarter, the only thing that's going to matter, is did you play to win the game in the eyes of God!
Winning in God's eyes depends more a decision you make before the final shot than any heroic act that takes place in the final minutes. The decision to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is the most important decision you will ever have to make in your life. Bigger than what school you go to, bigger than who you marry, and bigger than how you raise your kids. All important, even critical, but only one decision has eternal consequences!
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."
If the foundation you are building your life on is not on the rock, Jesus Christ, you are building your life on sinking sand, and one day the Lord Himself will say these unforgettable, and unfortunate words to you... Game Over! "I thought He was a God of love" you might say to yourself! "I thought He was a God of Mercy" you might ponder!" Well you are right on both statements, but the scripture is clear when He told us all the ultimate act of love and grace in Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The death of Jesus Christ on the cross for your sins and mine was His all-sufficient demonstration of love, mercy, and grace. To refuse His sacrificial gift, is a choice you will regret making for all eternity!
In his best-selling book "One Minute After You Die", Moody Church pastor Erwin Lutzer states the undeniable truth:
One minute after you slip behind the parted curtain, you will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching your first glimpse of gloom as you have never known it. Either way, your future will be irrevocably fixed and eternally unchangeable.
Lutzer goes on to let us know that:
Those who find themselves in heaven will be surrounded with friends whom they have known on earth. Friendships, once rudely interrupted by death, will continue where they left off. Every description of heaven they have ever heard will pale in the light of reality. All this, forever.
Others—indeed many others—will be shrouded in darkness, a region of deprivation and unending regret. There, with their memories and feelings fully intact, images of their life on earth will return to haunt them. They will think back to their friends, family and relatives; they will brood over opportunities they squandered and intuitively know that their future is both hopeless and unending. For them, death will be far worse than they imagined.
And so while relatives and friends plan your funeral—deciding on a casket, a burial plot and who the pallbearers shall be—you will be more alive than you have ever been. You will either see God on His throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity, or you will feel an indescribable weight of guilt and abandonment. There is no destination midway between these two extremes; just gladness or gloom.
Nor will it be possible to transfer from one region to another. No matter how endless the ages, no matter how heartfelt the cries, no matter how intense the suffering, your travel plans are limited to your present abode. Those who find themselves in the lower gloomy regions shall never enter the gates that lead to endless light and ecstasy. They will discover that the beautiful words spoken in their eulogy bear no resemblance to the reality that now confronts them. If only their friends could see them now!
But the good news is this, if you are still breathing, for you the game is not over! Even if you are on you dying bed there is still time for a last minute game winning shot. All you have to do is:
- ADMIT your sinfulness! (we all are)
- ACCEPT God's substitute for your sin! (his name is Jesus)
- ACKNOWLEDGE Him as Lord of your life! (he's your new boss
WHEN YOU ACCEPT JESUS... IT'S GAME OVER!
MY FAVORITE SONG REMINDS ME THAT ONE DAY...THIS IS IT!