Series of 13 Sermons by Pastor Ron Thomas On
"Our Final Journey"

801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040

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Final Journey Series

Text: Ecclesiastes 8:8. "There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it." Ecclesiastes 12:7. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Introduction: Our lives are filled with all sorts of journeys; short journeys, long journeys; journeys in our minds and hearts; journeys toward God and away from God; journeys that are as trivial as a trip to the store, or as powerful and life changing as a trip to the hospital to witness the miracle of birth. Our lives are made up of such journeys; journeys that shape and mold us into who we are today.

Life itself is a journey that begins at birth and ends with death. There are hills and valleys along the way as well as sudden turns and surprises. Job comments about his particular journey in Job 23:10 and says, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Everyone has a life journey that is distinct and different. Many if not most of the events of our lives are beyond our control, ordained by God for our good.

This series is about our greatest journey of all, the journey that lies just ahead of us, our last journey, our journey into eternity. While we have a measure of control over our own lives in this world, no one controls the moment of their death, nor the departure or destination of their soul spirit. Someday, some moment, we will leave this world, this existence, this body. We will make our final exit and be transported into the presence of God. From there all humanity will take one of two directions, and arrive at one of two destinations, that are as different as light and darkness.

In this series, we will trace OUR FINAL JOURNEY with the intent of making the most of this brief pilgrimage on earth, and better preparing ourselves for eternity!


Text: Ecclesiastes 3:11. " He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."

Introduction: The word "world" in this verse is in the Hebrew olam, which means long duration, everlasting, or eternity. God has placed a sense of eternity in the heart of every human being. There lies within man a sense of something beyond this present world. In an effort to scratch this eternal itch, man reaches for the stars and planets in search for life, he listens to the heavens for voices, scans the skies for UFOs. There is a restlessness in the soul of man to connect with the world beyond.

The truth is, we are eternal creatures captured in the parenthesis called time, and trapped in earth bound, temporal bodies. Genesis tells us that God formed us from the dust of the earth, but then He gave us part of Himself, as He breathed into man His own breath of life. Genesis 2:7 reads, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." We are eternal creatures, created by an eternal God. Every human being bears the image and likeness of God. Every human being has in him the eternal breath of God that will one day return to Him.

You can walk through a cemetery and read the grave stones and markers. They read; born on such a date, and died on such a date. Some were born and lived to see many years upon the earth. Others were born and lived only a few years, months, weeks, days, hours, or minutes. However, all have one thing in common, they each continued to exist past death into eternity. Each possessed an eternal spirit that came from God and returned to Him. They each were BORN FOR ETERNITY and made their FINAL JOURNEY.

They say that a few decades ago, earlier in this century, most people never traveled outside a 20 mile radius of the place where they were born. Today, our world is better connected with roads, planes trains and automobiles. Technology has made this world a smaller place to live. In just a day, a person can travel to the other side of the globe! World travel sounds adventurous and impressive, but all such trips and sights pale, compared to that FINAL JOURNEY just ahead of each of us.

One of the greatest things we need to understand is that we are eternal creatures and what that implies.

FIRST, AS ETERNAL CREATURES, WE ARE BORN TO EMBRACE AN ETERNAL PURPOSE. There are some passages in the Bible that perplex and puzzle us, passages that give us a sense of eternity that is beyond our ability to reason and fully understand. You see, God exist outside the parenthesis called time. He knows the beginning from the end. He is before, during, and after, He is past, present, and future all at the same time. Our God is eternal.

All of God's plans and provisions are eternal. Notice Revelation 13:8. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." By this one verse we can know that in eternity past, God planned some things and predetermined some things. Before the heavens and the earth were created, before man was created, there was in the heart of the eternal God a desire to procure for Himself a people who would love Him by choice. God is love, and love must give itself away. Love must make a choice. God created man to know Him and love Him, and then set the stage for the great drama of redemption. This drama included the earth, a beautiful garden, a sinless environment, a commandment, the tempter, the fall, and redemption. Here it says that Jesus is the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world. Whether before the cross or after the cross, all men are saved the same way by the same means because in the eternal mind of God Jesus was already sacrificed before the world began!

The eternal God has an eternal plan and purpose for our own lives. There are several passages of Scripture that speak to this eternal dimension to our lives.

One passage is Jeremiah 1:4-5. " Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Wow! What a powerful statement. The Lord knew Jeremiah and set him apart in the womb to be a prophet!

In Galatians 1:15 the apostle Paul connects himself to eternity. "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace." Paul realized that God had an eternal plan and purpose for his life.

There is a saying that goes, "If you do not know where you are going, any road will do." Most of those roads are dead ends! We ought to know where we are going and what it is that we are to be doing. So many people waste their lives and get in all sorts of trouble simply because they have no direction, no sense of purpose in their lives! Listen, God has an eternal plan and purpose for our lives! We were created and placed on this earth to know God, to serve Him, please Him, and bring Him glory. In Revelation 4:11, we read "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." Speaking of Jesus Christ, Paul says in Colossians 1:16, "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him."

God has an eternal purpose for your life! How do you find out what it is? You do so by reading about it in God's Word, by praying for it in daily devotion to God, by listening to the voice of God's Spirit within, by being obedient to the most basic things revealed in God's Word, the things every believer should do. As we take care of the little picture, God will see to the big picture!

SECOND, AS ETERNAL CREATURES, WE WERE BORN TO EXPERIENCE ETERNAL POWER. In every life there are some powerful moments that can be transforming. These moments make connections in our lives involving our minds, emotions and wills. These can be teaching moments, touching moments, tragic moments, transitional moments and triumphant moments. As powerful as these moments are, even though they can free us and fulfill us, they do not meet the greatest need in our lives.

The greatest, most powerful moment in our lives comes when we experience God. Jesus spoke of this moment in John 3:3-7. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.">

I am sure the moment of my fleshly birth was powerful for my mom and dad. Having a baby is nothing less than powerful and life changing. However, it didn't do anything for me because I can't even remember it. Born of the flesh, I was given a genetic code, a measure of talents and abilities, and the Adam factor, an earthly, fleshly, sinful nature. My spiritual birth was different. It was the most powerful moment of my life. I will never forget it! It was powerful and life changing bringing with it a new standing in Christ, a spiritual nature, the peace and assurance that I am a child of God secure forever in His hand! The moment of my new birth has changed my life like nothing else.

The phrase "born again" means born from above. It is the moment when we make a connection with eternity. Paul tells us in Romans 8:11 that the same Holy Spirit and power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, comes to dwell in us! It is by this eternal power through which we are challenged and changed into the image of Jesus Christ. It is by this eternal power that we are able to say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

THIRD, AS ETERNAL CREATURES, WE WERE BORN TO ENVISION AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. Wisdom teaches us to look ahead and plan ahead. It is wise to live our present in light of the future. Our present and our future are connected! For example, if we are smart, we will study now so that we will pass that test next week in algebra. If we party in the present, we will fail in the future. When we receive our pay check early in the month, we are careful to spend our money only on needful things and save the rest so that we can pay our bills later. If we blow our money early, we will regret it when the electricity is cut off. When we live our lives as if there is no tomorrow, we always regret it tomorrow!

Listen, our tomorrow is eternity. As eternal creatures, we all have an eternity to look forward to, and the greatest thing we can learn is that they are connected. Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." Since we are born for eternity, we had best live this live with an eternal perspective. Hebrews 9:27 states this very clearly. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." In eternity, all men will face God and be judged for decisions and actions made in this life. Revelation 22:12 "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."

An eternal perspective is not only vital to our future reward, but to our present renewal. In II Corinthians 4:16-18 speaks of his present renewal through an eternal perspective. "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." This eternal perspective allows us to say, "Right now my burden is heavy, but one-day it will be laid aside. Right now my body and mind grow tired and weary, but one-day they shall find rest. Right now I struggle with a sinful nature, but one-day there will be no such desires in my being to pull me down. Right now, I say good bye to friends, family and loved ones who precede me in death, but one-day I will see them on the shores of Heaven. Right now Satan has his way in this world, bur one-day the knowledge of God will fill the earth. Right now death is all around me, but one-day I shall attend the funeral of death."

There are three huge gates that lead into the Cathedral of Milan. Over one gate there is an inscription in marble under a beautiful flower bouquet that says, "The things that please are temporary." Over the second gate, there is a cross with this inscription: "The things that disturb us are temporary." However, over the central gate, there is a big inscription saying, "Eternal are the important ones." We must keep the gate of our eternal perspective!

FOURTH, AS ETERNAL CREATURES, WE WERE BORN TO INHABIT AN ETERNAL PLACE. Hebrews 11:8-10. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Abraham is one of the most beloved and reverenced religious figures of the Bible. He is claimed by Muslims, Jews and Christians. He is the only man in the Bible who was called, "the friend of God." All of this, and yet did you know that this great man lived his entire life in a tent? Somehow that makes a statement about our present values in this nation. Abraham lived for another country, another city, one built by God! Hebrews 11:13-16 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city." These who lived by faith confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The were born for eternity and lived like it. Their eyes were fixed on their eternal home.

In Philippians 3:20 the apostle Paul writes, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." The word "conversation" speaks of the administration of civil affairs or of a commonwealth. The word can be translated citizenship. We are no different than Abraham, those of Hebrews 11 or the apostle Paul. Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are to remain as foreigners in this world. Our allegiance is to a better country, a better city. Peter gives the same confession in 1 Peter 2:11-12. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

Listen, the "day of visitation" is just ahead. Our FINAL JOURNEY could begin at any moment! If we are ready, we can "lift up our heads for our redemption draweth nigh!" We are BORN FOR ETERNITY, therefore we must live this life experiencing God's eternal power, living for God's eternal purpose, keeping God's eternal perspective!

Thinking of the fullness and duration of this wonderful life, W.B. Hinson, a great preacher of a past generation, spoke from his own experience just before he died.

He said, "I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, 'You have an illness from which you won't recover.' I walked out to where I live 5 miles from Portland, Oregon, and I looked across at that mountain that I love. I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and I looked at the stately trees that are always God's own poetry to my soul.

Then in the evening I looked up into the great sky where God was lighting His lamps, and I said, ' I may not see you many more times, but Mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone; and River, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea; and Stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your sockets in the great down pulling of the material universe!' "

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