Ron Thomas
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By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
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Today Is The Day!
Preached 7/13/2008

Text: II Corinthians 6:1-2. "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

2 (For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"

Introduction: "Carpe diem!" is a Latin phrase found in a poem written by Horace, a Roman lyric poet who lived during the time of Augustus. The phrase is popularly translated as "...Seize The Day!" Horace is urging us to enjoy; to make the most of every day of our lives. Incidently, you might be a redneck, if you think "carpe diem," is Latin for "the big goldfish died." Someone said it this way, "Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of." In our text, the apostle Paul put it, " is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." As 21st century, Bible believing Christians, this phrase is especially relevant! Looking around at our rapidly changing world and keeping abreast of current events, we know that we are living at the very door of Christ's return.

In this passage, the apostle Paul is writing his second epistle or letter, in an attempt to move the church at Corinth to "seize the day." This was a very talented and gifted church, but they were stuck in a cycle of backbiting and backsliding! As a result, they were not reaching their potential, or fulfilling their purpose as a church! They were wasting time and squandering opportunities. This body of believers needed to move from a self focused and sinful lifestyle, to a others focused and holy lifestyle. Why? Corinth was a sinful, wicked city in need of hearing the saving, life changing gospel message of Jesus Christ! Unlike today, there wasn't a New Testament church on every corner. The great work of God's grace performed in their hearts, needed to reach the homes and hearts of Corinthians everywhere! Every day in the city of Corinth, people were dying without hearing the message of the gospel.

This brings us to verse 1 of our text. Paul says, "We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." What a powerful statement! It is without question that God's grace had accomplished great things in the hearts and lives of these people in the church at Corinth. Corinth was known to be a worldly, wicked place. It's moral condition was a result of it's religious and social history. The phrase "to Corinthianise," actually meant to engage in prostitution. This immorality was cultivated by the worship of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Her shrine was served by 1000 sacred prostitutes, who shall we say, "ministered" in the temple of the Acropolis? This is the life and lifestyle from which these believers were saved!

Paul recounted the work of grace in the hearts and lives of the Corinthian church members in I Corinthians 6:9-11. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators (those who participate in all types of sexual sin and perversion), nor idolaters (those who participate in pagan worship, worshiping the creature and creation over the Creator), nor adulterers (those who are unfaithful to their vows of marriage), nor effeminate (this speaks of a male who submits his body to un-natural acts of lewdness, male prostitute), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (those who participate in homosexual relationships),

10 Nor thieves (those who steal, including copper thieves), nor covetous (those overcome with lust or desire for gain), nor drunkards (those who abuse themselves with substances, whether it be drink or drugs), nor revilers (those who are abuse others by their words and deeds), nor extortioners (those who scheme to take advantage of others and rip them off), shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." What a transformation! All of this was wonderful, and yet Paul says it was "all in vain," if they squandered their new life in Christ, by simply living for themselves and gratifying the desires of their flesh!

In verse 2, we begin to see that the apostle Paul is actually quoting from Isaiah 49. The prophet Isaiah often spoke of Israel as the "servant of the Lord," and at times he would speak of the "servant of the Lord" as the promised Messiah. Isaiah would use them interchangeably. Earlier in Isaiah 49:4, Israel had protested that it had labored "in vain." God however tells them that because He is sending His Messiah, all their hopes would be realized! Jesus was the Lord's prophesied "servant," who would fulfil what Israel could not fulfill! In Isaiah 49:8a it says, "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee." God promises Israel that in "an acceptable time," and in a "day of salvation," He will bring about their salvation. It would be a "day of salvation" for both Jews and Gentiles!

The apostle Paul says to the Corinthians and to us, "...that day has come! Today is the day!" When the aged prophet Simeon held baby Jesus in the presence of Mary and Joseph, Luke 2:29 records his words. He said, "Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, 31 Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel." The prophesied "Servant of the Lord," the Lord Jesus Christ, had arrived! Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus has opened wide the door of opportunity to be saved! God has fulfilled His promise. That day has come! The doubts and fears expressed by ancient Israelites, because the promised day was distant, are not excusable, but they are understandable. Today, there is absolutely no excuse for doubting the certainty of our future hope. Jesus Christ has come! The day of salvation is now! Today is the day! We have every reason to live and labor for the second coming of Jesus Christ! We have no reason to give up, but have every reason to press on as we serve the Lord and share our faith. Today is the day!

The phrase, "Today is the day," presents a challenge to every believer! In the previous chapter leading up to our text verses, Paul reminds this church and in doing so, reminds us just why we need to seize the day! Witnessing and evangelism cannot be left for tomorrow! Why?

First: Everyone's DAYS are limited! Paul began by reminding them that life was short. Because of the curse of sin upon this world, our physical bodies soon wear out. Paul compared our bodies to a tent that is soon folded up and put away. Other places in God's Word compare this life to a vapor that is seen for a moment, but quickly dissipates; grass that sprouts up green, but soon turns brown and dies; or a flower that puts forth its bloom, and then quickly fades! We do not have forever to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Our minutes, hours, days, months and years are gifts from God. We never know just when this earthly existence will end for us! II Corinthians 5:9 reads, "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him."

An article from Campus Life's Ignite by Chris Lutes is titled: Seven Reasons Not To Share Christ, And Why We Should Go Ahead And Do It Any Way. What are they? 1. I'm not smart enough. 2. I don't want to make anybody mad. 3. My friends will make fun of me. 4. None of my Christian friends do it. 5. I'm not a very good Christian. 6. All of my friends are Christians. 7. I don't even know how to start. Everyone of these reasons can cause us to keep quiet, put it off, and walk away from opportunity after opportunity, until our opportunities are gone forever! Isaiah 38:18-19 reads, "For the grave cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Thy truth." We never know when we will have our last opportunity to witness to someone. God is doing His saving work in you! God has a plan and desire for your life! God is working in you! God longs to use your life to lead others to Him!

Second: Everyone will face a judgment DAY. Paul then reminded them as believers, of their future appointment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. II Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." Our minutes, hours, days, months and years are gifts from God! At the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will give account for how we used our time and resources. Are you using your life for good or for bad; selfishly or to honor God and serve others; to build up or tear down; to accomplish something of an eternal nature, or waste it on earthy pleasures and pursuits? Every believer will stand before Jesus Christ, and give an account for their lives. Your sins have been judged once and for all on the cross of Calvary, but you are accountable for how you invest the days, weeks, months, and years of your life! Which will it be, "wood, hay and stubble" or "gold, silver, and precious stone!"

Third: Everyone has work to do TODAY. Paul then spoke of God's great work of reconciliation. He reminds the Corinthians that God was and is involved in reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 5:19 says, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Sin has separated everyone from God. It is not God's purpose or disposition to let the world die in their sin. God's desire is to take their sin away, and restore them to a right relationship with Him. God has given us His only begotten Son. Jesus as God's Son, has become flesh to live among us, die for our sins, and rise again, so that we can be forgiven. The Holy Spirit is in the world convicting and convincing a world of sin, (that they are sinners in need of a Savior) of righteousness, (that our best righteousness is not acceptable in the sight of God) and judgment, (that if we do not repent of our sin and by faith receive the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ as a free gift, we will spend eternity in Hell).

God has accomplished His part in this great ministry of reconciliation, but what about us? God has chosen to use people to proclaim His message. As a church and as believers, we have been given this ministry of reconciliation! Believers are left here to connect a lost world with the good news of Jesus Christ! This good news is expressed in verse 21 of chapter 5. "For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

It is human nature to procrastinate, but when it comes to obedience to God, there is no room for procrastination! Obedience to the Lord should be immediate. No one is promised tomorrow! We never know when we are witnessing to someone for the last time! Every opportunity to share your faith might be your last!

II Corinthians 6:2 continues, "(For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"

The phrase, "Today is the day," presents a challenge to every unbeliever! Just as the grace of God can be "in vain" for believers when they refuse to invest their lives for Jesus Christ, the grace of God can be "in vain" for unbelievers when they say "No" to Jesus Christ! In II Corinthians 5:20, the apostle Paul shouts out to every unbeliever, "Be ye reconciled to God!" Salvation, trusting Jesus Christ is urgent! Why?

The answer is the same three reasons the believer needs to witness.

First: Your DAY to accept Jesus Christ is limited. Paul's cry to the unbeliever in II Corinthians 5:20, is urgent! He says, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." We live our lives one day at a time! Yesterday is gone! Tomorrow may never come! All we have is today! We must not be overwhelmed by the sins and failures of our past! No one dies yesterday and no one dies tomorrow! When we die, we die today. As Jesus hung between the two thieves on the cross, He turned to the repentant one and said, "Today you will be with me in paradise." In Luke 19, Jesus looked up in a tree, saw Zacchaeus and said to him, "Make haste and come down for today I must stay at your house!" Salvation is incredibly important! Repenting of your sin and trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, is not something you can sit on forever. You have an opportunity now, but it will not last. The rich farmer mentioned in Luke 12, did not know that his life would be demanded from him after he had built his massive barns to store his wealth!

It has been written: To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of one week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of one hour, ask the sweethearts who are waiting to meet again. To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who missed the plane. To realize the value of one second, ask the person who just avoided an accident. How long is the moment of death? How long does it take for the spirit of man, to return to the Lord who gave it? Jesus said in Luke 16:22-23, "...the rich man also died, .....and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments." Time is most critical when it comes to being ready to meet God! The moment of death ends our opportunity to accept Jesus Christ!

Second: You will face a DAY of judgment. Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." The lost world refuses to acknowledge God, regardless of the evidence in creation and in their own moral conscience! Why? If there is a Creator God, then they must answer to Him! We have spoken about the future judgment of believers called the Judgment Seat Of Christ. There is also a future judgment for unbelievers, those who died unprepared and go out into eternity in their sin. It is known as the Great White Throne Judgment.

We read about it in Revelation 20:11-15. It says, "And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." This judgment is not about rewards, but retribution! There is hope and mercy for those standing at the Judgment Seat Of Christ, but there is none to be found at this judgment for lost sinners! It will be too late for mercy. Everyone who dies without their name written in the "book of life," will spend all of eternity in the "lake of fire." The only way anyone's name is added to the "book of life," is by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

Third: You are given TODAY to make your choice. Believers are held responsible by God to teach, preach, share, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are only given today to believe or obey the message of the gospel! The command to everyone is "Be reconciled to God," not "Reconcile yourself to God." The offer to receive Jesus Christ is more than an invitation, it is an ultimatum! Jesus took an example of a human tragedy that took lives and used it to say, "....except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Peter preached in I Peter 4:17, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" To believe is to obey! It is everyone's responsibility to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Bible makes it clear that God does not want anyone to be lost. In John 3:17-18 Jesus said, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Dr. Jimmy Allen, former pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas laments: "We missed him. Our chance to change things came and passed, and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist church, but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age of 24, he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring...someone missed him."

Lives of the lost will be changed, when the lives of believers change. TODAY IS THE DAY!

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