In The Hospital, Part 1
This sermon is for people in the hospital and God has made them sick or He’s allowed them to be sick. Either way, God is the one who controls; He places men in the hospital; He sends them to the doctor to get their attention, but most people are like King Asa.
2 Chronicles 16:12 – In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.
In this church, we’re not against physicians. We go to the doctor, we go to the hospital if we’re sick, but we seek the Lord first in doing that. I mean how many people there are that when they become ill or when they become sick they don’t cry out to the Lord, they don’t seek the Lord in any more fashion than they did the day before. Yet every sickness, every illness, every backache that we have, everything that goes on in terms of our bodies decaying is a wake-up call from God.
In fact the closer people get to death; the more likely they are to be told lies and to believe the lies. Sometime go through and read the obituaries. You never find in the obituary somebody saying that, “Beloved John so-and-so died and went to hell because he was a pagan and didn’t love God.” You never read an obituary where somebody says, “Well they died and we’re not sure where they’re at because their life was such a mixture of sin and crying out to God, we’re not sure where they ended up.” Everybody’s missed; everybody’s beloved; everybody seems to have an implication that they’re going to heaven or that somehow God receives them. Yet death is one of the coldest realities that tell us that most people are going to hell. In fact most people that believe they’re going to heaven are going to hell and death is just kind of a final wake-up call. All sicknesses, whether they be headaches or whether they be cancer or whatever they might be, are wake-up calls from God saying, “You have to appear before me. You have to give an account for your life. You’re under judgment.” In fact we’ll see here in a moment that death is something that is foreign to our concept, that’s why we have a hard time believing and accepting.
Now I want to look at John 12:23. Most people believe they are Christians in this nation, most people believe at least they’re going to heaven or that they have a belief in God. We need to narrow down what Jesus had to say about those who are going to heaven so that if somebody’s listening to this tape, or if you’re studying with them and they claim they’ve prayed and they’ve sought God and they’ve attended church regularly, what’s the measuring stick to know whether they are going to heaven or not? Well, it’s John 12:23-26.
John 12:23 – Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
Jesus is going to tell us how God is glorified in a person’s life; how God is glorified in His life.
John 12:24 – I tell you the truth…
That is, you pay attention to what He’s about to tell you as absolute truth. That’s often how Jesus would begin speaking because He wanted everybody to pay attention to what He was saying.
John 12:24 – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies…
Anyone who claims to be a Christian or a churchgoer or somebody that’s prayed or tithed or whatever they count on that shows that they belong to Jesus Christ, but did not fall to the ground and lose their life and die to the sin and self is going to hell.
John 12:24 – …it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
In order for a man to have something to offer God, some fruit, something of his life that God can resurrect, he has to die so that seeds can be produced that are of life.
John 12:25 – The man who loves his life will lose it…
Those that enjoy their life in this world are doomed. Those that found Jesus Christ or found a religious walk with God, yet enjoyed all the aspects of self and selfishness that men have common in the world are doomed to hell. Jesus said, “The man who loves his life will lose it,” he will lose it and go to hell. Anyone in a hospital bed, anyone that is sick at home, anyone that is dying of cancer, if they do not hate their lives, if they do not fall to the ground and die, then they are doomed and headed to hell and they need to wake up to that reality.
John 12:25 – The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Only he who understands and accepts the fact that he must hate his life in this world has eternal life in him. All I’m telling people is nothing more than a doctor tells his patient. The patient comes in before the doctor and the doctor first has to tell him, “This is what you’re sick with. You have a cancer; you’re going to die of this disease. You have this illness. This is what will soon happen.” I wish the fact that every doctor, whether you came in for athlete’s foot or terminal cancer would turn and say, “You’re about ready to die, you’re one step closer, you’re just rotting away.” But they don’t. They soothe our consciences, they give us little pills and we press our way to indulge our lives, not to hate our own lives.
So what I’m doing is telling people the Good News in terms of “You’re vile. You’re corrupt. You’re a sinner and God will forgive you, if you accept that Good News.”
Jesus goes on to say,
John 12:26 – Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
We have to walk as Jesus walked. We have to live as He did and we have to pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him. Anyone on their sickbed, anyone in the hospital, anyone that is ill that didn’t live this kind of life, can be sure of one thing. When they die they will go to hell. There are no other options, no other choices.
Let’s go to Matthew 10:28. We’re looking at the fear of God first because that’s what Jesus talks about. He says, “Let Me teach you whom you must fear.” With all the do-gooders out there coming to people that are dying or that are ill, promising that everything will be fine or saying when people die, they’ve gone to a better place. We lie to people all the time. Well, Jesus says in Matthew 10:28:
Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Jesus instead points us in a different direction. He says this,
Matthew 10:28 – Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus Christ wants us to learn to fear God. The whole reason there are sicknesses, the whole reason there is death, the reason why we’re falling apart, the reason why we have everything from headaches to terminal illnesses is because we are under judgment from God and we need to face that reality. Instead of having a headache and popping a couple Tylenol and immediately feeling better, we need to pop the Tylenol and seek God, seek beyond our position, seek beyond our cures and find out what God is trying to warn us of and speak to us about. Somehow we always believe we’re going to continue to live on and never die. It’s an illusion that one has to stand back and be amazed at, that man can see death, he can see things happening around us that remind us of death all the time and still act as if he will live forever.
Let’s go to Revelation 19:11 and let’s venture in a little bit into the fear of the Lord. Every hospital needs somebody that goes to each room where people are dying and read to them Rev. 19:11 that they might cry out to the living God and that they might repent.
Revelation 19:11 – I saw heaven standing open…
People talk of heaven, they promise people heaven, they act as if people die and immediately go to heaven, but this is what it says about heaven in Revelation 19.
Revelation 19:11 – I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…
The things that I’m sharing are not mean and they’re not hateful; they’re loving, they’re true, they’re righteous, and they’re holy. It says,
Revelation 19:11 – With justice he judges and makes war.
When God judges a man, everything about what he does is proper, true, faithful, just, and it is what we deserve. When we sinned in the Garden of Eden, when we sin every day in our own life, it is proper and just that God causes us to die and puts us under judgment.
When we have to go to work for a living and our bodies fall apart and we decay and we hurt at the end of the day, it is just judgment because of the sin in our life. And the sooner we embrace that and rejoice in that, the sooner we can get on to forgiveness and mercy.
Verse 12 tells us about this God,
Revelation 19:12 – His eyes are like blazing fire…
He sees through all of our excuses, He sees through all of our justifications, He burns up all of our lies and our whitewashes.
Revelation 19:12 – His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
It is a righteousness, it is a holiness, separated from man that no man fully understands. Now verse 13 tells us about who this person is.
Revelation 19:13 – He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
Every person who dies and every person in the hospital needs to come to terms with the Bible. Every single one of us who claims to be a Christian needs to accept everything that scripture has to say. We need to come to terms with the living Word of God. I’m not talking about Bible study or a study course or Bible College. It says, “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” Everyone dying, everybody sick, everybody at home waiting for death needs to come to terms with scripture. We need to go to people that are dying and bring them a Bible and we need to show them the book of Revelation and say, “You need to come to terms, not only with what is in Revelation, but what is in Genesis and all through Scripture.”
Verse 14 says this,
Revelation 19:14 – The armies of heaven…
God is not coming in a small, meek fashion; we don’t die and then just come casually into His presence and stand before Him. When He asks us to give an account of our lives, He’s not going to sit there idly by while we give excuses and reasons. How hard is it for us to take people that we’re talking to, who are offering us all kinds of reasons for the evil things that they do? We grow impatient. We don’t like hearing it at all. How much more a living God who is pure and holy and just, that when men try to stand before Him to offer all kinds of reasons for the wicked things that they did, will He not be able to endure it? And so. . .
Revelation 19:14 – The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
They are pure, they’re clean and they are holy. The reason that we have to die is that we are not clean and we are not holy and we are not pure and every sickness and every stay in the hospital is a reminder of that fact.
Revelation 19:15 – Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
God is coming with wrath to judge, to speak to man’s life. Death isn’t supposed to be a pleasurable experience. Death isn’t supposed to be a time when we can peacefully just sit there and kind of go through the motions of dying. Death is a reminder, if it points to the fact that you’re soon going to stand before the living God.
Now I’m not saying that a true Christian can’t die with peace, but I’m saying that it is a final moment, when if we’re allowed that privilege to be in a hospital where we slowly die, for us to repent of things that we have not repented of and to change the attitudes of our heart where we have not changed. It is a chance; it is one more time for us to prepare to stand before the living God. We would do well to read the obituaries every day. To examine the newspaper and see how people die, how some are taken early and some are late. God is reminding us every single place where we find death and sickness, or a reminder of it, that one day we must stand before Him who has a double-edged sword.
Revelation 19:16-17 – On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair…
Now listen who this God is, and you tell me if this is what people are pointed to when they’re in the hospital, when the priest comes down and he goes from room to room, or the pastor goes from door to door to talk to people and to offer them Jesus Christ. Does He come to them with verse 17?
Revelation 19:17 – And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair…
Does this sound like the loving God that people share?
Revelation 19:17 – Come, gather together for the great supper of God.
This is who John is pointing us to, and what God is reminding us of.
Revelation 19:18 – …so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.
Over and over again, I want to say the reason that we have death is because we are under judgment. The reason that I have to go to the hospital when I am sick is because I am under judgment because this is a body of sin and death, because I have rebelled against God. The reason why men and women are in the hospital, the reason why we have sicknesses and all the things that we do is because one day we must stand before God, either forgiven and justified and being able to come in or judged and sent to hell. But we’re not warning people, the people aren’t being told that they need to repent. Instead we take them to the hospital where they’ve got all kinds of support groups to make them feel better. It’s always amazing to watch the facility of man.
You have people dying of all kinds of diseases and they have support groups coming in—to do what? To reassure them? To comfort them? We should be teaching them to mourn and to wail and to repent and to look for the sins in their life.
Go to Ecclesiastes 7:2. Every cold that I get is a reminder that one day I’ll die. Indeed we should treat every cold that we get as if it were a terminal illness, as if it would kill us, because we don’t know that it might.
One of the things that has happened with our medical science is that we’ve isolated death and we’ve moved it off to the side. It’s not confronted so much in America. In fact we have special places where people can go to die. We put them in a corner and we give them drugs. With all the emphasis upon youth and vitality and life, people continue to live a lie.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 tells us, “It is better to go to a house of mourning…” It is better to go to a place where everybody is dying and to sit down and to contemplate what is happening there.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 – It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
This shouldn’t be an intellectual pursuit. We should go out to graveyards and we should walk around and with each gravestone we should say, “I will soon be there.” We should take it deep within our heart that soon I must stand before God. As I get older I sense deep within my heart God whispering more and more that I will stand before Him very soon. And it works within me two things, it works within me a hope that I stand before Him forgiven, but also a fear of who He is and what I must give an account for. Especially as I look back in the past and see areas where I have failed and I look to the future, what I might be called to do, knowing that it is only by His grace that I will be able to stand in those things. Those of us that are alive should take to heart that we will indeed die.
Verse 3 tells us, “Sorrow is better than laughter…” It is better to go around with a sad face; I don’t know how many times people used to tell me, especially when I was a young Christian, “You need to smile more.” I even had people tell me that about my sermons when we used to videotape them. “You need to smile more,” “You need to do all these things more.”
Ecclesiastes 7:3 – Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.
It sobers us up. It brings in what is really real. It shows us what reality is. Reality is not that we’re going to have all kinds of fun and that we can continue on in life. Reality is that we will die and reality is that we need to have something that we can stand before God, that we can give to Him and say, “This is what I worked for You; this is what I did by Your grace.” It will sober us and make us contemplate the words that we speak or we don’t speak. It’ll make us look at our excuses and go, “That’s an excuse, it’s a lie.” It’ll make us take all the opinions and all the things that we have and say, “Am I really willing to die?” And to take that opinion and stand before the throne of God and say, “I believe that to be true.” Do you really want to hold on to your pride unto death? Do you want to take the pride and the excuses and the reasons and the whitewash and the justification and come before the throne of grace and say, “I stand by this, this is true. You convicted me, but I called it something else. I gave you excuses and a reason and a justification.”
Revelation 19:4 – The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning…
The heart of the wise is serious about life, knowing that when a man is born he begins to die. Everything points to the day of death.
Ecclesiastes 7:4 – The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
How many people that you’ve listened to have had near-death experiences and when they come back say, “I don’t look at things like I used to. I don’t view my garden like I used to, or my problems like I used to.” They at least have a shift in attitude a little bit, realizing how temporary this life is. But not very many people are given near-death experiences. God doesn’t come along that way. Some people die in an instant in terms of accidents and car wrecks. But God allows these things to happen; He allows death to happen so that we might wake up, that we might become a sober people. God allows some people to sit in hospital rooms to think, not to watch the T.V., not to get the family and friends around but to be alone, to pray, to get quiet, to hear what God has to say now. Because when He speaks in glory, there is no changing His mind and there is no opportunity for forgiveness, there is no opportunity to repent.
Revelation 19:5 – It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke…
None of this is pretty that I’m speaking, but death isn’t pretty. None of this is lovely to contemplate. Who wants to talk about their discipline and their judgment? When God cast us out of the Garden of Eden, it wasn’t a pretty thing that He did. It wasn’t a joyful thing to endure. When God says that all men have to die, that’s not something that I like looking at, but it is a truth, it is a reality and me ignoring it and refusing to speak of it will not change it. Death will not one day go, “Oh, they don’t talk about it anymore. They don’t recognize me anymore, so I’ll just go away.”
Ecclesiastes 7:5 – It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.
People go into hospital rooms singing songs of life and thinking everything is fine. The truth is, nothing is fine. All of us even as Christians must face death unless we’re privileged enough for the rapture.
Look at Genesis 6:3. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. One of the reasons that we have a hard time accepting death is the fact that we know deep inside our heart and soul, we were not made to die. We sense that when God made us in the beginning in the Garden of Eden that we were to live forever and so death is the most abnormal thing that human beings can contemplate. It’s so far out of the realm of our heart and our mind that we can’t even begin to hardly fathom it. Even though it is in our fate. Because we know that we were made in God’s image, we know that we were made to live forever and so waking people up, waking ourselves up to the fact that we must die, we literally have to work at it. In the Garden of Eden the evil one came along and said, “You will not die.” So deep inside we think that we can go to bed at night and then tomorrow we’ll repent. I’ve told myself that before, “In the morning I’ll do better.” Because why? The lie is deep inside, that I’m supposed to live forever, that this isn’t natural, this isn’t proper.
Genesis 6:3 – Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal…”
We know that we weren’t made to be mortal and so when you go to talk to somebody that’s on their deathbed or they’re home and they’re sick or they’re in the hospital, you’re trying to convince them of something that we don’t want to accept as fact. But how much more when you’ve got songs of fools back there saying, “Oh, everything will be fine, they’re just being judgmental.”
Look, death is judgmental. And God is literally saying, “…his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” You’ll go no further than that. God is saying, “I won’t contend with man forever. I won’t support him, I won’t help him, I won’t give him life forever. I cannot support wickedness like that.” The only reason that God gives a man life, gives him another day is that he might repent. Do we understand that fully? God doesn’t give a man another day because He wants to bless him. Why do you want to stay here anyway? To want to be blessed in this world, to want to hang around just proves you love corruption. If I’m forgiven by God, if I’m ready to go home, I’m ready to go now. There’s no reason for me to hang around. There’s not one single thing that causes me to want to stay here.
Genesis 6:3 – My Spirit will not contend with man forever…
There comes a day in each man’s life when God says, “I will no longer support him and give him life. I will no longer give him sunshine or water or life or energy. I will no longer give him a part of Me that sustains his wickedness. I will judge him today. I will either forgive him and bring him into My arms or I will judge him and send him to hell.”
Look at Job 14:5. In fact, many people think this is the oldest book of the Bible; one of the first ones written. I don’t know whether it is or not. But Job certainly represents the conversation that all men have, if not outwardly, they do so in their own hearts. But one of the things Job said in Job 14:5 is this: “Man’s days are determined…” Death will come. It is a reality. God’s not going to show favoritism to your grandmother, children, or anybody else. They will die.
Job 14:5 – Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
The Fountain of Youth is a pipe dream. It will never happen, not even with all of man’s technology and all of his wisdom and all of his planning. But we’re taking heads and freezing them, hoping to bring them back alive later on. Death is the firmest reality in the universe. A whole universe is decaying and death fills all of it because of our sins.
In Deuteronomy 31:2, Moses says this about himself.
Deuteronomy 31:2 – I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has said to me, “You shall not cross the Jordan.”
Moses, the man who walked so intimately with God is going to die. Whether you’re a Bible-believing Christian, whether you’re a Charismatic or whether you’re Spirit-filled or whatever it might be, every man must die. The big question is if he died to self enough on a daily basis that God has something to resurrect to life or does he have to continue judging us in hell so that we die forever and ever.
In Deuteronomy 34:7, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, it doesn’t matter how healthy you are, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or the right vitamins that you take or the doctors you visit, you will die. It tells us Moses was a man who spoke to God face to face and yet he died in the fullness of his strength it says.
Deuteronomy 34:7 – Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.
It doesn’t matter how strong a man is or how smart he is or even how spiritual he is, he will die. It is the cold, hard reality. Because hell and judgment are realities, that is why we must die.
Let’s go to Psalm 90. I call this the hospital psalm. We just saw Moses had died and this is a prayer of Moses. Verse 1 tells us it’s a prayer of Moses a man of God and this is how he prayed. You think of the fellowship he had with God, you think how he died full of strength. This is what he prays.
Psalm 90:1-2 – A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
It dawns on him whom he must stand before. We do well to go to the graveyard and sit down there in that graveyard and get very quiet and say to ourselves, I must one day too go there and stand before God.
Verse 3 says, “You turn men back to dust…” This needs to be the hospital psalm, the hospital prayer that is repeated over and over.
Psalm 90:3 – You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
And there’s not a thing a doctor can do or anyone can do to stop it from happening.
Psalm 90:4-5 – For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death…
You come in and you just sweep it out from underneath them. You just take out life and you say, “Return to dust.” A sad face is good for the heart.
Psalm 90:5-6 – …they are like the new grass of the morning—though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.
One day of existence at best. Go and look at the grass. If you don’t want to go to a graveyard; if it’s too much trouble for you to drive out there and sit down, go sit down in your front yard. Spend a day sitting there watching the grass come up and wither by evening. Look at what Moses says, the man of God, full of strength and clear eyesight; verse 7:
Psalm -90:7 – We are consumed by your anger…
I have to die because God is angry with me—do we understand that? When I have a backache and when I have a headache and when I hurt, it is because judgment has been set into motion in this world because I sinned and I am wrong.
Psalm 90:7 – We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
There aren’t too many people terrified anymore, with all the false gospels and empty Jesuses being preached out there, there are very few people terrified anymore. Indeed we need to grow in that ourselves, because it shows how little we repent and how little we change or how easily we sin and we come back with an excuse. How much we go through all of our justifications, our logic, all of our reasoning, and we have to sit there for four or five days and maybe somebody else has to come to us to point those things out and they have to argue with us and wrestle it out of us.
We’re not terrified of His indignation. We really think our excuses are going to hold water before Him. You know you’re getting here when you sin and you go home and you sit down on your bed and you don’t have a single word you can say. You just sit there in that sinfulness knowing that what you did was wrong and you wait for God to speak first. You are terrified of His indignation, you don’t know what He’s going to do to you next, you don’t know how He’s going to judge you, you don’t know how He’s going to deal with you and you sit there and wait for Him to speak and to act. No excuses, no prayers, no weeping and wailing, you don’t have all kinds of things to impress God. You sit there and wait for the living God, you wait for your Father to stand up and to speak and to say what He has to say and you pay attention to every single word that He speaks. Moses, a man of God, was terrified by His indignation –
Psalm 90:8 – You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
You know, a lot of us don’t have any secret sins, we think. We can’t even see the obvious sins let alone our secret sins. How do you know that’s true, because when somebody comes to point out sin in your life, it takes them about four hours to get you to see it? And if I have to come to you and spell out for you the sins that are in your life and I logically have to lay it out and it maybe takes me a day or a month or even years, what does it say about secret sins that you don’t even have a clue they’re there. But He will take those secret sins and He will lay them in front of His presence, in front of His holiness and you will see them clearly. You will have no excuse and you will have no justification and when you’re in the hospital, when you’re in your sickbed, this is what you should contemplate first.
Verse 9 says,
Psalm 90:9 – All our days pass away under your wrath…
I want to remind people again, I’m reading from the book of Psalms, the songbook of the Bible. Are these the kind of hymns you see being sung out there today? Is this “Top 40” material?
Psalm 90:9 – All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
Our bodies wear out. He has to discipline us and bring out the rod because He’s trying to save our souls, because He’s full of love and He wills that no one perish. He knows that if you don’t give up that sin and if you don’t give up the self that is there and if you don’t lay it at the cross to be crucified, you have to be judged. Even beyond that, He knows that even if you’re forgiven, in order to share in His glory, to participate in things of untold beauty that we know nothing about, He has to purge the sin from us. God wants me to share in His holiness, so God comes to me, and it’s not an issue so much of forgiveness at that point, it’s an issue of saying, “Over here are the glories of heaven and over here is your filthy sin, what do you want to hold on to?” Verse 10 says:
Psalm 90:10 – The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength…
How many times have you heard people tell you, “Well, they just died, they just gave up the will to live.” You watch men as they die, there are some that can go longer than others, a lot of it comes down to just the will to live. There’s a lot of people that just die because there’s nothing left to live for anymore. Those that commit suicide are way ahead of the curve. They have nothing left to live for, so they end their life.
Psalm 90:10 – The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow…
It is a supreme lie for a man to walk through this life thinking this is a happy life. He’s got to be enthralled with the stupidest of pleasures to be that happy. The whole world is nothing but death and starvation. They’re predicting massive starvation in the Sudan and I’m going to walk around with a smile on my face as if everything is fine? Men live the ultimate of delusions. They want to play and keep their sins.
Psalm 90:10 – …yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
How quickly we stand before God. All those that are old in the church should be speaking to those that are young in the church saying, “Your life will pass away quickly, you’ll fly away, if you even get to my age, God may will that some of you die when you are twenty-five or thirty.” Our lives disappear in a moment and all of our concerns and our petty problems and our worries and all the things that we carry around just keep us from seeking His righteousness, whatever selfish motives that are there.
Psalm 19:11 – Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
We fear not God enough. It says in Acts, that the first church grew in the fear of the Lord. We need to grow in the fear of God. But you don’t see people on their deathbed or their sickbed or when they get a cold or anything else, growing in the fear of the Lord. When our kids get a cold, what do we do, we hover around them, we baby them, we give them chicken soup. We need to bring them scriptures, we need to bring them James, that says, “If you sin, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Call the elders together. I’m not saying that every sickness is due to punishment, but there is a common destruction that comes to us all.
Verse 12, is what we need. Those in the hospital, those in their sickbeds, those who are ill, need to pray Psalm 90:12.
Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
May God come to each one of us and sit down and say, “This is the number of your days. This is how quickly it will pass.” Ask Him to put the fear in there. Many years ago I prayed and asked God to do that, and one of the ways He did that, I studied a lot of different ways that people had died. That’s what He led me to do. I’m not saying He’ll lead you to do it that way. He’ll work the soberness, He’ll work the fear, He’ll work the love, He’ll work the grace, He’ll work it all if we but ask. But God will want to come to you and to remind you that you are mortal and that your days are numbered. He will not contend with you forever. He will not support you forever. He will not give you a little more room to repent forever. This is your day to repent. This is your day to change and every single day that you get up is one more opportunity to grow in the righteousness of God, to throw off the sin that entangles, to leave behind the excuses, the shallow dealing with sin, all the things that we do.
Let’s go back to Matthew 10:28 because you remember our passage about being afraid of God.
Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
We just barely touched on the fear of God. Jesus tells us to be afraid. Then in verse 29, Jesus goes on to expound on this fear of the Lord and let’s look at this for a moment. This is one of the great contradictions in scripture.
Matthew 10:29 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny…?
Now wait. He just told us to contemplate the fear of God, to think of hell, to contemplate the sulfur and the burning and the heat and the demons and everything that is there in hell. It’s darkness. Then He says,
Matthew 10:29-30 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
And then He says in verse 31 a contradiction in what He just said, He says,
Matthew 10:31 – So don’t be afraid…
Well which is it Jesus? Am I supposed to be afraid of Him who sends me to hell or not afraid of Him who doesn’t send me to hell, who cares for me? Obviously the answer is both.
You know if a man went around counterfeiting coins and he only printed one side of the coin and he gave it to you, you’d say, “This is a counterfeit.” It’d be easy to spot. In the same way, there a lot of counterfeit Jesuses going out. On one side of the coin you have a Jesus who says, “Oh don’t worry, everybody gets to get in. Everything’s fine, everybody’s going to make it. God’s a god of love and forgiveness. Just say this simple, quick, easy prayer and you’re in.” That’s one side of the coin, but they leave the other side of the coin, the fear of God. Then you have those few other people who have the other side of the coin which is just talking about fear and damnation and hell all the time. Nobody’s getting in except them personally. They don’t know a God of grace or mercy. We need the genuine coin that is in Jesus Christ. And the genuine coin is this—that you fear Him whom you should fear and at the same time you know that He’s teaching you that fear because He loves you and doesn’t want you to be afraid. He desires mercy. He wants you to get past the fear, so if somebody’s in their sickbed, if somebody’s in the hospital, they need to move past, they need to see clearly the judgment of God in their life and know that God is showing you that and warning you and offering you Jesus Christ so you can be forgiven. Don’t pass through it took quick. Don’t let those who come in and whitewash such things or bring you a one-sided coin. Don’t accept those who come in so fast and say, “Oh, He’s a God of mercy, just accept Him in your heart and you’re fine, you’re in the go.” You get some fear that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Let’s go to Mark 5:24. You’re going to have to pass through a large crowd of preachers and pastors and teachers and Bible studies and sermon tapes. You’re going to have to come and touch with the living Jesus.
Mark 5:24 – So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
They’re crowding in, they want to get to this Jesus. You walk through daily life, people pressing in, a lot of people pressing onto this Jesus, I’m right here next to Him. Indeed there are people standing right next to Jesus Christ, but they’re not touched by Jesus Christ.
Mark 5:25 – And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
Again everybody’s pressing in on Jesus Christ, but they’re not touched by Jesus Christ. Can those people that are standing next to Jesus Christ describe who He is? They can tell you what He looks like, how He acts and what He does, but they don’t know Him and they haven’t been touched by Him. The woman needs to be healed and she needs Jesus Christ and she’s going to press in past this crowd. She doesn’t stand on the outside of the crowd and say, “Tell me about this Jesus that you see. Explain to me all the thing that He is and what He looks like and how He acts and what He teaches?” She’s not asking any of those questions. She has to have a contact with the living God. So when somebody’s in their deathbed or somebody’s in the hospital, you don’t sit down with them and give them all the attributes of who Jesus is and say He’s all loving and all of that. You share that, but you say, “You better touch Him. You better get it yourself. You better come into contact with Him yourself.”
Now verse 26 tells us about our medical system, tells us about the work of man. It says:
Mark 5:26 – She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors…
Every hospital needs to have that over the forefront of their doors as you walk in. You know, in England one time, they had a strike and all the doctors went on strike and the death rate went down. You suffer under the care of doctors. How many of us like to go to the doctors and have them probe and do all the things that they do in order to make us well. How many of us like to go spend time at the hospital because the more doctors there are, the more pain you’re going to suffer on top of your illness. So every hospital shouldn’t have the sweet little Marys they have standing there and the nice little plaques that make it sound so rosy to go there, like it’s a joy to go in to the hospital. They need to say. “When you come in here, you come through these doors, you’re going to suffer under our care because we have the best doctors in the world.” They know how to make your life miserable like nobody else does.
Mark 5:26 – She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had…
Every single doctor’s office needs to have that above their doors, that when you come through this door, if you want to be made well, you’re going to spend every single thing you have and you’re still not going to get well, because death is the destiny of all men. It says;
Mark 5:26 – …yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
Of course. In that one sentence, in that one little area of scripture, it tells about the medical system of man. With all the miracle cures, this is the bottom line. We suffer and we spend everything we have to suffer some more. Verse 27 says;
Mark 2:27 – When she heard about Jesus…
We need to tell people about Jesus, but it’s got to go past the telling. They’re going to have to press in, they’re going to have to move the crowds aside, they’re going to have to sneak in, they’re going to have to get past their fear. This woman’s afraid. She doesn’t just march in before Jesus and say, “Hey, I need to be healed.” She’s afraid to come in contact with this God. She’s tasting that fear that we talked about earlier. She knows He’s holy, she knows he’s righteous, she knows she’s sick, she knows she’s under judgment, she knows who she is.
Mark 5:27 – When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
She didn’t come as so many people come to church, all brazen, coming in, claiming their promises. She came in behind, working through the crowd, pushing people aside, not saying a word. Her energy and her focus was on one thing and that was touching Jesus Christ. It didn’t matter what their arguments were, what their theology was or whether their hermeneutics were correct or whatever they had, she just wanted to touch Jesus Christ. And anyone that is sick and anyone with a cold and anyone in the hospital needs to have one goal while they lay there. That is your moment; that is your chance. God is keeping you from working. He is doing all kinds of things that you might cry out to Him. When I have a headache or whatever sickness where I can’t work or God brings it to slow me down, to make me contemplate. I used to suffer terrible headaches some twenty years ago, maybe not quite that long ago, but it was to slow me down, to keep my folly in its place. God’s hoping that I would take a moment and turn and say, “What are you doing God? What are you working here? What are you trying to get my attention with?”
She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” She knows He is the source of life. Everybody else is touching Him, but they’re not being made well.
Mark 5:29 – Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
You see, when Jesus heals, it’s not like doctors heal. In the long run, they always make matters worse.
Mark 5:30 – At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
All these people touching Jesus Christ and touching His clothes and He talks about one woman.
Mark 5:31 – “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’“
Jesus Christ is looking for that one individual who will come in from behind and will do what is necessary in order to be touched by God. One purpose. A pure heart. One direction. Just to touch Him.
Mark 5:32 – But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Verse 33 shows us she still has that fear of who He is. She has respect.
Mark 5:33 – Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear…
This is the living God that she touched. There’s a fear that is due Him, there’s a way that I should behave that is due to the fact that I know who He is, a manner in which I dress and conduct myself and how I speak. She comes with fear and trembling, yet it is the fear and trembling that she went past that caused her to be healed. Look at this:
Mark 5:33 – came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
“I was afraid, these doctors did all of these things, but I know Your heart. I know You forgive, if I come to You humbly. If I come just to touch You, You will give me life.” That’s why Jesus Christ can say, “I’ll teach you whom you should fear. You should fear Him whom you should not be afraid of,” because His ultimate goal is love. You need to respect Him. You need to know who He is. You need to know He’s a holy God. You’re not playing with opinion here; you’re not playing with doctrine here; you’re not playing with excuses here; you’re talking about the living God and touching Him.
When people come to church, is this what they come in contact with? While people are dying on their sickbeds, is this what we tell people? It’s a holy God you must stand before. Don’t play games, don’t give me those words, you gave them all through your life; don’t give them to me now. You lived a life of sin, this is who you were, and this is who you are. You better find a way to get in now and get past the crowd. You better send everybody out of this room and get rid of your doctors that are causing you pain and taking your money and touch the living God and die a half-hour early before they get back to talk you out of it.
Let’s go to Psalm 39:4. Every person in the hospital must accept several things. Number one, they need to accept that every pain and suffering comes from the loving God; He’s trying to get their attention. Number two, they must see their sins and why they deserve the illness that they have. I don’t care if they’re Christian or non-Christian. Number three, they must seek God with all that they are, all their heart and mind and soul. And number four, if God should make them well, they must arise up out of that bed and hate their own life and fall to the ground and follow the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 39:4 – Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.
People live their lives as if they’re going to live forever. It is an amazing delusion to watch. At least one of the benefits of the dark ages when people died of the plague was the fact that death was a reality. Now we think man can cure all of our ills. People clamor and protest for more money to cure diseases; they should be clamoring and protesting for the love of God in their life.
Psalm 39:5 – You have made my days a mere handbreadth…
Take your hand, put it in front of your mouth and breathe. That’s how long you live. That’s how much substance is there. That’s how significant you are. He is allowing a handbreadth so that we might repent, not that we might be blessed, expand our territory, do all kinds of things or find some peace in this world, rather that we might repent and escape hell.
Psalm 39:5 – The span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.
Isn’t that what they teach in Bible College, your life’s but a breath? Don’t worry about ministry work; don’t worry about being this over here or getting your certificate over here. Your life’s but a breath, you may not even make it to graduation.
Psalm 39:6 – Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain…
We go about our jobs, our business, our life, doing all the things that we do – for what? It is totally in vain.
Psalm 39:6-7 – He heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for?
All of these things are vain and all of these are empty and my life is very short.
Psalm 39:7 – My hope is in you.
And this is why God is allowing death to reign. The reason God put us under judgment and the reason that He brought us death is that we might hope in Him only. That we might give up our sins and who we are.
Psalm 39:8 – Save me from all my transgressions…
It doesn’t say, “Save me from most of my transgressions.” Most of you want to be saved on those conditions. You’re willing to give up this block of sin over here because you don’t like it. And you’re willing to give up this sin over here because you don’t like that either, and you’re willing to give this over here because it bothers so-and-so, but he says, “Save me from all my transgressions…” and until a man is willing to be saved from everything that he is, he will never share in the glory of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 39:8 – Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.
Only fools believe the delusion that they’re going to live forever. Only fools are in the house of pleasure, feasting, happiness and contentment. Only fools. Only fools want most of their sins forgiven.
Psalm 39:9 – I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this.
You see what I’m saying, when you finally reach a place where you sit in your room, you sit on your bed and all you can contemplate is that you are a sinner that needs to be changed and you don’t come to God with all kinds of flowery speeches or words and excuses and justifications. You sit there and understand two hard, cold realities. That God is alive, and that God judges. He is holy. He is who He is and you are a sinner and nothing you can pray, nothing you can say or do, no justification will allow anything good to happen to you. You either touch His cloak and He gives you mercy or you’re doomed.
Psalm 39:9 – I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this.
“You put me in the sickbed, you put me in the hospital, you gave me the cancer, you gave me all these things in hope that I would cry out to you to be forgiven for all my sins. You gave me the headache, the back pain, the troubles that I have, the bad knees, everything that I am, all the pain that I feel, You have done it to me, O Lord.”
Psalm 39:10 – Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
Most people that I know that talk about God’s grace, I have not seen them overcome by His blows. One little piece of conviction, a little bit of one sermon, and they say, “Okay, say this prayer. Sign this paper and you’re fine.”
We’re talking death by crucifixion. We’re talking blow upon blow upon blow until He works life, until we are convinced, until all we do is sit and are silent. If I grow tired of your excuses and your whining and your reasoning and your justification and your hiding and your running and all those things, how much more does He grow weary and tired of it?
Psalm 39:11 – You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth—each man is but a breath. Selah
You take our life, you take our work, everything we save for, all that we do, you consume it. You can just hear him pause and it’s dawning on him again, “all men are but a breath.” I am but a breath. My worries are of no significance. Come on. Who I am, what I do, all the things that I strive for, my pleasures, my life, my desires, are but a breath. Who am I that God should save me? I am but a breath. Who am I that He should care for me? What could I possibly do in terms of even righteousness and works and labor to be more than a breath?
Psalm 39:12 – Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help…
He’s not playing around. He’s crying, he’s pleading, he’s asking. Some of you have to work up to cry and plead. I do more crying and pleading for you to cry and plead than you do yourself. I have more conviction about your sin than you have for yourself. “Hear my prayer, O Lord.” He senses God is not listening and God is not responding.
Psalm 39:12- …listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.
I don’t know you, I don’t know how to comprehend you, I can’t work this out. Hear my cry, hear my plea, rescue me, and deliver me from my sins. But we talk to one another as if it’s no big deal. We reason it out and we just logically come to a conclusion. We don’t go home and pound the wall. We don’t come before God and say, “God, you must deliver me from this, be not deaf to what I’m saying.”
Psalm 39:13 – Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.
Only those who look to Jesus Christ can expect God to turn away and look no more. That’s the beauty of the Good News for he who touches His garment, he who comes with faith. If you look to Jesus Christ, if you run past all of this and you keep moving toward Him and you fight your way in, you cry your way in and you weep and you sit and you do all the things out of a pure heart and love for God; if you look to Jesus Christ, God will turn away His wrath. He will heal, He will bring peace, He will give you life. What should you do when you’re sick? Contemplate these things. What to do when you’re in a hospital bed or you have to go to the doctor, contemplate these things.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, do these things quickly in our hearts. Our lives are passing so quickly before us and we’re so enthralled with the pleasures of this world and all the little things that we enjoy or excuses for our sins or who we are. The delusion is too great, Father. So powerful we could wake up Father, thinking we have done all that we should and lived a lie. So many people, Father, go to their grave believing they’ve gone to a better place. By Your name and Your presence, Father, and Your Holy Spirit, make the word alive in our hearts and our lives. We ask this, O Lord, that Your name might be glorified and that Your word, Father, above all else, would go forth. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.