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James 4:13-17 A Y2K PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

Intro: The future: A recent Hollywood movie called it "The Undiscovered Country." For many, the future is a place of anticipation. It is a place where there are weddings and children. A place where there is college and courtship. A place where there will be opportunities, challenges and victories. That is the future of the optimist! For the pessimist, the future is a horrible place where dreadful; things will happen. There will be sickness, death and partings. There will be sadness, burdens and despair. There will be valleys, and storms and loneliness. Depending upon your outlook, the future is either very bright or very dark. However, regardless of how you see the future, we are all on our journey into the undiscovered country. As we make the trip, we need to do so with a plan. These verses that we have read this morning offer us a plan for the future. As we look toward tomorrow in this the year 2,000 I would like to share with you A Y2K Plan For The Future.

I. V. 13-14 THE FUTURE IS CLOUDED IN HUMAN SPECULATION

A. V. 14 Your Future Is Uncertain - This verse speaks to the brevity and uncertainty of human life. This is a theme that permeates the pages of the Bible - Job 7:6-7; Job 9:25-26; Job 14:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:24. The brutal truth is that none of know when we will reach the end of our lives. A trip to the cemetery confirms this truth! After all, there are graves of all sizes there. It would do us well this morning to consider just what could come about in our lives during the course of this year, or even on out into the future. This study is not meant to sadden you are to fill your heart with dread, my aim this morning is to help you see that the future is coming and will soon be upon us. We had better be ready for it. Simply denying what may come will not stop it from coming about! Let's notice some things that could come about in your future or in mine for that matter.

1. Death - Heb. 9:27 - We are all going to die, if the Lord doesn't come first! We should be prepared for eternity!

2. Rapture - 1 Thes. 4:16-17; John 14:1-3 - Jesus Christ is going to return to this world. We need to be ready, for at any moment, Jesus may come to claim His children, Matt. 24:44.

3. Illness - Our flesh is prone to many calamities! We never know when we will be stricken with some dread disease. Just this week, a Pastor here in Burke County found out that he has cancer all around his heart. It could touch any of us without warning!

4. Tragedy - John 16:33 - At any time in the days ahead, our homes, our families, our communities can be invaded by the dark specter of tragedy. You can't plan for it because you do not know when it is coming!

(Ill. The point is that you and I do not know when something unforseen and unexpected will happen in our lives. I look through my Bible and I find places where people expected to do great things in the future, but their hopes were dashed by the unrelenting waves of times upon the rocks that line the shores of providence. Notice a few of these with me.

1. Belshassar - Daniel 5

2. The Rich Fool - Luke 12:12-21

3. The mother of Sisera - Judges 4:18-22; Judges 5:28

4. Judas Iscariot - Matt. 27:3-5)

B. V. 13 Your Future Is Uncontrollable - Ill. The context. These people were making great plans for the future. However, they were forgetful of one great truth: Man does not control the future, God does! We may plan what we will, but we can bring none of it to pass! There is not one single aspect of the future that you or I can control! We are totally helpless when it comes to changing anything that may or may not happen.

(Ill. People plan for the future, and they should! Some spend years saving for retirement, and never live long enough to enjoy their savings. Others turn to psychics and horoscopes to determine what they should do about this or that. But, the plain truth is still obvious! We cannot control the future! Not even the smallest portion of it is within our ability to control or change.)

(Ill. Psychics - Before you call one, you should answer this question: If they are so good at predicting the future, why didn't they anticipate your call and call you first?)

(Ill. In 1967, a Senate sub-committee issued a report that stated the following concerning the future: Men would be working 22 hour weeks, only working 27 weeks per year and these workers would be able to retire at age 38. Want to know when this was supposed to happen? 1985! They missed it didn't they? The fact is, man just doesn't know!)

(Ill. With all that in mind, there is one sure things that needs to be said about the future: It requires spiritual preparation! Every person under the sound of my voice faces an uncertain future and needs to be read y to depart this world at any moment! Are you ready to leave this world?)

I. The Future Is Clouded In Human Speculation

II. V. 15 THE FUTURE IS CONTROLLED BY DIVINE SUPERVISION

A. There Is A Concept To Accept - The idea here is to remind us, once again, that we are simply not in control of the future. We may think that we have all the answers, but just when we think we get it all figured out, someone changes all the questions! The sooner we accept the notion that we can do nothing with or about the future, the sooner we can come to terms with the fact that the future is God's business and not ours.

B. There Is A Control To Acknowledge - This verse makes the plain statement that God is in absolute control of all of life. He holds the future in His hand! This is why we do not need the Psychic Friends Network to look into the future. We serve an all-powerful God who not only knows all about the future, but He actually authors the future and tailor makes it just for you!

(Basically, we have 2 choices in life. First, we can continue to live in a fantasy world where we pretend to know what will happen and make our plans according. Or, secondly, we can yield to the will of God for our lives, submit to the future He has planned for us and know that tomorrow will be fine when and if it comes for us! Ill. This truth is seen in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34)

(Ill. Our lives should be governed by 4 precious, powerful words: "If the Lord wills..." Life is far more than everything working out the way I have it planned. Life is about things working our the way God has them planned and about my being surrendered to that plan and a part of that plan.)

C. There Is A Challenge To Adopt - While it is not stated in so many words, this verse contains a challenge to the way we live our lives. The challenge that we are given is for us to commit to seeking God's will for every area, every decision, every move we make in life. It is about coming to the place where Jesus Christ lived, "Not my will, but thine be done!", Luke 22:42.

(Ill. With that in mind, this requires confidence! Every child of God here this morning needs to know that God is in control of every area of your life and whatever may come your way, He allows it, He controls it and it will be a good thing when it comes - Rom. 8:28!)

I. The Future Is Clouded In Human Speculation

II. The Future Is Controlled By Divine Supervision

III. V. 16-17 THE FUTURE IS TO BE COMMITTED IN FAITHFUL SATISFACTION

A. We Should Live For God In The Present - In these 2 verses, James condemns that lifestyle of his readers by telling them that their foolish rejoicing in plans that may never come to pass in wrong. His reminder to them is that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, therefore, we should work for God today, doing His will from the heart.

(Ill. All sin can be grouped into one of two categories. There are sins of commission. These are committed when we choose to willfully do what we know is wrong. The other kind of sin are those of omission. These are committed when we refuse to do what we know is right. In God's eyes, one group is as evil as the other! When we refuse to work for the Lord, planning instead to do our work in the future when things are easier, or when we have more time, or when we have more money, or whatever, we are living in sin! We must never presume on the future. The day to do something for the Lord is today! Tomorrow may turn out to be the dream it already is for you. It may never come. Today is all you have. Someone said, "Yesterday is a canceled check, gone forever. Tomorrow is a promissary note, it might never be redeemed. Today is cash in hand, spend it wisely!" The fact is, today is the only day we have to serve the Lord! Are we using our time wisely for His glory? (Ill. His command is this: Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5.)

B. We Should Leave The Future To God's Providence - Instead of living for a tomorrow that may never come, our duty is to live for God in the present and leave tomorrow up to Him. All of this is not to say that we should not plan or that we should not prepare for the future. What I am saying is that we should not be so caught up in living for the future that we lose sight of the work to be done here today. You can rest assured that God will take care of your tomorrow's! If you will serve the Lord today, you will find tomorrow will be taken care of, Matt. 6:33.

(Ill. This aspect of dealing with the future requires that we have faith. We need the faith to be able to know that God will get it right! Our duty is to walk with Him daily in an ever-deepening relationship of surrender and service, Rom. 12:1-2.)

Conc: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to go to Heaven? If so you need to be sure that you are saved today. Do you plan to leave in the rapture? If so, then you need to be sure that you are saved today. Do you plan to get serious about serving God out there in the future? You know, do you plan to start getting to church like you should? Do plan to start witnessing like you should? Reading the Bible, praying, witnessing, working, tithing and all those other things that seem so easy to put off to another day. Do you have a Y2K Plan For The Future? Is it your plan, or is it God's plan? It's time to get the future in its proper perspective! Will you come and do that right now? The future will be any second, why not make it cout for God?



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