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Put your house in order, because you are going to die
Isaiah 38

Scripture reading: Genesis 3

In 2009 the group Knickelback released a song entitled "If today was your last day." The lyrics are as follows....

My best friend gave me the best advice. He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind. And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day. And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday? Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past. Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see? Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies? Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above. That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

etc...

The thought and question behind this song is a good one.

I bring this song to your attention because In Isaiah 38, God sends the prophet Isaiah to king Hezekiah with this message: "Put your house in order, because you are going to die..."

Our death. It's something we need to think about

-Our death is not something that we like to think about.
-Death is unnatural. When God created the world, everything was perfect. There was no death
-Death only entered the world and became part of our experience because of the rebellion of our first parents against God.
-Because of our sin and our being related to the first sinners (Adam and Eve) we are all going to die.
-Generally speaking, people do as much as they can to avoid death and the contemplation of it. This has not always been the case though. In the 1700 and 1800 hundreds some folks kept a human skull on their desks as a reminder that one day they were going to die. Also on Ash Wednesday, when you see folks with those ash crosses on their foreheads; when the ash was put their by the priest, he said to them "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return"
-Physical death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus says; "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."
-As the followers of Christ, we are not to fear death for one simple fact: Christ's triumph over the grave. His resurrection from the dead -- which serves as a pattern for us.
-Because of Christ and his resurrection from the grave, we are not grieve as other men do-- who have no hope. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope"
-Death is the present means by which Christ takes his followers home to be with him. This is our hope, being with Christ is at the center of our faith. In Philippians 1:23 the Apostle Paul says; "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;"

Some neat verses to contemplate as it regards death

Isaiah 57:1 "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace, they find rest as they lie in death."

Job 19:25-27 says; "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!


READ ISAIAH 38 (noting that he was a righteous king who reigned during the time of Assyrian aggression. While his father was wicked, he was good-- tearing down the high places and leading people in the worship of God. Also note that just prior to this that the Assyrians had been camped outside of Jerusalem and by the mighty hand of God 185000 Assyrians were wiped out)

Some things to note

1. In some respects, God sending Isaiah to Hezekiah was a test (what would Hezekiah do with the news-- would he joyfully welcome going home to be with God or would he ask for more time). In Hezekiah's case he asked for more time and the key phrase that gets my attention is "And Hezekiah wept bitterly" v.3
2. To confirm His word and build Hezekiah's faith and to serve as a reminder of God's grace, God gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign. God still gives people miraculous signs. (Judges 6 - Gideon and the fleece). Application: In some situations it's ok to ask God for a sign-- not to test Him or manipulate Him, but for your faith
3. Hezekiah had an impoverished view of death. He sort of viewed it as the end or at least as a holding tank. This contrasts greatly with David, Job and other righteous saints who anticipated being with God when they died. (Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:9-11). Application: Don't have an impoverished view of death. To die and be with Christ-- that is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
4. Hezekiah did not use the extra time God gave him well. Hezekiah did not finish well. READ Isaiah 39 and note 2 Chronicles 32:24ff which speaks in pointed terms of his pride. Principle: Seek to finish your life in Christ strong!

A CLOSER LOOK AT ISAIAH'S MESSAGE:

PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

Now there's a message that we all need to hear.

Sometimes a doctor says this to his patient. Soldiers going into battle are encouraged to put their houses into order. The death notifications of the local newspaper call our attention to our coming death. The wrinkling of our skin and a look into our family histories remind us that we are going to die.

Is your house in order? Are you ready to die? Are you ready to stand before God and give him an account? (Hebrews 9:27)


HOW TO BE READY FOR YOUR DEATH/ HOW TO PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER

1. GET RIGHT WITH GOD. BE RECONCILED TO GOD
2 Corinthians 5:20

In Ecclesiastes 12:1 it says; "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth."

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 says; "Remember him-before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

Life is short. There is one needful thing for all people: To be reconciled to God before they die. Otherwise that person will die in their sins and be cast into Hell.

There is one way to be reconciled to God: Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior Lord. We are saved by faith alone and by God grace alone. As Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except by me." Similarily in 1 Timothy 2:5 it says; "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Furthermore; in Acts 4:12 says the apostle Peter says of Christ; "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Are you right with God His way- through personal faith in Jesus Christ? Do you have peace with God?


2. MAKE PEACE WITH THOSE YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH. KEEP SHORT ACCOUNTS

Are you holding a grudge against someone? Are you angry with somebody? Why are you doing this? You know you should forgive. You know that to walk with God requires that we forgive those who wrong us.

Colossians 3:13 says; "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

3. WRITE A WILL, pay your bills, etc

If you are old enough and have any assets or children, write a will.

Tips: In Canada you can handwrite your own will. Think about it carefully, don't forget your church and the Kingdom of God, be wise and fair, sign it, date it, you're done.

4. MAKE GOOD USE OF THE TIME THAT YOU HAVE LEFT. INVEST IN PEOPLE. BUSY YOURSELF DOING THINGS THAT HAVE ETERNAL MEANING AND VALUE

Don't waste your life.

The Bible tells us how we came to be, why the world is so messed up, what the solution to the world's problem is, and what we are here for.

When we think about the question of what are we here for, the Bible teaches us that we are here to enjoy God, the life He's given us, and to live for His glory.

Colossians 3:17 says; "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Don't waste your life.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says; "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Be rich in good deeds. Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven


5. DO ALL YOU CAN TO FINISH STRONG IN CHRIST. BE THE BEST FOLLOWER OF JESUS THAT YOU CAN BE

Hezekiah got an extra 15 years, but he would have been far better off to have gone home to be with the Lord when Isaiah came to him.

We need to be found faithful to the end.

In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Paul says; "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

CONCLUSION

Is your house in order? Are you ready to die? Are you ready to meet God?

The most critical step of all to having a house in order and being ready to die is to be right with God. Are you?

Closing song: Are you washed in the blood/I'll fly away medley.