Date: August 11, 2013
Bible Text: Psalm 90:10-13 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Bible Text: Psalm 90:10-13 | Preacher: Roger Voegtlin | Series: Transcribed Sermons
Please, if you have your Bibles, turn in them to Psalm 90. I want to preach on “Teach Us to Number Our Days.” Many of you know that Psalm 90:12 is the verse that we’ve chosen for the college. It’s our college verse, but I want to read Psalm 90 starting in verse 10. “The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength, labor, and sorrow: for it is soon cut off and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90 is dealing with the brevity of life. After surrendering to God, you know if you’ve ever done that, the Bible opens up to you, and Romans 12:1-2 flat means give yourself to God totally. And after finally giving myself to God, Psalm 90:12 became very special. I saw that brevity like never before. I didn’t want to waste any part of my life. I saw my life as God’s to be used of Him. We need to take life seriously, but not take ourselves seriously. Sometime I have to say, “Lord, I sure made a fool out of myself, didn’t I?” We shouldn’t make ourselves important; I’m not saying that. But we should make our life important. We should strive to live for Him. Ezekiel 7:6 reads, “An end has come; the end has come. It watcheth for thee. Behold, it is come.” Life will end sooner than we think. Some of us older people understand this. When this day is over, it’s over. There’s nothing we can do. It can’t be lived again. God didn’t make us primarily for time, though, but as an eternal creature, we’re in a prison now called time. But soon the aches and the pains, the heartaches, will end and will phase into eternity. Someday, if we’re saved, we’re going to live with God forever and ever. Time as we know it will end and there will be three solemn event that we must prepare to face. And one of those events is death. The Bible says to prepare to meet thy God. You cannot give me an assurance that you will sleep in your bed tonight. You cannot give me assurance that you will be alive thirty seconds from now. One time somebody died in the third pew right there, just fell over and died. We don’t know. There’s none of us know that we can walk out of this auditorium. Diane Gaus faced serious, face death, extremely serious cancer, and I think, after those two battles with cancer, she has numbered her days. I think Greg has numbered his days also. The greatest thing that you can do in life, the most important thing you can do in life is to prepare to die. There are some young people that might chuckle at that. The Bible says, “A far sighted fool’s eyes are at the ends of the earth…” Again, a far sighted person looking out doesn’t see the opportunities of today. When you’re young, you know you’re going to grow old sometime. You know you’re going to grayer, you’re going to get bald, you’re going to get feeble, and finally you’re going to go to the grave, but you think, “I’ve got a long time to live.” You spend your time and your energy on yourself, boy, you’re going to make money. That will make you happy. You want your comfort. Everything is thought about yourself. What will this new car, this new truck, or whatever it might be, just gathering things, but never being satisfied. You think you can plan life out, and there’s nothing wrong with planning. But you think you can plan your education, plan your finances, and your retirement, and even your death, but you know, you read the obituaries, and it just really surprises me. You say, “Do you read them?” Yeah, I do. I don’t mean I read every one, but I do, especially in Chesterton Tribune. And it amazes me the number of young people that are in there. Maybe a bike accident, maybe cancer at a very young age; I don’t know what it all is. Some of it is just a result of sin, but I’m shocked at how many young people die. People of all ages die and when it comes, even if you only have a couple of minutes to know you’re dying, it’s usually a shock. Most are far-sighted as the Bible calls them, and they fall out of their chair as they eat dinner at home, and they’re not prepared. Not having used their lifetime for God. “The far-sighted fool’s eyes are at the end of the earth.” He’s going to do this. I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to, “I’m going to start coming to church. I know I need to take care of salvation.” And then even saved people, they plan to do this or that. They’re going to change, but they never do. You’re never prepared to live, though, until you’re prepared to die. And whenever you’re prepared to die, you’re then prepared to live, and you’re going to live somewhere for an eternity.
The second solemn event that we must all prepare for is judgment. The book of Hebrews reads, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.” The communists teach that when you die you just get thrown in the ground and it’s the end of your existence, but God says after death is judgment. Judgment, and the only way you can prepare for this is to go to Calvary and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Then you can trust that He has already been judged in your place, and that’s wonderful.
But the third solemn event that we’ve got to prepare for is eternity. You’re going to live as long as God lives in either Heaven or Hell. The greatest business you can ever be involved with is preparing for death, for judgment, for eternity. People say, “I’ve got to make some money.” You’ve got to die. People say, “I want to be happy.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but much more important that, you’re going to be judged. There’s only one heartbeat between you and eternity. Put your hand on your chest, you can barely feel that faint heartbeat. And there’s such a thin line between life and death. Just one heartbeat. Are you saved? Or are you on your way to Hell? If you’re saved, do you realize that you’re going to be judged on what you do in your life? We try and work with people and our church is known as being pretty strong, and I’m fairly pushy. I try to work with people to try to get them to be what they should be. And finally people normally get right with God or they find another church. And people say, “Why are you so pushy?” Because the most important thing you can do in life after you’re saved is to get right with God. And if you’re wasting your life, you’re going to answer for it. You didn’t start that heart beating, and you can’t keep it beating. Amos says, “Prepare to meet thy God…” Boy, people say, “The preacher is trying to scare me.” No, I’m afraid for some of you. I’m afraid for some of you. And you know what? Some people get that death sentence, and then they just seem to continue down the same road of doing absolutely nothing. I preach my heart out about death and judgment and eternity, and you go on stubborn. You’re unconcerned, and you go out into an abyss. Look at this verse starting in verse 11. “Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. So teach us to number our days…” What is wrong with some of you? You just seem to sleepwalk through life. It seems as though making money; you say, “I’ve got to pay my bills.” You’ve got to face Jesus someday. That’s more important than anything you’ll ever do! What kind of family do you have? What have you done to mold your children? You’ve got to face God. You will face death. You say, “I know it.” You will face judgment. You act like you don’t ever think about it. Now there’s three things I want to point out to you. First of all, the teacher. Who is He talking about? God. Lord. “…teach us to number our days…” I don’t think there’s a day goes by that I don’t wake up and say thank you, Lord, for life. And God will teach us to value that life if we’ll allow Him. If not, I say again, I see people who claim to be saved told that they have a year to live, or six months to live, and nothing changes. Nothing changes! Man, if I were told, and don’t get me wrong, we ought to always try and live this way. But if I were told that I had just a certain amount of time to live, I’d want to make sure that every minute counted. And Jesus teaches by example. When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t come to live as we think of it, He came to die. He was always looking towards the cross. He demonstrated that death was the gateway to life. If He had not died, we would not be able to live for eternity. Our Lord Himself is the one that teaches us. Give yourself to God or you won’t know what life is. You’ll keep life. The most important thing will be your job, money. “You know, I have to have that job.” Brian lost his. Others have lost it. No, your job is not the most important thing. The most important thing is what you do for God. It’s how you rear your children, how you influence your children, how you lead your family. That’s the most important thing—winning souls. But most keep their life grabbing things. Fun, compromise, and by doing that, you destroy your life and everything that’s important to you. But give your life, if you’re a man, you give your life to your wife. Now, what does that mean? You obey her, salute her? No, you lead her. You love her enough to help teach her and help her and bring her along, and you give your life to your kids. Now, does that mean ‘Kids First’? No, you’ll never see that on my license plate. Not the way they mean it. No, that means you’ll spank your kids, and if they’re older, you’ll help mold your kids, and you’ll work with your kids. That’s what you’ll give yourself to. Some people say, “I’m so tired; I get home and I collapse.” Then something’s wrong with you. Your priorities are wrong. You give yourself to a ministry. What’s your ministry? Where are you ministering to God? Where are you able to see that person saved, as again the testimony gave? You give yourself to others. Give, the Bible says, and it will be given unto you. What’s the results? A wonderful, Bible family that brings you joy as you die. Bible friends, that again, I’m sure Linda is thankful for Bible friends. If she hadn’t followed God, she wouldn’t have all those Bible friends to help. Peace and joy, a wonderful life. That’s the results. If you believe, give yourself to soulwinning, and you’ll reap the joy of souls and God’s smile. We live in a frivolous, nonchalant way, though. Things of importance don’t mean anything to us. We take life for granted. But a God, our teacher, will show us we only have one chance to teach and mold our children. Only chance, and you goof off, you put the job first as many men do, you’re lazy, they’re going to haunt you the rest of your life. You raise them for God, can you think of a more joyful thing than on your death bed, if you have a chance to have a death bed, to think of your children living for God and your grandchildren living for God. That’ll put a smile on your face. We must only do what God wants. We might only have one chance to win that person that God lays upon our hearts, only one, and if we don’t do it, they may go right to Hell. The teacher.
Then, the teaching. He’s teaching us to number our days. He’s teaching us to take life seriously. What life we have. He’s teaching, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. He gave us life, and it’s only by mercy that we breathe. And He will take our life, He will take it. He teaches us in the Bible that our days are short. Now, there was a day when I like you young people, thought that somebody was 65 was so ancient you couldn’t, you might as well be dead. But it comes fast, let me tell you. Now, you hear people say that, but it comes fast. Some of you may not understand it, some of you totally understand it. Jeff was born here; now he’s an old, bald-headed man. Time marches by. It seems like just yesterday that people like Tony and SongSu were little kids riding the buses. Now I look over at SongSu’s kids, one of them is bigger than her. Tony, he’s got his own Sunday School class of kids. You say, “What are you getting at?” Time marches on. They were just little kids such a short time ago. They were just babies, and now look at them. Last year is gone. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were looking forward to Christmas? Looking forward to the Anniversary Sunday before that? It’s like a video on fast forward. The Bible says that a man born of woman’s days are short and full of trouble, that our days are as sparks flying upward. That our life is like a vapor. Think about that, a vapor, that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away. That’s our life. Why don’t we use it? Your life, you think you’re something? You’re something. You’re important. The Bible says your life is like sticking your finger in the ocean and then pulling it out. It’s impossible to describe the brevity of life, but anybody with any age certainly understands it. The Bible says is we try to save our life, if we try and keep our life, we will lose it. But if we give it to God, we will keep it. Try and keep it, we lose it. If we give it, we’ll save it, we’ll keep it. We need to apply our hearts unto wisdom, as the Bible says. Get an eternal picture of life. See things as God sees things. Most people who do not serve the Lord, people who won’t get saved, think that if they get saved they’re going to be miserable. It’s like when I fought the call to preach, there’s a lot of reasons I did, but one reason, I just thought I’d be miserable. You give yourself to God, you’re miserable. Let me tell you the opposite is true. You give yourself to God, and the more you give yourself to God, you’re saved, and the more you give yourself to God, the more blessings you receive. Because God knows what we need, and He gives us more and more the more we surrender. God will never lead you to do something that’s the best thing for you, but it’s enjoyable. I’m not saying you have no hard times, I’d never say that, but I’m saying it’s enjoyable. The victories over those hard times, the life, the results—it’s enjoyable. You love it if you surrender. What a thrill to invest your life into children, not only, you know again, the world says that’s the most important thing we have are kids, and then they teach them how to have sex out of marriage, and just live wicked lives. They’re right, there’s nothing more enjoyable than investing your life into children, but you train them according to the Bible. And then it’s wonderful. Not only your own children, but the children that grow up and the college students. What a thrill to have the academy and then the college students to train them and see them live for God. And we’ve got people sprinkled, not only over the United States, but all over the world. That’s a thrill. I looked up there at Ra, and you know Pastor Kenderdine, through his ministry Ra was saved in Philadelphia, and then he came here to college. Then he went off to Cambodia. If you don’t know, Ra was born in Cambodia. He came to the United States as a refugee, and back there got himself a wife, Srey Lay. The point I’m making is, okay, he just told me today his cousin got saved. He was able to lead his cousin to the Lord. I don’t know how many people that he saw saved in Cambodia, but he thinks the Lord is leading him back to Cambodia, him and Srey Lay. The point I’m making is, that’s just one person saved, and who knows how many will be saved because of it. And then the Mullers are sitting next to Eebee, and you know, she’s here training for full-time Christian service, and will go back again. Who knows how many people will be saved? These are Cambodians and Mongolians, and there’s so many. It’s exciting. There’s nothing, what could be more exciting? And like I say, our own kids, Derek, he was saved here and grew up here, and he’s not called to full-time service, but he’s got his two kids, and his son got saved and baptized, didn’t you? Yeah. He’s out on the bus route and seeing people saved and growing in the Lord? What could be more thrilling than to raise your kids and see them live for God and get married to people who will raise their kids and they’ll live for God and work in the bus ministry or whatever you do. Is there anything that’s more of a thrill than that, people? So why aren’t we making that a priority in our lives?
Ezekiel 7:8 says, “An end has come, an end has come. It watches for thee; behold, an end is come.” It’s talking about the end of life. The end of opportunity, and it’s come. Now, I’m sorry, Wally and you people that are older than me, but I try and face things reality. I’m 65, you know, I’m not saying I can’t do anything at 75, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it all. You know, you get frail after a while. You can’t get around; you don’t think as straight—it comes to an end. It comes to an end. Now, John thinks it’ll never come to an end, but it does. It comes to an end. It’s talking about the end of life, the end of opportunities. Again, turn back to our text, or not to our text, I’m sorry to Ezekiel 9:10. I’m sorry Ecclesiastes 9:10, excuse me. Ecclesiastes 9:10. Every opportunity you had last year is gone. It’s gone. The first, what is it, ten days of this year are gone. That’s why God says in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do do it with thy might. For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave wither thou goest.” Why don’t you face it? Many of us have good intentions, but have to admit that we haven’t grabbed onto life. We muddle through life not accomplishing a fraction of what we could. We always say we’re going to do it in the future, and there’s souls in Hell because we haven’t grabbed onto it. We’re not serious about our life and our ministries. Children go untrained, and again, I’ve watched people as they know they’re going to die and nothing changes. Nothing changes. Again I say if God gave me six months or a year I would use every ounce of energy I had to make sure that I was doing everything that He wants me to do. Nothing else would matter. We need to plan our life to succeed for God. Every morning I plan my day when I have my devotions, and I feel that’s important. If we don’t plan a project, we can waste hours or even days on it without real success. I believe in making a real time log. Now you can understand the Mullers are in, here going back to Mongolia, and the Lemons are on deputation to go to Korea, and any missionary, and myself; I’ve made myself time logs. Our staff has done it, but understand a missionary supported going out there, I would make myself a time log on a regular basis because I’d want to make sure I was using my time. People support me; they sent me there. I’d want to make sure I was using my time for the things they sent me there for. But we all should do that before God. Some people just don’t things right. They fight authority. You just bull your way through and make a mess. I’m saying plan your life and plan it right. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do do it with thy might. For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, where we’re all going. The opportunity that you students have to prepare for the ministry will soon be gone, and some of you, all you care about is passing. You’re not grabbing onto knowledge and ability. Your life will be less than it ought to be because you weren’t what you should be at a 19- 20-year-old person. That’s wrong. All you cared about was goofing off. You’re a quiet rebel. Let me go on for all of us. The opportunity to give that tract or to witness, but it’s gone. He teaches us also, that an end of service comes. I say again, I don’t know how much time I have left, but it’s a small—all my life I remember hitting the middle, you know, and then it keeps marching on. I could have Alzheimer’s soon. I have everything going for me. About 18000 head injuries, and I could come to the place where I don’t even know who I am. It’s over. It doesn’t matter if I’m breathing. You could be disabled, not able to work on that bus route, only to think how you would’ve liked to. My tombstone might say, “Born 1943, Died 2009.” We must have an eternal perspective that life will soon be over. Only one life ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last. Turn to Luke, and I’ll close with this account. Luke 12. Our days are short. An end of service will come; an end of life will come. In Luke 12:15, “Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of coveteousness. For a man’s life consisteth not of the things which he possesseth.” I…, I…, I, boy some. You don’t even like to be around them. Me…, me…, me. Can’t you see this man, let’s read. “And he spake a parable unto them saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. And he thought within himself saying, What shall I do because I have no room where to do bestow my fruits. And he said, This will I do. I will pull down my barns and build greater and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say unto my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool. This night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall these be which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” You say, “I’m not rich.” Most people aren’t that are selfish. But work, work, work; gather, gather, gather. You’re going to meet God. That’s what this whole parable is about. This guy was engrossed in his successful farm, and he left God out. He said, “I can be at ease now. I can take it easy. I can retire and enjoy life.” But one late night, the architects and the builders were gone for the day and he dwells on his plans for a little while, and he hears the floor creaking as though somebody’s walking toward him, but he looks and there’s nobody there. The family is retired; the builders are gone. He’s engrossed in his plans. “O, what a success everyone is going to know I am! Boy, the biggest barns, the nicest looking, the finest crops, and animals. Boy, my family lives better than anybody else.” But suddenly there’s a hand on his shoulder, and he looks around and he stares in the face of death. And he says, “Tonight thy soul shall be required of thee.” And the man starts pleading, “Please, give me a few days. Hours—I want to talk to my wife, I want to say goodbye to my family, there are things I need to tie up. Minutes.” But his life is gone, and the cold hands of his death come around his throat and squeeze breath out of him. He’s dead. “Now, whose are these things?” God says. Now what about his plans? All opportunity is gone. Now this man was not saved. Everything was gone. But let’s look at another scene. Here’s a man that has given his life to God while everybody else was giving their life to the job or sports, or whatever else. He did his very best for God. He read his Bible and prayed sincerely every day. He lived for God. He witnessed every time he possibly could, he raised his family for God. He was a generous giver to his local church, and he’s driving down and all of the sudden at a curve, a car goes into his lane and he’s killed instantly. And he’s instantly in eternity, and he stands before God. Which one do you want to be? My goal is to live Psalm 90:12. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” I want an eternal perspective as the songwriter wrote. “By and by when I look upon His face, I’ll wish that I’d given Him more.” We’ll all say that, won’t we? But we ought to think about it. “More, so much more. More of my love than I ever gave before.” When we come to the end of life’s journey, we’ll wish we had given Him more, I don’t care what we’ve done. God said, “…teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” And have an eternal perspective in our lives. That’s what you want to ask yourself. Do you have an eternal perspective in your life? If so, you love preaching like this because you want to apply it. You want to stir yourself up.