A. C. Grider
Recently I started a sermon with this paragraph: "As you know, I am given to some levity in the pulpit. It is a matter of judgment if this is advisable or not. I think some of it is all right or I would not engage in it. One thing is certain, you remember that part of my sermon! At the same time, you may not recall the seriousness of my message. If I preach on the death of Christ, the audience may go to sleep. If I kindly act the fool, all will stay awake and all will remember the things said. If I expound on a material thing, everyone will become especially interested. If I deal with a spiritual matter, many times it is sloughed off as something relatively unimportant."
Perhaps I was a bit hasty in judgment on saying those things. Perhaps I exaggerated the matter a little. Maybe, with some people, it is the other way around. Some may despise the levity and retain the serious portion of my sermon. But there is, indeed, a lot of "misplaced emphasis" or "misplaced values" as I have headed this piece.
What is your reaction to the subject of eternity? Do you really seriously consider the implications in the scriptures relative to this important subject. The Bible says some shall "go away into everlasting punishment" (Matt. 25:46). Does that word "everlasting" strike you as a very serious thing? Perhaps one of the saddest things recorded in the New Testament is Abraham's statement to the rich man to the effect that a gulf was fixed and that there could never be any crossing over to the other side. Jesus declared that the hour was coming in which "all that are in the graves shall come forth." Some to resurrection of life and some to resurrection of damnation. In any case the thing under consideration dealt with eternity. Let us put proper emphasis on eternity and strive to be ready when it begins for us.
Take the subject of sin. Do we consider it seriously enough? Remember, the Bible says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20)! Paul tells us that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 2:23). Sin will separate us from God so that he will not hear us (Isa. 59:1-2). We had better not treat the subject of sin too lightly. It is a deadly serious subject. We had better give more time to this matter than we do to material things which are for time only.
What about the terrible cost of redemption? Because he loved us, God was willing to "give his only begotten son" for us (John 3:16). Christ was willing to "taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Christ shed his blood that we might have "remission" of our sins (Heb. 9:22). How seriously do we consider this love of God and this sacrifice of Christ? Do we give these matters the kind of attention they deserve? Do we place the right value on this demonstration of love?
I pray that we may all re-evaluate our blessings. I hope we continue to enjoy many material blessings as well as spiritual ones. But may we not get our values mixed. Let us not misplace values. It is better to consider now than to regret later.
Truth Magazine XIX: 39, p. 618