God’s Will About the Future: A Fitting Sermon for a New Year and a New Decade

It seems most bloggers are scrambling to put up some first-person “year in review” journaling type of year-end post. I thought about it, but to do so would seem to serve me far more than it would serve you. Instead, I thought I’d post the opening remarks from a sermon from Charles Spurgeon with the link for you to go and read the rest of it. Each of us naturally looks back over the year past and our thoughts and hopes move into the year (and decade). With only hours left in 2019 and the decade, I hope you’ll set aside a fraction of that time to get alone and consider Spurgeon’s message. Though not a “new year’s sermon”, his message is a timely one.

This sermon also is special for another reason. This sermon is the one that, providentially, had already been selected and scheduled to be printed in the newspaper for Sunday, February 7, 1892–which ended up being the first Sunday after Spurgeon’s death on January 31.

What are you plans? If the Lord should let you live through to the next decade, what would you hope to accomplish between now and then? Most importantly, whether the next decade or just the next 24 hours, how are you living your life? Who is the one in charge of your plans?

Spurgeon first preached this message on a Thursday night, October 16th, 1890. Who could have imagined how the Lord would use this sermon again in less than two years’ time? (That in itself is a lesson for us: As we take care of our daily affairs, are you and I also engaged in some work for God which will outlive us?) God has preserved almost all of Spurgeon’s sermons down through the years. Here again, 128 years later, “He being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). -AR

“Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”—James 4:13-17.

Men to-day are just the same as when these words were first written. We still find people saying what they are going to do to-day, to-morrow, or in six months time, at the end of another year, and perhaps still further. I have no doubt there are persons here who have their own career mapped out before them pretty distinctly, and they feel well-nigh certain that they will realize it all. We are like the men of the past; and this Book, though it has been written so long, might have been written yesterday, so exactly does it describe human nature as it is at the end of this nineteenth century.

The text applies with very peculiar force when our friends and fellow-workers are passing away from us. Sickness and death have been busy in our midst. Perhaps in our abundant service we have been reckoning what this brother would do this week, and what that sister would be doing next week, and so on. Even for God’s work we have had our plans, dependent in great measure on the presence of some beloved helpers. They have appeared amongst us in such buoyant health, that we have scarcely thought it possible that they would be struck down in a moment.

Yet so it has often been. The uncertainty of life comes home to us when such things occur, and we begin to wonder that we have reckoned anything at all safe, or even probable, in such a shifting, changing world as this. With this in full view, I am going to talk about how we ought to behave with regard to the future, and attempt to draw some lessons for our own correction and instruction from the verses before us.

Following the line of the text, and keeping as close to it as we can, we will notice, first, that counting on the future is folly. Then we will observe what is clear enough to us all, that ignorance of the future is a matter of fact. In the third place, I shall set before you the main truth of this passage, that recognition of God in the future is wisdom, our fourth point shall be that boasting of the future is sin; and our final thought will be, that the using of the present is a duty.

I encourage you to read the rest at http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/sermons/2242.htm.

May the Lord bless your plans and mine in the new year, for our good and to his glory. Or, even better, Come Lord Jesus!


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