“SEIZE THE DAY”                                            By Pastor YAU

Text: Hebrews 3:7-14                                          June 22, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Word of a sports champion: Before entering the broadcasting field, Captain Jim Valvano led the North Carolina State University basketball team to a glorious national championship. Then cancer developed in his lower back that cut short his future with the sports. Invited to address the Duke University squad, Jim had this to say: “Life changes when you least expect it to. The future is uncertain. So, seize the day, the moment, and make most of it.” Seizing the opportunity of today, do the best you can, because no one knows what may happen tomorrow.

2)   Word of a spiritual champion: After decades of persecution and suffering because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the early Christians were plagued by false teachings, troubles in the early churches without sufficient direction and doctrinal guidance, many of them sank into a state of complacency, loss of heart or even fell back to their old life style. Seeing the danger of the situation, Paul to the Hebrew Christians to encourage them not to slumber in their faith but to seize the opportunity, the day, the moment, to strengthen their faith and walk their Christian walk. He asked them to “exhort one another daily, as long as it is called today, less any of you be hardened be the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13)

 

WHAT IS “SEIZING THE DAY?”

1)   It is about today: According to the Scripture reference for today’s message, “the day” is “today.” Seize in this case means to “make the best use.” No one is sure of tomorrow or what may happen the next day. God gives us an urgent directive: make the best use of today. Most people measure life with years, but we live our life one day at a time. We all have to do our best while we have today.

2)   It is about opportunity: Everyday of life we are given opportunity to live as God may lead and direct us. The opportunity of each day are given to us so we may use them to the fullest extend to maximize fruit-bearing and productivity. People who are keen in seizing opportunity are more likely to accomplish more, getting further and are more useful in the tasks God placed in his hands.

3)   It is about time: While there are many things in this world that are hard to be equal, the gift of time is one of the few things that are equal to all of us: we all have 24 hours a day and seven days a week. When we are advised to “seize the day” in regard to time, we are urged to use time wisely for the best result or productivity. The Apostle Paul encouraged us to “make the best use of time for the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16)Wasting time is a sign of being irresponsible to God’s trust. Seizing the day means make the best use of time in your hand each day.

4)   It is about His coming: Christians are looking forward for the day when Jesus comes back to take us home with him. We are urged to do our utmost to witness for him bear fruits for him and to live our lives that brings glory and honor so we won’t be ashamed or empty-handed when we meet Him again. His second coming is certain. We are to be well prepared to meet Him that day.

 

WHY SEIZING THE DAY: Can’t list then all, here are a few more important ones.

1)    The day to live: Could anyone predict that the children parents sent to school on May 12 in Sichuan was the last day they saw them? No one could predict that those who went to work at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, will never come home alive. As much as we don’t like to think, much less to face it, today is all we are sure to have and live and work and to accomplish tasks we are given either by God or people. If we could live our life as today is the last day, we will certainly be more careful and diligent in what we do, how we live. We need to seize today.

2)    The day to believe: In my 40 nearly years of ministry, the most difficult day was the day to conduct the funeral service for an elderly lady few years ago. She came to our Evergreen Fellowship many times. Many of us had witnessed to her, do all we can to urge her to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. But the answer was always the same: not now, I may do it later. But she didn’t have another day to make that decision. We all have missed opportunities and suffered losses. But none of the losses we may suffer may compare to the loss of eternal life. If you know it is important for you to accept eternal life. Do not push another day to accept Jesus and be saved.

3)    The day to give: We all know that giving is the most beautiful part of life. Giving is to benefit others while receiving is to benefit ourselves. Give to God, to His church, to people you love or those you never know, the opportunity and the ability to give is a blessing. Give while you can and give when there is a need brings joy both to you and those who receive your gifts. If you have the means to give and sees a need but refuse to give, you may not be able to give or there is no more need for you to give either later.

4)    The day to forgive: Forgiving is an important part of Christian faith. It is because we have a God of unlimited capacity to forgive we have the opportunity to be called children of God through our faith in His Son Jesus. The best example of forgiving is when Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted in holding grudges and hatred. When you know you have been offended, ask God to help you to forgive today.

 

LESSONS ON SEIZING THE DAY: (Hebrews 3:7-14)

1)   Hear Hid voice today: “so, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice.” (3:7)”Hear” means “listen or obey”. Many people get into trouble of life because they do not hear voice of parents and good friends. If we do not hear the voice of God that calls us to change our attitude, our course of life path, we surely will get into many troubles in our lives. We all need to listen to God today, obey His words and follow His commands to have peace of life.

2)   Learn from history today: “(3:8-11)To study history is to learn lessons from the past so we may be wiser not to stumble into the same mistakes and suffer the consequences as those before us. Paul asked that we need to learn from the ancient Israelis and their failures which prevented them from entering into the Promised Land.  History serves as warning signs on our path of life. We need to heed those signs today and everyday to avoid unnecessary setback and pain.

3)   Turn to God today: “See to it, Brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from God.” (3:12)If you had turned away from God in the past, away from His church, away from His direction and guidance, today is the day you need to return to Him. Just as the Prodigal Son, you need to make that decision to return to your heavenly Father.

4)   Care one another today: “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today.” (3:13)Paul was asking Christians to care spiritual well being of fellow Christians. I am sure that is important. We also need to care for the needs of Christians and others near and far. The fact that many of us give to the victims of Sichuan earthquake demonstrated such a spirit. But we also need to care the needs of people whoa re close to us. Paul encouraged us “to carry each other’s burdens and in this way we will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)Do not harden your hearts nor with draw your hands to help someone who has practical needs.

5)   Share Christ today: “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (3:14)Paul had held firmly his confidence of his faith so he came to share Christ with those who were lost. Sharing Christ with the lost must be in timely manner. As much as I grieve with those who last their lives in the earthquake in China, I like to ask a question: how many of those lost lives have been saved? Meeting immediate needs of the victims is very important. But witness to the millions of lost souls in China is more important. Everyday we wait, countless souls are lost.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Life is a gift of God: Life is a gift of God and being alive is a blessing. Nothing in the whole world may come close to the privilege of being alive. Therefore we need to treasure everyday and every moment we live to make a difference. When you come to the closing chapter of your life and looking back, you won’t feel regret the days and years you have lived. When God created you and me and gives us opportunity to live, He has a purpose in it. Find out that purpose and live accordingly so you will become important part of God’s whole plans of salvation.

2)    Life is a responsibility: Every life is responsible to God, to his family, community and church. No one should live his life without bearing responsibility. If you are not a responsible part of your family, church and community, you are a liability of them. Do your best today and everyday to be productive and fruitful. Your life will be meaningful to yourself and to others.

3)    Life beyond today: Life of today is important because you can’t change anything yesterday. But life of tomorrow is more important. Even though we can’t predict what may happen tomorrow we can put our trust of tomorrow into the ahnds of God. God will save your soul if you trust His son Jesus wit your sincere repentance of sins. Ask Him to enter your heart and become the Lord to direct your path. The you will become a channel of blessing to others.