FIRST-PERSON: A second to die

Baptist Press
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Posted: Nov 22, 2010 6:00 PM
FIRST-PERSON: A second to die
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--Gasping for air, the young man stepped back into the diner where we were eating. "Are you choking," I asked. He made the international symbol for choking, two open hands to the throat. As I rushed around the table, my colleague Wayne Jenkins, who was closest to him, reached around the man, applied the Heimlich maneuver and cleared the man's airway.

We are all teetering on the precipice of life and death, waiting on the wind of death to blow us over the edge. Most of us become so comfortable on the tightrope we don't see how close to the end we are.

The Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Death is certain. When and where we die is not spelled out so clearly.

An old cliché states the most important symbol on any tombstone is the dash between the dates. It represents the manner of life a person lived between birth and death.

For what will people remember you when you die? Will they remember your attitude, your wealth, your family or your accomplishments?

The real question is, when you stand before the Righteous Judge, will He know you or acknowledge you as His own? (Read Matthew 7:21-23.) Then, if He knows you, will He be pleased with how you used the time, talents and resources He entrusted to you?

The young man who was choking came to lunch with his family. He was sitting at the table with his two small children while his wife was at the counter. He ate one simple French fry then he started having problems.

The fry began to cause him to cough. He stepped out of the restaurant to clear his throat. The fry lodged, blocking his airway. That's when he knew he was in trouble and stepped inside for help.

Help is something we all need. We need help with sin. We need help with the kind of goodness God describes. We need help with holy living.

In a relationship with Jesus Christ, we find all we've ever needed. We find everything that has been missing in life. We find peace. We find purpose.

The man came over to thank Wayne for his help. That presented Wayne an opportunity to give the man a Gospel tract and to ask the man to read Wayne's story at the evangelistic website www.whativaluemost.com. (You can read Wayne's story too by going to the website and typing "Wayne Jenkins" in the appropriate box.)

As some evangelists used to say, "If you're born once, you'll die twice. If you're born twice, you'll die once." That means, everyone is born into life, and all will die. However, if you are born again by the Spirit of God, you will escape the second death of hell.

It's not enough to be born once. Jesus said, "You must be born again."

Since death is so imminent, so close, why don't you embrace life the way it is supposed to be lived -- in Christ? Scripture makes it clear that Jesus wishes none to perish, but all to come to eternal life.

If you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you, won't you respond to Him in faith right now, receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord? Less than a second separates life and death. Will you turn to Jesus and begin to live for him right now?

Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention's evangelism & church growth team. If you have questions about eternal life, call 888-JESUS-20 (888.537.8720).

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