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Expository Sermons, Preaching Outlines,  Bible Studies, Illustrations by Various Authors

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The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor
First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort

 The conclusion of the whole matter is the true bottom line.  In the field of accounting the bottom line is reached when all expenses have been subtracted from all income.  Understanding the means required in achieving a desired end and accepting the relationship of cause and effect is essential to arriving at the true bottom line, which is the conclusion of the whole matter.  We must consider the bottom line in life, in death and in eternity.

Initially you can ask, "How will I be regarded in life?"  To have a good reputation is wonderful, but it must be rooted in reality.  For example, the Pharisees had a reputation of being godly but according to Jesus, they were not.  Our Lord referred to them as “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones.”  They were concerned about cleaning the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they were filthy.  They had “a form of godliness but [denied] its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5a). 

In his book titled, Character Is The Issue (Broadman & Holman), Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee explains the importance of character in politics and life.  Dr. Adrian Rogers, Pastor Emeritus of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, said, “When you turn the lights off the character shows up.”  Character is what you are in the dark.  Character is what you are when no one is looking.  Reputation is what people think about you, but character is what God knows about you.  “The LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).  We can base our reputation on deception or on truth.  There are some that go about “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).  It has been said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time.  You can fool all of the people some of the time.  But you can’t fool God any time.”  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7b).

Also, we should ask, “How will I be remembered in death?”  Will you be remembered as a blessing to society or as a blight on society?  Max Jukes and Jonathan Edwards present a study in contrast.  Max Jukes became an atheistic   alcoholic adulterer and Jonathan Edwards became a revival preacher, theological professor and college president.  It is interesting to trace the descendants of these two men to see how much Jukes and his descendants cost society and how much Edwards and his descendants contributed to society.  

We remember Judas Iscariot as a betrayer, Benedict Arnold as a traitor and Cain as a murderer.  In contrast to Cain, his brother Abel is remembered as a man of faith according to Hebrews 11:4 which says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”  The memory of Abel is still a blessing.  According to Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.” 

Finally we must ask, “How will I be received in eternity?”  Will you receive retribution in hell or reward in heaven?  Jesus will say to some religious professors, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

The apostle Peter exhorts believers, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Will you be approved or ashamed “before Him at His coming.” (1 John 2:28)? 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us “Study [be diligent] to show yourself approved before God a workman that needs not to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of truth.”

If you are a believer, you will either hear Jesus say, "Well, done good and faithful servant," (Matthew 25:21a) or "Saved, yet so as through fire" (1Corinthians 3:15b).

Solomon presents the true bottom line in the following verses: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

 By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor

First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort

P.O. Box 7111

8353 Spanish Fort Boulevard

Spanish Fort, Alabama 36577

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice

(North Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge Publishing, 2004)

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey/

fkirksey@bellsouth.net

(251) 626-3070 or 626-6210

© April 8, 2005

All Rights Reserved

 

 

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