Place: SGBC, New Jersey
Our subject: When the Time Draws Nigh
Genesis 47: 28: And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. 29: And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 30: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. 31: And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head. God has appointed the time each of us must die. Every second we are drawing nearer to the time we must die. It does not matter whether our life is short or long—we are drawing nearer to the time that we must die—“the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die:” (Gen 47: 28-29)
The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. It begins “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It ends with “a coffin in Egypt.” When we all sinned in Adam, we all died spiritually and therefore we all must die physically:
Genesis 3:19: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Job 14:5: [man’s] days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Hebrews 9:27…it is appointed [by God] unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
For believers, death is not something to be feared—God says “death is yours.” But to enter into that new beginning our end must be “a coffin in Egypt.”
Knowing the time is drawing near that you must die are you prepared to die? Can you say that it will be a new beginning when they lay your coffin down in this Egypt? How do we prepare to die?
Proposition: We are only prepared to die when we have Christ and his covenant promise to freely deliver us into God’s land of promise.
Divisions: 1) Jacob looked to Joseph alone. A sinner must look only to Christ—Jacob looked only to Joseph—Genesis 47: 29…and he called his son Joseph,
2) Jacob’s desire was for Joseph to take his body out of Egypt into the land God promised, Canaan. A sinner has one need, for Christ to deliver us into God’s promised land in glory—Genesis 47: 29…If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 30: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. 3) Jacob would not, could not rest until he had Joseph’s covenant promise to take his body into the land of promise. A sinner can only rest when we have Christ’s everlasting covenant promise—Genesis 47: 31: And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head. LOOK ONLY TO CHRIST A sinner must look only to Christ like as Jacob looked only to Joseph—Genesis 47: 29…and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; When God effectually quickens and call his child, he commands his child to, “Call on Christ.”
Joel 2:32: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:
Zechariah 13: 9:…they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Joseph was the only one who had the power to help Jacob—he was given all power by Pharaoh—Christ is the only one who has power to help a sinner.
Sinner, without Christ, you are dead and dying and shall perish forever! We cannot establish the law in righteousness; we cannot justify ourselves before the law; we cannot purge our sins; we cannot create ourselves new in holiness; we cannot give ourselves eternal life; we cannot preserve ourselves; we cannot raise ourselves from physical death
Psalm 89:48: What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Selah means think on that! Really, think long on this: what man among us here, shall not see death? Knowing we shall, what man among us here, shall deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? How shall you be delivered from death? Only Christ can do so.
Suppose you are drowning in the ocean. There are two men you can call on. One is a gold medal swimmer. The other does not even know how to swim. Trusting sinful flesh to save you is like calling on a man to save you from drowning who does not know how to swim. Calling on Christ is calling on the only one who can deliver!
Therefore, knowing we cannot deliver ourselves, knowing it is God’s glory to save whom he will, when we come to Christ we come humbly, asking grace—“If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me;” (Gen 47: 29)
I read where a man said, “Christ found grace in me.” That is backwards. The message preached by most today is that the sinner needs to show grace to their poor, little, frustrated jesus. Not so! With the true Lord and Savior—we come bowed down asking him “If I have found grace in thy sight.” True sinner comes to Christ knowing in ourselves, God owes us nothing but death. So we come begging God, “I pray thee.” Our desire is for God to deal with us in mercy, as well as in truth—“Deal with me kindly and truly.”
ONLY ONE NEED A sinner only has one need. Our one need is for Christ to deliver us into God’s land of promise, heavenly glory. Jacob had one desire. He said—Genesis 47: 29…bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 30: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. In the community where I grew up, there is a cemetery. Each family in the community has a section in the cemetery. Even though someone may move off, when they die, they bring their body and bury it in the family cemetery beside their father, mother, brothers and sisters.
Though there was much of that earthly sentimentality in Jacob’s request, in picture and type, it was much more than that. Canaan was a picture of heavenly glory with Christ in the new heavens and new earth. Canaan was designated by God for his particular people, Israel—heaven is designated by God for his elect, his true, spiritual Israel. God chooses whom he will save! Canaan was freely given to his people—glory with Christ is not earned by sinners, it is the free gift of God to his people. It was by God’s covenant promise that Canaan was given to his people—glory with Christ is not by us keeping a promise to God, it is by God keeping his everlasting covenant promise to us. God drove out the enemies in Canaan and delivered his people there—not using Moses but using Joshua—it typified the fact that it is not by law that we obtain God’s heavenly glory, but rather, it is only Christ who drives out all our enemies and delivers all his people into heavenly glory by fulfilling the law on our behalf.
Salvation into heavenly Canaan is to be delivered entirely by Christ alone—Christ is our one need—“And [Joshua] said, I will do as thou hast said.” (Gen 47: 30) Christ shall so entirely deliver his people that Christ will not even allow our bodies to remain in the grave. Christ will not destroy this earth until he has raised our bodies incorruptible.
1 Corinthians 15: 20: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21: For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive 23: But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24: Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25: For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…. 35: But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36: Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body….42: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45: And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47: The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48: As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49: And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, [not all die. Some will be alive when Christ returns.] but we shall all be changed, 52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and [after them those who are yet alive] we shall be changed. 53: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [the last enemy, like the first and all other enemies, shall be destroyed by Christ] 55: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
That is entire deliverance, total salvation. He creates his people new in righteousness and holiness. Christ creates us new in spirit and in body. He raises us in spirit and in body. Salvation is entirely by the triune God in the Lord Jesus Christ.
All this heaven and this earth and all the works in it shall burn up. But not before Christ has created all his people new in righteousness in body and spirit. He shall not destroy this earth until he has delivered the bodies of all his people out of it. So our one need is Christ and free deliverance.
EVERLASTING COVENANT PROMISE A sinner can only rest and worship God when we have Christ everlasting covenant of grace. Jacob could not, would not rest until Joseph promised him—Genesis 47: 31: And he said, Swear unto me. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head. This bowing himself upon the bed’s head was a symbol of worship. Jacob could only find rest and bow before God when he knew his body would be delivered back to Canaan. Sinner, do you have this everlasting covenant promise from God so that there is nothing for you to do but rest in him until you die? I can sleep peacefully at night because God has made this covenant in my heart. When the time draws nigh that I must die, I will say then as I say now, “God hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” (2 Sam 23: 5) There are no conditions in that covenant left in the hands of the sinner.
Romans 4: 16: Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.
My prayer for everyone under the sound of my voice is that God will give you no rest until he has made you: call only upon Christ for grace, made you behold Christ and his free salvation is your one need and made with you his everlasting covenant in your heart so that you rest all your hope in Christ! Only then will you be prepared to die!