Jonah 1:3 - Mark 10:22
Saying “Good-by” to God
When you look at my text, you see two men saying “good-by” to God. The one in the Old Testament are named Jonah. God told him to go and preach in Ninevah, but he turned his back on God and went the other way, to Tarshish. The other man was the rich younger ruler in the New Testament. He ran up to Jesus one day, knelt down before Him, and asked Him the way to eternal life. Jesus told him to turn his back on his love for the world, trust Him, and follow Him. The young man did not want to do this, for it would cost him too much, so turned away sadly. Both of these men were saying “good-by” to God.
Now God never says “good-by” to us. He always loves us, longs for us, and wants to save us. We may say “good-by” to God in many ways.
I. How Do We Say “Good-By” to God?
1. By refusing to think about where we’re going.
All around us are people who are plunging headlong into eternity without a thought of God. They are thinking only of today and what they can get out of it. They refuse to think about tomorrow and what it could bring. If they did think, they would see their lost condition and their need of a savior. But they close their minds to the future. An infidel doesn’t believe that there is a God, but there are many who know that there is a God to be faced some day, yet they disregard this truth and ignore this God. That is the worst kind of infidelity.
When a man decides to build a house, what does he do? He sits down and make plans for every room and figures the cost of every part of the house. But that man never thinks of his eternal home and makes no preparation for it. He just puts God out of his mind and goes on without Him, a lost soul forever.
2. By contempt for religion and the church.
In England the prime minister once went to a man’s office to offer him a high position. But the man kept the prime minister waiting outside of his office so long that he finally gave up and left, and gave the job to someone else. The other man regretted the rest of his life that he had kept the prime minister waiting too long. You may say to Jesus, “ Wait outside, I have no time for You.” But one day you will see Him on His throne, and He will judge you and send you away from Him forever.
3. By refusing Him an entrance into you heart
If a friend knocks at your door you let him in. Well, Jesus is your best friend. He died on Calvary for you; He offers to help you live, to forgive your sin, to take you home to heaven when you die. When you refuse to open the door for Him you are saying “good-by” to God, and farewell to all hope.
II. Why Do We Say “Good-By” to God?
1. Because of sin in their hearts.
Sin damns the soul, yet we love it and hold on to it. When you hug sin to your heart, you are saying “good-by” to God., you are turning your back to salvation.
A man came to Dr. Truett’s home at midnight. “What on earth brings you out at this hour?” asked the preacher. The man replied, “You know I am a drinking man. At home tonight my wife wept over me. She said, ‘You are breaking my heart, you are crushing my soul. I can’t put up with it much more.’ My mother said, ‘Son, if you do not quit drinking you will drive your old mother to the grave.’ My son said, ‘Daddy, you are killing us all, please quit.’ ” Who can help a man like that? Only the Lord Jesus Christ. When you put Him out of your life and ignore Him, you are saying “good-by” to God, and there will be no hope for you.
2. Because they think they can save themselves.
They are depending on themselves and their own good grace through repentance and faith.
God told Noah that a flood was coming. Noah warned the people but they just laughed at him. When the flood come they were lost. Noah trusted God and they trusted themselves. Your goodness, even if you are the best person on earth, will never save you. If you think it will, you are saying “good-by” to God.
3. Because God demands full surrender.
It isn’t easy to be a Christian. God demands a full forsaking of the world and a full surrender to Him. “In the day that thou seekest me with thy full heart, I will be found of thee.” Halfway surrender doesn’t count. You can’t be saved with one hand in God’s hand and the other in the devil’s hand.
You go to buy a house from a man. He says, “I’ll sell you the house, but I must keep one room for myself.” “Why,” you ask. And he says “To keep some snakes and tigers in it.” You say, “No Sale.” A man says to God, “I’ll give up some sin, but I must keep some.” However, God demands the whole heart. If you say, “the conditions are too hard,” you are saying “good-by” to God. But a life in hell is far harder than life you could ever have here.
III. Why Is It Folly To Say “Good-by” To God?
1. Because of His nature.
He is omnipotent, He has all power. He is omniscient, He know all things. He is omnipresent, He is everywhere. You can’t turn you back on God and prosper.
2. Because we must face Him.
We face Him in life. We are dependent on Him for every breath, we must Him at every corner. It is foolish to say, “I’ll have nothing to do with God.” You must meet Him every day.
We face Him in death. You can’t keep death from coming. It comes to the rich and the poor, the great and the small. You may say, “Wait a while,” when death comes knocking at your door, but he will come in in spite of all your entreaties.
Sam Jones, who later became a prominent evangelist, was pastor of a country church when he was a young man. One day he visited a man who ridiculed religion and the church. The man was on the brink of death and the preacher sat up with him all night. At 1:00 in the morning the man cried out in his delirium, “The devils are all over the room, can’t you see them?” They quieted him as well as they could, but at 3:00 he cried out, “They are here, they are everywhere in the room, they have come to take my soul to hell.” And soon he was gone. I tell you, we ought not to die like that when the Savior is so ready and eager to save them.
Then we must face Him in judgment. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” No man can deny that. If we say “good-by” to God on this earth, we’ll have no one to stand for us at the judgment.
IV. Where Do We Go Who Say “Good-by” To God?
1. They go to a wasted life.
We have only one life to live. If you are not living it for God, you are wasting it, because you won’t have another change. I have heard so many people say, “I am sorry that I didn’t come to Christ sooner,” but I have never heard anyone say, “I’m sorry I became a Christian.” If you were on a sinking ship and there was only one lifeboat available, you would be careful. If you were about to freeze to death on a cold mountainside, and had only one match, you would be careful with it.
Well, you have only one life to live, don’t waste it give it to God.
2. They come to a sad death
A railroad man who lay dying said to a friend, “You are gripping the of the greatest failure in the world.” His friend said, “No don’t say that. You have built a great railroad empire, you have made a fortune, you have employed hundred’s of men.” “Yes,” said the dying man, “but I have left Christ out, and anyone who does this is a failure.”
You can have everything, but if you leave God out, you are a miserable failure. That is where sadness comes in at many funerals. It is not merely the sadness of the loss of a loved one, but the realization that they were not ready to die.
3. They go to an eternal hell.
God clearly teaches that there is a place of everlasting punishment for those who reject His Son. Your boat “may” sink, you “may” die suddenly, you “may” die in a tragic automobile accident. These are just “maybes.” But there is no “maybe” about hell for the unbeliever. You go there is you say “good-by” to God.
In the book written by the late W. Herchel Ford has a sermon with the title, “Why Go to Hell When It’s So Easy to Go to Heaven?” I ask you the question. Christ offers you the best in two worlds. You cheat yourself if you say “good-by” to God. Come to Him and you’ll have the best in this life and the life to come.
Years ago an Indian was found starving. They found some pension checks in his pockets but they were of no use to him because he did not use them. Jesus has purchased salvation for you, but it is no good to you unless you appropriate it by faith. Come and take Him as your Savior and Lord.
Oh, sinner, Jesus has a pardon for you. It is signed and sealed with His own blood. It is good for heaven and earth, for time and eternity. Come and accept Him now. Then one day the hands that opened for you the gates of grace will open to you the gates of glory.