Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Last Second Shot!

Image Friday night the Castleberry girl’s basketball team won a game with the most exciting finish you can imagine. They were playing Mineral Wells, and were shorthanded. One of their players had blown an ACL ligament the previous week, and was out for the season. Their best player had a virus, and though she was playing, was struggling physically. None of their shots were falling, and they were down 12 points to start the fourth quarter.

The deficit continued until about halfway through the quarter, and then all of a sudden the shots started falling. The girls knew they had to win to keep their hopes of going to the playoffs alive. They dug down deep, and narrowed the deficit to one point. With 2.6 seconds left, Castleberry had the ball out of bounds. Josh (my son is the coach) drew up a play, and their best player banked home the shot for the win. The stands erupted, the girls (and Josh) went crazy, and everyone cheered.

However, had they played better earlier, the game would not have hinged on that last second shot. When the girls really started hustling and working hard on defense, in the fourth quarter, they dominated, outscoring Mineral Wells 23-10. This was a team that they had beaten easily just a few weeks ago. It was because of their negligent play in the first three quarters that such desperate heroics were needed in the last seconds. If his teams keep this up, Josh will probably turn grey-headed prematurely.

There is a parallel that can be drawn with the attitude many have concerning their standing with God. They are negligent in their life, thinking they will have time and opportunity for the “last second” victory. This is a very risky behavior that dooms souls with regularity.

The first problem is the ephemeral nature of life. We have no hope for tomorrow. “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The rich man who fared sumptuously should serve as an example in this regard, “Fool! this night your soul will be required of you” (Luke 12:20). The foolish virgins in the parable likewise give substance to the point (cf. Matthew 25:1-13). Both death and impending judgment make negligence a perilous course.

Second, such negligence leads to a hardening of conscience. “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). Continued negligence changes a person. What once brought guilt, eventually becomes second nature. The impetus to one day change fades, and a life of sin can eventually lead to a total loss of regard for God (cf. Romans 1:28).

Finally, forgiveness is based upon genuine repentance. Consider Paul’s description of the repentance of the Corinthians: “For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:11). God will always forgive the truly penitent. But, one who is willing to live for himself and risk his eternal soul is hardly an example of an individual with a pure and penitent heart.

The lesson. Live for God today! After all, you may not have the opportunity to do so tomorrow. “…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).