"Today we are talking about the emptiness of life. Life is narrow as a palm, it is like misty rain, comparable to a flower and similar to grass. The grass will wither, the flower will fall, but only the one who fears the Lord will live forever."
A few days ago, Pastor Zhang Xuejun shared an online sermon with his congregation entitled, "How Christians Face Disasters," to demonstrate the emptiness and ephemeral nature of life. He stated the following tenets: Human life is in the hands of God; we must listen to God's words to nourish ourselves spiritually; for the sake of our Lord we should shepherd believers during the current pandemic.
Pastor Zhang quoted several Scripture verses and described four of life’s basic characteristics:
1) Life is short. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (Psalms 90:4) All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. (Psalms 90:9) (Psalm 90: 4, 9) Our life is like a moan so it is very short. A thousand years is like a watch during the night which is just three hours long.
2)Life passes quickly. Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14) Pastor Zhang shared his own personal experience of how he went to Changbai Mountain to see the mist framed in the sky. He found the mist was there only three seconds and had disappeared when he briefly looked away.
3) Life is virtual reality. As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalm 17:15) Here he explained: When do I wake up? After leaving this world, when I see God’s likeness, then I am fully awake. So we are in a dream when we are alive. And things in the dream are not real, so life is not true reality.
4) Life is empty. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. (Psalms 39:5)“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” (Psalms 39:6) Pastor Zhang gave an example of how the term "phantoms" is used. The shadow on the cloth that one sees in a puppet show is projected from the puppets in the background, but it is a phantom, not real. So life is also empty, and human life is nothing compared to God's eternity.
Pastor Zhang used the example of David to illustrate the importance of truly believing in God. He quoted 2 Peter 3:13, "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” What is the meaning of “righteousness” in this passage? According to the motivation, method and degree of King David's crime, it was more hateful than that of Saul. Saul was only greedy for cattle and sheep and took pity on the king of Amalek. Saul didn’t take someone else’s wife and have the husband killed. Why did Saul's life end completely different from that of David? Because David was a true believer. The grace that David received from God proves the doctrine of justification by faith. David was a true believer, Saul was false, and he was not born again. David truly repented, and God forgave him. In this way, he reminded us that we Christians must also have faith in God's love and forgiveness and then repent and confess our sins.
He also said that during the pandemic, Christians needed to listen to God's words as bread from heaven.
"You should listen to God's words because it is like seeds—there is life in them. We are born again and need to be fed by God's Word," he said that although human life is short, it is under God's control, so people need to fear him.
At the end of the sermon, he said, "You must be a God-fearing person from this age to all of eternity. The world will return to dust, but justice will be given to our children and grandchildren. Today if we fear God, we are blessed by him, and our children and grandchildren are will be blessed. "
- Translated by Abigail Wu