Imagine 6 billion people blacking out simultaneously for 137 seconds and catching a glimpse of their lives 6 months into the future. That's an awesome concept for a television series. ABC thought so too, as evidenced by their show FlashForward.
I'm not sure I'd really appreciate a glimpse into my future. How about you? Given all the incredible changes that even a day can bring, a six-month life direction snapshot might push me into the land of obsessive/compulsive control freaks.
Then again, a "flash forward" may also be a reminder of the predictable and mundane aspects of life. How the same old, same old might just be the same old stuff on a different day. In my case, I'd probably catch a riveting scene of a hopeful and heavier me reading an article on NFL.com about how the luckless Oakland Raiders might win three or four games next year.
What do you think you'd witness? And even more importantly, what would you want to see? You're finally dating that hottie or hunk that has given you butterflies since grade school? Or maybe you're getting a report card that shows an effort and success you never expected or thought possible?
Not to alarm you - or maybe alarm you just a little - but there were real "flash forward" scenes revealed nearly 2,000 years ago. They were not fantasy drama scenarios dreamed up by a human mind. These, rather, were veritable pictures of the final destinations and destinies of all of humankind painted by the very hand of God.
Flash Forward #1 - God's Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)
And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the "flash forward" for all people who reject God's free offer of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. Their ultimate end is one of eternal punishment. You can reject this "flash forward" simply because you don't like it, but that will not change the reality of that heartbreaking day.
Flash Forward #2 - The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
On the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
This is the destination for all people who accept God's free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. After we trust in Jesus for salvation, we are given an opportunity each day to grow closer in our relationship with Him through prayer and Bible study, and most importantly, through sharing the good news of salvation with those God puts in our path. If we ignore those opportunities, we'll still get into heaven, but 'like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames'… In other words, the smell of smoke may be on our eternal clothes! ???
Scary? Yes… Real? Most certainly. But the good news is that you can start living in light of these "flash forwards" today. If you have not trusted in Jesus Christ as your only hope of salvation, do so right now! You do NOT want to be separated from God's presence for all eternity. If you have trusted Christ, but are living a "On Sunday, I love Jesus, but Monday through Saturday, I party like a rock star" kind of life, you should know that your eternal destiny will be characterized by remembering missed opportunities and regretting your lost rewards.
Here's a great six-month "flash forward" for you. Picture yourself starting the day with praise to God, asking for the power of the Spirit, and finally taking the step to share the gospel with your friends.
Or maybe you have an even better one?
Bottom line: God's "flash forwards" are set…what are you going to do about them?
Flashpoint: Ignite into Action
Ask your friends what they think would be their six-month "flash forward" and why. Use that as an opportunity to bring up the Bible's "flash forward" accounts for humankind and look for an opportunity to share the gospel.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? (Romans 2:3).
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair… (2 Corinthians 4:6-8).