Last year, an article in The Futurist magazine talked about a new movement called Transhumanism. Transhumanism doesn’t have anything to do with God…in fact, many of its adherents are atheists, but one says, “This is our religion.” Transhumanism is essentially the belief that technology will eventually cure all of the bodies’ ills. Artificial limbs will someday allow the human body to do things it’s not capable of presently. Nanotechnology will allow microscopic robots to be injected into the bloodstream, fighting off diseases and healing damaged tissue. Brains will be engineered medically to perform faster and more effectively. Most transhumanists want to be cryogenically frozen when they get old or terminally ill, assuming that some future doctor will be able to thaw them and change their medical diagnosis. One believer, an inventor named Ray Kurzwell, predicts that by the year 2030, every common disease in the world will have been cured. Another adherent, Ralph Merkle, says that "once we get the technology in place, dying goes away. It just doesn't happen."
Now you and I can scoff if we want, but let’s just say they’re right. What if, 20 years from now, humanity has abolished death, at least by natural causes. Does that really solve anything? Is it really the point of life to live as long and as pain-free as possible? Only if Jesus was wrong. Jesus said there is another world coming after this one. He said the truly wise person doesn’t store up treasure down here, but uses His time, talent and resources storing up treasure for the world to come. Eventually, either through death or the coming of Judgment Day, life on this Earth is going to end for every one of us. The question then will be, “Did I use my time wisely. Did I live life the way it was meant to be lived?” As the Irish missionary Amy Carmichael once said, “We have all of eternity to celebrate our victories, but only a few hours before sunset to win them.”So what is life all about? Every once in a while, we need to be reminded of this. It’s not about who lives longest, who looks the prettiest, or who makes the most money. The apostle Paul may have lived the most outstanding life of any person outside of Jesus Christ, in terms of the number of lives he personally changed for the better and in his lasting impact on this world. In these words, speaking to his beloved friends from behind bars, he reminds them—and us—what life is really all about. As we talk about the four things he emphasizes in these verses, my challenge to you is that each of us would write down a few things we will change because of this encounter. New Year’s is usually the time when people make resolutions, but next Sunday is the beginning of Advent, the start of the Christian year. We remember that Jesus came to us to save us, and that He’s coming again someday. I can’t think of a better time to start a few new habits. So I will consider this message a success if everyone in our church this Sunday walks away with at least one thing—and preferably three or four, that they are going to do differently in the days ahead.