ALMOST Andy Hollifield 1-29-17
As I began to think about what to write for today’s post, one word stuck in my mind; “almost”. It is a simple word with very few meanings but yet very profound and crucial where it appears. It completely changes the narrative of the sentence or conversation anytime it is used. Dictionary.com list it as an adverb. The definitions are “very nearly” and “all but”. That’s it. That is all the definitions listed. An adverb is defined as a modifier of verbs, clauses, and in the English language and others, can also be used to modify adjectives, adverbs, or adverbial phrases. I’m going to stop now before I get in way over my head. I think “now” and “way” were both adverbs in that last sentence. Don’t get too impressed with my mastery of the English language, I had to look up all this stuff. I used to think that a lot of the stuff we were required to learn in school was a waste of time. Adverbs and knowing other parts of speech weren’t really in demand for a truck driver. But in my study of the scripture, I have found it is a good practice to look up even words that you know and also to look up Greek and Hebrew definitions. That being said, let’s look into the scriptures a little and I believe you will be blessed.
The word “almost” appears only 11 times in the bible. “Nearly” and “well nigh” are synonyms of almost. Nearly doesn’t appear at all in the bible and “well nigh” appears only once in Psalms 73:2 “But as for me, my feet were ALMOST gone; my steps had WELL NIGH slipped.” Maybe it is just me but I just love the way the psalmist put his situation into words. You can almost feel his desperation just reading it. What he said was my feet were (just about) gone; and my feet had (all but) slipped. In other words he was saying “you wouldn’t believe how close I came. I am not trying to add to or take away from the word of God, I am just trying to slow down and really get what it is saying.
Some of the other scriptures are Exodus 17:4 Moses was talking to the Lord about how close he was to being stoned. He told God “they be ALMOST ready to stone me.” Psalms 94:17 “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had ALMOST dwelt in silence.” Are you starting to see it? If it hadn’t been for the Lord, I would have been finished! That would have been the last you heard of me. I believe that is what the psalmist was trying to get across. Psalms 119:87 “They had ALMOST consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.” Sticking with you was the only way I made it. You see where I am going with this? I bet you have already started thinking back in your own life where these scriptures apply. I am so thankful for all the times when I was almost in tragedy or heartache and thought I would go under but I didn’t.
Proverbs 5:14 “I was ALMOST in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” In this scripture it is talking about how close Solomon came to being totally overtaken by evil by his near failure to listen to teaching and instruction in the ways of the Lord. The earlier verses speak about the importance of listening and paying attention to the wisdom and experience of a father to his son or as it may be a mentor to his student. Most of this chapter deals with the issue of being drawn away from the things of God by fleshly lust. I can still remember a few times when knowing what was right I tried to do wrong to satisfy the flesh. Knowing full well the price that I would have to pay and I think how close I came to ALMOST wrecking my life at different times. As good as it is to think about those times, when God saved us from destruction and ruin, we still need to address the other side of the coin. Those that have ALMOST got in but never have.
Of course we still haven’t covered the most obvious scripture that comes to mind when the word ALMOST is mentioned. The famous words of King Agrippa to the apostle Paul in Acts 26:28 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “ALMOST thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” ALMOST but not quite. NEARLY but just short. I haven’t found anywhere in scripture where Agrippa ever accepted Christ as his personal Savior. I’ve never found where he ever repented of his sins. Can you imagine that? You have the greatest preacher, other than Christ himself, telling you about his conversion and how the Lord had preserved him and brought him right to your doorstep and all you can say is ALMOST.
Judas is another prime example of coming CLOSE but not quite close enough. He was chosen by Jesus to be one of his twelve disciples and was even made treasurer of the group. He even went out and was with them casting out devils and healing all manner of disease and infirmities. He saw all the miracles and the multitudes. He even ate with Jesus and travelled with him and slept where he slept. He endured the mocking and the storms at sea and being ostracized in the community. All of that and still in the garden that night, he kissed the door of heaven and died later and went to hell. There is no account I have found where he ever repented to Jesus of his sins and trusted him as Lord and Savior. Sure he had guilt and tried to return the bounty he had accepted for betraying Jesus, but he never repented to Jesus and asked for forgiveness.
Feeling guilty is not the same thing as repentance. Repent means to turn away from. I have felt guilty about eating too much at a meal but that didn’t change the fact that I had. When you repent, you not only are turning away from your sin but you are seeking Christ forgiveness. If you do something that makes your spouse angry, you don’t just try to make it up to them do you? If you are smart and the relationship means anything to you, you try to never do again whatever you done and you seek their forgiveness. It doesn’t do any good to try to make it up if you never confess the fact that you were wrong and are in need of their forgiveness.
We have looked at Agrippa and Judas but what about you? You may say “I go to church all the time.” Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like. To be like Christ you must have as your primary focus to please God. The only way to do that is to be perfect and sinless. Yes you are right, that leaves all of us out. But through the shed blood of Jesus, the way was made for us to accept him as our personal Savior and to receive forgiveness of ALL our sin if we confess it and ask for forgiveness with faith believing. ALMOST will not be enough to gain entry into heaven. If you ALMOST accept him you are completely lost and headed for hell. If you ALMOST win a game, you still lose it. If you ALMOST died, you didn’t die. To say in judgement “I ALMOST accepted you as my Savior” will not be enough. Please don’t ALMOST get born again. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!