The Time is Now

Prepare to Launch  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:38
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Next week begin our new series, Why Church? and in preparation I want to stir some urgency in us as God has stirred it in me. The time is short, we don't know the hour Christ returns, yet we live like we do. There is no time like the present, so let's stop waiting and really start living!

no series today. This message kind of goes with Prepare to Launch, kind of goes with the series we’re starting next week, doesn’t really fit with either, so it is it’s own message.
this comes from a place of stirring for me for years. It is a message that God placed in my heart years ago and it never goes away. Don’t be surprised if you hear it out of me throughout other messages
In fact, I was reading the passage we are going to focusing on today, and I was reminded of a similar message I preached on this very stage 8 plus years ago. I’m going to hint at it, if you catch it, put a comment on Facebook or YouTube. If no one catches it, no worries. It was 8-10 years ago.
to kick off this morning, I have a weird story from my childhood. I grew up on a farm, and the yard I lived on was divided in half, my family on one side, and my dad’s parents on the other side. As you can imagine, many days were spent with my grandparents, raiding their raspberry bushes or drinking grandpa’s 7up. We loved spending time at grandma and grandpa’s.
well one day, grandma, grandpa, and my brother were all outside, and grandpa was cutting their hedge. They hadn’t seen me come through the trees, and I thought it would be great fun to duck down, sneak past them, and jump out on the other side and scare them.
Hindsight teaches me this was not a great idea. Grandpa had hedge clippers in his hand, and both of them were a little older, so the scare may not have ended as greatly or as funny as my young mind had anticipated.
Never the less, this was the plan. All was going according to plan until some unexpected guests crashed the party. What none of us knew was there was a hornets nest in the hedges, and the hornets saw this young, crouched down boy as a threat and attacked. Needless to say, I went from silently sneaking to loudly wailing as these stupid bugs attacked my leg.
The even more bizarre part was that Grandpa had already clipped the hedges in and around the hornets. How these bugs decided that I was more a threat then the old man with the hedge clippers AND access to RAID is beyond me.

Question 1: What is your weirdest or funniest story involving animals?

Now to preface why I tell you this story is because I will call that round 1, and I definitely lost.
Yesterday was round 2. At the house, there is a spot where we know there is a wasp nest. They have gotten into the siding around a window and they’ve made their home there. Not ideal, but they’re not bothering us, so why would we bother them
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there was scratching happening in the walls where the wasps had made their home. I knocked on the wall, the scratching stopped, and I never thought anything of it.
Then yesterday, as my family and I are having a family day, one of the girls yelled, BUG! Now this is not an unusual event in our house. My wife has our girls well trained that if their is a bug in the house, if the girls yell loud enough, dad will come save the day. However, this time, said bug was a wasp. So dad killed said wasp, went over the window, and discovered that a few wasps had made their way into my house, and there was wood shavings around the window where the wasp nest was.
OK now we have a problem, and now it is time for round 2.
before I tell you how round 2 went down, let me say this. Often times in life, we approach problems or people as if we have plenty of time to get to it. Whether it is a broken relationship, a job opportunity, or a nest of wasps living in the siding of your house, we take the approach that we have time, we’ll get to it when we get to it.
the problem is that often that isn’t the case. So many times, those areas of life that we think we have all the time in world are the areas of life when we run out of time. With the instance of the wasps, it ended in a pretty non-serious time, but what if one of my kids would’ve gotten bitten. What if they’re allergic, I don’t know. This story I can tell you with a light heart could’ve gone very differently. Let me tell you, if it had, I would’ve felt horrible because I could’ve done something months ago when I first noticed the nest. Why did I wait until my girls were in danger to pull out the winter jacket and go to war?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve probably got a few of those stories in our life that still linger. Some of our stories, the time has run out and there’s no chance at resolution. We think about that person or that missed opportunity and kick ourselves that things didn’t end differently, or we’re left wondering what would’ve happened, what could have been?
If you have stories that are unresolved and you still have a chance to resolve them, don’t wait any longer. Mark Batterson in his book IF says that at the end of our lives, it won’t be the things we’ve done that we regret the most; it is the things we didn’t do that we will regret most. Don’t let what if opportunities turn into if only regrets.
that actually brings me to the passage of scripture we’re going to look at. If you’ve got a paper bible, turn to Matthew 24 if you would, that is going to be the primary text that we are studying this morning. If you don’t have a bible, the scripture will be popping up on the screen. If you’d like a bible of your own, leave a comment and our hosts will let us know so that we can hook you up.
just as a little set up for the passage we’re going to be diving into, Jesus has covered a lot of ground in chapters 23 and 24. Chapter 23 of Matthew, he was called out the religious leaders for being a bunch of hypocrites and leading a double standard. Anytime you see Jesus or a bible writer calling someone out, remember to put yourself in the shoes of the ones getting called out, not the one doing the calling. All to often in scripture we place ourselves in the shoes of the hero, and forget that when it comes to the bible, God is the hero and we’re often the one who needs correction.
anyways, then we get to chapter 24 and Jesus lays out the signs of what is to come before he returns. One of the things we believe as a Pentecostal church is that one day, Jesus is going to come back to earth and bring home his faithful disciples, first the dead and then the living. It is what we call the Rapture and we are going to look at one of the scriptures that actually tells us what that day will be like.
So Jesus sets it up. He says there will be signs. Things like wars, famine, and earthquakes in various places. There will be increased persecution of his disciples because of his name, and that some will fall away. There will be false prophets and false messiah’s. Jesus says the sun will darken, the moon will stop shining, and the heavens will shake. Then the Son of Man, which is another reference to Jesus, will be seen coming on the clouds of heaven.
Matthew 24:36–51 CSB
“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone. As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding grain with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ and starts to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards, that servant’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
there are three analogies Jesus uses here, and all of them have a similar theme

a. The Story of Noah

if you want to read the story of Noah for yourself, it is found in Genesis 6
Here are the cliff notes. The world in the days of Noah were so violent and sinful that God was grieved that he had created the world and decided to destroy all life with a flood. So he called the one righteous man on earth to build a boat, called an ark, to house his family and two of every animal, seven of every clean animal because someone will call me on it if I don’t mention it, and they will live in the ark while the flood destroys all life on earth.
What is significant about Jesus’ mentioning Noah is that he presents the story as if the people who weren’t going on the Ark were caught off guard. They kept living as they always had, all the while crazy Noah is building this giant boat. Remember, up to this point in history, it had never rained on the earth. The idea that water would fall from the sky was crazy. The fact that enough would come to destroy all life on earth was insane. So, the people ignored the giant billboard of what was to come, and before they knew it, it was too late.

b. The Homeowner and the Thief

Jesus says that if the homeowner had known when the thief was coming, he wouldn’t have gotten robbed. If the homeowner was ready, the thief would’ve been stopped. That’s why thieves don’t rob houses when the whole family is sitting down for a meal and everyone has knives and forks in their hands. It won’t end well for them.
When I first read this analogy, my first thought was, “No kidding!” People get robbed, people get hurt, and people get lost when we drop our guard and stop paying attention! That is Jesus’ point. There are so many things that try to steal our attention, that there will be a lot of people who are going to be distracted by the things of this world, and Jesus is going to return and we’re not going to be ready. We will have dropped our guard, we’ll miss the signs, and suddenly we will have missed it. What does Jesus say? In that day, two will be in the field and one will be taken. Two will be grinding at the millstone, and one will be taken.
This is what we call the rapture. In a moment, there will be two people, and suddenly one will be gone; raptured up to heaven to spend eternity with God.
Here’s what I can’t help but think about. After the rapture, there will be two groups of people left behind. One won’t have a clue what has happened and will spend time trying to figure it out. Then there will be those that know exactly what happened. It is those people that I actually mourn for. Those who say they are believers, those who know the bible and grew up in church. There will be those who know, and for whatever reason will not be raptured up to eternity. When scripture talks about working out your salvation with fear and trembling, that’s what I think of. I think of the reality that some will be left behind, and the grief that will be felt.

c. The Faithful and the Wicked Servant

the third analogy is probably the strongest, and it ties them all together. The people in Noah’s day saw the warning, the great big boat, and chose to ignore it.
The second one, Jesus has given us the signs and the warnings, and we get distracted by things of this world, drop our guard, the thief comes unexpectedly and we miss it
The third analogy reminds us that we are all called to something. You are not put on this earth for no reason, but God has placed talents and passions in you to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. You are called to use your gifts in God honoring ways, whether it is feeding the poor, being a voice for those without one, spreading the good news of the gospel. You are called to be a part of something so much bigger then yourself and the truth is one day Jesus is going to return without warning and is he going to find you being faithful with what he has entrusted to you or is he going to find you squandering it?
I honestly believe that we can miss all the signs, we can be oblivious to what is going on in the world around us, and as long as we are found faithful with the things God has given us to do, that is all that matters.
The faithful servant is found doing what the master has tasked him with, and he will be given more. The wicked servant is found squandering the master’s wealth and is thrown out where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Time is Now

James 4:13–17 CSB
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.
Matthew 6:34 CSB
Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You have been given today. Don’t do tomorrow what can be done today. Don’t wait to start living your life, get living. God has given you everything you need to live a life of purpose and fulfillment. When it comes to time, God’s word tells us that today is a gift, so let’s make the most of it. As far as we know, today is all we got. If God allows it, we will have more days to do more things. But we have today. Let’s get to living now!

Question 2: How are you going to make the most of the day you’ve been given?

oh, what happened yesterday with Round 2. I found the best RAID money can buy, I gave the wasps a good little bath in the stuff, and I walked away wondering why I hadn’t done it sooner. I walked away thinking about other things that I’ve let wait for too long. I walked away thinking about how I need to stop waiting to do the things God has called me to and start doing when God tells me to do them.
It’s amazing how God can use anything or anyone to teach us, we just need to pay attention. That’s how I’m going to make the most of today. I’m going to pay closer attention, hoping to catch of glimpse of God’s lesson for today.
Let’s pray.
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