Sermon June 25, 2017 – What Time is it? Part 3

John 7:1-13

This past week we noted on the calendar the summer solstice the longest day of the year, marking the beginning of the summer season. However, it is also a sad day as it marks the fact that our days are now getting progressively shorter and shorter.

Think about the season of life that you are in right now. We are all pretty good at categorizing our season of life, but try to set aside those man-made categories and start to dream a bit. Start to think that no matter what age you are, God has something unique and special for you to do. Do you know the time in your own personal life? What is the season that you are in? Rather what is the season that God has set for your life right now.

In the Gospels, we frequently are reminded that Jesus was on a timeline, one that would ultimately lead him to the cross. Jesus was occasionally encouraged by those close to him to adjust the timeline, to speed things up. They did not know the complete picture, but they thought they could help Jesus become the ruler, they wanted him to be.

In chapter 7 of John’s Gospel, we read an interesting exchange between Jesus and his brothers, one of the only recorded dialogues between Jesus and his half-brothers. It seems that Jesus’ brothers want to become his promoters. They witnessed the miracles he did, and they thought that now is the time to take Jesus to the big time, taking his fame to the streets of Jerusalem.

Jesus was staying in the region of Galilee and had been teaching and performing miracles for about six months. Galilee was safer for Jesus, than the region of Judea in the south. The religious leaders in Judea wanted to kill Jesus, but Jesus was on a divine timeline and he knew that his time had not yet come. Throughout the Gospel of John, we see references to this divine timetable that Jesus was on. (see John 2:4; John 7:30, John 8:20 and John 12:23).

In John 7:6 Jesus said, “my time is not yet here” the Greek word for time used here is Kairos. Kairos, is more than a tick on a clock or a day on the calendar, it is a deeper word that means the right time, the most effectual time, or the opportune time.

Jesus was being pushed by his brothers to seize the moment, they thought this was the opportune time for Jesus to be introduced to the world. But Jesus was not interested in worldly fame, he was on a much more important mission. A mission that the creator of the universe was orchestrating, Jesus was on a divine timeline.

We as followers of Jesus Christ, who have the Holy Spirit in us, are not living for ourselves, rather we are on a divine timeline as well. Daily asking God for His plan and direction for our lives.

When we are young we may feel that we have all the time in the world particularly in the summer. However, before we know it, 30 years has flown by and many hours have been wasted.

When we are in the season of parenting Children at home, we have no time there are so many demands on our time. The demands are so great that we don’t realize the season that we are in that is so fleeting. The tremendous blessing of holding and nurturing a child. Being entrusted by God to train up a child in the ways of the Lord, those days pass by quickly.

When you are old and your children are out of the home, the temptation is to feel that you have done your share, you deserve to take it easy and enjoy your final years. What did Jesus say about the man who said exactly that in the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:19-20?

We have this crazy modern notion that we need to work as hard as we can, amass as much wealth as we can, then we can retire early and then we go to Florida and play golf until we die. What a miserable existence! What if you grasped that God has so much more for you. There is so much more joy in living out our days, whatever season of life we are in, totally committed to the will and plan of God for our lives.

When we are young, we miss the sense of urgency to ask the Lord for His plan, and when we are old, we seem to think that God cannot use us because we are past our prime.

I want to tell you that you are in the perfect season for God to use you. He has prepared you, through your past experiences and trials, He has prepared you for today, for the Kairos moment that he has for you today.

The opportune time that God has you in right at this moment. God does not give us breath to breathe and not give us Kairos moments to fill our days.

Moses was 80 years old and as he led the sheep toward the mountain of God, God called him and changed the course of history through the life of Moses.

Abraham and Sarah were promised a child when Abraham was 100 years old, Sarah was ninety when she gave birth to Isaac.

In the book of 1 Chronicles we see a group of men who did understand the times, who did understand the season and they were ready for action. We read in 1 Chronicles 12:32 about the sons of Issachar, men who observed, reasoned and stepped out in faith.

Today we need men and women who understand what is happening in society from God’s perspective, to step out in faith leading the church into action. People who will be on their knees before God asking Him for direction and wisdom to discern the times (see Romans 13:11-14).

What plan does God have for you? Are you willing to pray and make yourself available to God?

We have incredible opportunities presented to us now in history, but we have plenty of excuses. We are too old, we are too young, we don’t have the money, our health is not optimal, we don’t have the right education…… any number of excuses for not recognizing the season that God has placed us here in Kansas City now in history.

I challenge you to pray and ask God for the direction and plan that is perfect for your life, the reason he created you and placed you here right now.

The Inter-Generational Church Part 2 – April 2, 2017

The Inter-Generational church Part 2

1 Timothy 4

The younger generations of today, the young children, the students, the young families, the fathers and mothers of children still at home. This is a generation of people who want to make a difference and they are the future of our churches.  During the last presidential elections, an estimated 23.7 million young voters, between the ages of 18 and 29, participated in the 2016 presidential election, this is almost 50% of that demographic. This generation has seen a dramatic rise in volunteerism and short term mission trips have taken the place of church camping trips.

This is also a media saturated generation, researchers have determined that the average person born after 1970, will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18.

However, at the same time we see a tremendous rise in hunger for truth, hunger for the word of God, prayer and authentic Christianity. What has declined is a passion for denominations, and traditions.

False teachers, those proclaiming truth, but are twisting the truth for their own agenda is not something that is new to our age; false teachers have been around the church since the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote his letters to encourage young Timothy to stand firm against false teachers and to be bold in speaking the truth.

In the first letter to Timothy, Paul addresses a young man probably in his mid-30’s who he had asked to stay in Ephesus to correct false teaching, to train up new leaders and to lead the church.

Who were these false teachers? As we read in 1 Timothy 4:2, these people had their consciences seared as with a hot iron. Paul uses imagery is of a branding iron that is used to cauterize an open wound, cutting of the flow of blood, and desensitizing the area of injury.

In the same way as we are constantly exposed to evil in various forms around us, we become desensitized to it. We allow images and language into our houses that go directly against the word of God, and yet we wonder why we do not experience the power of God in our lives. We must pray daily for a heightened sensitivity and discernment. It is a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit, and in this day and age of confusion and deception, we need discernment more than ever before.

In verse 6, Paul tells Timothy to be nourished on the truths of the faith. The truth of the word of God is our nourishment, as Jesus said in John 4:14. What water are you drinking?

Jumping down to verse 12, Paul encourages Timothy to not to be intimidated by those around him who are older, but rather he must set an example, allowing his lifestyle to speak for him. in the same way, as followers of Jesus Christ we must allow our speech, our conduct, our love, our faith and purity to demonstrate to others what it means to be a Christian.

In Speech – What do people hear from you? What do you speak about and what tone of voice do you use? Remembering that there is power in words.

  • In Conduct – This your lifestyle, the things you do, the places you go, the possessions you accumulate – every aspect of life.  Set an example in your conduct.
  • In Love – This is self-sacrificial service on behalf of others. As a young leader never ask people to do something unless you’re demonstrating it in your life first.  Leaders must be in the trenches with the people you are leading.
  • In Faith – that means faithfulness, or consistency; being there for the long haul.  The Christian life is not a sprint.  Be consistent and trustworthy, unwavering and uncompromising from start to finish.
  • And then he adds Purity – This is moral, sexual purity. Again, in our media saturated society, this is a daily challenge, but as followers of Jesus Christ we are called to lives of purity. How can a young man stay pure? See Psalm 119:9, if you want to be an example of purity, you have to read and meditate on the living the word of God, there is simply no other way.

In verse 15 and 16, Paul tells Timothy to be diligent and to persevere in these matters. Living the Christian life from an early age takes endurance, the same endurance that our Silent Generation exhibit, staying the course.

We are to stay the course because, as Paul says, so that everyone may see your progress. Your life will be a living testimony to the grace of God. And by doing so, not only will you be saved, you will also lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

If you are under 50 (or feel like it), children, teens, students, young married couples, singles or parents of teenagers, you are the next generation of leaders. We as the church need you to step up.

We need young leaders to humbly step into roles that have been carried by those who are growing older.

But as you already know, the world is changing rapidly, and we live in a crucial time in history.

As future leaders, you need to be strong in character and faith.

As Paul encouraged Timothy, build your life on the Word of God, it is a sure foundation that even after thousands of years still is the only certain truth that one can hold on to.

Here is the wonderful effect of the younger generation stepping up and setting an example with passion and energy, you will provoke the older generation to finish well, to spend their final years serving the Lord with all their hearts (see Hebrews 10:24).

This is the body of Christ. Not a church exclusively for older people, it is not a church exclusively for young people, but a family working effectively together, focusing on the Great Commission that Jesus gave to the church before he ascended into Heaven.