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In the Nick of Time

(99)

Sermon shared by Joseph Smith

December 1999
Summary: Sermon illustrated by Chrismons: Jesus came at the right time, into a world of spiritual hungers, social unrest, devaluation of life. So He comes to our time, when ultimate questions are being asked, when much seduces us, when we are weak. He will be Lo
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Infants, not yet born, seem to have a mind of their own. Infants, not yet born, pay very little attention to the doctorís predictions, the motherís preferences, or the fatherís fears. When they want to arrive, they arrive; and if they donít want to emerge into this cold, cruel world, they donít, not until they have to. Infants, not yet born, seem to have a mind of their own about when to come.

But the truth is that God has a time; God has a time for every purpose under heaven. The Bible says that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time for every purpose. God has time; and God is on time.

Whenever any of you have shared with me the happy news that a little addition is on its way, I have invariably asked what the due date is. If you give me one, I jot it down on my calendar, so that I can watch, pray, and share the joy. A week or two before the zero hour, I am usually on the phone, asking how things are going. Typically the answer I get is that weíre still looking at that target date. We think we know when junior will stake out his claim to fame. I settle back and wait for a call.

A week later, I havenít heard anything, so I call you again. And you say, I donít know, but it better be soon. This is so uncomfortable. At that point I make comforting noises, but, being a mere male, I really donít know what Iím talking about. And I hang up and think that in a couple or three days Iíll be smiling down on you and your pride and joy in a hospital room.

What happens next? What is the usual scenario? Silence. Nothing. No phone call, no breathless father, no beaming grandparents. Nothing. So I call and I say what the pastor is supposed to say, that itís going to be fine, and I pray with you and then go out and make sure my car will start. Donít want to miss out!
Two days later; three; four; a week. And you are fuming with impatience, dad is wearing a path in the carpet, your mother is ready to go back home, and everything is in chaos. Why? Because infants, not yet born, seem to have a mind of their own. Infants, not yet born, pay very little attention to what anybody else wants. When they want to arrive, they arrive; and if they donít want to, they donít.

But God has a time; and God is on time. The Scripture tells us that when the days were accomplished that Mary should be delivered, she brought forth her first-born son and laid him in a manger. When the days were accomplished .. when it was the right time. God had a time. I call it ďthe nick of timeĒ. Just at the right moment -- at the countdown to the zero hour. At five minutes to midnight. At the intersection of never again and not yet. In the nick of time.
I
Think with me about the world into which Jesus was born.
a
It was a world of spiritual hungers, the like of which had never been seen before. All over the Mediterranean world, men and women were hungry for a new faith. The old religions of Greece and Rome were bankrupt. Few if any believed any longer in the old mythologies; few if any put any faith in the likes of Jupiter or Mars or Venus or Neptune. Weíve used the names of the old Romans gods to adorn the planets way out there in space, and thatís just about how the ancient world felt about its deities Ė way out there, nebulous, untouchable, remote, pointless and helpless. It was a world of spiritual hunger into which Jesus
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