Summary: A consideration of Galatians 4:4,5; a Christmas message: At the prescribed time in human history Jesus came; at the right time in personal histories, He comes to save, to strengthen, to guide, to empower.

At the Right Time

“…when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,[a] Father." 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir" (Gal.4:3-7)

Sermons come from the most interesting sources. I was listening to a song from a Booth Brothers CD, by Moshe Lister, called “At the Right Time.” And in my mind, I went to Galatians 4:4 and 5. Listen to the words:

At the time of God’s own choosing, He came,

When we the fight were losing, He came.

Long before we knew Him

When we were lost in sin,

At the right time, at the best time, He came.

When the night was cold and dreary, He came

To His children worn and weary, He came.

To bring us out of darkness

To make us His again,

At the right time, at the best time, He came

To the great and to the lowly, He came,

To the wicked, to the holy, He came.

That we might know the Father

That Heaven we might gain,

At the right time, at the best time, He came.

At the right time, at the best time, He came.

And then, I thought about the time when 3 teenagers came to me during the Christmas season and asked, “Why did Jesus come when He did? Why then and not now?”

Well, the song and the question were the seeds planted in my mind for this message.

Consider what Paul tells us here in this passage. From all eternity God had it in His heart to give us Jesus Christ. Long before time began, He had known that we, His creatures would rebel against Him. And so He began to devise a plan—at just the right time He would send His one and only Son to rescue us from the dilemma of sin and its awful consequences.

It wouldn’t be just any day—not an accident or a coincidence—but a predetermined, specific time.

Remember, God is unrestricted by time, but He acts within time and always on time. It’s as if He had said, “Before I can go to planet earth and take on the form of man, and provide a way of escape for lost humanity, certain events must be just right and hearts must be receptive.”

Let’s look at the world as it existed at the birth of Christ. It will help us to better understand what Paul had in mind when he used the phrase, “The fullness of time.”

1. The Roman Empire was at the zenith of its power. Peace was established from Britain to the borders of India. That meant that citizens could travel freely, unrestricted by national or political barriers.

2. Roads reached throughout the Empire. The way was prepared for messengers of Christ to take the Gospel everywhere.

3. Greek had become the universal language of the Roman world. The Old Testament had been translated into Greek from Hebrew some 250 years earlier. Koine Greek was the language of commerce.

The structure of Greek was perfectly suited to communicate the Gospel in an accurate way due to its wide vocabulary and verb forms.

4. Greek philosophy prepared the minds of the masses. It was a common thing for people to meet together to discuss religious themes—the meaning and purpose of life, immortality, the nature of man, righteousness, and salvation.

5. A longing for something better

existed in many hearts. People

were disillusioned and desperate. Pagan religion was bankrupt. Philosophers only raised questions, but never gave answers. Crime was at an all-time high. Respect was lacking. Sin and corruption abounded. Disease, the breakup of the family, and sexual perversion were running wild.

It was truly a time of moral and spiritual darkness. Large numbers of Gentiles throughout the Empire began to turn to the Hebrew faith in search of truth and hope.

They heard about a Messiah who was to come. He would bring deliverance and establish a kingdom that would be everlasting and righteous.

6. The prophetic timetable was in place.

Palestine seethed with expectation of a great prophetic event. And into this environment of darkness came the “Light of the world.”

Illus.: “The Sack”

There is another sense in which this phrase “the fullness of time” becomes significant. It has to do with our “personal history.” Jesus comes to us at just the right time---never too soon, never too late.

- In conviction—that inner tug at our hearts—need forgiveness & hope

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