Summary: His arrivl was anticipated an prophecied abot and so will his return be with anticipation.
“IN THE FULNESS OF THE TIME
Introduction: I suppose all of us know what it’s like to be late. Being late doesn’t seem to bother some people, but I really hate being late for anything. I suppose it has to do with my rural upbringing. There are cultures, though, in which being late is the rule of the day. I’ve even heard that Baptists incorporate lateness as part of their theology. It has been said that Baptists believe in justification, regeneration and procrastination. I have certainly met some who are that way. Someone said that the reason the Lord hasn’t revealed the time of His Second Coming is that Baptists would be late.
Most of us know about working under the constraint of deadlines, especially when some import event is involved. We all have timetables. But did you know that God also has a timetable? Sometimes our timetables are the same as His and sometime as His, but often they are not. We want God to act right now; when, in His wisdom, He chooses to delay for our good. But, my friends, it is absolutely true that God is never early and He’s never late. He’s always right on time. It may not be “in our time,” but it is always “in His time,” which is the right time. Illustration: Atomic clock available for computers.
Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to this Earth at just the right time. In our text today, Galatians 4:4-7, we are told that “..when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son..” (v. 4). Isn’t that an amazing statement? Have you ever considered that there was a right time when Jesus should come? Does this mean that there was one time in all of history when all things were perfectly aligned for the coming of Jesus; and that there was no other time when He could have come? I believe that is precisely what our text for today teaches. Jesus came at just the right time.
Now, it should be important to us because just as Christ came at the perfect time, so God continues to work in our lives at the right time. In fact, perhaps today is the time in your life for God to move in a special way. Perhaps God wants to solve some problem in your life today. Perhaps Christ wants to give you today the answer you have been seeking. Perhaps God is telling you that today is the time for you to commit your life to Him. If so, let me encourage you to respond to Him today, and He will meet you..just in time!
Now, I would like for us to examine our text today in the light of God working out His plan in history...and in our lives...with: 1) Preparation; 2) Purpose; and 3) Privileges.
Scripture Reading: Galatians 4:4-7
I. PREPARATION (v. 4) - We are told that the first coming of Christ happened in the fullness of time. Throughout the Old Testament there were numerous prophecies given concerning the coming of the Messiah. There were prophecies concerning the manner of His birth, that He would be born of a virgin.
There were prophecies concerning the place of His birth, that He would be born in Bethlehem. And we see these prophecies being fulfilled as Jesus was born that glorious night. But just as there was a perfect time for His first coming, there will also be a perfect time for His second coming. And the two events are interrelated. God pulled all things together to prepare for the first coming of Christ, for the preaching of the Gospel, and for His second coming.
1. There was a religious preparation for His coming - Throughout the Old Testament, God had been dealing with His chosen people, Israel. It would be through them that the Messiah would come. But Israel was always straying from God. They refused to simply worship Him alone, and were always following after the gods of the peoples around them. Over and over, God judged Israel for this idolatry. Finally, we see the culmination of judgement in what is known as the Babylonian captivity. God finally allowed the entire nation to be conquered by Babylon and taken from their homeland into that country.
One of the interesting effects of the Babylonian captivity was that after that time, the Jewish people were always monotheistic, worshiping Jehovah only. During that captivity, the Jews came in contact with the Persians. Now, the Persians were Zoroastrians, or monotheists. As a matter of fact, some feel that the Magi were Zoroastrian priests, but we have no way to confirm this. In any event, the Jews were delivered from following after the idols of the pagan nations around them.
A second important effect of the captivity upon the Jewish nation was that the canon of Old Testament Scripture was gathered together under Ezra. So, for the first time, the body of Old Testament literature known now as the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament, was pulled together in a single volume; thus paving the way for the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.