THE TIME IS SHORT
1 Cor. 7:29
1. We’ve all heard of the unsettling effect of fracking, possibly causing miniature earthquakes. I heard about some Texaco drillers who were drilling for oil in Lake Peigneur in LA.
2. After only a few hours they sat back, expecting the oil to come shooting up. Instead, they watched a whirlpool form in the middle of the lake.
3. Not only did it suck down all of the water in the 1,300 lake, it sucked down 5 houses, 9 barges, 8 tugboats, 2 oil rigs, a mobile home, most of a botanical garden and 10% of nearby Jefferson Island, leaving a half-mile wide crater!
4. No one told them there was an abandoned salt mine underneath! “A local fisherman said he thought the world was coming to an end!”
5. That wasn’t the end of the world, obviously. But the End will come to each one of us, so we must make the most of our time and be ready!
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Rom. 13:11-14 NIV.
“But the end of all things is at hand: therefore be sober, and watch unto prayer” 1 Pet. 4:7.
Rev. 10:6 speaks of a time when…"There should be time no longer." What a day that will be - when all the clocks suddenly stop. Big Ben, in London, and all the others will stop their movement after centuries. Time SHALL be at an end some day and it will never begin again.
C. 24 HOURS TO LIVE
1. The advertising firm of J. Walter Thompson of Chicago used a “shock” ad to gain attention, proclaiming in large type: "You have 24 hours to live." "Today, that is," says the smaller type below.
2. If we only had 24 hours to live:
a. Every hour would be precious;
b. Every hour would be worth more than gold.
c. The usage of every minute would be a rationed as if we were spending money. Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Ps. 90:12.
1. In light of this "big picture," the Apostle Paul penned the words of 1 Corinthians 7:29; “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short” 1 Cor. 7:29.
2. What does Paul mean when he states those insightful, prophetic words, "The Time is Short?"
I. THE TIME OF “OUR LIFE” IS SHORT
A. WE ALL THINK WE’RE IMMORTAL
1. It’s a curious trait that we think of other people as getting old but don’t think of ourselves as ever dying.
2. A few years ago, the Chicago Bears were coached by Mike Ditka. He was the ultimate tough guy, with a volcanic anger, until he had a massive heart attack.
3. His response to that heart attack was shock. His body had failed him. He said, "Up to that time, I thought I was immortal."
4. But we aren't; we'll only live 70 or so years. We all think like him; he just happened to put it into words.
B. VALUE OF TIME
1. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
2. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a pre-mature baby.
3. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
4. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
5. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
6. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
7. To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have!
C. DEATH IS CERTAIN
1. HUMOR. One man went to the doctors and was told he only had 3 minutes to live. He said, “Doctor, is there anything you can do for me?” The doctor replied, “Well, I could boil an egg for you.” Nothing is so certain as death, and nothing is so UNcertain as the hour of death.
2. The chances of you winning a state lottery jackpot are 1 in 4,000,000. The chance that you eventually are going to die is 1 in 1.
3. Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Job said, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (14:5).
4. At death, we all cross from one territory to another, but those who have established a personal relationship with Jesus will have no trouble with their visas! Making our salvation sure should be our first priority!
5. POEM. “Think of stepping on a shore and finding it heaven! Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand! Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air! Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality! Of passing from storm and stress to a perfect calm! Of waking and finding yourself home!”
II. THE TIME OF “OUR OPPORTUNITY” IS SHORT
A. SATAN’S GAME PLAN
1. There is a legend about Satan and his imps planning their strategy for attacking the world that’s hearing the message of salvation.
2. One of the demons said, "I've got a plan, master. When I get on the Earth and take charge of people's thinking, I’ll tell them there's no heaven."
3. The devil responded, "Ah, they'll never believe that. The Book of Truth is full of messages about the hope of heaven through sins forgiven. They’ll never believe that. They know there’s a future beyond the grave."
4. Another angel arose from across the throne room and said, "I've got a plan. I'll tell them there's no hell." "No good," said the devil. "Jesus, while on Earth, talked more about Hell than about Heaven. They know in their hearts that their wrongs require some accountability. They know they deserve nothing better than Hell."
5. Finally one brilliant fallen Angel emerged from the back of the room and said, "Then I know the answer. I'll just tell them that there's no hurry." And Satan cheered and clapped his hands, because he knew that suggestion would work. [CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.]
6. Paul says, "The Time is Short;" too short for vacillating and weakness. Some of you have lived on the verge of conversion for years. Choose this day!
B. OUR OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE CHRIST
1. Consider what value people put on time who are now in hell.
2. The Rich Man in Hell said, “‘Father Abraham…send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 27 “…send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’” Luke 16:24,27-28.
3. Like us, this Rich Man had cared very little while on Earth, how he spent his time. He didn’t pray, didn’t bother going to Church, and God’s priorities didn’t matter to him. But once he arrived in Hell, all that changed.
4. What would he then give for the opportunity as you have today? What would he give for another year of grace—for another week—for another day? If he could, he’d come back and tell you how precious is one moment of saving time!
5. It’s TIME to forgive those who’ve wronged us, so we can be forgiven! It’s time to love our families, while we still have them. It’s time to serve God in every way we can, while we still can!
6. Time is too short for quarrels, unforgiveness, bitterness -- to let our walk be spoiled.
C. OPPORTUNITY TO REACH OTHERS FOR CHRIST
1. The knowledge that the TIME IS SHORT ought to ‘fire us’ with zeal for immediate action.
a. The time to influence people for Jesus is quickly passing. Are your family members saved? Are your neighbors saved? Pray with them today! Don't put it off. The time is short.
b. Have you been accused of being too radical in witnessing? It's high time we got more radical!
c. Don't wait any longer to obey Jesus in some ministry/ calling. Begin now! Are you going to give money? Give it now!
2. We are only on the stage of this life for a brief drama -- NOW is our only chance. The time is short!
3. REDEEM THE TIME! The devil's crowd is working hard! Addictions, Hollywood pornography & violence, atheistic ideologies, corruption, etc. are working hard. We better be working hard too!
III. THE TIME OF “JESUS’ COMING” IS SHORT
A. RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
1. “Christ’s sudden, brief, unannounced coming in the air to catch away His Church before the "Day of Wrath" begins. Jesus returns to heaven with His saints for the Believer’s Judgment the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”
2. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:16-18.
3. “Caught up” = “harpadzo,” “to take away forcefully.” In the Latin Vulgate it’s translated as “raptus,” from which we get our English word “rapture.”
B. WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE
1. FOR CHRISTIANS, A GLORIOUS TRANSFORMATION!
a. You will see Jesus "face to face” 1 Cor. 13:12. Imagine the joy of seeing Jesus.
b. We will be changed. 1 Cor. 15:51-52. These vile bodies shall be clothed with immortality – become heavenly. No more pain, tears, worries… New strength, new shape, new teeth
c. Reunited with our loved ones!
d. We will be rewarded. Rev. 22:12.
2. FOR NON-CHRISTIANS – TERRIBLE LOSS AND WORLDWIDE CHAOS!
a. Planes, trains, cars crashing.
b. World leaders missing.
c. Millions gone. d. Churches full of weeping
e. Rise of the AntiChrist f. Lawlessness
g. Plagues of persecution & horror.
C. HOW DO WE KNOW THE RAPTURE IS NEAR? (See Matt. 24)
1. WARS. (6) Never before the last hundred years have MILLIONS gone to the grave through wars. Weapons of mass destruction now exist that could exterminate all life on Earth.
2. FALSE CHRISTS/ PROPHETS. (5,11) Over 1,100 claims “I am Christ” in the last 50 years. Over 25 million Americans are part of cults.
3. EARTHQUAKES/ DISASTERS. (7) Scientists have noted a sharp increase in earthquakes in the last 10 years.
4. INCREASE IN WICKEDNESS. (12)We all are aware of the tide of wickedness sweeping western civilization and the entire world. Riots, murder, 75 million abortions, sexual vice, drugs, gambling…
5. WORLDWIDE EVANGELISM. (14) 70% of all the Evangelism since Christ has occurred in the last 100 years! Soon the number of believers shall be complete. Paul said, “Israel has experienced a hardening in part, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” Rom. 11:25. This means that there is a specific NUMBER of gentiles. When that number is reached, the end will come!
6. KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE (Dan. 12:4) Half of Man’s knowledge was gained in the last 15 years and is doubling every 5 years. Computers & television will enable the world to see the 2 witnesses dead in Jerusalem & throw a party. (Rev. 11:9-10).
7. ISRAEL IN HER HOMELAND AGAIN. Isaiah 11:11 return the second time -- 1948. Luke 21:24, Jerusalem recovered, 1967. Temple rebuilt, Antichrist will defile it (2 Thess. 2:4).
8. RISE OF E.U. Daniel’s 10-toed Empire (chap. 2).
9. RISE OF ASIAN SUPERARMY, 200 million, in Rev. 9:16. Flurry of road building through the Himalaya Mountains. Rev. 16:12, “that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared.”
D. MORE RECENT SIGNS
1. WORLDWIDE PLAGUE COMING. World Health Organization is warning that it’s just a matter of time until “the big one,” a mutation of an air-borne virus occurs that’s expected to kill 60 million people or more. In the 1600’s, 25-50% of the population were wiped out.
2. RENEWED RUSSIAN AGGRESSION. The attack on Crimea is only the first assault. The Russian Bear (Dan. 8) will grow more desperate and seek expansion by taking over weak neighbors and making alliances against the West.
3. ISRAELI-MUSLIM WAR. In the last week, Israel struck a convoy in the Golan Heights. It turned out to contain Iranian Generals and Hezbollah leaders, who were all killed. Iran says it will retaliate in a way “that will put the Middle East at stake".
4. FALLING AWAY. “A falling away first” 2 Th. 2:3. “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith” 1 Tim. 4:1. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” Mt. 24:12. The number of Americans who attend church will drop from 70% in 2,000 to 35% by 2025.60% of Americans age 40 and below have NEVER set foot in a church building. In the past 8 years, 20 million have left church. Make sure YOU’RE not one of those statistics!
1. How precious can one hour be? According to newspaper
reports, two men, William Bell and Jacob Rosenwasser, were under sentence of death at Ossining New York.
2. Their execution date has been set. But they felt that they would be deprived of an hour of life if they’re executed on daylight savings time.
3. So they applied to the warden to have the clocks in the death house returned to standard time. How precious even one hour may be under certain circumstances!
B. THE CALL
1. Some years ago a headline told of 300 whales that suddenly died. The whales were pursuing sardines and found themselves marooned in a shallow bay.
2. Frederick Harris commented, "The small fish lured the sea giants to their death. They came to their violent demise by chasing small ends, by prostituting vast powers for insignificant goals." John C. Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within, p. 31.
3. Are we chasing small dreams? Since the time is short, now's the time to ‘Make it Right with God.’ Do it now!
4. In commitments, no more vacillation. I commit Now!
5. In faulty character traits: I'm going to clear it up Now!
6. We have Joyous expectations now, because "The Time is Short!"