A WRINKLE IN TIME
1. I’m talking about “wrinkles” tonight, so here are a few wrinkle jokes. A little girl got on her grandpa's lap and said, "Did God make me?" "Yes," the grandpa replied. "Did God make you too?" "Yes," the grandpa said. "Well," the little girl said, looking at his wrinkles and thinning hair. "He sure is doing a better job nowadays!"
2. Son: "Dad...what's Mom putting on her face?" Dad: "That's Wrinkle Cream son." Son: "Mom, that cream is really working...you've got loads of wrinkles!"
3. A middle-aged man and woman were getting ready to go out for the evening. The man was standing, shirtless, in front of the bedroom mirror.
“Honey, I can’t believe I’m turning 50. Look at how old I’ve gotten! My belly is sticking out, I have wrinkles and liver spots all over, and I’m losing my hair. I feel so bad about myself”
He turns to his wife and said: “Did you hear me? I’m feeling down and I need you to tell me something good about me!”
The wife looked up from her book, adjusted her glasses, and said: “Well, at least you still have 20/20 vision!”
B. THE IMPORTANCE OF TIME & OPPORTUNITY
1. In technologically advanced nations, people usually regard their TIME more precious than their money, because they have more money than time. Any device or practice that can “save time” (microwave) is a good thing.
2. And things that shorten the distance to our goals -- thus saving time -- are highly sought after. A person can be poor and from a third world country, but if they can gain a valuable skill or an advanced education, they can catapult ahead of others to attain wealth and favored citizenship.
C. THESIS & TITLE
1. Tonight we’re going to be talking about TIME and how to bend time to your advantage. The concept of a “wrinkle in time” is one of theoretical physics, that time and space can be folded by means of a fifth dimension, so that travelers can go faster than the speed of light across immense distances of the universe, instantaneously.
2. We’ll see that this concept parallels the teaching of Scripture, which informs us that God gives us “wrinkles in time” in which to advance faster.
3. So we’re going to look at opportunity, the three concepts of time in Scripture, and the six opportunities where we can jump great distances ahead in the race to eternity.
4. The title of this message is “A Wrinkle In Time.”
I. THE UNUSUAL CHARACTER OF A TIME OF OPPORTUNITY
A. HOW OPPORTUNITY CREATED SUCCESS
1. Outliers: The Story of Success is a book by Malcolm Gladwell (11-18-08) that became #1 on NYT bestseller’s list for 11 weeks.
2. Gladwell’s thesis is that it’s usually NOT people’s intelligence or unusual ability that causes them to succeed, but opportunities made available to them at just the right moment that they took advantage of.
3. Examples are:
a. how most Canadian professional ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year [thus, they have a year longer to mature & grow and are given more training & opportunities];
b. how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history [played long stints in German clubs so that they got more than 10,000 hours practice as a group. For almost all musicians, the 10,000 hours threshold propels them to a higher level of skill];
c. how the first wave of industry growth in the U.S. (factories - Ford) gave rise to the industry titans; railroads – to the railroad barons; the rise of financial markets produced the banking giants; the first development of large department stores (Walmart) produced the mercantile billionaires; the first wave of computer development gave rise to Bill Gates & Steve Jobs, and the Internet caused the success of the pioneers of Google, Amazon, etc.
4. A main key to the success of many of these people were the specific opportunities that became available for them at just the right moment.
5. This is really a biblical concept. As we study, we find that God gives seasons (periods of time) where opportunities are made available to us. The key is for us to recognize which season it is, what opportunities are being made available, and to seize on those opportunities. Col. 4:5 says, “make the most of every opportunity.” (Eph. 5:16).
B. WHAT IS AN “OPPORTUNITY?”
1. Opportunity – “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”
2. God arranges the opportunities and sets up the season of access to those opportunities. It’s up to us to grasp the opportunities and thrust ourselves into God’s will before the window of opportunity closes.
3. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about a great opportunity being made available to him; “because a great door for effective work has opened to me” 1 Cor. 16:9).
4. God opened this door. This is the wonderful advantage of working with the Holy Spirit. He can “confirm the word with signs following.” Many times the miraculous has opened doors for the Gospel when no words alone could open them.
5. I’ve told you the story of Dutch Sheets preaching in Guatemala and how there was little/no response to the Gospel. God told him to pray for a tied-up, demon-possessed girl. She was delivered and the whole village came to Christ as a result! [Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets, p.42-45.]
6. There are many instances of miracles opening doors in the Book of Acts at the Gate called Beautiful, Lydda, Samaria, Philippi, Ephesus, etc. Philip was told to meet the Ethiopian eunuch on the desert road. God made a way, where there seemed to be no way!
7. God also works miraculously to help His people in need: Gideon’s 300, David & Goliath, multiplying food, Elisha telling the king where not to go, digging ditches, etc. Where there would have been defeat or death, God created victory for God’s people through unusual circumstances. God still does this today!
II. THE THREE CONCEPTS OF TIME
In the Greek N.T. there are (at least) three references to “Time”
A. CHRONOS, KAIROS, HORA
1. The term CHRONOS fits our normal concept of time. It refers to the passage and period of time.
2. The term KAIROS describes a “season” of time for getting something specific done. The thing to be done may not be able to be done in any other “season,” thus, the current season represents an “opportunity” to accomplish a specific work.
3. HORA means “hour - a part of a day.” Metaphorically it means “a very short season” or “a point in time.” I especially want to draw your attention to the second term, Kairos.
B. “KAIROS” IS A “SEASON” OF OPPORTUNITY
1. We’re familiar with seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. The opportunity to plant is usually only found in the early spring because of the rain and warmth, before the extreme heat and drought of summer.
2. So there’s a brief window to plant and harvest; if the farmer doesn’t do it then, he may not get a crop until another year passes!
3. Likewise there are seasons of opportunity God makes available to us where we can jump light years ahead in getting things done for God and also for ourselves.
III. THE 6 SEASONS OF OPPORTUNITY (KAIROS)
All of the following scriptures contain the Greek word “Kairos.”
A. A SEASON WITH & W/O TEMPTATION
1. Luke 4:13, Satan departed from Jesus for a “season.”
2. The Bible says that we may have seasons without temptation. Praise God! What a foreshadowing of the 1,000 year reign when Satan will be bound and there will be no temptation.
3. But we must not get off our guard; Satan will be back to tempt us again. Don’t be blindsided; stay vigilent!
B. A SEASON OF SPIRITUAL STIRRING
1. John 5:4, “An angel came down at a certain season into the pool.” Acts 3:20, “times [seasons] of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
2. We must take advantage, like sailing ships of every wind of the Spirit. Times of doldrums may come. Wait them out.
3. But this knowledge should make us especially watchful for times of spiritual stirrings: they come for seasons. When they occur we must jump on it like the man trying to climb into the pool when it was stirred. When Jesus passes by, it’s our opportunity to be touched by Him is a special way.
C. A SEASON TO REPENT & BE SAVED
1. Mark 1:15, Jesus said, “The time [Kairos] is fulfilled, and the kingdom is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” [WOW. A NEW EPOCH HAS BEGUN, TO BE FOLLOWED BY AN EPOCH OF JUDGMENT. THIS IS THE MOMENT TO REPENT & BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!]
2. Acts 24:25, Felix delayed until “a convenient season.” Rev. 2:21 tells us that we are given a limited “space/time to repent.” We can’t save ourselves. The Spirit must convict us of sin and reveal the Savior to us; then we may say “yes” to His call to repent & believe. We mustn’t ignore, like Felix, the dealings of the Spirit. He will not always strive with man (Gen. 6:3). Say yes immediately!
D. A SEASON TO PLANT & HARVEST
1. Gal. 6:9, “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
2. It’s only during this life that we can reach the lost. Heb. 9:27 says, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” After people die, there is no chance of being saved. There will be no recovery from hell (purgatory); they will be eternally lost. This “season” of 70 years or so is our one chance to harvest their souls for God.
3. This life is also our only chance to accrue heavenly rewards that will last us throughout eternity. If you’re going to do something for God, you must do it now.
E. SEASONS OF PRAYER
1. Mt. 26:42, He went away again the second time/ “season.”
26:44 away again, and prayed the third time.
2. Peter James and John were told to join Jesus in prayer for that hour before Judas would arrive. Had they listened they might not have all forsaken Him as they did.
3. That hour was their “season” of preparation for trial. We too must watch and pray diligently so we may be overcomers and stand on the day of trouble.
F. SEASONS OF BEING ALERT, AWAKE, AND NOT ASLEEP!
1. Rom. 13:11, And that, knowing the time [Kairos], that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.”
2. My daily Bible reading included the verses, Mark 13:36-37; “If he comes suddenly [whether evening or at midnight], do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
3. In eternity, we can rest and enjoy all God’s blessings. But now is the season of decision, battle and strife. During this period, we must stay awake and alert, for the devil, like a roaring lion, goes about, seeking whom he may devour.
4. To recap, we are in a season temptation, repentance, and danger, so we must be in prayer. It’s also a season of planting, spiritual stirring, and harvesting. We must be busy; “He who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son” Prov. 10:5.
5. Let’s agree with Paul that we’re going to “make the most of every opportunity!”
A. ILLUSTRATION: ABILITY OR WILLINGNESS?
1. A certified dog trainer said, “One of the things many people would say to me when we first talked is how smart their dog was. Now I am convinced that intelligence doesn’t have much to do with the training of the dog.”
2. “What counts the most is the dog’s willingness to perform. You see you can have the smartest dog in the world if he doesn’t want to do it he won’t. But if you have the dumbest dog that is willing you can teach him. It might take you longer because he is dumb, but ultimately he will respond.” (Robert Bravo)
3. It’s the same with people. Are we willing to obey the Lord, to do what He wants?
B. THE CALL
1. How many of you would like God to shorten your trip to His blessings and success? We must pray and watch for the season/ opportunity to come.
2. How many of you are having a season of temptation or trial and need God’s assistance?
3. How many of you want to be part of God’s team and be available to witness and be part of a miracle in someone’s life?
4. Let’s pray!