Summary: Like paratroopers who have been dropped behind enemy lines, Christians have a job to do in sometimes-unfriendly territory.
The End is Near
1. AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it’s not Walter who’s lacking intelligence.
Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, "Please come out and give yourself up."
A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop, and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.
(source, Tim Gardner, Sermoncentral.com)
2. This world is a crazy place, and getting crazier all the time.
3. But nothing is quite as crazy as the fact that all of us owe our very existence to God, yet most human beings do not want to know or serve the true God. That’s crazy.
4. Even those of us who know Christ are tempted to get detoured, to get wrapped up in good but distracting things that consume all our time and energy so that we have no time left for God.
5. Most of us here feel the pinch, but many of us have chosen to put God first because we realize that serving God is the first and foremost calling we have. We realize the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground.
Main Idea: Like paratroopers who have been dropped behind enemy lines, Christians have a job to do in sometimes-unfriendly territory.
I. The VERTICAL Challenge: Advance Scouts for God’s Kingdom (7)
A. We Live in the INTERSECTION Between Eras (7a)
1. “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11)
2. “All the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25)
3. “You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.… The Judge is standing at the door” (James 5:8–9)
4. "this is the last hour” (I John 2:18)
5. Marvin Pate comments: "The age to come has moved into the present, so that the believer currently exists at the turning point of the ages (p.61)….Early Christians believed that the age to come had already dawned in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus….end time event had occurred within, but without replacing human history (p.30)…so, in effect…Christian [ity is an] of the two ages in Christ" [p.30 alt.]
C. Marvin Pate, The End of the Age Has Come, Zondervan 1995.
B. This Challenges Us Because We Are DISPLACED
• We have parachuted from the Kingdom of God to sojourn in the Kingdom of Darkness
• If you do not understand this, you do not understand who you are, nor do you understand God’s will for your life…
• Too many Christians are begging God to show them His will, but they have not begun at the beginning…Who is God and Who am I?
C. We Must SHARPEN Ourselves to Meet the Challenge (7b)
1. Clear-mindedness (nh)fw) means not OBLIVIOUS
• A blind man feels ahead with his cane before proceeding; we should follow that example in life
2. Self-control (swfrosu)nh) means REASONABLENESS
3. Since sound thinking is commanded, it must be a CHOICE
D. This positions us for EFFECTIVE PRAYER
How does prayer connect to clear mindedness and reasonableness?
1. It is hard to pray effectively if your head is in the sand
2. It is hard to pray effectively if you are an air head
3. Prayer is our life-line back to the Kingdom of God; it is not optional or unimportant
4. imagery deep sea diving and air hose…
-- An Atmospheric Diving Suit … can be used for very deep dives of up to 2000 feet (600m) for many hours, and eliminates the majority of physiological dangers associated with deep diving; the occupant need not decompress, there is no need for special gas mixtures, and there is no danger of decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis (the ’bends’). [source: Wikipedia]
--But what happens if you cut off the air hose?
Like paratroopers who have been dropped behind enemy lines, Christians have a job to do in sometimes-unfriendly territory.
II. The Horizontal Challenge: LOVING Fellow Christians
• Too often Christians injure one another through “FRIENDLY FIRE.”
• We must meet with and support the other troops
A. Deep love covers sins (8)
1. Probably a paraphrase of Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."
2. Covering sin is the opposite of gossip
3. Confrontation may sometimes be necessary
• James 3:2a, "We all stumble in many ways."
B. Love grows in the context of hospitality (9)