Understanding The Present Time
Contributed by Melvin Newland on Feb 14, 2001 (message contributor)
Summary: What time is it in my life? What time is it in the church? What time is it in my nation & the world?
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. Someone told me a long time ago that the older you get the faster time flies. If that is true, then it is no wonder that I no longer seem to have enough time to get everything done that I need to do.
ILL. Are you familiar with Big Ben in London? Big Ben is a 13 1/2-ton bell attached to a 5-ton clock in the tower of the Houses of Parliament. Built in 1859, it is famous for its accuracy. But several years ago scientists determined that in 20 years the clock had gained 1 second on God’s celestial time.
God’s celestial time? Yes, that’s exactly what it is. You see, the sun & stars & planets move so precisely in their orbits that scientists gauge the precision of our time-keeping instruments by their celestial movements.
But back to Big Ben, how did they fix it? How were they able to adjust the clock to keep it from gaining a second every 20 years? They did it by attaching a coin about the size of a penny to the top of the giant pendulum. And now it is in absolute accord with God’s celestial clock.
B. But God’s greatest measuring piece is not His celestial clock, it is His Word, & it is all wound up & ticking away. And when we begin to measure ourselves by God’s standards, I’m convinced that, just like Big Ben, we’ll find adjustments that we need to make, too.
There are 3 different passages of scripture that I want us to consider this morning, & each one is dealing with a different time.
The first one is Romans 13:11-14, "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness & put on the armor of light.
"Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies & drunkenness, not in sexual immorality & debauchery, not in dissension & jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, & do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
PROP. With those words fresh in our ears, I want us to ask ourselves 3 questions: First of all, "What time is it in my life?" Secondly, "What time is it in the church?" Thirdly, "What time is it in the world?"
I think that God’s Word gives us answers to all 3 of those questions.
I. WHAT TIME IS IT IN MY LIFE?
A. Number one, "What time is it in my life?" Where am I in the great scheme of things as far as the beginning, the middle, & the end of life is concerned?
ILL. Are you familiar with Bill Cosby’s book, "Time Flies"? In it, Cosby says that something happens to you when you turn 50 years old.
When his father turned 50, Cosby says that for the first time he remembers noticing his father’s "love handles," those rolls of fat which develop around your waist sometime during middle age. Cosby attributes them to the force of gravity. He can remember seeing those "love handles" on his father, & promising himself that he would never develop such "love handles."
He also remembers his father grunting & groaning every time he sat down, & every time he got up. Bill Cosby promised himself that he would never grunt & groan unless he was carrying a football & was crossing over the goal line on a football field.
But back in 1987, when Bill Cosby turned 50, suddenly his dad’s "love handles" transferred over to him, & became "hate handles" instead of "love handles." And he found himself making weird sounds every time he sat down & got up, too.
He also observed that when you begin to get old your eyesight changes. Describing the time he put on his first pair of tri-focal glasses, he said, "I put on my tri-focals, & in the top lens the door-knob appeared to be 100 yards away. In the middle lens it looked like it was 50 yards away. In the lower lens it looked like I had already walked past it." He said, "I jammed my thumb 3 times reaching for that door knob."
He has the same problem many have. He can see quite well at a distance, but not up close. People who are far-sighted & who use their glasses only for reading are often losing them because they don’t wear them all the time.
Cosby relates that once he lost his glasses. He searched for them in dresser drawers, between the cushions of the couch, all over the place. He couldn’t find them anywhere. Until, suddenly, he happened to see himself in the mirror, & there they were, on top of his head.