Summary: Christian people need to be fully aware of the present time.
INTRO.- ILL.- I have a 3-year older brother named Larry. When he was a senior in high school I was a freshman. They called him "Big Shep" and me "Little Shep." (BUT YOU CAN CALL ME, BIG SHEP!)
One day in gym class I got into a fight with a guy 2 years older than me. He was a junior. His name was Doug Told and he came from a family that had money. I WAS CONSIDERED MIDDLE-CLASS AND HE WAS UPPER-CLASS.
But just because he had money he was not particularly a popular guy. The reason was because he acted like he was better than other people. MANY STUDENTS DIDNâT LIKE HIM AND I DIDN’T EITHER.
On this particular day in gym we were playing "hog ball." The coach blew the whistle and suddenly I found myself standing in front of Doug Told. He was on the opposing team and instead of grabbing the ball and making a run for it, we started slugging it out! He apparently didnât like me either!
THERE WE STOOD, GOING TOE-TO-TOE! I was hitting him, punching him in the face just as fast I could! WAS IT EVER FUN!
Suddenly, the coach blew his whistle and put a stop to our fighting. AND EVERYBODY CHEERED FOR ME... "Way to go! Shep!" I loved it!
One of the best fights I ever had, because I got the best of him and everybody knew it. AND SO DID DOUG TOLD. AND HE DIDN’T LIKE IT ONE BIT. In fact, he said he was going to get me after school.
And I never thought much about it until after school. When school was let it out, he and one of his friends cornered me out near the street in front of the school. And I thought, "Uh Oh, I may be in trouble. Two against one...."
Suddenly, I looked up and there was my older brother, Big Shep, in his old 51 Chevy. HE SAID SOME CHOICE WORDS TO DOUG TOLD AND HIS BUDDY...CHEWED ON THEM ABOUT PICKING ON A LITTLE FRESHMAN.
Then he said, "Get in the car." I did and we headed home.
MY OLDER BROTHER LARRY SAVED ME! MY BIG BROTHER SAVED ME! And suddenly, I felt safe and secure!
DO YOU REALIZE THAT WE HAVE A BIG BROTHER WHO HAS SAVED US?
Hebrews 2:10-11, 17-18
Jesus is our "big brother" who saved us and rescued us from the evil one! We are saved in Jesus Christ! We are saved from the world, the flesh and the devil through Jesus, our Big Brother, our Savior! And even more than that: We are safe and secure in Him!
In Romans 13:11 Paul said that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. What’s he talking about?
Salvation is a past, present and future experience. WE HAVE BEEN SAVED. WE ARE BEING SAVED. AND WE SHALL BE SAVED.
Paul is talking about the "grand finale" of salvation. The end, the finish line, the final curtain, the last hurrah, the closing chorus, etc.
II Tim. 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."
ILL.- In December of 1988 I ran the Huntsville, AL, marathon to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon which was to be run the next April. The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest marathons in the world and the most prestigious. And to run it you have to meet a qualifying time. In 1988 I was over 40 which meant I had to run the marathon in 3 hours and 10 minutes in order to quality for Boston. MY PREVIOUS BEST WAS ONLY 3 HOURS AND 24 MINUTES. So I had to knock some 14 minutes off my time.
I actually beat that 3 hours and 10 minutes and what made the difference was a woman! One of our local River to River female runners was also running the marathon and about 10 miles I finally caught her and we ran the rest of the race together. I DON’T LIKE TO ADMIT IT, BUT SHE ACTUALLY KEPT ME GOING, PUSHING THE PACE, ETC.
When I crossed that finish line after 26:2 miles the clock overhead read 3 hours and 4 minutes. I actually beat the time that I needed to run. I WAS SO EXCITED.
When I ran across that finish line, I waved both my arms wildly and hollered out, "I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!" And Iâll guarantee you, everybody within about 20 yard area heard me too!