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It's Not Time

John 7:1-8, 30

 

 

We look at time from a mathematical perspective.  We divide time into measurements of seconds, minutes, hours, and days.  But there's another way of looking at time.

 

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Time is like a river made up of the events which happen in a violent stream.  For as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place.  And this too will be carried away."

        This is looking at time from a philosophical perspective.  From that view, time is impossible to keep up with and is always slipping away.  You can't stop it, speed it up, or slow it down. 

 

We've all had moments when we wanted to rush time.  When bored, time seems to stand still.  For some, this is one of those moments!  When we have fun, time flies.  Kids often want to speed up time and be older.  This is why they give their age 'and a half!'.  They begin saying that like a week after their twelfth birthday..."I'm 12 1/2...basically a teenager!"

 

As we get older, we try to slow time down.  Because age brings decay.  When we were little, age meant growth.  Now, age means 'growths'.  Now we grow in all the wrong places!  [hair in ears, knuckles].  I could tell a joke so funny it would make your hair fall out but I see so many of you have already heard it!

 

ill.--a lady up in years looked in a full length mirror with disappointment.  Her husband lay in bed as she cried out, "Look at me!  My face is wrinkled, my arms are flabby, my hips are wide.  Look at me!"  Her husband lay there silent.  "Say something, you big lug, cheer me up, give me something positive."  He replied, "Well, there's nothing wrong with your eyesight!"

 

ill.--a doctor saw one of his patients jogging down the road with a beautiful woman at his side.  He couldn't believe what he was seeing.  He flagged him down.  "What is going on?", he asked.  "What doc, I'm just doing what you told me."  "Huh?"  "Yeah, you said to get a hot mama and be cheerful."  The doc said, "No, I said you've got a heart murmur, be careful!"

 

We can't slow time, speed it up, or, one more thing:  We are unable to turn back time.  Once today is gone, it's gone forever.  Time is like a ratchet, it only turns forward.

 

Time is mathematical in a sense, philosophical in another sense, but there's yet one more perspective from which we can understand time, most importantly, an eternal perspective. 

 

"Time is just the fringe of eternity."  Time is very short in the framework of eternity.  God is timeless and made us in His timeless image, and just so happens to have inserted us into a brief period of time, but soon will move us on to eternity somewhere, with time no more.  Then and only then will we truly be able to say, "I don't have time!"

 

Most people live for time, when we should live for eternity.  Right now we answer to time, but we ought to make time answer to us, and live for what is important, not always scurrying around as slaves to what's 'urgent.' 

 

1.     Festival Time.

v. 2  This feast was one of 3 festivals held each fall in Jerusalem.

Feast of trumpets - Rosh Hashanah - in September.

Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur - in September.

Feast of Tabernacles - if you were Jewish and lived within 20 miles of Jerusalem you were expected and required to attend this festival.  For Jesus, this was a time of 'danger.'  This reminds me of...

        a.     Divine Protection

v. 1c                They sought to kill him.  Open hostility begins.  The religious leaders begin to plot and plan His death. 

v. 19, 25

 

Jesus is in control of time.

v. 30        His time wasn't up.  And you and I can enjoy this same divine protection.

Isaiah 54:17
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;

Romans 8:31
If God be for us, who can be against us?

Psalm 34:7
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

 

        b.     Divine Provision

This was a joyous feast...lasted for 8 days.  It was a remembrance of God's provision for Israel in the wilderness. 

        They surrounded the temple with candlesticks, as a picture of the pillar of fire guiding them by night.

        They would go to the pool of Siloam and fill large vessels of water, and pour it out in the temple courtyard as a picture of God bringing water out of a rock.

        They would sleep in homemade tents and lean-to's made of tree branches, reminding them of the same.

 

And we enjoy God's provision as well.  It's not all up to us.  He is the One Who takes care of us!

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God is in control in the midst of a bad economy.  I believe that in hard times God not only shows up...He shows off!  He gets more glory when it's clear He's the one meeting needs, and not us.

 

        c.     Divine Prerogative

This was a perplexing time for His brethren.

vv. 3-6     Who are these brethren?  Family!  After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary began having children together.  They would be half brothers or sisters. [same mother, different father] 

 

It's a mystery how these family members didn't fully believe.  They witnessed the miracles and the great crowds, and evidently liked the attention, and then what happened at the end of chapter 6?  Jesus lost His crowd!  His brethren come up with a scheme of how He can get His crowd back.  "Go to the big feast and put on one of your shows."

v. 4c                'Show thyself to the world.'

        On the surface it sounds like good advice.  If you want to make it in country music you go to Nashville.  Broadway?  New York!  Be famous?  Hollywood, or just YouTube yourself doing something stupid!

[interesting that the devil gave Jesus this same temptation in the wilderness]

 

Now, we know that Jesus WILL show Himself to the world when it is time.

Revelation 1:7
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him...

Jesus is on a divine timetable. 

v. 6          It's not time yet.  He's exercising restraint.  He knows He has not been sent as a celebrity.  He has already turned down the opportunity to be a king when He fed the multitude. 

        Too many Christians in churches today want to be celebrities instead of humble servants of God.  They want more...what they DON'T have instead of what they DO have.  The need to be right, the need for the spotlight, or to get their way, or be served, rather than the need to be a servant.

        When the disciples argued - it was about who was the greatest...and then Jesus showed who was truly the greatest when as a servant He washed all of their stinking feet.  On another occasion they were having a similar quarrel and brought it to Jesus, asking Him who would rank highest in heaven.  Jesus picked up a child and said, someone like this.  He was talking about humility!

 

Everything we see right now is in the scope of time, which is very short in light of eternity.  You could say eternity is a looooong time.  But actually, it’s ‘time’s up.’  Where will you be when your time is up?

 

Our time on earth is like time at the travel agent's office.  We are only there for a short while to decide where we are going.

 

From Jesus' festival time we learn important lessons about...

2.     Earthly Time.

 

Ephesians 5:15-16
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

A 72 year old has spent 21 years sleeping, 14 years working, 7 years in the bathroom, 6 years eating [this is just an average...I've already topped that], 6 years in the car, and 3 months searching for lost items, most of that toward the end!  6 months you'll spend at stoplights, and 8 months going thru junk mail.  Staggering:  the average FB user is on pace to spend 11 years of his life there, and we all average 19 years watching TV...of course many are on the high side of that average balancing out the others.  This adds up to over 85 years because of the multitasking principle [FB while driving!]

        And yet couples spend less than 4 minutes per day in meaningful communication.  Even less time w/ the children.  How much time do we spend with God?  That's best measured in seconds, not minutes.

 

It's not that we don't have enough time, it's what we do with it.  We all have 60 seconds in each minute.  Our priorities are all out of whack. Some get a week's value out of a year, and yet some are able to get a year's value out of a week...it's all in how we choose to spend time.

 

        a.     Its worth

Why is time so valuable?

                1.     It's a gift from God!

James 4:13-15
13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
 

None of us has the promise of tomorrow, just today.  And life is short, like a vapor or puff of smoke that just vanishes.  We count time in years, but God says to number our days. 

 

                2.     It's impossible to recover.

We can't go back and live something differently than we did at first.  This is why time is valuable.  And when someone spends time with you, they are giving you something they can never take back...this speaks of value!

 

You can pay back $5 or return a pound of sugar you borrowed, but time cannot be given back.  Time is the stuff of life!

 

                3.     It's in short supply.

Diamonds are valuable not just for their beauty but their rarity. 

Job 7:6
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle...

Job 14:1
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

        a.     Its worth

        b.     Its wasting

Time is wasted when God is not in first place.

7:16-18    Jesus' time on earth was spent bringing glory to God.  And we are created for the same purpose.  I feel sorry for those who don't know that -- they haven't discovered the VERY REASON they were created. 

 

The world is wasting away...wasting time.

ill.--I've been in a lot of testimony services and heard many express how they wish they had been saved earlier in life, but never has anyone ever said they wish they had waited longer.  Young people say they are having their fun right now [this implies that serving God isn't fun, and I'm offended at that!] 

 

Being saved isn't just about going to heaven when you die...it's about bringing glory to God all your days, right now! And yet many burn the candle of their life for the devil.  At the end they will blow the smoke in the face of God...what an insult!

2 Corinthians 6:2
... behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

 

If we are saved but not sold out, we are wasting precious time!  Don't spend your life in pursuit of things that will not matter one second after you die.  Even if you could take your gold to heaven it would just be pavement!

 

Christians waste time when we pursue sinful pleasures.  Not only is sin an affront to our holy God, but it's burning time that could have been used profitably. 

 

ill.--Rod Bell was on death row in New York state, and just weeks before his scheduled execution was the spring forward day of daylight standard time.  He went into a rage of how he had just lost an hour of life.  "I was convicted under daylight savings and I want that hour!"

        Would to God we all saw every hour as being that precious!

 

        a.     Its worth

        b.     Its wasting

 

        c.     Its wise use

We need to make a priority of God time, quiet time.  And since you can't outgive God, and since we have so much to do, we should take time to pray and read God's Word, knowing how much time God will give back all day.  And if we do that, it will seem like nothing to make time for church attendance!

        I used to 'buy it' when people would excuse their lack of church attendance because they are 'so busy.'  Time is like money...we spend it where we want.

Family time doesn't happen on accident...we must do it on purpose.  But if you allow your work to rob you of all your family time you will come to regret it.  The 2 overwhelming emotions at funerals are sorrow [of course] and guilt of how time was spent, or not spent, with them.  No one on their deathbed wishes they worked more.

ill.--a workaholic's wife made it clear as he left for his job one morning, "The movers are coming today, by the time you get off tonite we'll be at the new house...don't come here, understand?"  He said, "Of course, what do you think, I'm stupid?"  Sure enough after 15 hours on the job he drove back to the old house, nothing but empty boxes in the yard.  What's worse, he forgot where the new house was.  He stopped a kid on a bicycle and asked him where that family moved to.  "Ah dad, mom said you'd forget!"

 

ill.--Jim Croce wrote the song 'Time in a Bottle', about saving it, and spending it later how you want.  Ironically, one year after the song released, he died in a plane crash, and every plan he had for the rest of his life died with him.

 

The best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago.  The second best time is today.  We have all wasted time, but let's make a change today!

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