Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

12/16/2018 P.M.

 

Now is Our Opportune Moment

Ephesians 5.15-16   2 Corinthians 6.1-2

 

It appears in the fourth act of Julius Caesar… Shakespeare lays these words on the lips of Brutus… As he tries to enlist Cassius in the plot to murder Caesar.

 

There’s a tide in the affairs of men,

Which taken at the flood, leads to fortune;

Omitted... And all the voyages of life

Are bound in the shallows and miseries.

It’s on such a full sea we are now afloat,

We must take the current when it serves

Or lose our ventures.

 

Shakespeare is saying... The tide comes for but a few hours and is gone...

       • If we miss the flood...

       • If we miss an opportune moment...

We’re left in shallows... THE OPPORTUNITY IS GONE...Sometimes gone forever... And many are not retrievable.

 

It’s interesting to note that there are two Greek words for time in the New Testament.

One is CHRONOS... This word speaks of the time on our watches and calendars.

Another is KAIROS... Kairos is ...

    • The opportune moment.

    • The perfect moment.

    • The moment pregnant with possibilities to… obey... Grow... Serve... be saved.

 

Paul speaks of such power in the moment in Ephesians chapter five… Beginning with the verse numbered fifteen… Be very careful how you live… Not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Second Corinthians 6.2 reads... In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

 

Bruce Thielemann was a Presbyterian preacher in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania… He’s dead now… But he had a tremendous impact upon my preaching over the years… He has a sermon titled Molten Moments…And he starts with a narrative of how stainless steel tubing is made.

 

In the mill… A red hot ribbon of molten metal is extruded into a machine… The operator would cut it off at the right length needed… And the machine would begin to turn the metal faster and faster…The centrifugal force would cause the steel ribbon to open from the inside-out…Making a perfect stainless steel tube.

 

Bruce asked the operator…

    • What’s the secret?…

    • What’s the most important part of your job?...

Making sure the metal is the right temperature when it begins to spin… Catching its Molten Moment

    • If it’s too cold… The tube will not open uniformly…

    • If it is too hot… The metal will fly apart… In balls scattered over the floor.

 

Here it is church… The Bible is filled with Molten Moments… And so is my life and yours.

 

Well… It’s a long way from the steel mills of Pennsylvania to the Wilderness of Sinai… But as the Children of Israel stood at Kadesh-Barnea… Overlooking the Land of Canaan.

They were facing their Kairos Molten Moment…. Their Opportunity to enter the Promise Land.

 

But because of fear… A lack of Faith in the God who was leading them… They turned away… Resulting in forty years of wilderness wondering.

 

Listen church… I wonder how may great blessing we individually… Or corporately as a church… Have missed because we failed to take the tide when it served?

 

Secondly… Our Christian life is a series of opportune moments to do God’s will.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2.10 that we are God’s workmanship… Created to do Good Works….Created for His opportune Moments.

 

Our Christian service is composed of good deeds… that God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Then Titus two… We are told that we must be… Anxious…Eager… Zealous… To do these good works… These good deeds that God has prepared.

 

We find in Ephesians 3.20 that God’s Power is at work within us helping us with… our Molten Moments… Our KAIROS opportunities.

 

Hebrews 13.21 says God will equip us with everything we need for doing His will… The good works that he has providentially placed before us.

 

In Philippians… God is found saying that He will complete the good work… The Molten Opportunities of service… He has placed before us.

 

Then Jesus warned that a time… A night… is When it will be impossible to do our Kingdom work.

       • A time when the power of the tide will disappear…

       • The opportune moment to obey…

       • To share Jesus with another…Will pass away…

And we’ll be left in the shallows and in the miseries…

And perhaps that particular moment of Good will never come again.

 

Go with me now… To the Garden of Gethsemane… As we set the stage for the next three points.

 

As Jesus and His apostles enter the Gate… Eight of the Apostles are left there... And three... Peter... James... John... join him in a kind of inner circle.

   • Jesus urges them to watch and pray for Him.

   • Jesus appears to have asked these men... To assist him in this time of greatest need.

The text says he was… Grieved… sorrowful... Troubled… distressed.

 

In fact... He told them... My soul is exceedingly sorrowful... The NIV says... My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow... Even unto death... Stay here... watch… Pray.

 

Jesus was at His Wit’s End…

Scripture says… He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him.

 

Church… That night… Jesus Needed...

       • The sympathy and compassion of His friends...

       • He needed their companionship…

       • Their care...

       • Their encouragement... 

       • Their prayers.

But... They were unwilling to help… Unwilling to give Jesus what he needed.

 

Jesus goes... About 100 yards... A stone’s throw... further and prays.

 

When we put the Synoptic Gospels together...

       • We find that Jesus first knelt in his prayer...

       • Then he was face down... Prone in the dirt...

Praying... Let this cup pass from me.

 

He goes back to his disciples and they’re asleep... Could you not watch even for an hour?.

 

Again he goes and prays the second time.

Jesus is so disturbed... So sorrowful...That his sweat drains from him as drops of blood.

 

Again…He goes back seeking… comfort...Sympathy... Assistance... But again they are asleep.

 

This time... And this is important to our lesson... He does not awaken them... But allows them to sleep on... And He goes and prays alone.

Forsaken... Ignored... Shunned…By His closest companions... But Luke says… God sent an angel come to assist him.

 

A few minutes later there’s flickering of torches... You can see them through the olive trees.

Jesus is led off to Caiaphas... The High Priest...

       • But his disciples were left in the shallows...

       • Hiding in the bushes of Gethsemane...

       • In their fear and miseries...

Because you see... They missed their MoltEn MOMENT… THEIR tide of opportunity!

 

Let’s see what we can learn from this narrative...

 

First... These Apostles missed the opportunity to Grow in Character

There’s little talk today…

       • In our country...

       • In our schools...

       • Even in our churches...

About character growth.

But we all need it... Don’t we?... It’s a Bible concept.

 

The New Testament teaches us that we must… grow... Improve... Mature... Conforming more and more and more to the image of Jesus.

• Peter admonishes us to... Add to our faith... Virtue... Knowledge... Temperance... Patience, etc.

• Paul encourages… Produce Fruit of the Spirit... Love... Joy... Peace... Patience... Kindness…Etc.

 

We must know tonight… That character growth cannot occur at every moment... Under every set of circumstances.

 

There are tides in the development of character...

• Catch them and growth is ours...

• Miss them and we are left in the shallows and miseries.

• Peter speaks of those Molten Moments when we can be… Molded… remolded... Remade... Reshaped…Like gold in a refiner’s fire.

 

Now... I don’t know what constitutes such a KAIROS moment in your life...

• Perhaps our own Gethsemane...

• Our own loneliness…

• A personal crises...

• Perhaps it’s our own physical suffering...

• Maybe the death of one we loved very much…

• Perhaps an inner voice of conscience... That calls us to do right….

• Maybe an example of someone we admire.

• A verse or two of scripture

• A note you found… In mother’s... Or grandmother’s… Bible.

• A letter from an old friend.

• The words of a sermon... Perhaps this sermon tonight.

Whatever it is?... If we are caused to want to expand and develop our faith & character beyond that which we’ve known before...

       • Claim the moment!...

       • Catch The Tide.

 

That night they missed the opportunity to grow in friendship with Jesus.

It is a wonderful thing to have friends... Especially in time of trouble... When we’re battered by hardship... That’s when we need loved ones close.

 

CAN YOU SEE IT?...Jesus was in deep agony... He was troubled that night... Troubled to the point of death.  Jesus… NEEDED... WANTED...YEARNED FOR...

       • Their comfort and companionship...

       • Their fellowship...

       • Their presence...

But He prays alone... That’s sad... Isn’t it??

 

When He came back from His prayer... His robe and His face were dirty.

But there was no one there to brush Him off or to say...

       • We love you...

       • We care...

       • How can we help?

There were no words of… sympathy... Understanding.... encouragement.

 

There was no one to wipe away the bloody perspiration... Jesus suffered alone!!

 

To all His other burdens was added another… loneliness... He didn’t deserve that!

• This is the Jesus who was filled with compassion.

• The Jesus that healed Peter’s mother-in-law.

• The same Jesus that saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd.

• He healed their sick... Restored sight to the blind... Enabled the lame to walk again.

• He gave life to the dead.

• He fed the hungry thousands.

• He cried saying…0 Jerusalem Jerusalem... How often would I have cared for you... But you wouldn’t allow me.

 

But in His moment of greatest need... not a single friend was willing to stand by Him.

• Peter went on to preach the first gospel sermon... Become the chief of the Apostles.

• James went on to become the leader of the great Jerusalem church. 

• John went on to write that great vision... The book of Revelation... closing our scriptures.

But none of these men… has... Or will ever... Be able to say that at the time Jesus needed them most they were there for Him.

And such an opportunity will never come again.

 

Question!!... Has God brought someone into… your life... Or mine...

       • That we know we should be serving?…

       • Someone that we should befriend?...

 

Perhaps there is someone... Even tonight...To whom we ought to speak…

  • A word of encouragement?...

  • Maybe a word of reproof?... 

  • An apology?...

  • A word of forgiveness?...

  • A word about… Faith?... Repentance?... Forgiveness?... Salvation?...Restoration?...

Don’t ignore the tide... Don’t spurn the urge... Don’t quEncH the Spirit.

 

The disciples missed the opportunity to grow closer to God.

Any one of us can… strike a match... Light a candle... Ignite a bonfire.

 

But not one of us... Or all of us together...Can kindle the flame of God’s Spirit.

 

Jesus told Nicodemus in John three...That... The Holy Spirit comes and goes like the wind... Utterly outside of any direction or control on our part.

 

Church... God was in the Garden that night working in the lives who were willing to submit…Willing to obey Him.

But… not in the lives of these men… Not in the lives of these men… Because they slept through the opportunities God PROVIDENTIALLY provided.

 

Know this tonight… God is at work in this audience...

       • In the lives of those willing to listen to the Word…

       • Those willing to believe it....

       • Those willing to obey it...

RIGHT???... Does this include you... And your preacher?... I pray that it does!!

 

I want you to notice that while Jesus awoke the disciples the first time... He did not waken them the second time.

 

In other words... We cannot depend on the providence of God to interrupt our life in such a dramatic fashion each and every time we hear a lesson from the Word.

 

In fact we’re told that with each quickening of our heart and conscience... There comes a hardening process... A searing... That’s the message of Paul in First Timothy.

 

Interesting that in Ephesians chapter four... He says... That there are some who are past feeling... WHY???... Because they have said… NO... NO... No... No... NO... So many times to the Gospel Message... That they are no longer touched by it…That’s scary… Right?

 

Scary that there are those wayward children of God who have said NO to coming home... So many times… That the Word of truth no longer pricks their hearts.

 

There are times when God brings us to a point where we can be close...            INCREDIBLY... Unbelievably... Close to Him...

But… If we miss the opportunity...

       • The Power of the Tide rushes in...

       • The Molten Moment cools...

       • The KAIROS opportunity disappears...

Be careful…DON’T SAY NO TO GOD TONIGHT!...

 

Our text admonishes… Be very careful… Then… How you live… Not as unwise… But as wise… Making the most of every opportunity… Because the days are evil.

 

What do you and your preacher need to do tonight...

• Become a child of God... By Faith... Repentance... Confession... New Testament baptism?

 

• Perhaps as baptized believers... We need to confess some sin and rededicate our life...

 

• Maybe say YES to some good works...

 

• Others of us need to improve our character...

 

• To forsake that sin that so easily besets us....

 

• Maybe we need to give up some ugly habit... Drugs... Alcohol... Pornography...

 

• Maybe we need to come asking for the prayers of the church... Asking God to help us.

 

eliminate procrastination from our lives... To be attuned to the opportunities God providentially places before us daily.

 

CATCH THE TIDE... access this MoltEn Moment…

TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY... To do what we know is right!...

As we stand and sing together.