June 24th, 2012
2Corinthians 6: 1-13
Deacon Mark Jennings, soon to be Vicar Mark Jennings is a deacon who I’ve enjoyed working with for nearly four years. He actually is to enter the SMP pastoral preparation program this fall – having shown the aptitude to be a pastor, as he cares for a congregation that has responded to that care – and urged him to continue his preparation – that he may serve as their pastor. Together they have committed themselves to together to make it happen… to raise up there own, that God’s word be shared in their presence…here is one of his sermons.. read and be blessed!
May you know His grace, His mercy and His peace as you live in this temporary time knowing that through Him you will be eternal.
To Him be all the glory!
Have you heard the story about the reporter who is sent to a senior citizen’s home to do a public interest story? Now you might ask what is so special about a facility for seniors?
Well this one was a little different because it was a home for seniors who had been in the entertainment industry and they had been primarily stand up comedians. When this young reporter travels up the steps he notices on the front porch that there is a bunch of rockers filled with people. Suddenly one of the guys stops rocking, stands up and yells out the number ‘21’. At that everybody starts busting out with laughter. After that another yells out ‘17’ and everybody giggled and laughed some more.
This keeps going on and the reporter is becoming more and more perplexed. He finally asks what this was all about. They proceeded to tell him that being comics, they knew all the jokes so to save time they assigned each joke a number.
The reporter thinking this is pretty ingenious decides to try it out and proceeds to stand up and yells out,’21’. Nobody laughs.
The reporter tries calling out other numbers but to no avail. Nobody laughs. It is dead as a doornail. He can’t figure it out.
Just then one of the retired comedians stands up, goes to the reporter, puts his arm around him and says,” Son, it’s all in the timing.”
It’s all in the timing.
Time and timing.
They are such important things in our lives. Let’s face it; they make the world go round! It’s hard to know when to do things sometimes. It’s not always easy to discern that perfect timing for something. When is the perfect time to ask your boss for a raise or maybe to ask that special someone out on a date?
The battery in my watch died this week and it was like losing a hand. I felt lost without it.
So much rides on time and timing. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time that could turn into a less than pleasant situation (trust me, I know). If you are not on time for work everyday you’re gonna get canned. And just so some of you won’t squirm in the pew I won’t even mention about being late for church, which starts at 10:30 A.M.
By the way, does anybody know what time it is? Whenever I asked my grandpa what time it was he would always reply, “it’s time all fools are dead, don’t you feel sick?” And no, it’s not Howdy Doody time or Miller time.
Paul knew the time and in verse 2 in our Epistle reading, he quotes from Isaiah 49: 8.
“At the time of my favor I have answered you; on the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Our time of deliverance and rescue is here now and it’s found in the grace of our Father who in His perfect timing and who on no merit of our own sent His Son who is Jesus the Christ to rescue us from certain destruction and death.
That time has come when God’s grace, which knows no bounds, pours out and overflows upon His people. Jesus the Christ dies for all so that all would live forever in that perfect gift of love, mercy and grace.
Because of His grace. He has answered us with the free gift of eternal life.
We have this incredible thing but yet we don’t always put it first. We sometimes put God in a glass box to be opened only on Sunday morning or broken open and used only in the event of an emergency. Other things become so much more important and crucial to us that they become our god and that grace is received in vain. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s cheap. So much so that Paul talks about it in verse 1, “Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
It’s not about us. When we depend on ourselves or this world that we are visiting, we aren’t focused on God and His grace. It’s like gambling. You may think that you win in the short time but in the long run you will lose and you will have used your money in vain. That’s a proven fact. Just ask any Vegas casino!
What looks good isn’t. Looks can be deceiving, empty, lifeless and hollow.
1 Corinthians 15:2. “By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain.”
If your not holding on to the Gospel given to us in grace for dear life then you’re already dead and it was and is all in vain. But if you trust and have faith and depend on God… You know that God’s grace never deceives. God’s grace is never empty and lifeless. God’s grace is always teeming with abundant life, it is the new life that we now have in Christ. That is what we hold on firmly to. It is perfect and His timing is perfect.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
God’s timing to call all to him is right now. It’s not after the game or starting Monday morning, it’s right here, right now. It began before this planet was even created. This day of salvation was accomplished by Jesus the Christ on that nasty, horrible chunk of wood at Calvary and finished at that empty tomb.
We are called and chosen people not because we are good people but because YAHWEH is so great and extends that gift of grace to us simply because He loves us.
“Behold, now is the favorable time.”
Now is the time. Through Christ you have received faith. Don’t worry about whether it is the right time to talk to God and ask for forgiveness. God does not keep regular office hours and your timing could never be better. Don’t worry about the timing. Any time is the right time. God is waiting for you. Hurry, don’t delay! He wants to hear from you and unlike we who sometimes don’t listen to each other, or our children, he hears everything his beloved children say.
So we know that God’s timing is right and favorable and because of that our day of Salvation is here and we are saved as Ephesians 2: 8 says,
“ For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God.” Because of God’s grace we now through Jesus have a new relationship with our Father and we find that in the Word.
Paul also says something I thought was very interesting in the opening verse when he says, “ As His fellow workers.”
Does he mean that we partner with God? We work together? The answer is yes! Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t partner in our salvation, that is God and only God who once again in His perfect timing calls us and bestows on and in us His grace though Christ.
But God has called us and chosen us to work in the vineyard and we do it with Him. It is fitting today that after the sermon we will be installing our new officers for the coming year today!
The Holy Trinity is like a general who leads his troops into actual battle and is not afraid to get his hands dirty.
As we are called and sent, God will provide the timing and the time to witness and tell about His glory and that perfectly timed plan of salvation. While we live in this world temporarily we are given the tools we need from the Holy Spirit or the Paraclete who walks alongside us and strengthens us as we tell those who don’t yet know or understand the glory of the cross and what that means.
We are servants of God, which, by the way in Greek is the word diakonos, which is where we get the word deacon from. We are able to stand through these temporal afflictions and hardships and struggles because of that grace given to us in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works together with us to make our timing right and to know when and what to say so like Paul says in verse 3,
“ We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found in our ministry.”
The only obstacle that we put in the way of anybody is the truth. The truth of God’s grace, which calls and chooses and lifts up and changes people. It is the truth that the time of the day of salvation is here, praise God!
The truth of Christ crucified is an obstacle for sin and for death and for that evil deceiver who would have us focus on the world and ourselves.
But for those who believe, it is sweet comfort and relief to know what God has done through His Son for not just you and I but for all people.
We trust and have faith knowing that God’s time is not our time and we know with confidence and hope that our Father’s timing is perfect as we await that glorious day of resurrection when our King returns to take us home for eternity.
It’s all about the timing.
It’s all about His timing!
To Him be all glory forever!