9/5/99 P15A

“It’s About Time”
Romans 13: 8-14

t’s about time to wake up from our sleep and get to work! This is a familiar tune that our mothers sang; and now we sing it to ourselves: “Time’s A Wasting; Get up and get going!”

Time, those precious seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, can be looked at as tiny blades of opportunity--- For the Bible says that “Our days are as grass.” (Psalm 103: 15). Furthermore, our glory, our highest achievement, is like the flower of the grass that is glorious for a brief span of time, but is soon cut down. (Ps. 90:5).

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, used “Wake from sleep,” as a way to emphasize that we all need to respond to God’s call, “For salvation (heavenly glorification) is nearer to us now than when we (first) became believers.” (13: 11).

Folks are all ‘turked up about the dawning of a third millennium since Christ’s birth. There is, of course, secular reasons to be concerned about computers failing; however, the Bible teaches that, “A thousand year’s in thy (God’s) sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4). Yet, we watch our watches tick seconds away as if we are somehow in control. It has been surveyed that the average guy in America owns seven watches, some that no longer run. I own a few more than that. I still use watches that I have to wind. I set them on my Internet computer watch that phones Colorado and sets my watch to the millisecond. I like to start church on time. I hung a big clock on the back Sanctuary wall, and I have a hidden clock on my Pulpit, so I know how many seconds I keep you past noon on Sunday. But at the same time, I know that time means very little according to God’s celestial watch. We sometimes act as if God has limited himself to our incorrect calculations and measurements of time. After all, it could be that God is still on the Hebrew clock, or the Chinese, or Arab, way of counting, years, months, minutes and seconds. Sure, society has to run together on some set time, but we must never think that we know what time it is according to the Divine timetable. Yet, we do know that as St. Paul reminded the Roman believers, “It is high time to awake out of (our) sleep...” (Ro. 13: 11b, KJV).

Country churches don’t worry so much about getting out on time. I love to go preach revivals, and campmeetings, in places where they say, “Now preacher don’t you worry about time, just let the Spirit direct you!” Of course, nowadays there are always some Internet users who have their watches set by the international watch millisecond. At least they know exactly how ‘looong overtime we kept them.

On this Labor Day we especially need to hear that we need to, “...lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light... let us live honorably in this day.” (v. 12 & 13).

All of life is determined by how we respond to Christ’s call and how we deal with the days of opportunity that we have. Labor Day is a time to think about ending the long vacation mood and getting back to labor that matters. Whatever our vocation, as believers, our avocation, the thing we love most and burn after, should be serving Christ in all that we do.

I have an old plaque on my study wall that my Uncle George gave to my mother in 1939, he was soon after killed in World War II. The little plaque reminds us:

“Only this life ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Some folks recklessly live their lives as if they have a spare in the trunk. They take chances with health, habits, manias, and reckless sporting events. TIME magazine’s cover story asked the question last week, “Why Do We Take Risks?” “From extreme sports to day trading, thrill seeking is becoming more popular. Sky diving has become passé to risk takers who jump thousands of feet off canyon walls and bridges seeking a greater adrenaline rush. The last time my family visited Grandfather Mountain we saw three people jump off--- skydiving. Are their lives so empty that they must seek reckless thrills at cost of life and limb? I suppose some would think us ‘dullsville as we sang the popular tune this morning:

“I want to Walk as a Child of the Light.
I want to Follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.”

Let us “wake up and smell the coffee!” Let us be numbered among those who find our joy in serving the Lord, who put Christ first: “Let us then lay aside the works of darkness (death) and put on the armor of light (life); let us live honorably as in the day (as people of the day), not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.” (Rom. 13: 12 & 13, NRSV).

Many of you are already recalling the demonic torture murder this past week of a young woman by three who were partying with her. All were drinking and doping when the other woman became jealous and enticed the two men to torture, mutilate and finally, after three days, murder the woman that was getting more attention. This is an extreme example, but we wonder how close to home such events are in our high schools and college dormitories.

Will we wake up and live as Christian believers in the glorious joy of His abiding presence and power? Will we allow the Holy Spirit to focus our energy, emotions and enthusiasm toward things that lead to a long and productive life in His Kingdom of Light, Love and Joy?

What is the thing your love the most? What do you really get excited about? Is there anyplace you would rather be than in His House this Sunday morning? If your joy is out in the secular world, then you need to awake from your sleep, and finally plunge into the free salvation that Jesus offers today. It's about time to wake up and get to work serving Him!

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor

9/5/99 P15A