SERMON JUNUARY 24, 2021                                                

                                                  DO YOU KNOW THE TIME?

Mark 1:14-20 (pg. 1552) Text: 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Has anyone ever asked you what time it was and your looked at your watch and told them? Well, Jesus wasn’t asking for the time. He said, “The time has come”. No one knew what He meant! Or what He was telling them! Did He mean the time right that minute? Or the End of Time? If He meant the end of time, did He mean that if you refuse to pay attention to certain signs, the End will “come like a thief in the night”. What did He mean? Was it time for the end of the law and prophets? Was it the fulness of time had come for the Messiah to appear in the world? What kind of time? Man’s time? God’s time?

Before mechanical clocks were developed timekeeping was pretty simple. Ancient civilizations observed the motion of the sun and planets to determine dates, and time and seasons. The first calendar may have been devised during the last glacial period which ended 15,000 years ago. Sticks and bones had been used to track phases of the moon for seasons. Big structures like Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, were developed to determine seasons. The first, real time keeping devices were developed by ancient Egyptians. They were called Shadow Clocks which could divide the day into a 12-hour periods. They, also, used enormously tall, four-sided, narrow tapered stone pillars to track the sun’s shadow. The Greeks called obeliskos. They consisted of a single stone. The largest and tallest Egyptian obelisk is the Lateran Obelisk located in Rome in the square across from the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital. It stands 105 feet tall and weighs 502 tons. But most modern obelisks are made of several stones, like The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. which stands 565 feet tall and weighs 91,000 tons. Water clocks were simple. They had a bowl of water with a tiny hole cut into the bottom to let the water out at a steady rate with hours marked off by lines drawn inside the water bowl. But they froze in winter, And the water evaporated in summer. Candle Clocks were used. Time sticks were tried. Sundials worked, at least when it was sunny. Shadow Clocks and Sundials didn't work at night! What was needed was something mechanical. And that appeared in the 3rd Century B.C. in Greece. Simple, water-powered wheels which transferred rotating energy into alternating motion powered clocks. The Chinese developed a mercury version of a clock in the 10th Century. And in 11th Century Iran mechanical cocks appeared. But the first true mechanical clocks, like we have today with a balance wheel for accurate timekeeping, appeared in 14th Century Europe.

But what was Jesus was referring to when He said, “The time has come”? How was it measured? Since it was the first direct quote of Jesus, and it’s the announcement that God's kingdom had arrived, it had a sense of urgency! A sense of immediacy! But Jews were no longer looking to a future fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies. And there was Jesus! Standing right in front of them! He was on the scene! He was fulfilling God's Word right there among God's people (Galatians 4:4). Hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament had been told about the coming of Israel's Messiah. But the Jews didn’t understand it! They didn’t know what the Kingdom of God really was. They didn’t know what Messiah would do for them. They believed Messiah would lead an army to give them political independence from Rome. Give them peace and prosperity. But instead of a military leader, Jesus came meek as a lamb (John 1:29), not to remove the barrier between the Jews and their Roman enemy, but to remove the barrier between God and human sin. “The time has come!”

In the Greek New Testament, there are two words for time. One specifies a certain age. We are living in a time that is troubling. But that’s not the way Jesus used it here. He meant a fixed time. A point in time. A definite time. The right time. Jesus was saying that time had come. It was a specific, pointed, determined time. It was “The Kingdom of God is at hand” which meant the rule and reign of God over all things. He’s Lord of all Creation! God alone sits on His throne in heaven. God is Master and Ruler of the universe. His kingdom includes heaven, and hell, and earth. And everyone and everything in all three!

So, has your time come? Not for passing from this world into the next! But for getting your life right with God through His Son, Jesus Christ? According to the clear teaching of the Bible, there’s only one way to be made right with God. Romans 3:22 says you’re made right with God when you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. That’s meant for everyone who believes. No matter who you are. Ask yourself this question - Have I trusted Jesus for my salvation? It’s the most important question you could ever ask yourself. Because where you spend your eternity depends on your answer.

Again, has your time come? Carl Sandberg said, “Time is the most important coin you have. Be careful how you spend it”. How are you spending your time here on earth? Is it only for yourself? The word repent in the New Testament means to change one’s mind. It means to turn around 180 degrees. To do an about face concerning God and Jesus in your life. Repent means you changed your mind about your sins. You no longer enjoy them. You no longer seek them. You no longer do them or involve others in doing them. You see what you’re doing, for what it really is. Depressing, murky, detestable. Now, you despise your sin. And you dislike yourself if you’re still doing them. Repent means you’ve changed your mind about yourself. You realize you, yourself, have an unsaved soul. You recognize you’re accountable to a Holy God. You’re seeing yourself mirrored in His reflection. And what you see shows you that you’re way short of what God expects of you.

Repent means you’ve changed your mind about Jesus. He has become the source of all your hopes and your dreams. Even your ambitions. He has become the crown jewel of your life. He’s the Goal of all you do. His will has become your will to live by! So, there’s a difference between time measured by a clock, and time measured by opportunity. There’s an expression that says, “life is short”. But the fact is, you don’t know how long or short your life really is! Now, if you knew your life was almost over and you had time to tell only one person the one thing you haven’t taken the time to tell them, what would it be? What would you say?” The Apostle Paul challenged the believers in Ephesus to “know what time it was.” He said, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil”. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

What was true in Paul’s day in Ephesus, is true today. We’re living in difficult times. It’s a time when God is being taken out of everything. Schools. Public spaces. But according to many Biblical scholars America is not even around for the end times of which Jesus spoke. The average lifespan of large nations is about 300 years. And it’s been 245 years since 1776! Most nations fall apart because of military action from neighbors. Or they lose their values and morals and collapse from the inside. Society collapses. Natural resources are used up. Weather patterns change. Relations with trade partners deteriorates. Most cultures go through three generations before finally breaking down. But if America is still in existence in the final days, will she be led by the Antichrist. Could she be at the Battle of Armageddon. In Revelation 12:13-17, there’s an indirect reference to an “eagle” which saves Israel from destruction by the devil. Think about this! Since the eagle is the national bird of the United States, some suggest this eagle saving the woman in Revelation is symbolic of the U.S. stepping in to protect Israel at the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon.

So, what exactly was the time of which Jesus spoke? Only God knows! But you must be prepared for it. God can’t be taken from those who know Him through His Son Jesus Christ and who have His Holy Spirit within them! So, What Time Is It? It’s time for you to make the most of what you have. It’s not time to waste the time God has given you. Jesus said, “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” AMEN