The Time Was Right
The time was right for Christ to come into the World.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa 9:6-7)
The passage that we have before us this morning is not an unusual one to be reading during Christmas time. It is a passage written long before the time of Christ, it was written between the years of King Ahaz and that of the reign of King Hezekiah, about 750 years before the Child spoken of (Jesus Christ) would be born into the world.
The time was not yet right for him to come into the world, but the time was right for God to specifically prophesies of his coming into the world by the prophet Isaiah.
The time would come when a Child shall be born and a son shall be given, a time when the government of the world will be upon this same man’s shoulders and a time that this son given shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. And a time of just government forever.
But that time would not be yet. In fact, his coming into the world would not be for another seven and ½ centuries.
Throughout history, God worked in accord with his timeline. The time when he dealt in certain ways with certain people according to his specific purpose.
We refer to these times as distinct “dispensations”, distinct periods in which God administered his specific purpose upon the sons of men. As you read the Bible in its context, you can’t help but notice these things come to pass.
God administered his ways differently during the time of Adam and Eve before the fall of man, than he did with man after the fall.
God administered his purpose according to his own will when he called Abram out of the Ur of the Chaldees, and away from all the heathen world before him and around him.
God chose a people and gave his law during a specific period in history in order to show his power and his purpose to a world that did not yet know him personally.
God administered both his judgments and his grace during the captivity of Israel
And when the time was right, God was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16), he revealed himself as Emanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).
Different times throughout history that God had different dealings with man.
And the time that Christ came, marked what would become some two thousand years of opportunity for the forgiveness of sin, two thousand years of grace, two thousand years of amnesty for those, and only those, who believe Christ came to seek and the save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
THE TIME OF IGNORANCE IS OVER
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
There was a time when God chose to overlook the sins of men, (to what extent we do not know and to what level we do not know), but WE DO KNOW that now he “commandeth all men everywhere to repent”.
THE TIME OF IGNORANCE IS OVER, man would now be made aware of his sin and his eternal separation from God, because the opportunity of salvation from his sin has come. The time was right.
But that time had been first prepared.
Some 330 earlier there was a preparation being undertaken in the known world. A young man was born to take over the kingdom of his father, King Phillip of Macedon, and Alexander the great would conquer the known world in just eleven short years.
After which his life would end at only 33 years of age.
What Alexander accomplished however in those few years, no leader in history had been able to do.
He changed the industrial language of the world to the Greek tongue, not just any Greek and certainly not the elevated Classical Greek spoken by the religious philosophers of his day, but the Greek of the common man, known as koine Greek.
It would be this Greek language in which the New Testament of the Bible would later be written.
This Greek was not to replace the language of the people of the world, Alexander desired only that it would be used as the trading a lawful language of the world. The government would speak Greek, the traders would trade in Greek, while the cultures of the people, their religions, and their traditions would be retained.
Therefore the writing that was to reach the largest possible audience would be written in koine Greek.
Three hundred and thirty years before Paul stood atop Mars hill addressing the crowd with the Gospel, the people of the world had already been well accustomed to the Greek language. THE TIME WAS RIGHT.
It’s interesting isn’t it?
When THE TIME WAS RIGHT and God desired to choose himself out a people for his name, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language. The Old Testament was given in Hebrew because it was the Hebrew people he desired to specifically call out and communicate with.
When THE TIME WAS RIGHT, and God desired to reach the uttermost parts of the world with the Gospel, he prepared a way through a common language, that language was Greek.
Later that language would become Latin until finally all these languages were dominated by the English tongue, a language so common in the world today that only the language at the tower of Babel could be considered more universal.
English is the only true Global language of the world and THE TIME WAS RIGHT for the Bible to be given in the language that would dominate the days in which we need it most, what the Bible refers to as “The last days” and “the time of the end”.
So the TIME OF GLOBAL IGNORANCE IS OVER.
The Bible has been printed in every major language of the world, and it is THE RIGHT TIME to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. Why? Well, he tells us in verse 31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
The day is appointed, the day is at hand and that day is a day of judgment and that judgment is by the very ‘Child’ that was born, the same ‘Son’ that was given.
- CHRISTIAN, the Time is Right, the days are at hand, the Time of the Signs are the very times we are living in, WHEN ARE YOU GOING to SELL OUT to your trust in Christ?
- When will you stop living for this world and start obeying the Lord for the sake of the Gospel?
- Around you walk a world in misery and without hope; when are you going to stop thinking life is about you and start thinking that if THAT PERSON DOES NOT HEAR OF CHRIST BY YOUR LIPS, THEY WILL BE DAMNED?
- When will you take responsibility for the Life Jesus died for, instead of wasting it on that which has NO ETERNAL VALUE?
- When will you stop living for this world and start obeying the Lord for the sake of the Gospel?
When will you watchmen warn your family, your friends, your work colleagues that he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
- To the Lost, THE TIME IS RIGHT, you have the word of God in your language, the time of your WILLFUL ignorance is over, and you will be held to account for the revelation you have.
- You are no longer in darkness, you are both aware of your sinfulness and aware that God is and it has been declared to you by your own conscience that you stand in the greatest trouble of all.
- Every year since your birth you have heard of Christ, every year you celebrate your own birth, it is in reference to Christ, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE, when will you seek him out and wash away your sin?
- Every moment of every day you walk on a thin crust under which burns the hottest hell prepared for the devil and his angles, the covering so thin that your own weight bares down and threatens to let you fall.
- You have no promise of tomorrow, today ONLY, even now, The Time is Right to believe the Gospel.
- The TIME OF IGNORANCE IS OVER
THE TIME OF CONVENIENCE IS NOW
Paul was taken prisoner for the preaching of the good news, he preached with clarity to Felix the governor, and from verse 22 to 25 is how the governor responded;
22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. 23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. 24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
The Child was born and the Son was given and Paul here testifies of him as “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Felix heard the word, THE TIME WAS RIGHT, none other than the apostle Paul was before his throne, no greater evangelist in history could be considered as having a more prominent position and calling in the eyes of the God if there was any time IN HISTORY that could be considered as “RIGHT”, that time was the moment Felix “trembled” at the hearing of the Gospel.
BUT how did he respond?
Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
There are very few in this Church that could claim to have heard the Gospel more than a couple of times in their life before they committed their lives to Jesus.
I heard it twice, separated by twelve tumultuous years where at any time I could have lost my life.
No person could think that the late teens to the late twenties of a young man are “SAFE” years, quite on the contrary, these are the most dangerous years of all in the young person’s life.
These are the years that a young man separates from the rule of his parents and experiments with the rule of self. These are dangerous years and I only heard the gospel twice, once at 17 years and the other at 29 yrs.
At age seventeen, the response of Felix was essentially my response, “go away, when its more convenient to me, Ill think more about it, but not now”
How many think this way today?
How many people who are actually born again, whose sins are covered, who can claim Christ as Saviour, who are Baptised believers, but are still saying to God, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” ?
– The Child was born for you,
– the son was given for you,
– the sword pierced the soul of his mother as she watched him crucified before her eyes for YOU
And yet you live your life in disdain of the blood that was shed for you?
He came to his own, and they denied him, you received him as your Saviour and now have all but forgotten him.
What convenient “season” are you looking for?
What better life can you think to have apart from that which HE has given you?
- You barely meet him for a moment in prayer, and too often this with whatever time you might have left over.
- You barely meet him in in your Bible to get to know him, and if you do it might be just as your mind has closed for the day and your eyes just about to follow.
- You don’t like to spend time with those others who have been purchased by the blood of Christ, let you be encouraged to live for him.
AND THEN WONDER ABOVE ALL WONDERS WHY YOUR LIFE IS TROBLED….???
I have never seen a more miserable Christian than one who is seeking his fulfillment in the world he was SAVED FROM.
THE TIME IS RIGHT to live for Jesus today brethren, never has there been a time more right to live your life to the full for Christ.
Never can there be a greater satisfaction and joy than watching the miracles of faith come alive than at the time we are now living.
Do you feel you have failed the Lord?
Do you think your faith wavered and broke?
You will have the opportunity again to trust him for all your needs, and watch him work the works to those who trust THAT THE TIME OF CONVENIENCE IS NOW.
AND what of the Lost? What of you who have heard the Gospel this day, did you tremble? Was your heart grieved that your sin is seen as the greatest offense to God and you are justly and eternally separated from him?
Do you know that the Child born and the Son Given, was born to save you and given to purchase you?
Did you hear the message of your own salvation and now have the opportunity to believe it?
This Gospel, you may not hear again. Your time to die might come upon you unawares, you might make plans for tomorrow, but tomorrow might not plan for you.
Your life and breath is held in Gods hands and his anger for your sin is great. Only ‘wrath’ is the word most appropriate for your spite of his Son that died to save you.
But for the Child born, but for the son given, you would have no hope of forgiveness or eternal life, none of us would, we would all be yet in our sins.
But Christ has come, the fullness of time has come and Christ came into the world to save you and I.
What more convenient time can it be that right now?
Why not now, even before this sermon is over, why not now believe the Gospel and be reconciled to God?
THE FULLNESS OF TIME HAS COME
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Gal 4:4-7)
“WHEN THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME WAS COME, GOD SENT FORTH HIS SON…”
Paul wrote this to the Churches of Galatia. Paul had been to Galatia several times. Galatia is that region known as Turkey today, Paul was able to travel there in his first missionary journey, his second missionary journey, and his third missionary journey, out of four journeys he took in his lifetime.
It was incredible that Paul was able to do this. We cant even travel interstate in Australia in this time, because the time is evidently not right; but for hundreds, if not thousands of years, to make such Journeys that Paul made was seen as very dangerous, it was NEVER RIGHT.
We read in both Nehemiah and Ezra that the times to travel to Jerusalem was dangerous times, as many traveling people and caravans needed to be heavily armed else they would fall to robbers and thieves.
The time was right for the Gospel to be printed in the language of the people thanks to Alexander the Great, but the time was also right to be able to travel the Roman world thanks to both the ingenuity of Roman Roads, but most importantly to what was known as the Pax Romana, the Roman Peace.
It was a unique time in history, when peace filled the land and all marauding tribes and robbers would be dealt severely if they ever interfered with those traveling through. The period was not long, it was a WINDOW of peace that lasted some two hundred years between the reigns of Augustus in 27 BC to Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD.
The time was right to preach the Gospel.
This was the FULLNESS OF THE TIME” and God saw fit that a Child would be born, a Son would be given.
O how long it was spoken of, how long it was anticipated that the Christ, the Saviour of the world would come into the world.
The seventh chapter of Isaiah prophesied that he would be conceived by a virgin, and all the women of Israel would hope that they may be considered as the blessed of the Lord.
It was Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary who is first seen as identifying the nature of the ‘Child that would be born”
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:39-45)
The time of the Coming of the Lords Christ was come, and blessed are those who identified THE TIME WAS RIGHT.
There was also a man who was promised by God that his life would not end until he had seen the Lords Christ.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Beloved, there was a window for which the wonderful truth of this Gospel could be spread abroad, and those who identified The TIME WAS RIGHT, testified to the truth of it while the time remained.
That window beloved is narrowing every day, and that time is getting away from us.
There is no time more urgent in the Gospel that today, there is no time in which the world is looking for hope out of a hopeless world than today and there is no place in the world where that hope lies than in committing our lives to Christ.
Christian, what other time will be the right time that you live for Christ?
When will the time be right that you love Jesus more than you do your own life?
When will the time be right that you are sold out for Christ?
How many more signs do you need to see that the time is short, your life is short and what have you done for him in the last year?
Consider, how many are the souls you have witnessed to clearly about hope in Christ this year? Can you count them? How many have you invited to Church now that we are able to meet? How many have you invited home to share a meal and tell of the hope you have?
How often will you look to doing so this coming year?
The Pax Romana came to a close after 180AD, traveling was dangerous and the preaching of the Gospel difficult, how long do we have before our sojourning here is ended by that wonderful trumpet call we should all be looking forward to?
Lost man or woman, when will the time be right that you turn to Christ and surrender your life to him?
Will you be like Governor Felix looking for a more convenient season that you will never find? Or is today your day of salvation?
Are you waiting for MORE SIGNS OF THE TIMES before you will be convinced the Bible is true, or have you seen enough to convince you?
Will you wait until you see your sin MORE VILE than it already is, or will you turn to Christ before the judgment comes against you?
Will you wait until it’s too late, and remember this day today that you gave up the chance of everlasting life, for all eternity? Will this day be held in the infinite memorial as the day you ALMOST BELIEVED?
Two thousand years ago the time was right, a Child was born, a Son was Given, his name is WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER AND THE PRINCE OF PEACE.
A time is very shortly coming that Christ shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. And how we should all be burdened and motivated for the Gospel until that comes to pass, because it WILL come to pass, “The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this”.
When the time was right, the sea parted, the walls fell down, the lions went hungry, the sun stood still, the waves were calm, the stone was rolled away, the clouds were parted, the Lord ascended…And when the time is right, the King of Kings will return. God is never early and He’s never late–He’s always right on time and His plan for you is good!