This Week's Gospel Sermons
March 6 - 11, 2011 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.
Speaker: Jerry Curry
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February 20, 2011
The Time Was Right
“He made knownto us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” (Ephisians 1:9,10).
In showing the pre-eminence of Christ, we are told that God made known the mystery of his will. This refers to God’s plan of redemption for man, his church, his kingdom, and his promises as revealed in the New Testament. In verse 10, we are told that God did this when the time was full or right. What was the “time” and how was it right?
First, we need to remember that God is in charge of time and everything related to it: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). He was, still is, and will be until He sees fit to end it (2Peter 3:7,8; James 4:13-15).
God spoke to Abraham about a particular “time.” God promised him that the time would come when all nations would be blessed in him (Genesis 12:1-3). Years passed and a written law was given (Deuteronomy 4:12-14). But this was not the fulfillment promised to Abraham (Deuteronomy 5:1-3). This was done to bring the people to the time of fulfillment in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:19,24).
Toward the end of this period of the law, Haggai, the prophet, announced that this fulfillment was to be in a little time. “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:6-10). This was announced while in the process of encouraging Judah to rebuilt the temple. The temple did not have to be so nice as the first one—that was not the source of glory.
Soon after Jesus was tempted and John was put in prison, Jesus announced that the time is fulfilled: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God was now at hand.
The time was now full or right for Christ and his church, so far as the things which had been prophesied about the temple. Christ was going to appear in the temple: “‘Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1). The temple was going still to be standing (Haggai 2:9). This would be the temple that Zerubbabel had built and Herod later worked on. We all now know that the temple was destroyed in AD 70. So, according to the temple promise, the time was ripe for the fulfillment. It could not have been later.
The time was full or right so far as prophecy concerning the Jews or the kingdom of Judah. Genesis 49:9,10 indicated that the scepter, the sign of rule, of Judah would not depart until Shiloh would come. Apparently this is saying that Judah would be still a kingdom until Christ came. “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). We know now that the kingdom of Judah was soon to be destroyed, but it was still there when Christ came. The time was right.
The time was full or right so far as world conditions were concerned. The revealing of the mystery was to go into all the world: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (Mark 16:15). At this very time, the Roman empire was world-wide. People could go anywhere without a passport. There was understanding of language. There was a unification of commerce and even a postal system. A few years before, this was not so. Much of the time since this it was not so. This was the time in history referred to as Pax Romana—Roman peace. The time was just right for the great commission to be fulfilled.
The time was full; the time was right. Still, people have doubts about the Bible and about God. How can people consider all of the things that made the “time” right and still doubt?
We are a long time removed from the time under consideration. We are in the last days. Peter reminds us if this as he began his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). In these last days, we should be concentrating on Jesus and His words: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The plan which was announced when the time was right is the plan now. We have no other. If we choose to reject this Savior, what else is there? “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard.” (Hebrews 2:3). Let us take heed and obey.
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.