Something wonderful is happening inside the Body of Christ! The Holy Spirit is stirring our hearts in a special way because the time of Christ’s return is close. We look at God’s Word, hear God’s people and listen to the Spirit’s Voice and we know there’s not a lot of time left. It’s time to finish what we’re here to do!
Read through the New Testament and you get a powerful sense of the importance of time in God’s economy. What Jesus started 2,000 years ago will not go on forever. He knows the days are rushing toward the end of time (Matthew 13:30) Even demons know the time is coming when they will be punished (Matthew 8:29) and they are busy doing the work of their father, Satan. The signs of Christ’s coming to judge the world surround us, but people are blind to them (Matthew 16:3). Watch a newscast, read a newspaper, scan the Internet, then read what Jesus and the Apostles said would happen at the end and it hits us – hard – the time of His return is almost here.
So, what should Christians do about it? Complain about how bad things are getting or commit to serving the Almighty God? I think we all know the answer to that question. It’s time! Time to wake up and work out.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:11-14
What is the “this” in Paul’s statement “And do this”? It’s love for other people – “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law … Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8, 10) This is our wake-up call! We should love one another, “knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.”
The Apostle Paul used the Greek word kairos for “time” instead of chronos. Kairos means “season,” while chronos denotes a specific space of time (seconds, minutes, hours). Paul is writing about a critical and strategic period of time in God’s economy of Grace toward the Gentiles. The words for “high time” are hora ede and emphasizes the idea that the hour to work is now, rather than later.
What is it time to do? “awake out of sleep!” Think about that for a moment. Paul is writing this letter about 30 years after Jesus died on the Cross. It is just the beginning – the first generation of Christians in the world – and Paul is already telling the Body of Christ to wake up! Is that still true today? Unfortunately, it is. The Church has been asleep at the wheel for decades here in the United States. We’ve forgotten to do what Jesus left us here to do – and that is to love and do no harm to our neighbor. This is the prime directive for Christian ministry – loving others.
So, how do we do this important thing? It starts in our hearts. If we truly love our neighbor – that love will motivate us to serve them. Love will send us to our knees to pray and seek God’s Power, to the Bible to learn and gain wisdom, to church to fellowship and grow, then out the door to find people who need Jesus in their lives. If we don’t love our neighbor, we’ll feel pushed and pulled every time someone brings up the word “ministry.”
Ministry (service) is why we’re here – it’s why God left us on earth after we were saved instead of taking us straight to Heaven, which is now our real Home – our true Country. God uses His people, during their lifetime on earth, to love people – to reach and teach them about Jesus. God sees ministry as a beautiful thing.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:12-15)
Why would God say that the “feet” of those who preach the Gospel of Peace are beautiful? Our feet are beautiful to God because we obey and go. Jesus calls people first to “follow” Him and “learn” from Him. Then, Jesus tells us to demonstrate the same love He has for us by loving others and ministering to their spiritual needs.
This is no big secret for the Body of Christ – it’s clear on every page of the New Testament. God always “sent” His people to minister to others. Did God tell Abram (Abraham) to leave his home in Ur and travel to a foreign land just to provide a better place for him to live? No – God sent Abraham to become the father of a great nation that would be a blessing to the world. It was all about ministry – about serving the needs of others.
What did Jesus tell His disciples to do with their lives? He told them to go and serve others! What did Jesus tell Paul to do? He told Paul to go and serve others! Paul’s life is an example to us of what God wants from all His children – to use their spiritual gifts to serve Him and others.
So, what will it be in your life – sit and soak? or go and serve? Serving God and others is an individual decision – you and I have to choose what we will do with our lives. I’m reminded of what one great leader of Israel said about this just before he died.
“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
May we choose the same – to serve the Lord and do what He has sent us to do. May we finish the holy work of love!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”