The Urgency of the Hour – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

The Urgency of the Hour

Part 1

Romans 13

  • 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
  • 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Intro: The Bible is filled – I mean loaded with references about a person’s understanding of the urgency of the hour.

Hebrews 12 compares the life of a Christian to “running a race.”

Some Christians are like the Aesop’s Fable story of the hare and the tortoise.

They started out well, but they’ve crawled up under a bush somewhere and are taking a nap!

I believe we can all agree – time is running out!

We are in the last days.

Furthermore, we are in the last hours of the last days.

There should be an overwhelming sense of urgency in the heart and mind of every believer.

Taking a break is one thing; constantly wasting time is not only unscriptural but it is unimaginable.

               QUOTE: Waiting on God is patience. God having to wait on us is just pathetic. – Stacey Shiflett

               QUOTE: Does your level of procrastination test God’s level of longsuffering? – Stacey Shiflett

Paul wrote a statement twice; once to the church at Ephesus and also to the church of Colosse:

  • Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
  • Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

When I read the Gospels, I see something about Jesus that we should all aspire to emulate.

He was acutely aware of the limited time frame in which He had to work.

If Jesus is our example and He is our pattern, we need to look at something this morning.

Just in Mark 1 we find insight into the work ethic of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse 32-34, notice what all He did AFTER THE SUN WENT DOWN.

  • 32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
  • 33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.
  • 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

How long do you think that took?

Then notice what time He got up the next morning after a long day and night of ministry:

  • 35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Jesus set an example of a life of urgency.

We will look at more of this later on in the message.

For now, let’s examine the text in Romans 13.

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

               A. An Awareness – “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time…”

Let me ask you this morning – Can you tell time?

Do you have any idea what time it is?

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for the inability to discern the times.

Matthew 16

  • 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
  • 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

We should be living each day like it is our last.

Paul said it like this – That knowing the time, that NOW IT IS HIGH TIME.

               B. An Awakening – “…not it is high time to awake out of sleep…”

There is more than one kind of sleep.

There is a physical sleep. God’s people have always had a problem knowing when to sleep and when not to.

  • Jonah slept at the wrong time.
  • Samson slept in the wrong place.
  • The disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane slept at the wrong time.
  • Eutychus slept at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

But there is something worse than going to sleep physically at the wrong time.

That is when a Christian goes to sleep SPIRITUALLY at the wrong time.

And let me say it – this is the wrong time for a child of God to be taking a nap!

1 Thessalonians 5

  • 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
  • 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
  • 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

               C. An Abandoning – “…let us therefore cast off the works of darkness…”

  • Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
  • Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

               D. An Adorning – “…let us put on the armour of light.”

How does one put on the armor of light? I think there’s a clue in the following verses.

The answer is in verse 14 – “But PUT YE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST…”

He didn’t say go into the closet and pick it out.

He didn’t say lay it out and keep it close by.

He said PUT IT ON!!!

Get dressed! Get ready!

Ephesians 4

  • 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
  • 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
  • 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

I. Faith in the Savior

Acts 24

  • 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.

Later in Acts 27, Paul had a sense of extreme urgency when witnessing to King Agrippa.

  • 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
  • 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
  • 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

So many people die and go to hell thinking they had time.

They live like they will live here forever.

  • Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Luke 12

  • 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
  • 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
  • 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
  • 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
  • 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

The Word of God is clear – NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!

  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

James 4

  • 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

II. Fervency in Service

  • Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

ILLUSTRATION: Let’s look at an example of a 99-year-old man (17:1) – Abraham in Genesis 18:1-8

  • vs. 2 – “…and when he saw them, he ran to meet them…”
  • vs. 6 – “…and Abraham hastened into the tent…”
  • vs. 6 “…make ready quickly…”
  • vs. 7 “…and Abraham ran unto the herd…and hasted to dress it.”

What gear are you in?

What gets you moving? What stirs you to step it up?

What makes you hasten? To run? To get ready quickly?

A sale at the mall? A fishing tournament? A golf tee time? A trip to see family or friends?

Abraham was 99-year-old, sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day. (vs. 1)

It was hot. He was tired. He was old. But when he saw those three men, he ran to meet them.

He ran to serve. He ran to minister. He ran to be a blessing.

He went chased down a young calf, killed it, skinned it, butchered it, cooked it and served it – all while those 3 men sat there and waited.                                       

It occurred to me that Abraham was conscience of the needs of these men.

They were hungry; they had needs.

And when he could have given them some lunch money and sent them on their way, he chose to minister.

He met that need. He took ownership of the solution to their need.

He got a young man to help him in verse 7, but he didn’t delegate all of it.

He took a hands-on approach to the meeting of their needs and he did it with urgency!

There was a sense of urgency in every step he took; every action he took was driven by urgency.

John 4

  • 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
  • 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Part 2

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

III. Following the Scripture

  • Psalms 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
  • Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

When God speaks, we should obey immediately.

There’s too much procrastination once truth has been revealed.

No need to think about it; pray about it; search for more truth.

Once God shows you, do it.

Once He speaks, obey!

He shouldn’t have to repeat Himself.

He shouldn’t have to beg or plead.

He should speak ONCE and we jump in obedience!

ILLUSTRATION: Matthew 4

  • 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
  • 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
  • 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
  • 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
  • 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Verse 18 says they were casting a net into the sea.

Verse 20 says they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

I had an amazing thought.

What if they didn’t even draw that net?

They could have very well let it sink to the bottom of the lake.

Why draw the net?

  • They weren’t going to clean the fish.
  • They weren’t going to sell the fish.
  • They weren’t going to make any money on the fish?
  • Why pull in a net full of fish that you aren’t going to use?

Why draw the net?

The minute they heard the voice of the Savior, something inside of them changed.

The Bible is clear: “…they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”

I don’t know if they pulled in the net or not, but one thing is clear – they didn’t hang around.

Their obedience to the command of the Master was instantaneous.

Is ours? Do we drop what we’re doing when He speaks and obey?

Do we sense the urgency in this matter of following the words and commandments of Jesus Christ?

Verse 21 and 22 shows another couple of brothers with a similar sense of urgency.

They were sitting on the boat mending their nets.

Jesus called – Jesus addressed them – Jesus invited them to follow Him.

Their response was to drop their nets, kiss dad goodbye, climb out of the boat and follow Jesus!

The Bible is clear – their response was IMMEDIATE!

I looked it up in the Greek. Immediately means right then!

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

IV. Fulfilling the Sacrifice

  • Psalms 116:14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
  • Psalms 116:18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,

The Psalmist said it twice in the same chapter.

  • It was Purposed – “I will pay my vows unto God…”
  • It was Prompt – “I will pay my vows unto the Lord NOW…”
  • It was Public – “…in the presence of all his people.”

We have a tendency to make promises; vows; pledges to the Lord, and then forget about them.

Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale and had time to reflect on some things.

Notice one of the things that Jonah realized while he was down there.

He realized that he had yet to make good on some of his vows; his sacrifices; his promises to God.

  • Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.

One of the things he said was this: Get me out of here, and I’ll pay my vows!

I bet he was aggravated at himself for delaying; procrastinating; forgetting to pay his sacrifices and vows!

Some of you have made the same vow to God in this altar dozens of times and still haven’t paid it!

The Urgency of the Hour calls for:

V. Focusing on the Sovereign

  • Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

               REMEMBER: to be mindful; to mention; to record; to bring to remembrance

There’s no greater time to focus on your Creator than when you are in your youth.

The devil will do all he can to get you to remember a lot of things; focus on anything and everything but God.

There’s no better opportunity to focus on your Creator.

  • He didn’t say anything about remembering that boy’s name you met at the gas station.
  • He didn’t say anything about remembering to get a girlfriend.
  • He didn’t say anything about focusing on your love life.
  • He said remember thy Creator and remember Him NOW!!

We need a group of young people that learn to focus on God NOW!

  • NOW! – when their hearts are tender.
  • NOW! – when their minds are fresh.
  • NOW! – when their life is unscarred and uncluttered with the world.
  • NOW! – when they still have their virtue and are still clean and innocent.

The urgency of the hour calls for you to remember; focus on God as a young person!

Why would God tell a young person to remember their Creator?

  • The Creator reminded them of His Person – this is God we’re talking about; the Creator of everything!
  • The Creator reminded them of His Power – the kind of power that spoke the worlds into existence
  • The Creator reminded them of His Plan – the God that created them had a plan for their life.