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If Not Now, When?

Christian Martin

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Christian Martin

Senior Pastor of the Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Oregon Conference

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Conference

Recorded

  • June 18, 2018
    2:15 PM
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Our Father in heaven thank you lord that you have brought us to Michigan camp meeting Lord this is a time of the year that we always anticipate because it's a time when when you can encourage us he can edify Yes you can convict she can build a sub you can equip us empower us to be able to be. Effective Disciples of Christ and I pray Lord that as we begin this seminar that you would give us complete understanding of these biblical concepts that could revolutionize the way we we live out only as individuals but but as a church and I pray Lord that in these last days in moments like this you would give us a double portion of your Holy Spirit to understand and please convict our hearts Lord where we need conviction and so we thank you for answering our prayer in Jesus' name amen All right so so we're going to the title the seminars re prioritizing in the last days re prioritizing in the last ace and let me begin let me begin by 1st asking. What does what does priority mean what's a priority anyone like to answer that was a priority. Putting it 1st something putting something 1st OK what's the most important. And Woods needed OK and we can combine these things and make them into shape them into one sharp concise definition right. Very good very good I think that all of us have a pretty good concept of what a priority means. One of the most straightforward definitions that I came across is a thing that is recognized or regarded as more important or urgent than another Ok you said important this adds urgent to it so it's not just important where priority is what's important and urgent and yet another definition set recognizing what I got to be done 1st what I'd to be done 1st you know we can we can have several things to do and make a long list of things to do but then the question remains what is the most urgent was the most important and what is the one that ought to be done 1st. Priority there is good well there is there is a quote from the White that that I believe many of you if not all have heard this before it's one that's repeated often and she wrote these inspired words a revival of true godliness Are you familiar with this verse or this past a revival of true godliness among this is the Great is and to most urgent of all our needs. Didn't you see that just you know it's speaking of priorities no greatest and most urgent of all our needs to seek this should be our 1st work is that what you said is well something that we do 1st priority. There must be an earnest effort to obtain the blessings of the Lord. Not because God is not willing to bestow His blessings upon us but because we are unprepared to receive it are you familiar with that verse passage so yes OK it is interesting because let me let me recap it or summarize it in this way she says there is something that is the greatest and most urgent. But we're not we're not reaping the we're not reaping the fruit or the benefits sort of or the resoled of having the pain that because we are unprepared to receive it or I'm prepared to receive and my question to you today is this Could it be they were unprepared to receive it because we have all the wrong priorities see we know what's important and we're you know we're doing all the important things that that we feel are important but and no one's arguing that these are not Priorities say that's the thing no one's arguing that what you might consider a priority is a priority No No one's arguing that the question is is it the most urgent and the most important and I believe and I've been convicted that you know maybe we need to re prioritize specially in these last States and today we're going to examine this as an introduction we're going to we're my 1st person takes in today is an introduction intitled if not now when that's that's the topic of today's talk if not now when and so going back to when to whites could we are unprepared to receive it I guess another question would have to be what are we prepared to receive what we are what are we unprepared to receive. And what's causing that unpreparedness. Let me ask you a question how like to hear your thoughts why are we unprepared what's what's causing us to be unprepared to receive the blessing of healthy church grows or primitive godliness what was causing us to be unprepared what he think to receive the pressing of the Lord distractions OK distractions. Business OK Interesting self centeredness. Those All right answers and the other thoughts social media OK which is distraction right on. We're not on fire K. yeah OK yeah that's all right answer so. We're not surrendered. Unprepared to receive it how about unbelief and belief. Actually Apostles page $36.00 it says a single sentence that caught my attention it said talking about the upper room experience which we believe we are in now right now now is the Upper Room period right where we as believers has the church should be in the upper room experience right it should be happening you know you know in in the far future or even near future cheapie happening now in the course he says as the disciples who waited for the fulfillment of the promise isn't that what we're doing are we not disciples and are we not waiting for the fulfillment of the promise see the nose which he says as they waited they humbled their hearts intrude repentance and confessed their unbelief. They humble their hearts into repentance and confessed their unbelief we could add unbelief to why we're so unprepared How about apathy or indifference. Apathy or indifference like Kelly shared I believe last night was it that we were in danger of the administrators of becoming an ethnic group you know. In the context of Christianity we're just just a subgroup in the Christian culture. Apathy or indifference Well what if everything you just said plus these additional thoughts what if what if it all could be summed up the reason we are unprepared to receive the true blessing of the Lord is because our priorities are not the greatest and most urgent of all our needs were not were not nailing it or not spending our energy and time and focus on what we really ought to be and so again the purpose of the seminar stick salmon from a biblical perspective what I have to be our priorities as modern day disciples and as a church in preparation to receive the blessing of the Lord which comes as a result of a revival primitive godliness and so again to mace lecture topic is title is if not now when you remember the seventy's a lot of you do seventies I remember the 70s the year I was born I was born in 76 I I know the seventy's I was born right there in 76 but even a couple years before I was born the year was 1974 mostly you remember that year that time and there was a 32 year old songwriter. Who pulled out a point from his file cabinet it was a point that his wife had written about a year and a half earlier during the time when Harry was often away on road on the road doing concerts and very busy men and and his wife had written this this point and she said what you think of this he read it in thing too much as he says the. Bat put in the file forgot all about it and it was a point he had to pay no attention to and now and now year and a half later since he wrote that ploy. His life was a little different because now he was holding in his arms a newborn baby his very own his very own baby and he was moved by the words of the point that his wife had written the name of that point was cats in the cradle. Its name was Harry Saipan and the song tells the story of a father you know the son he's too busy been too busy to spend time with his growing son and despite the fact that the father's putting off quality time. With his son the son ceases father still role model that I want to be just like you even though even though he was not spending that quality time his son still looked up to him and his father was a fine example of who the boy wanted to be when he grew up so in the end of the in the end the son does grow up right to be just like the father and at this point fast forward now the aging patriarch the right reaches out to son for his quality time for quality time the boys simply to this he with his family with his family the closing saw and lines of the song say this. As I hung up the phone it occurred to me he'd grown up just like me my boy was just like me and the last refrain changes from when are you coming home dad to when are you coming home son and the answer the same same one that The Father gave years before answer I don't know when. But we'll get together then you know we'll have a good time then. So very sobering message isn't it a very sobering message a message that reminds us of the value of prioritizing our time in doing things that matter the most in things that matter the most and so the context of this seminar is is twofold on the one hand you may ask yourself these questions as an individual you know as as a modern day disciple you know what matters the most to me or and or as it say and or you can ask the question what it matters the most to my church what matters the most from my car gave my church family to my church. And so again a question I have for you then is what matters the most to you to you what matters the most to you believe me it's a question that must be asked. And I think it's a question that might be a hard question to ask because we we kind of sense you know the kind of answers we're going to we're going to give and we don't really like those answers because we know they are not right they sit not be what they are but we need to ask those questions what are their priorities at this very moment in your life I'm not talking about what are your priorities are you as he began college and decided on a career that those those were your priority for 20 years ago many years ago the question is Why are your priorities at this very moment at this very moment what are the priorities the drive the purpose of your life. Must be asked and I want to be able to look at scripture as as we consider the life of Christ let's let's look at the life of Jesus as we ask ourselves these questions which would come with me for those who brought your Bibles to Mark's have to 1 March Hafter one. Marked chapter one persists 35 to 39 March after one versus 35 to 39. And here we find a story that is just a perfect story that reveals to us what was the one underlying priority that dictated crisis actions because as far as that's what parties do. Notice with me verse 35 Mark Chapter one Verse 35 it says now in the morning. Having risen a long while before daylight he went out and departed to a solitary place and there he did what prayed and there he prayed point number one as we asked ourselves the question what are the priorities in my life what are the things that matter the most in my life what are the things had ought to be the most urgent and the most important in my life today as a modern day disciple of Christ. Right now that the end server will never come to you unless you're in prayer it's when you will not be able to come to a cool ear conclusion and understanding of a truly are your priorities unless you pray in other words one cannot have clear priorities Why are living a prayer lists life just not possible after all the heart of the heart the Bible does say is the hardest to sit to see full of all things who can know it and if we're going to get to the Couper of what drives us of what matters the most we've got to be spending time in prayer and Jesus is praying. And he's praying notice now verse $36.37 and Simon and Simon and those who are with him search for him and when they found him they said to him Master and everyone is looking for you everyone is looking for you now Larry Pozner for a moment if you are a modern day disciple one who has been commissioned to go out into the world OK and someone comes to you and say listen there's people lined up you know Ray to sign up for bible studies I mean how would how to react to be like seeing. I just that's perfect Where where are they tell me tell me Take me take me to them you would be you would be quick to jump to it and and go to where people are after all you have a message you want as many people as possible to hear it but it did in Jesus too though if there was anybody who had a message to say or to the masses would have been Jesus who had been Jesus so for him to hear everyone is looking for you that's what every evangelists wants to hear but notice what happens next so much for the W W J D What would Jesus do because because when Jesus does is throws a curve ball he completely blindsides us with his action with what he chooses to do instead of being driven by in polls by Eventually a sick impulse or a desire to want to share he was driven by his priority look at verse 38 but he said to then. Let us go into the next towns then I may preach there also because for this purpose I have come forth for this purpose I have come forth in other words if we were to paraphrase what he just said He's saying this no that is go to the next towns I mean it could be driven by impulse I know you're hyped up that people are looking for me wanting but no we're not going to do that instead we're going to go out to other areas because for this purpose have come forth in other words for this reason I was born for this reason I exist for his recent axis Welcome back to what happens next for the rest of the story a little bit later but but for now is sufficient to to focus in on his on his words for this purpose I came for and so what moves you what determines your actions what determines your Which are going to invest in which you're going to be investing in whether it's projects or or initiatives or or you know goals what moves you what fuels that what ignites you to do is it just near him pulls instinct or have you come to the point that you know the purpose why you exist you know the purpose why you came for what purpose for what purpose do you excess or for what purpose does the church exist. Goodness I as I said earlier as we go through this you're going to be you're going to be YOU CAN HAVE to 2 contacts to think about what is your own personal modern day disciple woods my priority what's my purpose why did I come forth why do I. And or why despite churches success was a purpose of my church why do we exist in our community in our neighborhood why are we here and where are we going and so your priorities will answer that question now let's switch gears for just a moment you know one of the 1st answers they usually get when asking what are the priorities for the church there's there's there's an answer that is a common common answer I'll reveal that to you because I have a feeling I might hear it here in this in this context as you ask me the same question What what are the priorities if you could if you could say it in one word what are the priorities of the 7th Day Adventists Hertz in 2018 What what are the priorities what are to be the priorities how to answer that evangelism I would say and one word Tom OK OK Creech the spiritual life of its members I heard evangelism and one word. Disciple says. OK evangelism is the one you pretty much always hear without exception I've always heard that kind of response evangelism evangelism evangelism. And is the focus being made here tempting as well now let me be quick to say that I don't question at all that evangelism is part of the answer of our priorities I don't I don't believe that most would even question that at all of course we exist for Eventually of course we do and we can all agree that evangelism is a priority Amen Yeah OK but my next question then is this what is eventually. Witnessing a soul with the soul winning. For Phillips OK fulfilling Christ's mission. Truth OK Vangelis I'm Gospel preached in all the world. OK how about adding members to the church would that be part of the answer. Part of the answer I see some nodding yes others No but I think we call it we can all agree that that's part of the answer I mean after all we want to increase the kingdom of God we want to be able to to to to go fishing for men and bring in as many souls as possible I think adding members to the church could be part of the answer and it's definitely important part of the answer but perhaps the most important question this is and this is getting to to the heart of the matter of what this seminar will be all about could it be that the most pressing or important question is who adds to the church. Who adds to the church I'm going to take you to 2 verses that are often read often read but they're rarely put together to reveal a very crucial sequence when it comes to evangelism and when it comes to church growth. Let me show those 2 verses with you X. 52141 is the 1st one X. 5 X. 541 notice Acts Chapter 5 percent 41 all right X. 541. Get someone read that for me. That's the wrong reference. OK but I'm good I'm going to tell you what the verse us alright yeah he's getting to me See it's all right this what the Versus OK OK this is what the US and the Bible says that they that they that that be added OK yeah yeah OK went to 42nd. OK NO NO NO NO HOMO 2nd and that they added that they added to the Lord that's what assess and they added to the lore that's the passage I'm looking for in socks X. it's not X. 541 you look it up in a can court and so I don't have a moment to do it now but but they added to the Lord OK I've heard that phrase before in the book of Acts and the early church added to the Lord added to the Lord added to the Lord right OK it's a very it's more than once. 14 isn't thinking of anyone see what he did what in the world OK X. 5514 think you OK OK There it is and believe verse thank you and believers who are increasingly He added To added to the lured multitudes of both men and women in K. they they were increasingly added to the Lord now keep that verse that that recent mind and now go to Acts $247.00 X. $247.00 Notice what this verse says again this is 2 verses that we often read but in separate context but now that we put in combining together it's very revealing something something very insightful. To the church. Those who are being saved Did you see it to see it and says And the Lord added to what to the church. Do you see a sequence look at those 2 verses what can you tell me about church growth or evangelism in these 2 verses what what's the what's the what's a sequence here a progressive sequence What did you notice was the focus of the early church was to add people to whom to the Lord and then in turn the Lord added people to the church to see that do you see that do you see that could it be could it be could it be that while claiming to be prioritizing batting people to the church maybe we need to re prioritize. Maybe just maybe we ought to be adding people to the Lord because when we had people to the Lord guess what results from that true sinew in conversion conversion there's there's not just a mere conformity to certain expectations a certain rules or certain or certain behaviors certain standards there's there's the driving element is is once willingness to serve the Lord with gladness to trust and obey and to respond to the convictions the Holy Spirit because they've been added to the Lord I'd like to propose to you that true evangelism is is a lot more than just being driven to add members to the church and increase our church membership role in our lives store or be able to have as many baptisms as possible increasing membership and trying to have growth that way could it be could it be that the greater priority ought to be adding people to the Lord to the Lord and I believe that as we repro our ties and get our our parties straight I believe that we'll find ourselves prepared to receive the blessings of the Lord because we are working together with him because of him and for him and with him in preparing people for soon return. You know people from all walks of life from all walks of life and we know them on in fact this everyone here in this room represents people from all walks of life and we all have convincing arguments of what ought to be priorities in our personal lives or in in our existence or in the church we all have different opinions and and we would even go on as farces say that you're all right all of you would be right to some degree because I'm sure that your response to the question wow to be a parodies are true they're real they they're relevant they're they're valid you know for Tom Brady for example I am talking about just Prouty's in life or Tom Brady you recognize who he is he's the quarterback for the Patriots every year with his diet is where his daily diet is daily diet consists of no sugar no white flour no dairy no mystery no coffee no caffeine from any source know all call and all those things are his daily regimen he this is he's religiously practices this kind of lifestyle. See for Tom Brady this is a priority a priority for what purpose for what and we sold to stay fit for his game to be able to be in the top condition to be able to execute and be able to perform to the max to the highest capacity so we all have proud TS and self-discipline to remain focus on where our priorities should be but what ought to be those priorities and so today I could do a survey I can pull out a survey and start getting your answers whether it should be the priorities in our church or in our life. And and we could we could take days trying to figure those out the top priorities but all would have discovered is that there is a source where we can find our answer we can just cut to the chase and that the Word of God dictate to us what should be our modern day priorities as disciples of Christ do you remember the illustration that is often used in evangelism as a successor is in the subject of health Dr Bruce Hall stead he was a marine biologist and he was employed by the American government after the 2nd World War and he did extensive study and he discovered that and he prepared because of his research he prepared a manual for Navy flyers that would be you know operating in above. Large bodies of water and and in the case that they would be side down over water they he because of his research he put together a manual that would determine would be the best seafood for them to eat and survive their hearing about this and in the manual dictated the fish that were safe to eat and the fish that were not safe to eat and this project funded by the American government cost thousands of dollars thousands of dollars so he published a manual for his flyers on his finding in and the interesting thing he said was this and I quote If you lose this man you'll remember one thing if it has fins in scales you can eat it. If it doesn't have fins and scales such as crab and lobster and shrimp an oyster and clams don't eat it. Because of the high levels of toxins and of quote. Could an amazing conclusion. And have been true to say that he could have come up with that same conclusion why because we're Bible students we study the Word of God in and and that is a conclusion that while God said it 1st right it's in the Word of God It's the Word of God and and so rather than asking ourselves what is the most important urgent you know matters here in the last days for the church and for modern day disciples my we be able to find a bill who answer to that question so we don't have to to go around spinning in circles trying to figure it out and having debates or conclusions or arguments about would add to be the top priorities in the church I believe that we can find an answer and as long as we have faith in God I believe that the Holy Spirit will give us that revelation something that I've heard someone comment. In times past when I share this this presentation is you know us long as we're faithful to God As long as we have faith in God to even be concerned about having the right priorities I mean soon we just kind of let you know let the Spirit lead and not be so concerned about about being so focus in determining what are the most important priorities Well it's a fair question I suppose because we do want to make best use of our time and we don't want to speed be spending too much time trying to figure it out could it be that we don't need to be so focused on priorities Well I thought about that question and and this is that I discovered. Let me ask you a question does the Devil Satan has he have priorities. How about John 1010 let's go did Real quick look at John 1010. John 1010 Jesus Jesus just cut to the chase here in fact does the devil have parties yes he does hear absolutely right and I believe that Jesus in John 1010. Would agree in nails it. Knows what he says there in John 1010 he says the thief of course you know he who use referring to does not come except to say that language alone speaks of priorities he comes you know he can come and do a bunch of things he could come in I guess I you know I can show you 100 different things have the devil could do but the devil comes except to do these specific things why could it be because it's his priorities. It says the thief because does not come except to do what 3 things to what say with me steal to kill and to destroy steal kill and destroy precisely these are the devil's priorities still kill and destroy and now let me take you to another bible reference that sets light on even more specific didn't know of what he steals kills and destroys this was a this was a result of just a reading of Scripture that I was having one time in and I just combine these 2 verses and it reveals something to me that never seen before look at 2nd Timothy 17 Keep your keep your thoughts on John 1010 because we'll refer to those in a minute here but. Combined them with the concepts that Paul writes about in 2nd Timothy 17 2nd time in the 17 2nd time in the 17 there's a reason why we're spending time with this introduction to figure out what are Satan's priorities and why yes priorities because once once we once we once we wrap or minds around that we will not will no longer question whether or not we should have priorities we won't question why we have priorities you'll you'll see why I'm 2nd Timothy 17 knows what Paul writes here to Timothy says For God did for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of what power of love and a sound mind what I find very interesting is that this is Holy Spirit inspired because he is spire the writings of John as well as the writings of to Timothy a thief a thief the see not use the spirit of fear. That's how we operate right a thief knows that if he can't if he can if he can hold sway over his victims over his his yeah his victims with fear yes power over them right that's how a thief operates and so sin trysting to me that Jesus would say a thief only comes to steal kill and destroy God It does not give us a spirit of fear he operates in completely different way but notice what God gives to us freely offers to us as kids for us to accept and embrace and receive entire life he gives us a spirit of what power love and a sound mind and so just for the sake of. Of clarity here let's take half the room here this half I'm going to be asking you to give me in order the 3 things that the 3 does according to John 1010 you're going to give them in order he comes to exceed the only comes to bum bum bum OK then you will be prepared to respond with the 3 think gifts that God gives to us in order as stated in 2nd Timothy $17.00 or 8 and notice who will discover the thieves only one at a time by the way one at a time so the thief comes to. Do that again he comes to. Where he comes to steal power think about that because the only the enemy by the way the Bible says he's undefeated he's finished he's a loser OK there is no power in Him In other words as a believer in Christ the only power that seem to have can have in my life is the power of the lie. The power of the law if he can convince me to believe his lies about who I am in Christ identity if he can convince me to believe his lies about who God is and his character if we can he can convince me to believe his lies about what others think about me and what I think about others and and the community in creating division and strive with his lies among the believers we give him power. And the power that he receives is the power that he's stolen from us because he lied and we believe to follow and so he still has power does the 2nd thing that the does he. That's precisely what he does because love is not just a signature on a marriage license for. Love is something living has a heart beat it's real it's it's active it takes initiative it's not self-centered it's living in sin wants to kill that love and the 3rd thing that he does he. Mind that's precisely what he does he destroys a sound mind because he knows he knows that God speaks to us and says Come let us reason together the great controversy the battlefield is right here in the mind and if you can destroy this sound mind he knows he knows that we are going to be led astray we're going to be led to not to serve between truth and deception and we're going to be lost because Satan will have sway over us and he knows our end if we believe his lies and so here we have Satan Satan spry Ortiz it was his prioritized demonic efforts that convinced Eve to question God's goodness it was a lie she believed it and now she placed herself under his influence in the state of forbidden tree it was his prioritized demonic efforts that influence the rich young ruler to walk away from Jesus. It was his prior ties demonic efforts that persuaded Judas to betray Jesus the movement and Aizen Safira to lie to the Holy Spirit so on and so forth and there's so many examples in the Bible they reveal that Satan has priorities and the Bible even tells us why he has priorities I'll tell you why yes priorities what do you think I may be right take you to the Biblical answer why do you think Satan has priorities. Amy's a preacher's wife see and so is going to have oh he's just Revelation 1212 Did you catch what she said. But good she's a preacher herself that's. For a sad look at Revelation 1212 Revelation 1212 there's the answer I'll tell you why Yes why yes priorities therefore rejoice or heavens and you who dwell in them woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you the thief comes accept to kill steal kill and destroy he has come the thief comes the devil has come down to you having great wrath because he knows that he has what a short time in a short time that's precisely why he has priorities because he has a short time and tell me if this is not true or not isn't it funny how the more we think we have all the time in the world the more careless we become with our priorities isn't that the truth I mean let's be honest isn't that the truth. You know if I if I have if I think I have 5 minutes to accomplish something. You know OK OK OK what's the most important is most urgent only have 5 minutes but then someone comes out will listen he spent change of plans you have 5 hours oh really i have 5 hours. And all of a sudden the sense of recognizing what my priorities are are just completely dropped you know many notches right and that the truth and that the truth. I remember one trip that my dad and I Dad took to visit hide in this before you had a lie Jim Ryan he came to visit us and he spent a couple days with us and there was time for him to depart from the airport and we knew the departure time and we got in the car and we headed that direction right as we're heading that direction. My dad my dad for obvious reasons one of be sure that he would not miss this flight and so he said are we going are we good are we doing go with time a little nervous OK And I said. Don't worry we know we know how life is here in the city we're going to get to on time don't worry about it and so so we carried on in conversations for driving and and all of us and I personally got hungry I personally got on and I suggested Hey guys why don't we stop any I mean I are too hungry that you can catch a flight you're going to they're going to give you a lot of food in the in the plane so when we says stop and eat somewhere and my dad didn't like the idea I said don't know about that but dad we're going to be OK A less is eat less we got to so we went off the exit went to a restaurant set down to eat. And it's so funny because we took a bunch of pictures you know you know the food came out we took pictures a bunch of selfies you know we were just laughing talking taking pictures of our time together and and we carried on and we ate our meal and then we got back in the car as we got back in the car headed back out to the airport all of a sudden. I couldn't believe it where did this traffic come from why in the world is or traffic at this time of the day since the traffic sure enough it was not because it was worse hour those because it was an accident that taken place causing a complete complete Jamma and now here we found ourselves right in the middle of this traffic my dad got really quiet really quiet Mixi No it's my phone rings or his phones rings rather and it was my mom she was in Tennessee and CA was calling to see how things were going and haul all he gets his conversation was in Spanish to see mommy to know my meta seem to know mommy. Yes or no answers. To my mind I'm thinking know exactly what he's as in our Are you are are you on the way to the airport yes or you get there on time no. It's like oh great and he was right we actually didn't catch her flight we were late and he missed his flight and his his delay took him it was close to 10 hours. Of being late to the his destination My point is this My point is this that we lost track of time and we thought that we had all the time in the war. What is. What why can't we just keep call you know the you know the popular slogan nowadays you know keep calm and whatever Keep calm Heep Kong Well yeah we found ourselves stuck in traffic in and believe me at that point now that we're in traffic. Nothing else mattered no rest area no sopping no stopping no nothing not even a restroom break by deaths my dad would have said no I'm holding it let's just get to the airport believe me we were quick to reprice or it is when we realized that we had a short time Dad missed that flight that day but don't you find yourself re prioritizing as soon as you realize you don't have much time and I want you to begin to really ask yourselves how much time do we really. How much time to really have I was here Cam eating 7 years ago Michigan coming 7 years ago was the last time a pastor here for 13 years from when was it from now you the 922012 so set about 767 years ago that we were here and since we've been here. One of the most. One of the funniest things we've experienced is seeing our old friends you know you know families from the churches we pastored Masel you know to see people like you sell another's that we haven't seen for such a long time in and realizing how the years go by and one of the most common comments that people have made of course is when they see my 2 kids lives and Mariah who today they're 8 and 10 so back when we left Michigan there were 2 and 4 and so when they see them they can't believe how much they've grown. And then said the same thing about some of you know some their kids and and and the reality is is that wow time just flies by it's amazing how quickly time flies. But do we find ourselves in a in a in a stupor of sorts do we sometimes catch ourselves oblivious to how fast time is going by only meaning one thing that we have that much less time before the coming of Christ that the coming of Christ is is closer than what when we 1st believed that the coming of Christ is very near but let's put aside the event of the coming of Christ His literal glorious audible visual appearance let's put that aside for a moment just think about life itself. And how short life is. I mean who guarantees God forbid but who guarantees that you would you're going to arrive safely back home from camp me what gives you the guarantee that you're going to pick up you know on your job you know 1st Monday morning after campaigning in life is going to keep going what guarantee is that that you will make it even to bed tonight. There's no guarantees of that time is short we all experience that when the house is a mess men and your wife calls to say honey have actually got free and I'm coming home early did you get the things then they ask you to do. When you realize you have a short time is time to price re prioritize and so they I want to conclude with this concept and that is this that the reason the tragedy why the the devil is becoming more and more successful is goals to steal kill and destroy is because he knows that he has a sort time and the flipside of that is the reason why the reason why we need the church appears to be less and less successful and healthy church growth and a revival of primitive Godliness is because we are told that we have a short time but do we so easily forget this and inspired by the Holy Spirit I want to speak will to now come to the heart of the scripture that will be our focus this week before we as we got started here today I told you that oftentimes there are nuggets of truth there's principles there's content in the Bible that cuts the chase it gives us the answer we don't have to be going around spinning our wheels trying to figure it out ourselves the Bible tells us so and I'm going to take it to pass as I will be the focus of our passage this week and it's found. In 2nd 1st Peter 1st Peter chapter 4 of which you come with me to 1st Peter chapter 4. 1st Peter chapter 4 1st Peter chapter 4 we are going to look at verses 7 to 11 inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul reminds us that the end of all things is at hand Notice verse 7 he says 1st part but the end of all things is at hand what does is at hand mean what is a paraphrase that that for me what it was is Paul was Peter saying. It's almost here it's like it's it's you know it's at hand OK OK Listen this is this is this is this is Scrooge Sure OK Peter is saying because the end of all things is that hand because it's right here and how much more how much more as Matthew the signs of Matthew 24 been fulfilled how much more the contractions getting fewer in you know in closer together how much more is the end of things is all hand how much more he says and therefore paraphrase a word therefore. Because. Therefore because this is the case therefore because as because of this therefore this hit another worse Peter say because the end of all things is a hand therefore therefore let me remind you let me tell you what you ought to do and you know what the end means don't you the end. Well let me remind you there's a classic description of the end the heavens will pass away with a great noise the elements will melt with fervent heat of the earth and the works there in it will be burned up the heavens will be dissolved being on fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat going to be pretty that's the end that's the end of all things and you realize that Peter not only warns us that the end of all things is at hand but he unequivocally outlines what odd to be the priorities of those who claim to followers of Christ in the last days and emissions for are to be exact for his words again are found in 1st Peter 4 verses 7 to 11. Paul with me he says but the end of all things is at hand therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers and above all things have fervent love for one another for love will cover multitude of sins be ospital to one another without grumbling as each one has received a gift minister it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God if you if in one speaks and speak as oracles of God If anyone ministers let him do it as we the ability which God supplies that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever amen and for priorities that Peter outlines priority number one get serious in prayer get serious in prayer our subject as we examine party number one will be what what does it mean to agonize in prayer what does it mean to wrestle with God It prayer what does it mean to pray not. Not as business as usual what does it mean to pray in the last days which is be the nature of our prayers which it did look like which to characterize prayer in the last days which isn't mean Peter when he says we says be serious in prayers What does it need to be serious in prayer are you serious when you pray and we come to the point we're just praying praying we've learned to praise as we are in creator role and we still pray the same way what does it means to pray seriously and what does it mean to be watchful in your prayers we're going to examine that and by God's grace discover prayer in a whole different way got to get serious prior to number one party number 2 love each other more intensely and more intentionally God forbid that this is not a priority and by the way priority means to be intentional about it remember we rarely we are examine that the more that we recognize that we have a short time the more we are sensitive to the fact that we need to be very focused What is our priority Peter says to love more intensely more intensely What does I mean and why what is the characteristic of the church that will literally drop people into Christ would is it that people will see him by seeing their will conclude these people are disciples of Christ which it is it guess what it's not a specific 21 of the doctrines of the 28 fundamental doctrines it's something I goats much steeper which just resold him but it's not even a doctrine it's something that speaks to our character we're going to examine that little closely. It may necessitate a time to do serious heart searching and be able to come before the lords we re prioritize the 3rd thing will be party number 3 be sending really welcoming and accepting there in and verse 9 we're going to examine that we're going to break that down what does it mean to be hospitable to one another without grumbling Could it be could it be that then we are so focused on our priorities and we know what they are ought to be but within our church we see it too much we see crumbling we see we see a lot of house but ality What does that look like and priority number 4 is spiritual gifts putting your skin spiritual gifts to use and I'm going to share with you how how we've approached this this infamous process called the nominating committee. Which by the way is kind of funny but. Before certain 2nd Reading usually have a week you know back in Denver so we're going to have 2 weeks 2 weeks. If not if only because this is week one right now and I'm here I should be there but I'm here so we're going to where we give the church 2 weeks to to you know to be a part of that process but we're going to I'm going to share with you how I've approached the numbing Committee which has revolutionized the way we do Nami committee and so much so that people who serve in the nominee committee they they're eager to want to do it again can I be a part of this again I love this we have we have. A party every time we have an comedians a joyful experience it brings revival to the church but this can be very practical because spiritual gifts ought to be the priority in the church and so these are the priorities that are Biblical and I truly have come to be convicted that if the church will focus on forward just. On these 4 priorities. Is going to lead us to be prepared to receive the blessing of the Lord it will we salt and a revival primitive godliness when these 4 biblical priorities are the 4 priorities of the church and of our own personal lives you will we see the blessings of the Lord in great measure in a way that you never have before I am convinced that peace of the priorities that awakens the dead it truly revives the church it makes dry bones come alive and it brings revival Charles Bradford which is a long time preacher. He once said this heaven is a prepared place for prepared people like that Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people and I believe today more than ever before we need to prepare ourselves not be unprepared but prepare ourselves for a revival of true godliness and as we put to practice these 4 priorities I only promise or guarantee only because he promise it 1st and he guarantees that this will be salt in revival. Enough is enough church enough is enough we need to re prioritize you know we have a lists our list of 101 things are important but we need to bring it down to 4 who we can really gates with wood God wants us to do. The White writes this There is nothing. There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God said clear the way by removing every hindrance so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impotent congregation. There is something more than he fears the Morse What do you say what do you say that we make the thief very afraid what do you say that we make the Devil very afraid and that's what the next 4 sessions would be all about today I want to send you home with a priority in fact I would say is the all encompassing priority when it really comes down to it and today I want to invite to challenge to appeal to you to make this a priority every day this week specially in beyond especially this week to begin each day with 3 words give me season Amen give me Jesus make that your all encompassing priority this week give me Jesus don't don't reason to yourself that I'm going to receive a sow's a spiritual blessing by going to that seminar and that seminar and that. Fine you will but don't don't just conclude that the 7 o'clock early morning session will be the spiritual feast that God once you put partake of spend time alone spend time apart with God wake up early enough to spend one on one time with God alone give me Jesus me that be your prayer Nessie do so God will open your eyes and pour out a blessing upon your life and you won't have enough room to receive it so God blesses so much less parts together as we conclude with prayer Father in heaven thankful we are the Lord that is during camp meeting that we can take time apart to to re-examine our lives to ask ourselves as a disciple as as a member of my church how I've been taking time investing time in what's most urgent and important Lord if we are I pray that you would reaffirm that in our hearts and just strengthen us and in and just give us a power to carry on to continue to lead nothing distract us from it but. If there is a need to re prioritize if there is a need to re-examine our hearts and ask ourselves in my in my putting my time and energy and resources into what is most urgent important if it were not the Lord I pray that you would convict our hearts and if you would use this seminar Lord to to be the. The driving force that causes us to ponder reflect and be convicted I pray that you would that you would do so Lord use this class for Your glory so thank you for answering our prayer splats us the rest of this day in and beyond us we receive the blessings of campaign in Jesus' name we pray Amen this media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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