Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 11 months ago

Jesus and Time

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Galatians 4:4

Well, please remain standing and let's turn our attention to glacians, for I'm going to be preaching a few sermons from this passage. We're going to be reading glacians four, versus four through seven. This is a beautiful passage. In verse four in particular, Paul lists several things about the coming of Christ and there's four things there and I'm going to preach on one this morning and then one this evening and then one the next morning and then one the next evening. So one, two, three, four. So I hope you'll be able to come for all of those. So first glacians four, verse for but I'll read through verse seven. But when the fullness of time had come, God send forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying Abba father. So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Imn. Please be seated. As I mentioned, the Apostle, Paul lists four things, four things here in verse four. The first thing, the first clause, which I'll preach on today, is that it was in the fullness of time that he had come, and the second will focus on the sending of the son from the father. God sent forth his son, the third born of a woman and fourth born under the law. So first but when the fullness of time had come. This and these other phrases here mark the beginning of the story about Jesus, why he came, how he came. You might kind of think of this verse as summarizing the Origin Story of Jesus. In his incarnation, Jesus, of course, as the son of God, has existed from all eternity. He is one with the father. He is true, God fully divine. But in his in Ourk is, in his incarnation, there was a particular moment of time in which he took on humanity, which he became like us, and this we might think of as the back story. If you know about the cross, if you know about how Jesus gave his life, how he suffered and died, taking on the penalty for all of our sins so that we might be freed from our sins, so that we might be justified in his name. This verse speaks about is the backstory to that. It's the origin of our hero, the origin of our victor. This is the beginning, this is where he came from, why he came, how he came in. In these four phrases, the Apostle Paul reminds us about who Jesus is and what his mission is in the world, and in doing this he has a very particular purpose. One is that he wants to give us assurance, much needed assurance, that we are indeed the sons of God. Jesus came into the world to do these things, to accomplish these things and these facts, these things that he mentions here in verse four about his incarnation, helps solidify our faith in him. When our faith is shaken, when trouble presses in around us, when it is time for us to remember that we have come...

...into the family of God and that it is he who cares for us, a verse like verse four is very helpful. These four phrases help and undergird the truth of the incarnation, remind us of who Jesus is and what he came to do. And so let's give our attention to the first of these in the fullness of time, when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son. When did God send forth his son? In the fullness of time? They're all kinds of implications to this. In particular, I think there are two lessons for us to focus on today. One is that the coming of Christ wasn't random, it was by God's sovereign power, orchestrated by him, directed by him, planned by him, and the second is that Christ coming wasn't meaningless, but it gives meaning to everything. But let's begin by focusing on this phrase. When the fullness of time had come. When Paul Compares time to fullness, he has in mind things that mature or ripen or fill up to the point of readiness. A piece of fruit might be one example. Right, a piece of fruit. It starts really small, just as a bud maybe, and then it grows and it grows and there's a certain point at which it looks like it's ready, but it's not right. You'll take it off if you're not sure, and you try it and it's a little sour and it's kind of still really hard. You go all Nope, not going to pick anymore. It's not ready and you don't know exactly when it's going to be ready right. Is some mysterious mystery to that process. There always is. Even if you watch the same tree year after year after year, you can predict within a window, but you're never exactly sure what's going to happen. But when it happens, when, when that piece of fruit is full of juice and it's ripe and it's ready, you know and it's it is come in to its fullness. Pregnancy is another image, and probably the one that Paul has in mind here, since he's focused on the birth of Christ, our place in the family of God as his son's, and this is true of pregnancy as well. Right there there is a time where they the child is conceived, is in his or her mother's womb and begins to grow, and we can estimate, we can say, okay, we think it's going to be born, the baby's going to be born within this certain range, but we're never really sure, are we? Those of you who are pregnant among us know this and think about this often. When is the baby going to come? When is the baby coming to come? You don't fully know, but you know that when your body is ready, when it's time, when the Lord has brought forth that moment when fullness is reached, right the baby comes forth. Now know what he's saying. What Paul is saying here. He's not saying that Mary had a very specific do date, although she did, but that's not his point. Here he's saying is that time itself had a due date, right when the fullness of time, he says, had come. History, in other words, was leading in a certain direction, it was filling up, it was moving. Time itself had a destination, a filling up of things. It was not ready before this moment, and then it was ready. It unfolded and prepared and filled up to this particular point in history, and that sending and the sending of the son of God was that point. It's amazing, isn't it? Not Everybody thinks of time this way. There are those...

...who have fuse, refuse to acknowledge the work of God, who will say that time does not lead to the sending of the sun, but and the coming of his kingdom and the redemption of his people. But they will say that instead, time leads to them, that they are the fullness of revelation, they are the or the fullness of time. This typically doesn't happen, of your everyday Joe. But when an every day Joe becomes the leader of a great nation, the emperor of many nations, you begin to hear of these things, these eternal origin stories and and the point that all direction and everything was leading to this moment in history and this person who is now ruling and reigning over us. He tends to take these people tend to take on godlike characters and they do it by taking all of history under themselves, els as though everything was leading to them to this particular moment and, of course, for all of our benefit and submission. There are other people who will say that time is cyclical, right, it's just repeating the same thing over and over and over and over, or that time is random, there is no repetition, there's no meaning. To say that it's cyclical and repeating as to at least say it's doing something. But there's others say there is no predicting, there is no meaning, that it's all meaning less and random. Now to each of these three things there is some truth. Of course, there are cause and effect relationships in this world, cause and effects that make history and doing history possible. If we couldn't trace one thing leading to another, there'd be no such thing as historians, there would be no such there be no way to tell about the past. But there are, of course, there are is cause and effect, but this does not make men into gods. It's simply reveals that there is a God who is sovereign over time, who is sovereign over these things, who is established a world of cause and effect. Job Thirty nine, one through three says this. Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the dose? Can you number the months that they fulfill and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring and are delivered of their young? The answer, of course, is no, I don't know. And the the the the point is that God does know these things. There are there are these relationships and things that happen in this world, but God is sovereign over them. God is also established patterns in this world and, since this world has been broken by sin, those patterns often make things feel very frustrating. If you would turn with me to ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, one of the wisdom books that sometimes called ECLESIASTES, chapter one. I'll read it in verse two. Vanity of Vanity, says the preacher. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the Sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The Sun rises in the sun goes down and hastens to the place where it rises. The blend, the wind blow, goes to the south. That goes around to the...

...north. Around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full to the place where the streams flow. There they flow again. All things are full of war weariness. A man cannot utter it, the eye is not satisfied with seeing or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done. There is nothing new under the Sun. Round and around and around it goes. Vanity of vanities, nothing new. Sometimes we think about our grandparents, are great grandparents, are great great grandparents back in history, and we wonder what were they like, what did they do, what were their personalities? Chances are you just need to look at yourself, look at your own family, look at the way you handle your life, and it's probably pretty similar. These things can be inspiring in some ways and they can be really dreadful in other ways. We can get tired, we can get weary of the things in this world. There are patterns in the scripture attests to it, into the weariness of it. Scripture also tests to the certain randomness of things, the unpredictability of things. Again in ECCLESIASTES, Chapter Nine versus eleven and twelve. ECCLESIASTES nine, eleven and twelve. Again I saw that under the sun, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge. But time and chance happen to them all. For a man or for man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time when suddenly, when it suddenly falls upon them. So the author to Ecclesiastes, he recognizes that there are these patterns in the world, there are systems, there are ways in which things are organized and predictable, so predictable it's wearying even and it feels like vanity. But on the other hand there's also such randomness and in predictability that you can say you go hard, are you go to your job, you work hard, you do well and you're not going to get a promotion. You run the race and you're really fast, you're not going to win the race. You're super smart, it doesn't matter, because randomness befalls us all. Chance befalls is all. Suddenly you get caught in a net and it's all over tard. So these descriptions are true descriptions of our life here. In the scriptures themselves, God describes the world under the Sun. He describes our perspective of things. He is not describing God's handling of them. To God they're not random. To God it's not all weariness, going where, it's a going nothing, going nowhere. That's how these things feel to us and how they see, how they seem to us. To us we feel the patterns, we feel the systems, we notice the rhythms, so much so that they feel repetitive. We also feel the frustrations, the mutations, the changes, the variations, the twists and the turns that trouble us. This reminds us that our perceptions do not reveal the full story. Our perception of things didn't does not tell the full story. There is a time for everything, ECCLESIAST, he says this is well, a time to reap, a time to sow, a time to be born, a...

...time to die, a time to make war, time to make peace. There is a kind of order that exists, and order that is upheld by God, and order that he chooses to not fully reveal to us, but does call us to figure it out and learn. ECCLESIASTS eight five, the second half of that verse, as the Wise Heart will know the proper time and the just way. You say that's hard. Well, yes, it is hard. It's very hard, but that's why the scriptures call us to seek wisdom, just pursue it, to treasure it, to find it. Well, I'm not supposed to preach a sermon on wisdom right now. I'm supposed to preach a sermon on the fullness of time. So, as we move back to that, we've become to this point. Time, we see, therefore, is not leading us to an idol or in circles or to know where we feel these ways at times, and there's some truth to them as we perceive them under the Sun. But the one who rules over the sun, the one who establishes all of these things, the one who gives us a feeling of chance and randomness on purpose to keep us humble, that one is leading all things in a particular direction. Our God is moving things to their goal, to their end. And what is that end? What is that goal? What is the purpose of all of these things? What is the reason for life under the Sun? All tell you, Paul says, in the fullness of time, God bought brought forth his son. That's the point, that's where things are leading. That's the end. God does tell us the reason, he does give us the answer. He tells us that time and all the events of history are leading up filling. It is pregnant with this truth and this reality of the sending forth of the Sun. Now here's a question for you. Is this a surprise? Was the coming of Christ a big shocker that no one knew about, no one was prepared for? Well, the answer is yes and no. Like pregnancy, everybody knew that. Well, everybody that was listening to the word of the Lord. Knew that there was a filling up of time, there was a preparation, there was things were getting ready, because God had spoken over and over that this would happen. But when exactly was that due date? When exactly would this son be born? When exactly would all the promises be filled? No one knows. Plus or minus two weeks, no no one knows, or no one knew. The Prophet spoke often about the coming of the Lord Jeremiah, for example, three hundred and seventeen. At that time, Jerusalem, he's prophesied, shall be called the throne of God, and all the nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow after their own heart. Or Isaiah nine, six four. To us, a child is born, a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace, a son promised to Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sarah, a son promised to all of Israel, to King David, a son that was coming, another one that would come and, as we sang earlier, would prepare the way of the Lord, a Prophet who would come and speak and prepare the way, even as John did. Birth pangs of time. Things are getting...

...ready, things are moving, and then when Christ comes, he comes and there's angels in the sky and there's celestial signs and there's prophecies being fulfilled and all kinds of wonderful, wonderful things happening. Trouble too. We remember that Herod tried to murder a lot of little boys. Remember that there were lies and deception. We remember all the the the the stories about demons and all the rest. Here when the sun was born, there was trial, there was trouble, there was joy, there was good news and Gospel. The biggest thing that ever was and ever will be was coming into the world. First. Peter one hundred and twelve says this of the prophets who spoke before and Old Testament. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look, the angels themselves wondering, waiting, of waiting, for the coming of the Messiah, like a pregnancy. We knew it was coming, but didn't know exactly when, and everyone was excited and everyone wanted to know. And then when it came, when he came, it was very, very obvious to those who had eyes to see. Anyway. There were many, of course, who heard the news, like Herod for example, and chose to murder people instead of coming to give praise to the newborn king. And as Jesus continue to grow, and and and and Matt and Britain manife make manifest the Kingdom of God through the healing of people, through the forgiveness of sins, through the through the casting out of demons, through raising people during the dead, all of these things just manifesting, manifesting in him the Kingdom of God, all of these glorious things. There were many, many people who held fast to this world, so they're idols, so their promise hope, to their to their plans and their their purp their own purposes. They refuse to recognize what was right in front of their face, that God was working all things in history toward this end. But there were others who saw it and who would cry from the side of the road to Jesus to save them, and he did. There are others who left everything, their family, their friends, their livelihoods, to follow him. There are others who gave up even their very own lives for the sake of his name, and not a single one of those died or lost without a reward. The reward of belonging to Christ, the reward of belonging to the one who comes in the fullness of time, is eternal life itself. Is entering into the fullness of blessings and joy, of pleasure and happiness, of community and Love in God himself and with brothers and sisters. We become, as Paul says, in our adoption, part of the family of God, inheritors to all the blessings that Christ earned on our behalf. Now, God, of course, knew that all this, all along, history was working toward this end, and now you know it too. You know why Jesus came into this world, how he came into this world and how...

...that relates to everything that happens in this world. Well, this teaches us, I think, how to think about history and the future, how to think about everything that happens in all of time. It also teaches us, as I said before, that the coming of Christ was not random, it was not an accident, it was by God's own sovereign power. First, Peter one twenty says he was foreknown before the foundation of the world, before things were even made, but was made manifest in the last times for your sake. It's that amazing that God loves you so much that he would make manifest the most important thing that ever was in the history and ever will be in these last times for you. It's not random, it's all purposed by him who knows all things and controls all things by his sovereign power. And finally, we know from these things that the coming of Christ wasn't meaningless, but it gives meaning to everything, like an umbrella over all of time before he came and after it. God calls us to understand everything in relation to Christ and this moment, and he teaches us of his grade and love, the plan of salvation that we might be saved from our sin, our misery and all the troubles of this world, and that includes with this that includes our particular troubles and griefs and trials in our time, in your life, down to the tiniest detail of your life, arriving late at an airport, getting a hangnail on your finger for the second time this week, to the death of a family member, to a trouble at work. Psalm forty nine five says. Why should I fear in times of trouble? We in? Then the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me. Why should I fear in times of trouble? The answer is because I put my faith in the Lord whose sovereign over the time itself. I put my faith in the Lord who, in the fullness of time, sent forth his son to save me from all who would seek to do me harm. Psalm Thirteen says. But as for me, my prayers to you, oh Lord, add an acceptable time. Oh God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness. Do you hear that prayer? A Beautiful, wonderful, deeply true prayer coming out of the revelation of God himself. The prayer in the of the Psalmist here calls on God, in the abundance of his steadfast love, to answer him, or to answer the prayer according to his steadfast faithfulness, not according to our idols, not according to our confusion, not according to our perception of things, but answer me in your love, according to Your steadfast faithfulness, and do it at an acceptable time. It's a prayer that trusts the Lord of time to save us in time, at the right time. And who else can do that but God? Who else can we pray to and say, at the perfect time, at the time that is acceptable to you, wise, to you, write, to you, good, to you, at the perfect time, save me. No one can do that except for God, and that's what he does for us, and that's why we can pray to him in that way. How do we know? Because, in the fullness of time, God sent forth his...

...son to be born of a woman, to be born under the law, to redeem us from our sins and to receive us as his children. So let's turn in prayer now and ask that God would help us to trust him as these as he has revealed himself to us, and to follow him as he calls us to our heavenly father. We.

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