Gal 6: 7-10, Eph 5: 15-21, Col 4: 5-6
Once in America, a bounty of $5,000 offered for each wolf captured alive. It turned Sam and Jed into fortune hunters. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests looking for their valuable prey.
Exhausted one night, they fell asleep dreaming of their potential fortune. Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by about fifty wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. He nudged his friend and said, “Jed, akeup! We’re rich!”
Opportunity. Life is about opportunity. Opportunity Knocks
Opportunities – education, wealth.
Sometimes we are pleased about those opportunities – sometimes they are missed opportunities. Tell them about my students.
Word of testimony – John, Johnny etc. – faced with a sense of my own mortality – God’s work is important, we mustn’t waste another moment!
What I want to leave you with:
Our lives as Christians and as a Church are about opportunities.
I’ve chosen three texts this evening. All involve the word opportunity. Paul wanted to stress that as long as we live on this earth God gives us opportunity to serve Him.
Joshua 3:2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before . But keep a distance of about at housand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.
“That opportunity is only there for a time. God will have moved on. Let’s takeour opportunities..
Paul shows us three types of opportunity we as Christians mustn’t miss:
OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD DEEDS
OPPORTUNITIES TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW JESUS
OPPORTUNITY TO DO GOD’S WILL
OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD
Gal 6: 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity , let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong tothe family of believers.
This is a challenging passage because it challenges us to identify who we live for. In a world like ours which so stresses personal pleasure, we are encourage to make use of the opportunities that God places in our path to do good to one another.
This is part of a passage that basically says, you reap what you sow. It contains particularly stern words.
A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
That’s tough stuff. We know what the consequences of selfishness are.
We are the children of God, we have the Holy Spirit. We should be sowing to please the Spirit. But are we? It’s to encourage us that we never stop doing good for others. Actually, we’re good when it comes to dealing with the family of believers. But what about those that aren’t.
OPPORTUNITIES TO REACH OUT
Col 4: 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity .
Every day we live we have opportunity to share Jesus with others.
Joseph: He was on a bus when he felt that the Lord was asking him to speak to the man on the seat in front of him. “Excuse me,” he said, “can I share something about Jesus with you?”. “No” was the sharp reply. The evangelist thought for a moment then said, “Why won’t you speak to me?” “We have not been introduced,” said the man. “I never have anything to do with people I don’t know.” “Oh” said the evangelist, “what would you do if you had a heart attack and collapse right now? Who would you call on to help you? I’ll tell you – it would be me!”
As a Church, how serious are we about reaching others – which is our primary purpose of being here? are we wasting opportunities – the neighbourhood -we have a responsibility to do something. How about us – do we have a burden for individuals – do we have a vision for acting upon the Great Commission – or are we happy to be a holy huddle, a cosy social club for Christians? Are we satisfied with this Church? Are we satisfied that we are doing everything we can to carry out the Lord’s work here.
While people remain in darkness in the orbit of our ministry – our street, our town, our country , the world – then it is our duty to serve God trying to reach them. WE CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH!
God has given us opportunity to reach out to others – and they are living all around us! Let’s be wise then in the way that we act and prepare ourselves so that we know what to say and how to say it.
William Reynolds was a resident of Peoria and had been a Christian. A friend stopped him on the street with the question: “How have you lived with me for fifteen years and knowing I was going to Hell, said nothing to me about it?” The man had been converted by a little conversation with the evangelist D L Moody upon a train.
Reynolds then went to Chicago to hear Moody because he realized something was the matter with his religion. After that he dedicated his whole life to working for Jesus. All the good that has come out of Reynolds’ life afterwards would have been lost if Moody had been playing cards in the smoking car.
All I say today is you have the opportunity to see God glorified in this area -take it!
OPPORTUNITY TO DO GOD’S WILL
Ephesians 5 v15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Again Paul is encouraging us as to how we should live. We should know what God’s will is. What is His will for our lives. Are we doing what we should – are we living in the way that we should. If we’re not then Paul say: you’re fools!
The most important thing about life is that we only get one shot at it. Are we doing what God wants us to do? Are we acting in His will? If not, what are we going to do about it? Perhaps you know that God has called you and you are not following that call? Doesn’t have to be to full-time Ministry – it could be for something else.
If the Lord Jesus came here today, what would you say, how would you feel? You have an opportunity- take it as it might be your last!
You will you bitterly regret all the missed opportunities, all the calls you got from Him that you ignored – all the wasted years where you could have been doing something else!
As a Church – what do you think Jesus would say if he was to walk in here tonight- would he be pleased, or would he see us as just a load of people missing opportunities day after day and week after week. The problem is -he’s here today – what’s your answer.
Henry Drummond wrote:
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Let’s pray to Him – we each have an answer to give to Jesus today – you have your opportunity – take it!