• Matt Beaney

#538 (16/2/22) THE TIME IS SHORT…SO RUN THE RACE


On Sunday, Nev used the illustration of taking an exam: when you first sit down, you have, maybe, 3 hours for the exam. Maybe you take things carefully and slowly. However, as time passes, the urgency increases as the deadline approaches. Christians are to live with urgency. The return of Jesus or our death means that we should feel the time is short. This should motivate us to prayer, focus and action. Paul writes,


‘What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.’ (1 Corinthians 7:29
‘Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.’ (1 Corinthians 7:31)

Toward the end of His life, Paul wrote,


‘I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’ (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

In writing to the Corinthians, he is urging them to live in light of meeting Jesus. If any of us were invited to meet the Queen, we would wash, dress up, think about our travel plans and consider the appropriate way to act. You have I have been invited to meet the King of Kings and that meeting is any day now!


Our response should be a strenuous effort to live whole-heartedly for Jesus. Later in this letter, Paul uses the metaphor of the athlete to illustrate one who is focussed on meeting Jesus will live,


‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.’ (1 Corinthians 9:27-27)

Whether we are married, or single, this is to be our approach to life. On Sunday Nev shared a prophetic picture from which He illustrated his message. He saw in his mind's eye, a great mountain the base of which was shrouded in a dark cloud that was rising, slowly, up the mountain. Many people were on this mountain. Some were walking toward the top which was the great goal. Some were alone and were thus able to stride unencumbered toward the top (single people). Others were in small groups and were making slower progress as they had to wait for one another (those married and with families). Many had come to a stop at the sides of the path (the discouraged). Many, however, were streaming down the mountain and away from the summit (those needed to hear the gospel).


We are to climb this mountain like an athlete runs the race. We are to endeavour to help others to get on their feet and join or rejoin the race. Are you and I single minded? Are our lives about one thing? Do all of our activities work in concert for the glory of the one whom we are waiting for?


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians. Nev spoke from 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. His message was entitled The Time is Short.


Please read 1 Corinthians 7:25-40.


Paul is teaching about the advantages of remaining single, whilst teaching that it’s good to marry if one feel sthat this is God’s will to do so. Too often relationships are set as our highest goal and priority. We can define ourselves by our relationships. Sex can be idolised. Paul reminds the Corinthians to put all of their relationships with people and material things into the context of eternity because ‘this world in its present form is passing away’.


On Sunday Nev shared a prophetic picture from which He illustrated his message. He saw in his mind's eye, a great mountain the base of which was shrouded in a dark cloud that was rising, slowly, up the mountain. Many people were on this mountain. Some were walking toward the top which was the great goal. Some were alone and were thus able to stride unencumbered toward the top (single people). Others were in small groups and were making slower progress as they had to wait for one another (those married and with families). Many had come to a stop at the sides of the path (the discouraged). Many, however, were streaming down the mountain and away from the summit (those needed to hear the gospel).


'The time is short... The world in its present form is passing away'. This should cause us to serve others. Many are discouraged and have stopped climbing the mountain; if we are single, how can we help them? If we are married how can we help them? Many are streaming down the mountain to destruction; if we are single, how can we help them? If we are married how can we help them?


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) Paul teaches that 'those who marry will face many troubles in this life'. What are these and how can we help to support married people?

iii) We are told that 'the time is short...this world in its present form is passing away.' How are we to live in light of this fact?

iv) What do verses 32-35 teach us about the benefits of being unmarried?


SIV (Serve invest and invite)

i) Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

ii) How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

iii) Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.







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