“Missed Opportunities”

Ephesians

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

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.

26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

Sin of Omission – James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”

Spurgeon said: “Now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Not only the tree that brings forth bad fruit is burned, but the tree which is barren and unprofitable is hewn down and cast into the fire! If we bring not forth the fruits of true saving faith, we may be sure that such faith is not in our possession!”

The philosophers at Mars Hill (Acts 12:32), “We will hear you again on this matter.” Paul soon left Athens, never to return. While Felix delayed, Paul got the opportunity to share the gospel with him. Felix has lured away a Jewish bride from her first husband, and the knowledge of “The Way” that he had, he probably had from her. And so over the next two years, Paul spoke often with this Roman ruler. The word used is “reasoned” which means that he had intelligent dialogue and discussion. The text says that he spoke to him concerning faith in Christ, righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come. And there is indication here that the Spirit was convicting. Felix became afraid.

Luke 9:57-62 records the last opportunities of some would-be disciples, but each came up with their own excuses. Remember, let me first bury my father; let me first say good-bye to my family, etc.

Philip seized the opportunity to speak to the Eunich. He was close enough to hear the Ethopian reading Isaiah. Are you willing to get close to others to seek the opportunity of God.

Ephesians 5:15-16 has been called the Bible’s key to time management. But “redeeming the time” goes far beyond being efficient. It’s a wonderful phrase that can also be translated “making the most of every opportunity.”

Wasting the gift of time insults the giver of time.

Examples – Pharisees: “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” The Pharisees knew what John’s disciples were doing; the Pharisees knew what Jesus’ disciples were doing; the Pharisees knew what their own disciples were doing. The only thing that Pharisees didn’t know is what God wanted to do in their own life. One of the reasons they didn’t know what God was doing in their life because they were too busy trying to find out what God was doing in everybody else’s life.

Example: Our chance to change things came and passed and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist Church (First Church, San Antonio) but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age 24 he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring—someone missed him. (Dr. Jimmy Allen, former pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio)

Example: Missed opportunities can sideline us if we let them. The papers reported a few years ago a story about a man — who has chosen to remain anonymous — who missed out on winning $66 million Euro dollars. He had purchased a ticket for the Super Enalotto, Europe’s biggest lottery, near his home in Milan, Italy. On the day the winning lottery ticket was revealed, the man was preoccupied with the details of his daughter’s wedding. In the midst of the chaos, he neglected to redeem his ticket. By the time he realized he had purchased the winning numbers, the deadline for claiming the jackpot had passed. He had forfeited a prize never to be repeated. What was in his grasp and reserved for him, passed him by. Not surprisingly, the stress of the ordeal landed him in the hospital.

Example of missing because of peer pressure: A story about a high school football player who was a Christian. He was a big fellow and a great athlete. He led his team to the best season they had ever had and won many awards. He was being interviewed and the reporter asked him this question, “You know you have the reputation of being a devout Christian. Isn’t it hard o be a devout Christian with all the peer pressure you face?” And he said “Ma’am, I am the peer pressure.”

Wait for God-given opportunities – We must be on the alert to meet the demand of every hour. “Mine hour is not yet come,” said our Lord. He waited patiently until He heard the hours strike in heaven, and then drawing the strength appropriate to its demand, He went forth to meet it. Each time and season is kept by the Father in His own hand. He opens and none shuts; He shuts and none opens.

There is so much good that needs to be done that you should not waste your time on things that are not your opportunity, which God wants you to seize. Eph 2:10 says: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Some people think they know how God in going to work in a situation. And they believe their way is the only way that God will work in that situation. That kind of thinking puts God in a box. But you know what God will blow out that box because He is not limited by our restrictions. But sadly some of have missed opportunities with God because we failed to see Him working in our life because He worked in a way different then the way we would have thought He would have worked. The lesson for us is: don’t attempt to limit how God can get something done in your life.

NOW: But now, God is calling on you and me to seize this moment and seize every opportunity we have to grow closer to God.

Isaiah 43:18-20: Don’t live in the past. “Remember not the former things. Behold I do something new”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 2:13)

God replied, “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 2:14)

I AM. It’s an all-encompassing name. It’s a NOW name. God was saying to Moses, “I may be the God of your ancestors, but I’m not the God of the past. I am the God of today. I AM.”

(v. 19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Conviction is not enough. Felix was convicted. Seize the opportunity.

“Arise and go” the Spirit said to Philip. He was listening. He obeyed. “He arose and he went.” He ran.

… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13

Isaiah 55:6-7 which says, ‘Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him…’

It has been said that: ‘the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity’.

Rocket

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