September 4, 2023
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Now, the problem with professional football games is they keep slowing down for huddles and time outs; especially those commercials. I'll tell you when they don't slow down. It's near the end of the game where your team is behind, and with two minutes left, a team often skips the huddle, all the delays, and they just go right from one play to the next. They forget the game plan; there's two minutes left. They go for broke!
Now, this is called the "hurry-up offense," and that's pretty literally named. Skip the huddle, skip all the game plan; let's win this game - do whatever it takes. You play differently when there isn't much time...or you should.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "End Times Praying End Times Loving."
Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Peter 4, beginning with verse 7, where he talks about "the end of all things is at hand." Now, all of us are living in a world that seems to be winding down, or maybe winding up to Christ's return. It's obvious even to unbelievers that we seem to be moving to some kind of dramatic climax. It's all bubbling up into something. And if you've read the final chapters of the Bible, you know what that climax is. So, how should we be playing in light of this what might be a two-minute warning from God so to speak?
Well, there are two areas that are supposed to be affected the most: How we pray, because verse 7 in 1 Peter 4, talks about being clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. OK, the first area is we ought to be praying differently - open-mindedly, ready for whatever God might say to us in these urgent times. So, don't be surprised if God says to do something outside of your box.
The second area that is affected is how we treat each other. Listen to this, coming off that statement, "the end of all things is near." It says, "Above all..." (okay, that's important) "...Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." I love that phrase. It seems to be summed up in these two words, "covering love."
Urgent times - times when you see climactic events taking place. Those are times in which our relationships should be described by those two words, "covering love." Love covers all kinds of wrongs that might be done to you. What's the opposite? Is it hate? Is it indifference? Well, let's call it un-love... if I'm giving you anything less than love, it's un-love. You know what it does? It uncovers every wrong that's done to you; it keeps score. "If I don't love you, I will maintain a list of grievances I'll never forget. But these are urgent times. There's no time to dissect every misunderstanding, every harsh word, every miscommunication, every hurt feeling. In sports they say, "Shake it off" when you get hurt.
That's what you do with end-times loving. You "shake it off" if you've been hurt by somebody. You choose to move on. This isn't some passive little tame love. It's active loving, active forgiving. Actually it's the word in the Greek stretched out. That's what "love each other deeply" means. It's like a fully extended runner. It's fully extended love.
That's the kind of offense that is worthy of the time that's on the clock. You pray ready for anything God might say, and you love ready to forgive anything, and to give anything. I think we may have heard God's two-minute warning. It's time for God's hurry-up offense. Hey, it's time to go for broke.