Sermonette for Saturday

And behold, they cried out, saying, what have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time? Matthew 8:29

We cannot tell what tomorrow’s news headlines will be, but we can tell what the long-range future holds, because the Bible tells us. Most of us have a general idea of the unfolding of end-time events, beginning with the Rapture, proceeding through the tribulation and the Millenium to the final judgments, the end of time, and our entry into the eternal state. We have heard ministry on prophecy, some of us have read good books on the subject, and we have held frequent discussions among ourselves. Knowing our long-term future is for us comfort, hope, encouragement, and incentive to live for our Lord. But what about the fallen angels, the demons, who have no comfort or hope in the future, and who, as our text makes plain, understand what the future holds? In their evil rebellion, they continue to oppose God and fight against Him.

We know little of the demonic world, and don’t want to know much about it. But we need to be aware of these evil opponents of God’s purposes. Directed by the devil, they do all in their power to deprive God of the glory that is rightfully His. And they work hard, because they know the time is short. In today’s text, they fear their time is about to be cut even shorter. They also know there is nothing they can do about it because the One they are facing is the Son of God. But they make an appeal to not be tormented before their appointed time. They seemed to understand the principle of God’s calendar better than people do.

The demons speak of something called ‘the time’. To them, this referred to the great event when they will be placed in eternal torment. The expression ‘before the time’ refers to the period in which they remain at liberty to ply their evil trade. These two expressions also have great significance to humanity as well as demons, although humanity pays little attention to them. As believers, we ought to keep these terms in mind because they refer to things very important to us. For us, ‘the time’ must refer to the Rapture, that great event when we will be caught out of this scene of mortality and failure and will be translated into the presence of our Lord. Unlike the demons, we do not fear this event, in fact, it is our life’s greatest expectation. The term ‘before the time’ refers to our current occupation, our opportunity to serve our Lord. While we exist in the same world as the demons, we are looking forward to joys, not to torments.

While the demons serve their evil master in hopeless desperation, let us serve the Best of Masters in joyful anticipation. -Jim MacIntosh

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