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Sermon Notes
June 16, 2024
“What Are You Waiting For?”

Acts 24:24 -25
John W. Montgomery,  D.D.

“Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

At 8:02 pm on May 8, 1902, nearly 30,000 people died in one of history's worst natural disasters. A violent volcanic eruption occurred on Mount Pelée (pron. Pey'lay) located on the French colonial island of Martinique. Millions of tons of rock and boiling lava covered the town of St. Pierre.

 

Once the volcano erupted, people never had a chance. There were some obvious signs a week before the disaster. But no one made any effort to evacuate the town at the foot of the rumbling volcano.

 

The question which should have been asked of every government official was - "What were you waiting for? Why are you not acting? What are you waiting for?" The same question should have been asked of every citizen - "What are you waiting for? The mountain could blow any minute. You must leave to save your life. What are you waiting for? "

 

One of the great tragedies of life is that people procrastinate, they gamble with their lives. Even more tragic is when people gamble with their souls and their eternal destinies by putting off important spiritual decisions.

In our passage, the Roman procurator of that area had a prisoner in custody named Paul, and after an initial hearing, he asked to have a private meeting with him. Perhaps Christians intrigued him and was searching for answers. Many scholars believe Felix met with him privately only in hopes of extracting a bribe

.Not one to be corrupted by a bribe to get a free pass from prison, Paul did what he always did when he had the chance - he preached the Gospel to Felix and his wife.

He spoke to them of faith in Christ. You can have all the good deeds and all the religions in the world, but they will never impress God. A person must come to a living, abiding faith in Jesus Christ.

 

He spoke to them about righteousness and self-control. Like most Roman leaders, Felix and his wife were wicked. Paul got right to the matter of their sin. They desperately needed salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul reasoned with them about the Judgement to Come.

 

Hebrews 9:27 says, "…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

."We all are going to die, then we will come face to face with our Maker. Anyone who has not received God's gift of salvation will be judged by God and cast into the lake of fire.

 

Paul shared all of this with Felix. When Felix heard about God’s judgment, Felix trembled with fear. Not everyone responds so dramatically to the Gospel as Felix did. I am sorry Felix didn't turn to the Lord and become a believer that day. He should have responded when the Holy Spirit brought him to the place of conviction and shame before a holy God. I can imagine Paul waiting for Felix's response, thinking to himself, "Come to Christ now before it is everlastingly too late. Felix, what are you waiting for?"

But Felix didn’t trust the Lord that day, and there's no evidence he ever did. He said to Paul, "Go away for now; I will call for you at a more convenient time." But do you know what, It's never a convenient time to trust the Lord. Satan will always give you an excuse to put off your most important spiritual decisions. Today, in the pit of hell, Felix wishes he had responded to God when he had the opportunity.

The writer of Hebrews asked this question in Hebrews 2:3a - "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation."

The great danger to mankind is procrastination of the truths God revealed in His Word. Our task as believers is to challenge people with the question the authorities of St. Pierre should have asked themselves and their citizens. That question is - "What are you waiting for?"

There are many issues relating to the Christian faith that we must ask ourselves, what are you waiting for? I want to identify five specific areas that should prompt us to ask, what are you waiting for?

 

1. "I will Start Living for God…Someday." You may have already accepted Christ as your Savior. But you have failed to make Him the Lord of your life. You're holding back in some area where God wants you to surrender. Let me ask you, “What are you waiting for”?

A genuine follower of Christ will dedicate themselves to God. Jesus may be your Savior, but is He the Lord and Master of your life? That's what God wants for each of us. He wants you to know that you have been putting it off. Let me ask you a question: "What are you waiting for?"

Remember the decisiveness of Joshua? When he came to the River Jordan, he boldly declared, "Folks you have a decision to make. You either have to serve the Lord or the gods of the world. You do what you want. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Do you remember the song, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus?" The first verse concerns being saved - "I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back. No turning back." But the rest of the song says – “Though none go with me, still I will follow, No turning back, no turning back. My cross I'll carry, till I see Jesus, No turning back, No turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me, No turning back, no turning back.

God is calling you to commit to following Him. What are you waiting for?2. "I am Going to be BAPTIZED…SOMEDAY."The Bible is very clear about the subject of baptism.

First, baptism has nothing to do with getting into heaven. Sprinkling a baby doesn't make him a Christian. You can be baptized twenty times and if you have never been saved, you will go down in the water a dry sinner and come out a wet sinner! Baptism does not save anybody.

The Bible teaches that we are saved by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ-PLUS nothing and MINUS nothing. The thief on the cross was never baptized, yet Jesus said, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42)

Jesus said, "…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3b) So, being "born again," is when you enter into a right relationship with God.

 

But that doesn't mean baptism is not important. There are four things the Bible teaches about water baptism:

First, it's commanded by Jesus and the apostles of all who have been saved. Remember, a disciple obeys His Lord and Master.

Second, Believer's baptism is only to be administered after salvation.

This is why infant baptism is unscriptural. A baby cannot believe and be saved. Every case of baptism without exception in the Bible was an adult or a child old enough to trust Christ as His Savior.

 

Third, baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's why the only biblical form of baptism is immersion, which means complete submersion under the water.

 

Fourth, the Bible says baptism is a public confession that you belong to Christ.

Matthew 10:32-33 – Jesus said, "Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is evidence that you are truly saved.

So, if you have accepted Christ as your savior, but failed to follow Him in Believers Baptism, "What are you waiting for?"

 

3. I am Going to Give Up That SIN…SOMEDAY." Do you know what sin does to your relationship with God? Sin in the life of a believer stunts your spiritual growth. Ephesians 4:30 says, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God…" 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says "Quench not the Spirit." Whenever we sin we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. Now if God has pinpointed a sin in your life to deal with, what are you waiting for? What sin could be more important than loving God with all your heart?

Jesus said, "If ye love me ye will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)If you love the Lord the way you sing about in church, how can you willingly disobey the Lord? How can you nurture and excuse your sins? Claim 1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."Confess and forsake your sin and receive victory from the Lord today! What are you waiting for?

 

4. "I am Going to Read God’s Word and Spend More Time in Prayer. The Christian life isn't what it should be if you fail to read His Word and pray. You need spiritual food to face the challenges that each day brings. Without it, you find yourself spiritually hungry and weak in times of temptation. Job said, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12)We are all busy. Often we fill our lives with too many lesser things that consume our attention and take away our time with the Lord. Tomorrow morning would be a great time to get started with a quiet time reading of God’s Word and spending time in prayer. So, What are you waiting for?

 

5. "I'm going to Receive Christ in my Heart One of these Days."The Bible teaches that we are sinners and we need God’s forgiveness for our sins. We can’t earn our Salvation. It must be received by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." So What are you waiting for?

 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Jesus has given the invitation. He stands with open arms to receive every repentant, trusting sinner. So, What are you waiting for?

A steamship from Central America sprang a leak on its voyage from New York to San Francisco. A vessel, seeing her signal of distress began to move toward her. The captain of the rescue ship spoke to the Central American, asking, "What's the problem?"

"We are taking on water and going down; stay close until morning. "Let me take your passengers now," said the rescue ship captain. No, it is dark replied to the captain of the Central American ship, let’s wait until morning when the passengers can safely be transferred. The captain of the Central American replied, "Remain until morning?"Again, the rescue captain insisted that the passengers be transferred. But the Central American captain replied again, "Remain until morning."An hour-and-a-half later, the lights of the Central American Ship were missed by the rescue ship. The ship had sunk to the bottom of the ocean and all on board perished in a watery grave because it was thought they could be saved at another time!While salvation is offered to you now, let me urge you to obey the promptings of God's Spirit, or you may be like Felix who procrastinated, thinking he could be saved another day, but that day never came. What are you waiting for my friend? Come to Christ TODAY. What about following the Lord in Believers Baptism? What are you waiting for?What are you waiting for to reestablish a daily quiet time with God? It will keep you strong and close to the Lord.

Message Preached at Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida 32205, June 16, 2024

Sermon Notes is a Ministry of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church,1372 Lane Avenue South, Jacksonville, Florida 32205 – Live Stream our Worship – YouTube@CedarCreekBaptistChurch

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