Redeeming the time

If we look at world events, it is obvious that we are living in the last days and that the return of Jesus is very close.  One of the most important messages that God has given me is the importance of redeeming our time.

There have been many sermons preached on redeeming the time. One of the most famous of all, was a sermon preached by Jonathan Edwards in 1739, which many believed, was the spark that ignited the “First Great Awakening” in America. In the same way it is possible, that if we would take heed to this very important topic, it could likewise ignite a spiritual awakening in our own lives. Let us look at a number of scriptures:

Ephesians 5:16,  “Redeeming the time, for the days are evil.” The phrase, “Redeeming the time” can mean the following:

– Firstly the word redeem, means to “buy back.” This means that we sometimes may need that we pay the price and sacrifice the time that we would normally use for other activities, to do something profitably for the Kingdom of God.

– Secondly, it means that we will make good use of our free time or slack time. For example when we travel, or wait in a queue, or we have time to spare. We could use this time praying, reading the Bible or doing something for the Lord. We could use this time to study something or to improve our skills.

– Thirdly, the Amplified Bible says, “Make the most of every opportunity.” In other words, we make good use of the opportunities that we have. In other words, when we have an opportunity to do something for the Lord, or to spend time with the Lord, we use that time well. We also read in Colossians 4:5 ,”Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” The NLT version says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.” Making the most of every opportunity can also mean “to seize the moment.” We notice that this verse is in context of being with non believers. Therefore, we must not let any opportunity slip our hands to lead them to Christ.

– Fifthly, this phrase can also mean, to value our time. We should see time as a precious gift from God and do everything possible not to waste it.

As we continue to read in Ephesians 5:16, It goes on to say, “because the days are evil.” It is obvious that we are living in the last days and that the return of Jesus is very close. We should therefore, be aware of how important our time is, and how little time we still have. This can also imply, that because of the times that we are living in are evil, we should be even more careful how we live and not waste a single moment, lest the enemy take advantage of us.

Ephesians 5:17 goes in to say, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” In order to redeem the time, we will make it a high priority to always do that what God has called us to do and make sure that we are living in the centre of God’s will. We should always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in all the decisions that we make.

Ephesians 5:18 says,  “Do not be drunk with wine … but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Therefore it is so important that we use every opportunity that we have to build up our own spiritual lives, to increase our anointing and to continually be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is how we will be ready to do God’s will and make the best use of our time.

Jesus said  in John 9:4  where Jesus said, .”I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Jesus was saying here that while He was still alive, He had to use every opportunity that He had, to do the Father’s will. He knew that it would soon be “night’ and He would not have these opportunities again.

The same applies to us today. While we have opportunities to do what we believe God wants us to do, we must not lose these opportunities. One day,  “the night will come” and we will no longer have these opportunities. We do not know how long we will still live and how long the doors of opportunity will still be open. For example, while we still have opportunities, to phone people, visit them, or tell them about Jesus, let us use these opportunities before it is too late! We cannot afford to waste any more time!

In Jeremiah 8:20 it says, “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, and we are not saved!” This could be the cry of the damned, who have no more opportunities to receive Jesus and be saved. Therefore, while we still have a ‘summer of opportunity,’ or while it is still ‘harvest time’ let us use the opportunities that we now have to tell others about Jesus before it is too late. For example, our unsaved relatives, our neighbors and friends and those who are not yet saved. We need to redeem our time and use every opportunity that we have. We do not want to have their blood on our hands!

Why is it so important to redeem the time?

Firstly, because our time is so short.

Time flies fast and it seems to fly past faster as we get older!  Furthermore, we don’t know how much time we still have left, or when we will die or when Jesus will return. Jesus said to his brothers in John 7:6, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.” He was saying to them, “I still have some time left before I die, but you can die at any moment.” Jonathan Edwards in his famous sermon, “Redeeming the time,” gave these two illustrations:

Firstly, imagine a man on his deathbed with only one hour to live. The uppermost thought in his mind would be:  “If only I had more time on earth.”  Today, we have the time that he does not have!  Secondly, imagine someone in hell,  experiencing the most unimaginable suffering and torment. The uppermost thought or desire in his mind would be: “If only I could have more time on earth!” We have that, what those in hell so desperately desire. We have the gift of time! Therefore, we should value our time and not waste anymore of it!

We read in Psalm 39:4-5: “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, … Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” In James 4:14 we read, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Therefore, if we have wasted much time in the past, we should use the remaining time that we have, wisely!  We need to see each day, as a valuable opportunity to make an investment for the Kingdom of God.

The second reason is because we will be held accountable for in eternity for how we have used our time on earth.

What we do with our time on earth will affect our eternal existence. The  single most important event that will take place in the future, will be the Judgment seat of Christ The Bible says in Romans 14:10 and 12, “… for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. … everyone of us shall give account of himself to God.” We also read in 1 Peter 1:17 we read, “And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” Someone once said, “the garment we weave in time, we will wear in eternity.”

How do we redeem the time?

This is a sermon on its own, but I would like to give a brief summary of how we can redeem our time.

1. We need to establish our priorities: Our priorities depend on our values. Once we have established our values, then we can determine our priorities. The following priorities are suggested:

– Firstly Our relationship with God and should be should be our most important priority. We see this in the life of Jesus and many of the saints in the Bible how they made prayer an important priority in their lives.

– Secondly, our relationships with other Christians and the local Church are important. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,… and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching…” In the eyes of God this should be a high priority. Jesus is coming back for a glorious church. There is no way that we will be able to stand for Christ in the end times with the help and prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

– There are a number of other important priorities for example, our family, our calling and ministry and our health. (Sleep and exercise)

2. We also need to remove some of the things that waste our time. These can be defined as follows:

– What we read and watch:  In Psalm 101:3 we read,  “I will set no wicked thing before – mine eyes.” The word wicked, also means worthless. Some of the things we read and watch may be fascinating or even interesting, but they don’t add any value to our spiritual lives and they simply just waste our time!

– The things that we cannot change: In Psalm 131:1 it says, “I will not exercise myself in matters too great for me.” We should not be too much involved in activities that we cannot influence through our prayers or our involvement. They will simply just waste our time.

– Things that God has not called us to do: We read Matthew 8:21-22, “Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Sometimes we just need to  “let the dead bury the dead.” There are certain things that are not our assignment from God. We must be careful not to do what others expect us to do, especially our family and relatives.

– Unnecessary battles and conflicts: In Titus 3:3 we read about “ spending and wasting our life in malice and envy,  (Amplified Bible) We do not have to fight every battle!  Time is too short and valuable!

3. We need have a sense of urgency:

We read in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” God’s time is always now. The devil’s time is always tomorrow, or some time later. If we keep on delaying, we will lose our opportunities. When Jesus called His disciples in Matthew 4:22, it says, “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” If they had not responded immediately, Jesus would have walked past and they would have lost the opportunity to be His disciples.

4. We must make the most of our opportunities:

These especially apply to our holy opportunities. For example, when we pray, spend time with the Lord, read the Bible or  worship with other believers.  Whatever we do, we should do so with all our hearts, or else we will just waste time. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward...” Whatever we do for the Lord, whether we preach, pray or worship, we should give Him our very best. Notice it says, “you will receive a reward.”

Finally:

We need to see time as an investment that we make. For example when we put our finances into the Lord’s hands, He will bless and multiply our finances. This follows the principle of sowing and reaping. In the same way when we invest our time in the Kingdom of God, He will bless our time and our lives will be blessed and fruitful. As we approach the end of the age, we need to value the time that we still have left and use it wisely. We will a great blessing from God, not only on earth, but also in eternity. Amen