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Peth's Celebration

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Introduction:
Birthday’s are wonderful ways to celebrate the life God has given to us and also a time to reflect on God’s goodness to us throughout the years.
Our pastor used to say that don’t complain about how old you are turning, because at least you have a birthday to celebrate! And that’s true because he no longer gets to celebrate his birthday on earth since he is with our Lord in glory.
As we celebrate Tita Peth’s birthday, I would just like to reflect on the importance of time. Time is a precious gift God has given us and as God’s people, we must learn to use our every minute of our time to bring glory to our God.
Some of you may say, “That’s easy for you to say Pastor Alex because you are young”, but I want to say to you who are older, including Tita Peth, that some of your most fruitful years of serving the Lord can be in your aging years.
Think about it. You don’t have to raise young children. You may have a house paid off. You may be retired. So you may have more time and resources to give to the Lord.
In fact, in John Piper’s book, Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of God, he says

Finishing life to the glory of Christ means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement. It means being so satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ that we are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement. Instead, knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying and everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts.

In the 2016 Presidential elections, the three main political candidates were above 70 years old. The current President is 72 years old.
At 70 years old, Benjamin Franklin help draft the Declaration of Indpedence.
Five of the eight supreme court justices are over 65 and three are over 75. Winston Churchill was 66 and help lead the fight against the Nazis. John Piper is 72 years old and still travels around the world to preach about the supremacy of God and the joys of all peoples. John MacArthur still preaches at three services Sunday morning and still travels to preach at conferences while being the President of a Seminary and College at 79 years old.
What I am trying to say is that you can still make the best use of the time and be fruitful for the Lord in old age. I pray what Moses prays:
Psalm 90:12 ESV
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
And
Psalm 71:18 ESV
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
The Psalmist asks God not only to proclaim his greatness in his youth, but even in his old age.
So today, I want to reflect on the importance of time and how to use every waking minute so that we would continue to be useful to the Lord and serve God with great passion.
Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15–17 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Here Paul says that wise people know how to walk, which is another way of saying that wise people know how to live. And one of the ways you display wise living is making the best use of the time.
Making the best use of the time is a commercial term which means redeem or purchase, or we can say squeeze every penny out of that dollar or maximize the use of your time. We are to squeeze every waking minute that God has given us.
In fact, one of America’s greatest theologians preached a whole sermon on this one verse.
Four reasons why we need to maximize our time:

I. Time is Short

James 4:4 ESV
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James 4:14 ESV
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Isaiah 40:8 ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Our lives are like the grass of the field or the flowers of the field. We may blossom in our youth, but as we age we draw nearer to our Maker as we decay and slow down.
As summer flowers we fade and die Fame, youth and beauty hurry by But life eternal calls to us At the cross
We live in a fallen world where we are affected by the curse of the fall and part of the curse is decay and death.
So we are to use every minute of the day to bring glory to God. Jonathan Edwards wrote some resolutions:
5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
He was only 19 years old when he wrote this.
Throughout his life he pastored a local church, raised a family, he preached and taught sermons, he published books reflecting on some of the most profound theology, he was involved with missionary work to the Indians, inspired other missionaries, was a president of a Princeton, and had left a legacy to his family.
The point is that you can still make an impact with your life if you use every minute of it and understand that time is short and the days are evil.

II. Time is Not Guaranteed

Edwards also said that time is not guaranteed. In God’s providence, we do not know if we will live a full life or if our life can be taken from us unexpectedly. Time is not guaranteed.
The world is world by a timeless God, but we as finite creatures are bound by space and time.
We have an expiration date. We have a date where we will meet our maker.
And the Bible says,
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
That is why in the book of James, James rebukes those who boast as if they can live another day.
James 4:13–16 ESV
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
It is only if the Lord wills, we will live another day. And it is by God’s will, we must live for His glory.
James 4:13-1

III. Time Cannot Be Recovered

We can either use our time wisely, or waste or time foolishly. It is a tragedy for Christians to spend their time doing nothing, when there is a world ravished by the Fall, a broken world where people die of hunger and thirst, and where people have not heart that there is a God who saves.
How many people have on their deathbed regretted the would have maximize their time. If they had only spent more time with their family, or loving their wives, or their children, yet they squandered their time on chasing things that have no eternal value. They would give all the money in the world to get back more time, yet they wasted it and could recover it.
If only I had more time, I would serve the Lord. If only I had more time, I would tell my friends about Jesus. If I only have more time, I would do more for the kingdom.
The question is: what are you doing now with your time?

IV. Time is Urgent

Edwards says that a happy or miserable eternity depends on how we used our time. Because the Bible says,
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
We will all stand before our maker and give an account of how we used our time.
So we need to maximize our time because
Time is short
Time is not guaranteed
Time cannot be recovered
Time is urgent
How do we redeem the time?
Ephesians 5:17 ESV
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
The Bible tells us that that the way to redeem the time and live as wise people is to understand what the will of the Lord is.
A fool is a person who is reckless with his time and reckless with his life. A fool is one does not acknowledge that there is a God and will be held accountable with his life.
When we think about the will of God, it often refers to either the mysterious and eternal will of God by which he makes plans and decisions in eternity, and the revealed will of God by which he speaks to us clearly in Scripture. In this context, it is referring to the latter.
What is will of the Lord?

I. To Be Saved

Mark 8:35–38 ESV
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
The Bible tells us for the most urgent and important need of humanity is to be made right with God.
The Bible tells us that there is a holy God who made the world we live in. And he has made us to love and serve Him.
But all of us have rejected his gracious and loving rule over our lives, and therefore man was cursed because he turned his back on God. Therefore, death and decay entered into the world as a result of sin.
Yet God, not only be a holy God, but a loving and merciful God sent His Only Son into the World, being born of a virgin, lived the perfect life you and I were supposed to live, and died on a shameful cross for the death you and I deserved as substitute on our behalf.
And three days later, he rose physically and bodily from the grave. And he ascended to heaven and is coming back again to deliver his people and recreate the world where there is no more curse. And for those who reject Him, they will be judged forever in the lake of fire, not because God is an unjust God, but because He is just and must hold the integrity of His character.
Our greatest need and the best way to redeem the time is to be reconciled to your maker.
If you don’t know what that means, I’m sure you can talk to several members of our church to explain it further. Or you can come to our church to find more about what it means to follow Jesus and be assured that your life will not be wasted and useful to God.

II. To Grow in the Likeness of Christ

It is God’s will that we be conformed to His Son. We must grow in knowing this God who has saved us, so he has called us to follow Him.
We follow Him as we read Scripture and pray, and also commit to a local body where the Bible is taught, where the ordinances are celebrated, and where the church gathers to worship and scatters to make Christ known.
We display the likeness of Christ in our homes, in our work places, in our neighborhoods. We should people who display compassion and kindness, virtue and goodness to show that our God is great.
If you want to redeem the time, give yourself to a group of Christians who will regularly gather to proclaim the gospel, encourage one another and hold one another accountable, and witness to those who yet to know Christ.

III. To Share The Gospel to Those Who Have Not Yet Heard

Romans 10:14–15 ESV
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 14
I
We want to be people who share good news with others. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded us.
This takes Christians to get off their couches and go to the nations to make Him Known.
If you want to make your life useful, we must redeem the time. And we redeem the time when we know what the Lord’s will is: making much of Christ, growing in Christ in the fellowship of the church, and making Him known to others.
And when we close our eyes in death, we will open our eyes to unimaginable glory when we are embraced by our loving Savior who will say well done good and faithful servant because we did not waste our time, but used our time to make much of our God.
So Tita Peth, and to the rest, make the best use of the time because time is short, time is not guaranteed, cannot be recovered, and is urgent.
And we make the best use of the time when we walk with the Lord because we are reconciled to Him, and grow in His likeness in the fellowship of the Church, and make Him known to others to those who don’t know Him.
2 Timothy 4:8–9 ESV
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon.
2 Timothy 4:7–8 ESV
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Prayer
Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ Passion: Making God’s Greatness Known to Future Generations

O that God would give us a passion in our final years to spend ourselves to make him look as great as he really is—to finish life to the glory of Christ.

Only One life, soon will past. Only what is done for Christ will last.
Mark 8:35–38 ESV
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
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