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TIME

Selected Scriptures

 

 

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote: How often do we hear about the discipline of the Christian life these days?  How often do we talk about it?  How often is it really to be found at the heart of our evangelical living?  There was a time in the Christian church when this was at the very center, and it is, I profoundly believe, because of our neglect of this discipline that the church is in her present position.  Indeed, I see no hope whatsoever of any true revival and reawakening until we return to it.” 

One of the areas of our lives that we must be disciplined in the use of is our time.  Most (not all) but most of the stress that we experience in our lives we experience because of time demands and or financial demands.  Why is that?  Simple, because time and money are such large parts of our lives; and because they are such large parts of our lives how we use them directly impacts our growth in Christ likeness.

One of the ways that we are to be like Christ is in the disciplined use of our time.  Jesus was such a good steward of His time that when He came to the end of His earthly life He was able to say “I glorified You on the earth, (HOW?) having accomplished the work you have given me to do.” (John 17:4NASB95)

Go back and circle and underline two words in that verse, underline the words “having accomplished”.  Having accomplished means to “reach an intended goal, to bring to a full end, to finish a work or duty.”  Jesus could honestly say to the Father – “I’ve done everything that you had planned for me to do, I’ve reached the goal. 

I wonder how many of us will be able to come close to saying what Jesus was able to say.  One thing we know for sure, Jesus recognized the value of time and treated it as a resource and not something to be squandered.  The Scriptures speak directly to the subject of time and the wise use of your time.

This morning I’d like for us to look at ten Biblical reasons why you should use your time wisely.  Most of my messages I try and take a “how to” approach, this morning it’s purely a “why to” message.  These ten biblical reasons are taken from a sermon preached by Jonathan Edwards titled “The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming it.”

1.  The Bible teaches us that we must use time wisely “Because the days are evil.” 

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NASB95)

Paul wrote these words to the believers at Ephesus who were about to face persecution because they were Christians.  That is the evil days he was referring to.  Paul says in light of the persecution that is to come be sure and make the most of your opportunities to serve the Lord, to grow spiritually, to evangelize the lost.  There is a sense of urgency in his words to not allow any moment to pass by without putting it to good use. 

While we may not have to worry right now about losing valuable opportunities due to persecution and affliction that doesn’t mean that the days we live in are any less evil.  The world’s system, (that is the way the world operates), our own fallen sinful flesh and the Devil all scheme in various ways to rob us of our God given opportunities.  The natural tendency of our minds and our bodies is to lead us away from God’s goal for our lives of becoming like Christ and lead us towards the evil of our day.  It’s very easy for our minds to become lazy and undisciplined.  If you doubt that, then why do the Scriptures speak to paying close attention to our minds? 

For instance Colossians 3:2 teaches us….

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
(Colossians 3:2, NASB95)

Our tendency is to set our minds not on things above, in other words on the things of God, by the way setting your mind is an act of the will, our natural tendency is to let our minds wander to daydream, to avoid rigorous intellectual activity, to turn on the T.V. and let someone else who doesn’t hold biblical values do your thinking for you!  Don’t do that!  Learn to be discerning and discriminating about what you watch and what you allow your children to watch.  Do more reading and less watching!  What applies to your mind, applies to your body.  Your body would rather sleep than work eat than exercise.  Your sleep/work habits and your eating habits can like your mind lead you away from Christ likeness. 

I’m a firm believer that everyone should live by a schedule.  If you don’t schedule it probably won’t get done!  Schedule your prayer time, your devotional time, your reading and studying time.  Successful people and successful business all run by a schedule; successful Christians schedule time to develop their relationship with the Lord and to serve the Lord by serving others.

2.  The Bible teaches us that wise use of your time is the preparation for eternity.

This truth, this reality has implications for both the saved person and the unsaved person. 

Firs of all for the saved person and apprehension of this truth leads to the understanding that the only time to prepare for eternity is in time.  In other words the only time all of us have to prepare for what comes after death is now in this life.  In fact the Scriptures urge each of us to prepare now for eternity.  Why the urgency?  Simply because we don’t know when our lives will end; Johnny Carson, Johnnie Cochran, Pope John Paul II, Eddie Albert, James Doohan, Peter Jennings, Bob Denver, Don Adams, Rosa Park, Richard Prior and Pat Moritia, what do all of them have in common?  Each one of them died last year. None of us are guaranteed of the next breath, the next hour or the next month. 

Jonathan Edwards had 72 resolutions that he tried to live his life by.  Resolution nineteen was “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.”   If you are going to make the most or your time, that’s not a bad strategy!  How different would your life be if you lived each hour as if at the end of that hour you were going to find yourself in eternity?  The reality is that will be true for each one of us some day.  We will live our last hour on this life and go out into eternity.  Once your life is over, all opportunities for further service, growth in Christlikeness will be lost forever.  If this hour were your last hour would you be satisfied?

Second the unsaved person needs to be made aware that it is only during this life that preparations for eternity can be made.  The Bible teaches that after death there are no second chances.  The Bible teaches…

 

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27, NASB95)

That means that there is no reincarnation, no mulligans, and no do-overs.  The decisions people make in this life have eternal implications.  Some bad decisions in life you can outlive.  But rejecting Christ is one decision that you can’t outlive, if fact you have to live with it for eternity.

Since no once can predict with certainty the time of their death, the unsaved person needs to be made aware that every moment they keep rejecting Christ they are in imminent and eternal peril.  Just take a few moments to reflect on the events of the past week.  I doubt that any of the 12 miners who went to work on Monday morning never thought they would never see the sun again.  Yet what happened?  A build up of gas, a flash, an explosion and 12 men who went in never came out. 

To use your time wisely now means that you properly prepare for eternity.

3.  The Bible teaches that time is short

 

Do you know why gold and diamonds are so valuable and pea gravel isn’t?  One word – scarcity! You can gravel lying around all over.  But not gold or diamonds, they are hard to come by, they are scarce.

Guess what?  You do not have an unlimited supply of time.  Just as gold and diamonds are scarce so too is your time.  If we knew we would never die then time wouldn’t be so valuable and we could waste all the time we want.  But we are going to die; we don’t possess an unlimited amount of time.  Time is in short supply.  James points the reality of our situation.

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14, NASB95)

 

“Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.”
(Job 14:1, NASB95)

 

“Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!” (Psalm 89:47, NASB95)

One of the realities that each of those verses teach is that you have a very limited time to serve God, to obey God and to glorify God in this life.

4.  The Bible teaches that time is passing

“The world is passing away... “(1 John 2:17a, NASB95)

Statement of fact: THE WORLD IS PASSING AWAY!  We all know that the reality is you can’t save time, nor can you make up time.  Time marches on unhindered and unimpeded.  There is absolutely nothing that we can do about it.  The older you get, the quicker time seems to pass.  When I was a kid it seemed as if Christmas came only once every six years.  Now it seems as if it comes every six weeks.  Time is passing and once it goes by you can’t get it back.  Opportunities for service and growth are limited!  Why; because time is passing.

5.  The Bible teaches that the time remaining is uncertain

 

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1, NASB95)

 

Because our remaining time is uncertain that should increase its value for to us.  Because the time God has given you is so uncertain and valuable that should cure us of our procrastination.

6.  The Bible teaches that time lost cannot be regained

Many, many people have gone bankrupt only to make back what they have lost.  Many have experienced a temporary loss of health only to reclaim in later in life.  Some have even lost their memories and they come back.  Lot’s of things that are lost are found.  But it is not so with time.  Time lost cannot be found, recouped, or regained.  Time lost is lost forever!  That’s why Jesus said

“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4, NASB95)

Life may present us with multiple opportunities but life does not present us with unlimited opportunities.  Scripture provides illustrations of lost opportunities.  To put it in more modern words Scripture encourages us to “seize the day”, to take advantage of the opportunities as they come our way.  Serve God today, work while you have the light, missed opportunities and time that has passed cannot be regained. 

7.  The Bible teaches that YOU are accountable for your time

 

Paul wrote in Romans 14:12

“So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”
(Romans 14:12, NASB95)

Notice carefully what the Scriptures say, each one of us, that means everyone of us, every person who has ever lived will have to one day undergo the scrutiny of God as to how we have “spent” our lives.  The saved person life and the unsaved person’s life will be examined.

We know that God saves us solely by His grace and not by our works.  But our reward in heaven will be based on our works.  These good works can only be completed in time, in other words in the here and now.  In case you’re wondering there will not be any rewards given for good intentions.  Our earthly works will determine our heavenly rewards. 

God expects you to spend your time wisely.  One of the ways that God expects you to invest your time is in your spiritual development.  The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote….

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12, NASB95)

These believers had been saved long enough that they should have been able to sit down with others and teach them the Scriptures.  If they had used their time wisely they could have done that.  The Scriptures teach that you will have to give an accounting of how you use your time.

Jesus said in Matthew 12

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36, NASB95)

Jesus also taught in Matthew 25 that each one of us will be accountable for how we use the talent that He has given to us. 

Let’s think about this, if we are going to be held accountable for the words that we say, and how we use the talents He has given to us, I think it’s safe to assume that we will also be held accountable for how you use your time.

The prudent thing for a wise person to do would be to evaluate how you are using the time God has blessed you with and make the necessary corrections so that you will hear the words one day you would like to hear when you stand before the Lord.  Remember each hour and each day is time that you have to give an account for.

8.  The Bible teaches that time is easily LOST

In the book of Proverbs there are two types of people who are repeatedly verbally chastised. 

One is the fool.  The fool in the book of Proverbs is the person who doesn’t fear God, the fool is the one who rejects the ways and the wisdom of God. 

The second type of person that the Scriptures take to task is the sluggard, the lazy man.  One of the reasons that the Scriptures takes the sluggard to task is because of how he uses or maybe we should say the way he mis-uses his time.  The sluggard can always find an excuse for his laziness and his wasteful us of his time.  For instance listen to this lame excuse that the sluggard gives.

“The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” As the door turns on its hinges, So does the sluggard on his bed.”
(Proverbs 26:13-14, NASB95)

The sluggard is worries about something that might happen, so notice what he does.  He turns back over in bead and goes back to sleep.  He is worried about something unlikely happening to him so he covers up his head and goes back to sleep.  What happens because he stays in the bed, what happens because he is making excuses?  He wastes his time and loses the opportunities that time brings with it.

Some people never seem to have time for the things that really matter, and before they realize it they lose numerous opportunities.  Proverbs says

“A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.”
(Proverbs 24:33-34, NASB95)

Notice it’s just some little things – a little more sleep, I know I should get up and read the Scriptures but I’ll just hit the snooze one more time.  I know I should meditate on the Scriptures but I’ll just watch a little more T.V. It’s just a bunch of little things, but they all add up to be a big thief!  As one writer says “You don’t have to do anything to lose time!”

9.  The Bible teaches that you will value time at death

 

The French infidel Voltaire as he was faced with the end of his life said to his Doctor ‘I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months (more life).

The English skeptic Thomas Hobbes his last words were “If I had the whole world, I would give it to live one day.” 

Now if on your deathbed you come to the realization that time is truly valuable, then why not come to that realization now?

Do you know when you truly begin to value money?  When you run out of it!  The same principle applies to time.  Don’t wait until it’s too late; recognize the value of time now before it’s too late!

10.  The Bible teaches that time is valued in eternity

Scripture contains a vivid illustration of how time is valued in eternity.  Let’s read from Luke 16:19-31.

The rich man in hell, in torment, in agony realizes he has wasted his life.  He begs Abraham to send the beggar Lazarus to his brother to warn them to not come to this awful place he was in.  The rich man’s opportunity was lost!   He recognized that only in this life can decisions be made that effect eternity!

What value do you think time has now for those in Hell?  What value do you think those in Hell place upon the opportunities that are only available in this life?

The Puritan Pastor Richard Baxter writes of those who have wasted their lives and now find themselves in eternal torment and agony. “Doth it not tear their very hearts forever; to think how madly they consumed their lives, and wasted the only time that was given them to prepare for their salvation?  Do those in Hell no think them wise that are idling or playing away their time on earth?”

 

This hasn’t been a message about your time.  What applies to your finances applies to your time.  The Scriptures teach that all the money you have belongs to God.  He allows you to steward His funds.  So too, all the time you have is God’s time.  He allows you to steward His time.  What kind of steward are you?

What if I would were to give you $86,400.00 tomorrow morning and told you to spend it wisely and if you spent it wisely I’d give you $86,400.00 the next day and every day you handle that money wisely I’d give you another $86,400.00 it wouldn’t take very long for you to be a rich person.  You would have something valuable. 

Guess what?  Each day God graciously gives you 86,400 seconds to spend.  They are more valuable than $86,400.00 but do you treat them that way.  

    ONLY ONE LIFE    
  Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily lefe;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,"Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call, I know I'll say "twas worth it all";
Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Are you spending your life for Christ in things that will last?

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