December 26, 1993, for New Years, 94

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Time

Col 4:5

This season of the year recognizes the passing of time. Time is something that must be recognized, but must not be allowed to control us.

Clearly, time is one resource than man, if wasted, can never recover. Time can never be regained, nor stock-piled for future use.

Man has basically two views of time:

One sees time as totally present. Everything is to be done and used in terms of the present benefits or pleasures. Time is exploited for its present pleasures, and nothing else has any meaning. Thus time is totally controlled by what it can bring in the present. This philosophy is calledExistentialism: "What will happen to me in the present is all I care about."

The other view of time is totally future oriented. This view holds anything in the present with contempt. There are two present realities that exemplify the fatalistic, futuristic view of time:

One, the church. We we have a present day development of a thought that contemptuously regards all material things in the present. This idea sees only prayer, Bible study and "witnessing for Christ" as spiritual. This view of time delivers everything in the present time into the hands of the enemy to do with as he pleases. This brand of "Christianity" spiritualizes everything. Some have gone so far as to spiritualize away the Ten Commandments.

Illustration:

Bro Dilly had a young man working for him several years ago who had attended a "Christian" college in Pensecolla, Florida. No, not Pensecolla Christian College; he went to school under a man named Peter Ruckman. This young man was taught total disregard for anything material.

Example: Bro Dilly found an electric drill that the young man had used laying out in the weather. He picked up the drill and asked the young man why he left it out. The young man answered, "It's all gonna burn, so we have no need to be concerned about it."

From what I understand, Ruckman's students are very evident in Pensecolla because they dress, act and look like bums. They drive junk-heaps for transportation, and if confronted with their total disregard for material things, they say, "It's all gonna burn."

Certainly, Ruckman is extreme, but his extreme theology of time shows us the reality and fallacy of totally dismissing the importance of the present for the future.

Another group that holds this extreme, futuristic view of time is humanist educators. They have a future goal: a universal world order of peace and harmony where law is no longer required.

In their view, if they can cause everything in the present to conform to their plan, they can achieve the glorious, autonomous, harmonious, humanistic man that will be able to control himself and his environment by his knowledge.

As they pursue their dream state of the future, they care very little about the present effects of their implemented plan. They care very little about the individual person. So what if kids in the first grade experiment with sex and sodomy, just as long as these children are educated "properly" for the future good of all mankind, the world-wide state. Someday though, they believe, paradise will come because all people have been properly educated in all things. And because the individual is basically good, the properly educated person will be controlled by the good of the group.

In their future, dream society, people will be content and civilization will be fixed in time with no need to change.

Their humanistic dream has been around for centuries, and has cropped up many times throughout history. It is presently seen in OBE and the Indiana 2000 curriculum.

Their dream of a timeless, changeless society is seen in what they use to represent the perfect society: a bee hive. The bee hive represents every one content in his place in society, with the vast majority of the "bees" contented "servant-workers" for the good of the hive.

Of course, it is an aristocratic elite who determines what the good for the hive might be. The individual becomes no more that "collateral" to be disposed of to reach the desired goal of the elite. In order for the worker bees to be content, they must be retrained and "dummed down." It takes work and dedication to be able to turn out functional illiterates after 12 years of education.

Our present society, both inside and outside the church, is almost totally controlled by either or both extremes of ungodly views of time:

Present oriented regard for time, "Existentialism," or what will work for now. The thought is that when problems with present decisions crop up tomorrow, we will deal with them then.

Future oriented regard for time: has little or no thought of present consequences and responsibilities and PEOPLE.

So, what is the Christian view of time? Certainly, we must have a view of the future, but we are living in the present. The word of God deals with present acts and responsibilities and the future results of those acts. As Christens, we must define everything in the context of God's purpose as revealed in His word.

Some thoughts about time:

First, let me mention an ungodly view of time, then we will develop the godly view.

The ungodly view time as an opportunity to develop and enjoy the world and flesh, and to accumulate worldly goods for their own pleasure.

Isa 56:12 Come ye, [say they], I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, [and] much more abundant. Am 6:3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; Lu 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry. Jas 4:13, 14, Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Furthermore, Ps 2 tells us that the unconverted sinner sees time as the opportunity to overthrow Godly order. We are living in such a time.

Now, a Godly view of time:

1) The Child of God is not to be controlled by time, but he is to be controlled by the word of God. Honoring the Sabbath, one day a week set aside for Godly worship and rest in Him, recognizes that time does not control us.

Failure to honor the Sabbath confess to the Lord that we control time and events, not God.

2) A godly view of time results in patiently doing the will of God in the present and trusting Him for the future.

Heb 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Heb 10:35, 36, Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Of course, our enemy tells us that doing the will of God and patiently waiting on Him is a waste of time. Our enemy will bring all kinds of things our way to convince us that we are doing the wrong thing and that we must take things into our own hands or parish.

2 Pe 1:1-11

Notice the steps here in Christian groweth. We take these steps in the present time in which we live with the confidence that we will obtain the exceeding great and precious promises.

Vv. 1, 2, Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

The Spirit, through Peter, explains what is the goal of a Christian and what is the promise of God,

v. 3, 4, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Then the Spirit outlines the actions that must be taken and character traits that must be developed in order to obtain the goal established for us by the Lord of our Salvation:

V. 5, And beside this, giving all diligence (earnest effort, hard work, discipline), add to your faith

virtue (purity & modesty in thoughts & actions); and to virtue

knowledge (better understanding of God's word concerning right living, or Godliness); And to knowledge

temperance (self-control); and to temperance

patience (used in the NT to define the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose which is established from the Word of God. Not even the greatest trials and sufferings sway him from his loyalty to faith and Godliness. He remains steadfast in his faithfulness to what he professes to believe from God's word); and to patience

godliness (reverence, respect and Godly living); And to godliness

brotherly kindness (brotherly & kindness are the same word, meaning in the NT the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren); and to brotherly kindness

charity (brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence).

Then the Spirit gives the positive side of the development of these Christian attributes in our lives:

v. 8, For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe we should examine ourselves and see if we are fruitful or unfruitful for the Lord Jesus Christ. How many people have been influenced for the Lord Jesus through us this last year?

Then the Spirit gives the negative side of not developing these attributes:

V. 9, But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

The negative aspects of not living Godly in the present is three fold:

1) blind: unable to view the present properly, i.e., unable to see what is going on in the present. (Therefore, one cannot take godly action in his surrounding society.)

2) cannot see afar off: unable to view the future properly.

3) hath forgotten: unable to view the past properly.

All three aspects of time are used together. A corrupted view of one period (past, present or future) will corrupt the other two.

Then the Spirit, through Peter, compares the two, the positive & negative, and reaches this conclusion: work hard in our present time frame to develop very practical Godliness because of the promised future rewards:

V. 10, 11, Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of God was not presenting anything new; He only restated an old law of God that was already well established:

Ps 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Ps 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Lam 3:22-36.

4) fourth thing about time: One of the marks of a Christian view of timeis that he is able to calmly face the afflictions of life and wait upon the Lord. The child of God knows that the Lord controls time and that He will work all things for the good of them who love Him and are called according to His purpose:

Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

The Spirit used this verse in the NT, but with a little different wording:

Ro 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Thus the Spirit implies that the genuine NT Christian will not be ashamed to do good and wait upon the Lord to work all things out for His praise, honor and glory.

On the other hand, time controls the ungodly in that he must hurry to do something in the present because time is all he has. We are not to make haste.

5) but we cannot allow our command to wait upon the Lord to justify procrastination:

Mt 25:11, 12 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Ac 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 2 Co 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)

The reason that procrastination is prohibited is because of the brevity of life:

Pr 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Jas 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. Jas 4:14Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 1 Pe 1:24 For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

6) The Lord recognizes that time "flies" for man whose days are short. Time is extremely swift, so the Lord gives commands concerning time:

1 Co 7:29-31, But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Eph 5:15, 16, 17, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming <1805> the time, because the days are evil.Col 4:5, Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Redeem, speaks of buying for our own use. This passage tells us that we buy time as we would purchase something with money. We buy time be using it to do the will of God, Heb 10:35.

The idea here is to take special care, take special pains to guard against the temptation to foolishly waste time. The people of the world live to pursue foolish pleasures and desires, but we are to be controlled by the heavenly wisdom, the Word of God.

Rather than foolishly waste time, we are to redeem the time. Time must be redeemed by:

A) gaining Godly wisdom, Col 4:6 Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

B) doing good to others.

C) earning an honest living.

D) prayer and self-examination for sin which must be confessed so we can live and walk closer to the Lord.

E) in seeking the salvation of others.

Redeeming the time could be illustrated as redeeming the land. This area of Indiana at one time was useless swamp. That is very evident even today by the many man-made drainage ditches and the water standing in the fields. But man moved in and redeemed the land by draining it and making it useful.

As Christians, we must redeem the time by first, our own personal spiritual care, and second, by genuine concern for both the physical and spiritual welfare of those around us.

The Christian view of time sees time as an opportunity to preach the gospel into all the world and stress the gospel's implications into every area of life. The Christian view of time sees it as opportunity to glorify God.

The reason given by Paul for redeeming the time is because the days are evil. The times in which we live are evil. There are many areas of temptation in which to foolishly waste our time as does the world. The world tempts us to go to places of sinful indulgences and wasted time.

Foolish waste of time is seen in:

A) reading foolish novels and stories.

I know a lady who always has a lustful, sensual novel with her. She is caught up in the evils of the time and she needs to throw out those foolish, vain novels. I go to the library, and I see ladies bring back those "Romance" novels. They are caught up in the evils of the times.

B) worldly ambitions to enrich one's self.

C) arguments.

D) day-dreaming of what one would do if he won the lottery.

E) indulgences in luxury such as dress, food and drink.

Eph 5:17, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Paul calls on the child of God not to misunderstand proper use of time as do the unwise fools of this world.

6) Sixth point about time: In our faithfulness to the will of God in the present time, we must remember that this world is not our home:

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 1 Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

7) proper use of time is something that must be taught to us by the Spirit of God:

Ps 90:12 So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom.

8) Time passes and our desires change. The Lord commands young people to make time for Him and His service:

Ec 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

There is much work for the King to be done this side of death. Let us not be unwise in foolishly using our time and avoiding our responsibility to properly use our time.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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