Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Redeem here means to buy up. It refers to making wise use of something we purchased with money.
Several things happened Friday that caused me to use this passage for a message:
Someone made a left turn in front of Steve Friday night. Only by a split second, did he miss having a serious accident.
I received this e mail from a man I corresponded with by letter before E mail came into my office several years ago. He lives in Bedford, Indiana, and has a ministry called Biblical Discernment Ministries. This was in my e mail Saturday morning.
Every so often one gets a close-up glimpse of just how close all of us are to eternity. Tonight I went to the boy's high school basketball regional finals in Columbus, Indiana (about 55 miles from us in Bedford). The high school my children graduated from (Bloomington South--ranked #1 in the state at 23-1) was playing the #2 ranked team in the state, Lawrence North (an Indianapolis school with a record of 24-1). Lawrence North's star player was an eighteen year-old, 7'1" senior (going to the University of Kentucky next year on a basketball scholarship). With three minutes left in the third quarter, he collapsed and died of a heart attack. I pray he was saved, but I have no idea at this point. It just impressed on me how precious our time on this earth is, and how every moment must not be wasted.Rick sent the URL (computer address) of an article about the boy's death. The story was in the Indianapolis Star Saturday morning, Mar. 13, 1999. (http://ingame.starnews.com/ingame/hs/99/mar/0313IG_stewart.html)
The boy's name was John Steward, the starting center for Lawrence North. The boy had an enlarged heart, and his mother said he had asthma and used inhalers. She told reporters a heart attack killed her son.
After the game, Scott Shadiow, a senior at Lawrence North, stood with friends in the Columbus North parking lot. Scott said, "You hear about this happening to guys in college and the pros but you just don't think about it happening at a high school game. He was our age, I just can't believe something like this happened at our game."
How many young people say, "I HAVE PLENTY OF TIME."
Here was an 18 year old who had the world at his fingertips --- a college scholarship, and probably a good chance at the pros. In a moment of time, it was gone, and he met the Lord.
Last Friday night on the way home from Indianapolis, we were listening to the end of the Purdue basketball game. That game was won in the last 41 seconds. They stretched out that 41 seconds for several minutes. Steve said that if I paid much attention to basketball, I would know that was not uncommon.
Purdue redeemed the time. Purdue used what little time they had left to their advantage. And they used it to win the prize.
Our time is short. We must redeem the time. We must use it to its best advantage -- doing the will of God.
These three things reminded me of an e-mail that circulated on the internet last week for "Friendship Week." It is all in the bulletin.
>To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
>To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
>To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
Ask someone who is facing a life threatening surgery next week.
>To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
>To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
>To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
Ask Steve. He only missed the accident by a small fraction of a second.)
>To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment of time that you have! And remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!!
TIME IS UNRELIABLE
Christ gave an illustration of a man who was confident in the future:
Luke 12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 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. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
The rich man had it all together, but it fell apart in a moment of time. Only a matter of time stands between us and coming face to fact with the Lord God Almighty. That time between us and the Lord can be measured in a split second or several years.
John Steward had it all together. Here was an 18 year old on top of the world, without a care in the world. But that night his soul was required of him. WHAT IF YOUR SOUL WOULD BE REQUIRED OF YOU TONIGHT?
TIME IS SHORT
At the very best, our lives are a vapour:
James 4:14 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. (Breath outside in the cold. That is how short our life is.)
Psalms 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Psalms 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? (We need to remember how short our time is.)
1 Peter 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: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
TIME IS NOW
NOW IS THE TIME to make a sin in your life right.
Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
The longer time we let sin continue in our lives, the more hold it gets upon us, and the more hardened we become to the voice of the Spirit of God.
NOW IS THE TIME to make peace with any person with whom you might have a conflict.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
NOW IS THE TIME to be saved if you have never trusted the Lord.
2 Corinthians 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.)
Let me make a point here. There are many folks who have confidence that they are saved. However, their conscience continually bothers them about a past sin. They may "rededicate" their lives. They may confess the sin over and over, but their conscience still beats them over the head. Those who are unable to gain a clear conscience through confessing and forsaking sin are probably NOT SAVED.
Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Salvation results in a clear conscience once a sin is confessed and forsake. (Pro. 28:13, 14.)
NOW IS THE TIME to be saved.
Dave Swank was telling me of a commercial he saw during the Supper Bowl. I told him I was going to use this because it was just too good to pass up. Maybe some of you saw it. I have preached on a lot of subjects, but this is a first for me -- preaching on a commercial.
It was a Snickers candy bar commercial. A man died and was standing before St. Peter to be admitted to heaven. St. Peter was questioning him about his life on earth. The man felt he had lived a good life, but St. Peter asked him about a squirrel he ran over as a 14 year old. The man was quite embarrassed, and said, "Do you remember that?"
About that time, someone from the back of the line said, "What's the holdup up there?"
St. Peter then pulled a lever, and the man dropped into hell. St. Peter said, "Is that quick enough?"
The point is --- that thing we have hidden from others here on this earth is not hidden from God.
Ecclessiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
The Lord tells us, SURE, GO HAVE YOUR FUN. ENJOY LIFE. But be assured, you will meet God one day just as sure as John Steward stood before his maker Friday night. He had everything going for him, and it was gone as a vapor. Scott spoke for the average young person --- IT WON'T HAPPEN TO ME. But it can and it does happen.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The most uncertain thing in this life is TIME. The most certain thing is that we will face God. How much time do you have? John thought he had a lifetime. Steve found out that just a matter of a split second, it can be over.
James tells us that the judge standeth before the door. (5:9.) Is he standing at your door?
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Are you ready?