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Be careful with your Time

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					“Be careful with your Time”

Colossians chapter 4 verse 3
Also pray for us. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to
tell people his message. I am in prison for doing this. But pray
that we can continue to tell people the secret truth that God
has made known about Christ.

Paul has an aim. It is very important. What is it? To tell people
the secret truth that God has made known about Christ. That is
the most important thing in Paul’s heart – he wants to tell
people about Jesus.

The King James Bible says: to speak the mystery of Christ. I
will ask you a question: What is the best way to tell people
about Jesus? With words. It doesn’t matter what language,
spoken or sign language. The best way to communicate with
people about Jesus Christ is words, signs or writing. Words that
are spoken, or words that are written. Paul always preached or
wrote letters. Also, the Bible is words.

Paul never used drama or multi-media. In the New Testament
it was always preaching or writing. Why? The Gospel is very
serious. Example: Maybe you have some sad news to tell a
friend – maybe your friend has failed an exam. Will you dress
up in funny clothes like a clown, then tell your friend with
drama? No. Serious subjects must be communicated directly,
with signs or words.

Maybe a group of people meet each other. What do they do?
They talk to each other, they don’t use drama. Talking is
natural, simple, direct and serious. The New Testament way is
preaching. The apostles preached. When people preach, God
promises to bless them. That’s why, in this church, we don’t
have any special music or drama or entertainment. We use
straight words to tell people about Jesus Christ.

Verse 3 ...pray that we can continue to tell people the secret
truth that God has made known about Christ.

Secret truth. Means what? Impossible to understood? Look at
the verse. It says two things:

1. Secret truth.
2. God has made known.

I will explain: Before, God had a secret. What was the secret?

The secret was: How God forgives people. The Jews knew
that God forgives people, but they didn’t know HOW.

In the Old Testament, there were many clues: the prophecies
and the sacrifices in the Temple, and many other clues. But it
was not clear how God forgives people. You can look at Isaiah
chapter 53 and see many clues, but its not clear. That’s why
the Jewish leaders didn’t believe in Jesus, because they didn’t
understand the clues in the Old Testament, and they were too
proud.

What about the Gentiles – people who were not Jews? They
didn’t understand anything. They had many different ‘gods’ and
idols. They worshipped the stars and the trees. They didn’t
believe in the one true God. It was a secret.

But then Jesus came. God made sure that everyone knew: Jesus
did miracles. He taught and healed people and went to the
cross. He suffered there and died. Not for His own sin, no – He
had no sin. He died for His people, all the people He chose.
Now we can understand clearly. There is no secret. How can
God forgive sin? Because Jesus died on the cross.

Here in Britain 100 years ago, most people knew about Jesus,
and why He died on the cross, and how we can be saved. When
a pastor preached, like Spurgeon, he knew that most people
understood. But now its different. Very few people understand
what happened when Jesus died. Its a secret again. That’s why
we have to explain from the start. We must be clear and explain
the Gospel with sympathy to all people. We must not use drama
and entertain people. We must explain clearly. That’s why Paul
asked them to pray for him.

Verse 3 ...I am in prison for doing this.

Paul was in prison. What for? For preaching the Gospel. People
don’t like the Gospel. Why? Because when we preach the
gospel, we must tell people they are sinners, and they don’t like
it. We must tell people they can do nothing to get to Heaven.
We tell people that they must bow to Jesus. They must repent
of their sin and give their lives to him. People don’t like it.

That’s why people resist the gospel. They use persecution.
Means what? It means that people try to force us to stop our
witness. They use lots of different ways:

1. „Clever‟ persecution.
People think that they are clever, and the Christians are old-
fashioned. They try and force us to give up our beliefs and
accept the ‘clever’ ideas of today.

2. Political persecution.
Most people in government don’t believe in God. They try and
use the law of Britain to stop Christian witness. They try and
influence the newspapers and the media to criticise Christians
so they look stupid. People think that Christians have closed
minds. Why? Because Christians won’t accept the new bad
laws.

3. People laugh at us.
Maybe people at your work or your college or school don’t like
you because you are a Christian. They laugh at you and try and
influence other people to laugh at you also.

When we are persecuted, how should we behave? Some
Christians don’t like it so they are quiet and don’t challenge
anyone. It happens in churches – they don’t challenge people
with the Gospel. They want lots of people to go to their church,
so they don’t challenge them about sin. They teach and feed
them the world’s things:

1. Worldly worship like a party.
2. Lots of jokes.
3. People lead the meetings, showing off and introducing lots of
different short readings and drama etc.
4. Loud music so the people feel nice.

You can’t challenge sin like that. You must preach the Gospel
and challenge people and tell them about their sin. You must
witness the Gospel. Paul reminds us that he is in prison for
preaching the Gospel. We will suffer for the Gospel also.

Verse 4 Pray that I will say what is necessary to make this
truth clear to everyone.

Paul wanted to be brave and speak clearly. He wanted to tell
people straight, and he wanted to be kind. The Gospel is two
things:

1. A challenge. We must tell people they are sinners.
2. Kind words. We must tell them that God is full of love, and
He will forgive them.

Verse 5 Be wise in the way you act with those who are not
believers. Use your time in the best way you can.

Paul told them to be careful how they behaved, so that people
could see they were not strange people. In Colosse and in many
other places in the world there were many rumours going
around. People said bad things about Christians:

1. Christians sacrifice their children.
2. Christians are like a secret club.
3. Christians are planning to do bad things.
4. Many other rumours.

Lots of different lies were going around, about Christian people.
That’s why Paul said, be wise in the way you act with those
who are not believers. Be careful – don’t do anything so they
think the rumours and lies are true. Behave in a holy way.
Remember – we want to help the people, so they can be saved
also. They might tell rumours and lies, but it doesn’t matter. We
must try and help them. That’s why our behaviour and our
words must be pure.

Verse 5 ...Use your time in the best way you can.

This is an important word, time. This is about how we use our
time. How much time do we use to grow spiritually and learn
about God. How much time do we use to serve the Lord and
witness for Him?

Time. What is it? Minutes and hours and days. Yes, but also it is
opportunity to serve God. Time is used or wasted. The verse
says: Use your time in the best way you can.

How do you use your time?

1. To pray more?
2. To pray for other people more?
3. To read more and learn more?
4. To witness more?
5. To help and teach each other more?

Time never stops, it goes on and on. You can’t go back. Time is
like a river. It always flows and flows, and never comes back. If
you miss a good opportunity to witness, it never comes back.

Example: Maybe you make a cake. Some friends visit, so you
make tea and cut the cake. You give a piece of cake to each
friend and have some yourself. Someone has another piece.
Then what happens? The cake is gone. It has disappeared.
Same as time – it disappears. How?

1. When we dream. Many of us dream and think about what we
want. What happens? Time disappears.
2. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself – for a long time. What
happens? Time disappears.
3. Empty talk – light talk. Never talking about spiritual things.
What happens? Time disappears.
4. Too much play. I know it is good for us to play sometimes,
but too much play – all our free time. What happens? Time
disappears.

Example: Some people are good with money. They know how to
save. They can plan and save money for something. They can
use money well. They know when to buy and when to save. We
should think about time, the same as money. We need to save
time and use time the best way.

How much time have you got? We are very busy: We must go to
work, or go to college. We must clean our home. We must shop
and cook and travel. Yes, but how much time do we use for
spiritual things, for the Lord, for witness, for fellowship? How
much time have you got?

Life is busy, and we don’t have a lot of time, so we must use it
wisely. Time is precious, because we don’t have very much.

Example: Maybe you go on holiday for a week in a beautiful
place. You’ve never been there before. There are some famous
places to visit and friends to visit and lots to do. Every day is
precious, you don’t want to waste one day.

We should live like that all the time. We should think, ‘Every
day is precious, for my spiritual life’.

Children don’t understand time. They don’t realise, they just
play and play all the time. We can be like little children, because
sometimes we don’t understand that time is important.

Time is stolen away from us. Who steals our time? The devil; he
watches us. He thinks to himself, ‘That Christian has a weak
area. He has no time for reading and prayer’. So the devil
comes and tempts that Christian to waste time. He steals it
away.

Maybe you say, ‘But I didn’t sin badly, I didn’t hurt anybody, I
didn’t do anything bad’. No, but all your time was stolen away
You didn’t read your Bible very much – a few verses, that’s all.
You didn’t witness very much – just a few words. You didn’t
help anyone. The time disappeared – the devil stole it all.

How can you get it back? You must buy it back. How?

Verse 5 ...Use your time in the best way you can. The King
James Bible says: Redeeming the time. Redeem means buy,
like in a shop. When you go to a shop, you give your money to
buy something. The lady in the shop won’t give it free. You
must pay. Its the same with God. God won’t give you back your
time for free. Maybe you are sorry you wasted so much time,
and you pray, and ask God to forgive you. But the time won’t
come back to you automatically.

If you want your time back, to serve the Lord and read and
pray, you must pay. How? Remember: Maybe you relax too
much. Maybe you dream and plan about what you want, but it
takes so much time. Maybe you have a hobby and it takes so
much time. You must stop those things, and pay them like
paying money. Sometimes, when you pay – it hurts – you don’t
want to pay, but you know you must pay. Then you will get your
time back.

Don’t go through life dreaming – you should plan and aim to
save your time. You should think, ‘I have some time this week
so I will plan what to do’. I must not dream, I have to think
carefully, and plan. I must remember that time is precious.
But planning is not enough. If you plan, you must do it. You can
plan to do many things:

1. Have more time to read the Bible.
2. Read a good Christian book, maybe a chapter in a week.
3. Visit someone, to encourage them to come to church.
4. Have more time for praying.

What happened? The time went, and I didn’t have time to do it.

You must plan, yes, but it’s not enough – you must be strong
and do it. If something stops you, you must sort it out.

There is only 24 hours in a day. You can’t change time. Maybe
you think, ‘I must have time to read my Bible more, maybe I
will change time, so there is 26 hours a day’. Impossible. No,
you must stop doing other things. You must choose which is
important. You must check your life – maybe there is
something you can stop, then you will have time for more
important things, for the Lord?

Did you know, only Christians can save their time. A person
who is not a Christian can save time on one thing and use it for
another thing – but they are both the world’s things – there is
no benefit. That’s not saving time, because they are both the
same.

Only Christians can save time. How? You can stop doing
worldly things and start doing spiritual things. Only Christian
people can do that. Someone who is not a Christian has no
spiritual things. Every true Christian should do worldly things
less and less, and do spiritual things more and more.

Example: Its like a balance. Many years ago, in shops, they had
a balance. When I was a boy, I went to the sweet shop. The
man put some metal weights in one side, and the sweets in the
other. He put more in until it balanced. Its the same with time –
we have time for the world’s things, and we have time for
spiritual things. We must take time from the world and use it
for spiritual things.

When should we start to save time? Now. Start to redeem your
time now. Take time from the world and use it for the Spirit.
Maybe God will help you catch up all the wasted time from
before. Maybe you can save your time for the Lord, and He will
give you more opportunity to serve Him – all the opportunity
you missed before.

You young people – I know what happens, your friend will
think of something interesting to do, some new thing, a fun
place to go. Your friend asks you ‘Come with us. Come here and
there.’ But you don’t have the time. Maybe you think, ‘But I
have already relaxed this week too much. I can’t go with them,
its enough, no more’. But your friends pressure you. They tell
you that its ok, its not sin, there is no problem. You should say,
‘I can’t this week, my time has gone.’ That is good. That's what
it means to redeem the time. Don’t let your time go. Use your
time for more important things.

I know a man, a few years ago, he had a bad back. He was in
bed for three weeks, with lots of pain. Later, he was better. He
said to me, ‘It was the best time of my life’. I said, ‘What do you
mean?’ He told me all the things he did:

1. He prayed for people. He had lots of time for prayer.
2. He phoned people.
3. He wrote letters to people.
4. He read lots of books, and learned so much about the
Christian life.

He said, ‘I never had a good time like that. The Lord really
helped me.’ He was redeeming his time. Do you understand?
That is a good example. When he was ill, he had a choice:

1. Complain and feel sorry for himself, and rely on people
helping him.
2. Do some really useful things, and help other people.

Like Paul. He was arrested and put in prison. Before, he went to
many places and stood and preached to hundreds of people.
But then he was in prison – he couldn’t speak to lots of people,
because he was in prison. What did he do? He prayed and
talked to the soldiers. He wrote letters. We know the letters he
wrote, from prison:

1 Ephesians
2 Philippians
3 Colossians
4 Philemon
5 2 Timothy

God gave Paul the time to do those things. He didn’t complain
and feel depressed. No, he used the time because God gave him
the time.

You remember, when you became a Christian, you prayed,
‘Lord, I give you my life.’ That is a good promise. Now your life
is His. Yes, but what about today and tomorrow and next week?
What about your time? You should pray, ‘Lord I give you my
time today’. You should pray that every day. That is an easy
promise: ‘I give you my time today’. Don’t say, ‘Lord, I give you
my time for 20 years’. No. You will forget. Better to pray it
every day. It will help you remember.

Example: Maybe you have a flat or a house. How do you pay?
Do you give all the money, all the rent for 20 years all at the
same time? No, you pay rent every month. Do the same with
your time. Every day save your time.

Example: A man says, ‘I will build the tallest building in the
UK.’ But he can’t do it tomorrow; he doesn’t have enough
money. First, he bought an old flat and repaired it, then sold it.
He bought another flat, bigger than before and repaired it, then
sold it. He did it again and again. Many years later he had
enough money to build the tallest building in Britain. All
because he started small and built bigger and bigger.

The Christian life is like that. You can’t win everything in one
day. You can’t be fully holy in one day. No, but you can save
today’s time and tomorrow’s time and plan better and be
careful and give your time to the Lord. Then, when you are an
old Christian, you will look back and realise, you gave your
whole life to the Lord. How? A little time every day, as much as
you can.

How can I save time?

1. In your thoughts. What do you think about? What are
your dreams and thoughts about? When you are sitting on the
bus – what do you think about? You must save the time. You
should be planning something for the Lord. Maybe you have
read a verse from the Bible. You should be thinking about it.
You should be planning to witness to someone at college or
work. You should use your time for precious thoughts, for the
Lord. Maybe you should be praying. You don’t have to close
your eyes, just pray to the Lord. People around will not know.
You should be doing much more for the Lord, with your
thoughts.

2. At home. Finish all you jobs at home, like cleaning and
washing clothes etc. There are many things to do at home.
Don’t delay and put them off. Finish them, then you will have
free time. You can visit someone and help them. You can read a
book, and learn spiritual things.

3. In your emotions. Sometimes you are angry – pray to the
Lord to help you stop being angry. It is a waste of time. Some
people complain and complain. Don’t do it, because it wastes
time. Some people feel very sad about something bad that
happened – that’s ok, but don’t be sad for a long time. No, save
your time. If you are sad for a long time, you will become a sad
person. It will hurt you deeply and it will steal your time.

4. In your free time. Some people are very selfish with their
time. They think, ‘I am tired today. I will go to church just in
the morning, then I will go home’. No, save your time. Don’t be
selfish, use the time to worship the Lord.

Think about Paul. He never stopped working. He used every
minute, and God used him to save many people. He was ill.
People tried to stop him. They put him in prison. They beat him
often, but all his time was used for the Lord. Why? Because he
loved the Lord Jesus and he loved people. He wanted many
people to be saved. We should be like Paul.

What about the Lord Jesus our Saviour? How did He use His
time? He was always travelling, praying, helping people,
healing people, teaching people. He had a strict timetable. He
knew every town He would visit. He knew everyone He would
heal. He knew what He was doing every second. He knew how
long He would be on the cross – six hours. Jesus redeemed His
time and he redeemed us also.

What about John Calvin. He was ill in many ways – but he
never stopped. He worked for the Lord. He used his time.

What about us? We have an easy life. We expect to live longer.
We have an easy life – but how do you use your time? Use it for
the Lord, use it for him.

May God help us all to redeem our time like never before.

Amen.

Dr Peter Masters.

Modified 9th February 2008

				
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