VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 12 POSTED ON: 2/17/2010
“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
"Be careful with your Time"