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Making the Most of Time

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 20, 2021 7:00 am

Making the Most of Time

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 20, 2021 7:00 am

Today's young people have embraced a life motto that simply states, "You only live once." While this sort of mindset could certainly lead to hasty, rash decision-making and a justification for irresponsible behavior, it can also have a useful place in a proper, Biblical understanding of time.

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Today's young people have embraced a life model that simply states you only live once.

While this sort of mindset could certainly lead to hasty rash decision-making or justification for irresponsible behavior. It could also have a useful place in a proper biblical understanding of time. Thanks for joining us for the Bible study hour is Dr. James Boyd shares a message entitled, making the most of time. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. God exists outside the confines of time and space, but he still chooses to work with in human history. Are you aware of what God is currently doing in the world are you ready to jump on his bandwagon. Let's turn to Ephesians 5 and listen together to the teaching of Dr. Boyce. Quite a few years ago when I was a lot closer to the beginning of my ministry that I am now. I use to pray for the necessary facts and the necessary skills for carrying on an effective ministry. I suppose that is true of just about any Christian entering a new field of work. The early years were spent just acquiring the tools that you need to do the job well. But then as the years passed, and some of these things became more natural to me. I found myself shifting in my prayers from prayer for flacks or skills to prayers for wisdom by which I meant the wisdom to use the skills and the facts correctly, that great emphasis upon wisdom that I was discovering in a practical way is something that is found throughout the pages of the word of God. The Bible spends a great deal of time communicating factual information to us. It concerns things that have happened in the need to be known and crews that we need to get into our thinking. But having acquired all of that. You still don't necessarily have wisdom and so you find.

For example, the first third of the book of Proverbs, extolling wisdom, telling us that this is something to be desired and pursue and that it is in the path of wisdom that the fullness of life is to be found.

Proverbs sums up its message by saying the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of only one is or leads to under standing all the same thing in the New Testament just one text in first Corinthians 1st chapter versus 23 to 25. He says we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but those in God is called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength are two parts to this wisdom that the Bible talks about one has to do with the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ and it's a personal thing and the other part of it has to do with the application of that personal knowledge in practical day by day living practical application of wisdom that Paul is dealing with.

In the fifth chapter of Ephesians we seen as we have begun to study this chapter that he is very concerned now with practical Christian living. He spent three chapters dealing with what we would call the most exalted theology, though always with a practical application. Now he's talking about the practice of the Christian life. Oh, however, he again and again grounds that in his theology seen how he has contrasted two ways of life using the image of clothing and clothes with a kind of behavior that is appropriate for Christians as opposed to a kind of behavior that's a appropriate for non-Christians is dealt with at a number of different ways. Now he talks about wisdom saying to Christians.

Now in this matter.

Living out the Christian life and want you to be why it's not foolish failing to understand and apply what you know but as people who exercise sanctified judgment in the way they apply this knowledge in day by day life. Other three things he says. A wise man does in one of these has to do with the use of his time, you find it in verses 15 and 16.

Be very careful that how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, making the most of time is what he saying because the days are evil. I don't think it is clear enough.

Most of our minds how important time is prompted helps when we begin to think about time to recognize that it's one of only two things we have going for us if we would serve God I call them the warp and move of history. One is time and the other space I mean by that you are in one place and not another. So you have to use the place you have a new one moment in time and not another. And you have to use the time you have an part of the wisdom of the Christian life is recognizing where you are and what should be done because you there and also when you're living we are.

For example, in Philadelphia, as opposed to being in New York or Los Angeles or London or Bangladesh or Cairo or some other place. What you would do in another place would be somewhat different. You would perhaps conduct yourself in different ways would be different methods of evangelism and such things. So part of wisdom is understanding where you are and what needs to be done because of where you are but not only that we are also here in the last 15 years now of the century and has a bearing upon what we do where not living in Philadelphia back in the 1700s when the country was just getting underway or in the 1800s when so much missionary work was being established.

What is changed in those centuries and so part of wisdom consists in understanding the times and the places and using them effectively in the service of God. This emphasis upon time course is very crucial in the Bible because the biblical religions, Judaism in the Old Testament in the fullness of that in Christianity in the New Testament are religions of time historical religions in the Old Testament. Most of the surrounding religions were nature religions. That is, they identified God with some aspect of nature. Either God was the son of the moon, or maybe there was more than one daughter, God was God was understood to be in the crops or in the seasons or the cycles of the year. Generally speaking, was pantheistic. We would call it pagan but the point that I'm making is that it was not historical. This kind of religion didn't go anywhere. The best you had cycles. The seasons came they changed but they always came back again. Nothing really happened in history, and so God was seen of God was seen at all simply in the mere repetition of the same events in the New Testament. Where the background was the religion of Greece and Rome, either with its formal kind of religion in the worship of the Caesars at a later date or the earlier kind of religions are to come into that area of the world from the East. You had generally a kind of mythical approach to things. Stories of the gods were mythology that was meant to teach certain timeless truths. The mystery religions carried out a great deal further by being initiated into the mystery religions understood certain timeless truth about life and what it was like but again, none of these religions went anywhere. It was simply the same thing happening over and over again to different people.

Christianity was entirely different was based on God's work back through past history God appearing to Abraham way back in the earliest chapters of the book of Genesis to say I'm calling you out of the Chaldees and I'm sending you into a new land that I meant to give you land in their in that land. I'm in a bless you, and I'm in a bless your offspring and from you eventually in that great line is going to come one who is the Savior of the world. Now that's historical that is a religion that takes time seriously.

We know that aspects of those promises to Abraham were fulfilled in different ways throughout the years of Israel's history. The Exodus was a prime moment, and that movement of God, chiefly moment was the coming of Jesus Christ in his incarnation, his life is ministry is suffering his death and his resurrection. The apostle Paul refers to that in a special way when he said in the fullness of time, God sent his son to be the Redeemer of the world mentioning the fullness of time brings in another way in which the importance of time in the Bible can be understood and that's by the words significant biblical words that are used for a lot of them hammer out which is usually translated day or which is translated our Cairo lost time or season, Chronos, which means time on my own age and other words, is a very interesting word in that list that I just read and that's the word Chiron's how is I said you can often translate that word time and that's a proper translation, but Chiron's meeting time is to be contrasted with another Greek word Chronos which also means time but is quite different. Chronos is a word from which we get our word chronology of chronology is a listing of events. It's the mere sequence of events. The passing of time.

Chiron's refers to time but it does refer to time in that way. Chiron's refers to a mere sequence of events, but to a moment in time, which is significant sometimes therefore is translated opportunity you would talk about making the most of time or making the most of an opportunity. Let me give you a few text that show how that word is used here it is in a secular way.

King Felix was responding to Paul's teaching at one point and said when I find it convenient. That's the word Chiron's when it's a suitable time for me. I will send for you. He was wrong in postponing it, but that's the way use the word. It is use also of course of the coming of Christ. Peter wrote of the prophets search being intently and with the greatest care to find out the time and circumstances to which the spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow that significant historical moment Jesus use the word what he said in Matthew 2618 my time at is the significant moment for which I came. He was referring to the cross my time is at hand. So when we talk about redeeming the time and when we have this before us is a responsibility use wise Christians. What we really talking about is making the most of the opportunities that God gives us those key moments that God puts in our lives to be used for him and therefore to be redeemed for spiritual ends rather than for worldly concerns left to themselves, as Paul says here in Ephesians 5, the days are evil, but it is the Christians privilege to redeem some of them for good and priced service few years after the end of World War II and English historian's name was Herbert Butterfield wrote a book in which he tried to set the immediate past and perspective and rally Christians to significant ethical behavior in one way did this was to talk about the importance of time in the quote is always been realized in the main tradition of Christianity. He said that if the word was made flesh matter can never be regarded as evil in itself, and in a similar way, if one moment of time could hold so much is this that you cannot brush time away and say that any moment of it is mere vanity every instant of time becomes more momentous than ever.

Every instant is eschatological or is one person has put it. It's like the point of the very story where the clock is just about to strike 12 this view, there can be no case of an absentee God, leaving mankind at the mercy of chance in the universe blind, stark and bleak and a real drama the madman's nightmare or a tissue of flimsy dreams is being enacted on the stage of human history.

A real conflict between good and evil is taking place. Events do matter. Something is being achieved a respective of our apparent success or failure.

Making the most of time is to enter into this conflict and to influence it for good in the service of Jesus Christ I when Paul begins to explain how we are to be wise in Christ service. He mentions a second thing first is making the most of every opportunity.

The second verse 17 of Ephesians 5 is to understand what the Lord's will is usually when we talk about the Lord's will, what we have to say is that the will of God is revealed in Scripture and not by any kind of mystical experience.

Some people want God to give them a special word as to what they're doing some situational life, and while I don't exclude. That is a possibility that is not the way God operates in the large Geordie of cases or to study the Bible were to learn the character and commandments of God from such study, and then on the basis of that is mature men and women guided internally by the Holy Spirit were to make the kind of decisions that are to influence our lives and the lives of other people. That's what you talk about when you talk about knowing the will of God may be sometimes is that God will order circumstances. In such ways that that's helpful, but generally were to operate responsibly on the basis of what we know in Scripture. Probably Paul is presupposing that here but I say presupposing because in the context when he says that we are to understand what the Lord's will is. I must say I don't think that is what he has chiefly a mind see Paul is talking about making the most of time is our time, our moment and immediately following this, he begins to talk about understanding God's will in the context that must mean not go. It's also a valid point. Understanding the character in the commandments of God, but it must mean understanding what God's will is for this moment this situation.

In other words, it's as if Paul is saying we should be asking such questions is as what is God doing now what is the importance of this year in my life.

What is God trying to accomplish this week.

This day this hour. How to be able to begin the day searching for God's will. In such things and then living it to full for his glory.

I have a friend who is very active on a number of Christian boards serves a more Christian boards and I know of and when you serve in Christian boards you get certain insights into the way things are done which are not always complementary to the Christian works and he says he finds at times that he's quite disillusioned by Christian works that claim to be doing God's will and in fact they get into all sorts of trouble and things at which seemed any outside objective observers of God certainly was not a blessing and then he sits another boards where they really do search to see what God would do it as he talks about that as he has with me on several occasions he says as far as he's concerned our responsibility as Christians. And this is the way he puts it, is to find out what direction God is moving and then to jump on his bandwagon and I think that's not that's not all bad. I face that in a personal way as the leader of the local church as well as in various boards and I serve on and anybody in that position knows that there are always a host of conflicting programs being thrust upon your program for church renewal and liturgical renewal in different programs for evangelism and Sunday school, work, and all kinds of things because everybody has their own thing they're trying to market it may commonly say look this is what your church should be doing. This is what your church should be doing that responsibility you have as a leader in an organization is feeling your way through all those conflicting claims and the path of wisdom is to say, what does God really want us to do all sorts of things we can do what is God really want us to do what is God doing in this moment because that's what the will of the Lord is and then if we can understand what God is doing. That's what we want to do and we want to get behind that with a 10 do it with all the power at our disposal. You begin to say I think I'll hard it is to be wise much easier just to be knowledgeable. Well, there's 1/3 thing we talked about making the most of every opportunity. Knowing what the will of the Lord is the third thing Paul mentions is being filled with the spirit is a lot of misunderstanding when these terms are used because the whole branch of Christianity is based upon certain experiences that are supposed to follow from being filled with the spirit, let me say by way of definition that there is a difference between the baptism of the Spirit and filling with the spirit, the baptism of the Spirit is never urged upon anybody because the baptism of the Spirit refers to what the Holy Spirit does when he regenerates an individual and unites them to Jesus Christ and what in theology is called the mystical union of believers with the Lord you're not urged to be baptized by the spirit as a Christian because if you're a Christian, you have been baptized by the spirit. It's the same thing. And baptism is an appropriate word to use for it because baptism is the sacrament, which is the initial sacrament of the Christian life that happens once it's not to be repeated being filled with the spirit of something different. This is something that is urged upon Christians but it is not something that is associated with special charismatic gifts necessarily. It may be that God will do certain things in our lives. Along those lines, but that's not the import of the term book of acts that phrase be filled with the spirit or reference to somebody who was filled with the spirit as used 10 times of events after Pentecost and the only uniting factor in all 10 of those situations is that the person or persons who are filled with the spirit immediately thereafter began to testify to their faith in Jesus Christ that follows doesn't because if, as Jesus himself taught in the final discourses recorded in John's Gospel, the chief responsibility of the Holy Spirit is to bear witness to him to glorify him before the world must convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.

It follows doesn't not but if I Holy Spirit doing that job fills Christians. They will then in obedience to the spirit begin to testify to Jesus also what I want to say is that it is in line with that, that the apostle Paul uses the term in Ephesians 5, because look as soon as he has said be filled with the spirit immediately goes to talk about this verbal aspect of the Christian witness.

We are to speak to one another was Psalms hymns and spiritual songs were to sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord and we are to give thanks to God the father for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what follows when the spirit fills our hearts are number of things there. When Paul says in verse 19 speak to one another was Psalms hymns and spiritual songs.

It's a little puzzling to know exactly what he has in mind. You would think at first that there's a contrast between speak. Verse 19 the first half of that and sing and make music, which is in the second half, so one would be non-musical and the second would be musical. The difficulty is that he says speak to one another was Psalms hymns and spiritual songs.

And if that's the case then what's the difference between that and the second part John Stott when he talks about a things that that first part has to do with fellowship.

Second part has to do with worship. I think I would call the first part worship, but it's a combination of the two. The very way he speaks about it indicates that this worship which results from being filled with the spirit is not dry abstracts dull boring kind of thing that it is a lively thing above all, it is a thing that unites Christian people together as together they worship God and if it's fellowship, which I also believe it is. It's nevertheless not the fellowship of the coffee hour. It's the fellowship that Christian people have when their hearts really are joined in praise of God. And then he goes on to talk about singing, making music, praising God in that way worshiping him through our songs very important to churches always worship God through music and then finally verse 20 the third thing being filled with the spirit, we will give thanks to God the father for everything always falls already talked about Thanksgiving. You recall that earlier when he was contrasting our behavior without of the worlds where you have sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talking course joking.

He says no, rather your to be thankful to be thankful for God's gifts and praise them for all good things here he brings this matter Thanksgiving back in again. Shakespeare says in King Lear. How sharper than a serpent's tooth. It is to have a thankless child that's true, of course, but if that is true in the human level. It is far more true spiritually how hard it must be for God to have ungrateful children, and here Paul says don't be ungrateful, but rather give thanks, let me conclude in this way moment ago I was talking about different words for time. I want to refer to one that I didn't mention then, but which is perhaps the key one where this particular study is concerned, it's the word new in Greek and it's translated almost that way. In English the word now this key biblical word. Now think of the texts in which it occurs.

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.

Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy U hunger now for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Second Corinthians 6 to now is the time of God's favor and hold now is the day of salvation. What I want to say is that if we are going to be wise, as Paul admonishes us to be the now is the time that we must be at were going to redeem the time, we must redeem it now because this present moment is the only time we've got.

We don't redeem it now. It doesn't get redeemed if we are going to understand what the will of the Lord is, we must understand what the will of the Lord is now because this is the time about which God is concerned were going to be filled with the spirit so praise God and be united to Christians within the body of Christ we must do it now, but tomorrow you put it off tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes, but rather now close this quotation from Jonathan Edwards who was a wise wise man when he was 20 years old.

He wrote this in his diary resolved never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can pray our father, we confess that we don't do that.

We waste many moments we miss countless opportunities for your ignorance of what you were doing in history, and we certainly live many moments of our lives anyway. But spirit filled in our father.

Here is the apostle Paul telling us what we should be how we should act. What we should do. We pray that you would use these words to encourage us that we might begin to live differently in small things in large things. But above all, to begin to live differently right now Jesus, you are listening to the Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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