Stephen Olan continues the ‘Dont Waste Your’ series
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
In picking up where my brothers S.O and Douglas left off in the Don’t waste your series, I feel this to be one of the most vital things we as Christians waste. This note won’t be as long or deep as S.O’s or Dougs, however, I feel the passage on time to be a vital one to us as Christians, especially in the time we live in.
Now we are all pretty aware that this gospel age is pretty much the last before the glorious returning of our Lord. Knowing that the days are evil in this post-modern society, how are we as Christians redeeming the time we have? How active are we in evangelism? How often are we studying the Bible? How much time do we spend in prayer and intercession?
When choosing this topic to write about I felt convicted within myself, knowing that I have wasted so much time over the last few years in matters that not only have not benefited me spiritually, but have failed to edify others. All who know me know I have a great love for doctrine, however I am also aware that theology alone is just knowledge without grace. Peter in 2 Peter 3:18 admonishes us to grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lest we forget, Paul says: 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee or as the NIV puts it: 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
So doctrine is important. However, how do we faithfully redeem the time if we fail to APPLY this doctrine? Where is the love (mutual love being the topic when Paul begins his exhortation in Eph 5) in knowing the scriptures yet not applying them?A Self-Indictment
You see, I say all this as a self-indictment. I’ve spent many moments on the net, over the phone, face to face with friends and family, debating issues both primary and secondary, without applying the doctrine in my life. I’ve spent many a time shouting down people who disagree with “my way”, defending “my doctrine” without grace, without applying love. So when I leave wondering why my words were ignored, I only had myself to blame, for I hadn’t exercised the words of scripture that told me to walk, not as a fool but as wise.
Theology APPLIED Matters
I am not attempting to downplay the importance of theology, for I have been blessed by dedicated Bible students. I encourage the use of Bible study guides, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, concordances etc. I encourage people to admonish one another (in love). I totally believe 2 Tim 2:15 means we should be dedicated to studying the scriptures as it is through this we learn more about Christ and are driven to live Christ centered lives. However, I discourage the non-application of scriptures. Theology for the sake of proving points and looking knowledgeable is wrong. Matthew 7:21-23 is a warning against people having this kind of mindset as is 1 John 2:4. If we claim to know him we will keep his commands, this is straightforward. So the mere study of scriptures for our own egos is not faithfully redeeming the time.
Redeeming the time and Evangelism
Paul understood that Gods desire for his church was to be a light to a dark and evil world. Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
This is how we are to redeem the time as it pertains to evangelism. We are encouraged to redeem the time we have to walk in wisdom to them that are without. That is to not only walk as Christians, but to share the hope that is within us. You see, it’s all well and good being a student of the scriptures. But we don’t study merely for ourselves or so we can defend our pet doctrines. We study to know more of Christ. We study to grow spiritually, in grace and in knowledge. Our studying should lead us to live lives of repentance and worship. Not only that, but it should lead us to have a heart for the lost. Pauls example was clear: 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.I recently heard a “Pastor” preach against a group of individuals, implying that they are too “Cross focused”. God forbid I ever cease being Cross focused. It was knowing Christ being crucified for my sins that drove me to repentance in the first place. It is in knowing Christ being crucified for sinful man that leads us to share the Gospel with unbelievers. This oft forgotten service to the Lord is key in our redeeming the time. Knowing that the days are evil we preach Christ crucified to a lost world in the hope that they be driven to repentance.
Time is a talent
As Matthew Henry says in his commentary on Ephesians 5: Time is a talent given by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. None of us know when our time on this earth will be up, so as long as we are here and as long as the Lord tarries, let us endeavour to redeem the time, for the days are evil. There are plenty of lives at stake.Grace and peace.