When the Bible tells us to make the best use of our time, what comes to your mind as practical ways to do that? Paul’s focus is not primarily on us reading our Bible and praying more, but it is on us reaching others and serving them.
The excerpt is taken from the full sermon, “Making the Best Use of Your Time“.
So often you will hear when Christians talk about redeeming the time, very often they’re thinking, you know, getting their prayer life together this year, getting on track with their Bible reading. That’s not even on Paul’s radar here. It’s almost like that is Christianity 101. That’s an assumption. Those are the things by which you keep your light bright, by which God makes you light and bright. They’re not even the things.
Brethren, all I’m saying is this, is if we approach this new year and we’re thinking about redeeming the time, if the main thing that’s on your mind is getting your Bible reading act together you’re not even where Paul is saying you need to be seeking to redeem the time. You’re not even on the same page with him. Brethren, breathing for the Christian – prayer is like breathing. The Word of God – it’s not bread alone – it’s by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. You see, this is breathing and eating. This is 101. Those are just the basics of life. If that’s where you’re at, you’re not even hearing what Paul’s saying here.
Paul isn’t even dealing with seeking opportunities to get in the Word and get in the prayer closet. “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders making the most of the opportunity.” We’ve got to move beyond just praying, fasting, being in our Bibles. Paul’s very specific about the kinds of opportunities toward outsiders. You know, when you listen to Jesus, can you find words on prayer? Yes. Can you find words on the necessity of Scripture? Yes. But if you hear Him as He describes good works that follow us out into the eternity of glory – you remember those on His right hand and those on His left hand? Not to one of them did He say: I really commend you for your prayer life. Now, undoubtedly, that was a good thing. And there’s plenty of Scriptures that say that it is. But isn’t it interesting the things that they’re being commended for are not that they followed McCheyne’s Bible reading program and they were faithful to accomplish it for the whole year. Oh, we need to be in the Word. You understand what I’m saying. I’m not detracting from that. I just want you to know when judgment comes, you know what He looks at? I was in prison. Did you come? You see, being in the prayer closet and being in the Word of God prepares you for that. I was a stranger and you took Me in. (incomplete thought) We’re talking about things where you die to yourself. things where you have to make sacrifices. This is the sacrifice of the Christian life. This is the sacrifice of walking like Christ. Do you know what Jesus said? He said when you give a dinner, don’t invite your friends. You see, this is where we’re at. You’re giving a dinner. You know what He’s saying there? You plan a dinner and you invite a bunch of the brethren. Well, you know what’s going to happen? Those brethren are going to invite you back and you’re paid. Account settled. He says you know what? When you have a meal, you have an opportunity. Oh yeah, but if I invite the guy from down the street, it will make us all feel uncomfortable. Yeah, if you shine light on the unfruitful works of people – see, the unfruitful works of darkness. That sounds so theological. You know what it really means? That guy, that neighbor, John – yeah, you go over and you expose his sin and you show him he’s headed for hell, and you show him Christ. It’s real people. And it’s you doing real things. You have a meal? You know what Scripture says? Don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, your rich neighbors. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. You know what He said? Love your enemies and do good. Lend, expecting nothing in return. He said sell your possessions and give to the needy. You see, these are the things. True and undefiled religion before the Lord – this is what James says – it’s to visit who? Orphans and widows in their affliction. Do you know orphans and widows are some of the neediest people in the world? And we have people that we support that in turn support such people. And we can support such people right here in our own city.