Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – June 19, 2016
Theme: Living with Eternity in View
Topic: Redeeming The Time
Main Texts: Ephesians 5:15-21, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Key Verse: Ephesians 5:15-16 – “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we studied the Reality of Eternity and its implications for how we live on earth. Our key learning from that study include the following:
- Beyond the grave, there is a life in which each person is conscious, remembers all that happened in his or her lifetime, and the full implications of the way we lived on earth are brought to the consciousness. We must therefore weigh all we do on the scale of eternal values.
- The contemporary world constantly seeks to make us believe that the idea of life beyond the grave is superstitious. Fewer preachers today speak of heaven and hell in their messages because it is unpopular to do so. The church runs the risk of taking eternity out of the gospel for the sake of acceptance.
- While there are several stories of people who died for a few hours and came back to life and testimonies of their experience in those hours of death, our faith in the fact of life beyond the grave must not hinge on such testimonies, but on God’s word.
This Sunday, we will seek to understand what Apostle Paul meant by Redeeming The Time – in his letter to the Ephesians (5:16). Our learning from the study should include:
- To redeem the time is to make the most of the time we have on earth, doing what counts, especially things that build up God’s kingdom.
- Regardless of our age or stage in life, there are always opportunities to make the most of our time. The notion that we get to an age when we are comfortable doing nothing is inconsistent with redeeming the time. The gospel message can be delivered by people of all ages even if the delivery style varies.
- There are pressures today to sacrifice preaching of the gospel for laudable causes. While we should be engaged in humanitarian causes, we should see them as opportunities for demonstrating God’s love in the gospel rather than a substitute for the gospel.
We saw earlier that our exit from this life marks the milestone that ushers us into eternity – time that is infinite and cannot be measured. Our time to commencement of eternity is limited. The Lord had this reality in mind when he said “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4 NIV) The expression “Redeeming the time”, comes from King James Version of Ephesians 5:16: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”. Other renditions of the verse include “making the most of every opportunity” (NIV), “making the best use of the time” (ESV). In many business organisations, personnel are required to time-write – a system whereby one records time spent on various tasks as a basis for calculating remuneration. Only time spent on approved activities counts. “Redeeming the time” is about spending time on things that count.
1. What changes in the way we spend our time should result from our coming to know Christ and how should our life pattern change as we grow in Him? In the earlier verses of Ephesians 5, Paul reminded the Ephesians of negative things they were into before they came to know Christ. It is against this background that he now challenges them to fill up their time with things of eternal value. While we may no longer engage in the negative things we were into before we came to know Christ, making the most of the time we have requires that we fill up our time with value-adding things. Jesus made the statement in John 9:4 in the context of healing a blind man. As we get older, we tend to have regrets about things we failed to do in our earlier years. It could be a missed opportunity to speak to someone about Christ, about someone’s material or emotional need we could have met, or some skill we could have acquired.
2. List some reasons we fail to utilise opportunities to do something positive which we are well- placed to do, which we later regret. While an older person may regret missed opportunities in his or her younger days, every day we live on earth – even in old age – has its opportunities. This is to say that the command to redeem the time applies at all stages of life. It is important we identify opportunities that apply to our stage in life and our circumstances, and do our utmost to undertake activities that add value. However, the opportunity to preach the gospel exists at all ages, even though the approach and style may vary with age
3. List opportunities to redeem the time at these stages in life:
a. As a young person still dependent on parents or guardians
b. As a young to middle-aged professional
c. As a “senior citizen”, perhaps with most children independent
Redeeming the time also involves knowing the difference between the good and the best. There are today seemingly laudable activities that could be a substitute for the very best things God desires that we give our time to. In particular, there are good causes – especially humanitarian causes – that we are being told are more important than preaching the gospel.
4. How should we respond to appeals to give more time to humanitarian causes, without undermining preaching of the gospel?
Father, teach us to align our priorities with Your priorities so that we give our time to things that promote Your kingdom, In Jesus’ name, Amen.