Adult SS Lesson – Redeeming the Time, When Do We Start?

 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Eph 5:16

            Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Col. 4:5

            Last week’s lesson dealt with redeeming the time. This week’s lesson answers two questions:

I. WHEN DO WE START? NOW!

            “Say not ye, There are yet four months, & then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, & look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”-John 4:35. Now is the time! While there is time, there is opportunity-& we must not waste the time nor the opportunity. 

            “What l tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: & what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”-Matt. 10:27.   We have heard from the Lord! We know what to do. We cannot be silent. Find a housetop & shout it! 

            When this pandemic ends, lets use what ever time God allows us to “Redeem the Time” this year & do better than ever before! Let’s not be lethargic! Let’s run the race excitedly & fervently. Let’s LET’S DO “BETTER” THIS YEAR!

            “Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, & things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.’-Heb. 6:9. The word “better” occurs a number of times in the Book of Hebrews.

            The Book of Proverbs also uses “better” with frequency.

For instance, it says in Proverbs 8 that “wisdom is better… “than rubies”; “better than gold”; “than choice silver”(vss. 11, 19). Chapter 12 says, “He that is despised…is better than he that honoureth himself” (vs. 9).  We can learn a great deal from an of these verses, but some of them get really interesting. Consider, for example:

            1. Proverbs 15:16: “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure & trouble therewith.” A lot of folks start wanting the better things, the better life, the better way, etc.; & so they go chasing the world & forget who God is. We are better served to give ourselves in full devotion to the Lord whether or not we ever have two nickels at the same time. No amount of “treasure” is “better” for you if you choose the world’s way to acquire it.

            “Better” it is to walk with God, though your treasures be little, than to compromise yourself for gain.

            2. Proverbs 15:17: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox & hatred therewith.”

You would be better off if you never had another hamburger or steak, just a feast of herbs (vegetables) with love in full vogue, than to eat big & well where hatred is.

            3. Proverbs 16:32: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; & he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”

            Many Christians pride themselves on their hot temper & don’t realize how carnal it was. It is much better for you to keep your cool & refrain from outbursts of anger.  Consider these other blessings of the better things. A morsel of bread with quietness is better than a feast with strife (17:1).   An honest poor man is better than a fool with perverse lips (19:1).   A poor man is better than a liar (vs. 22).    It is better to be exalted after humbling oneself than to be abased after exalting oneself (Luke 18:14).

It is better to go in the building & sit in the back & be called up to the seat of honor than to go in & assume the seat of honor & be asked to move to the back (14:10).

            An “open rebuke is better than secret love.” Sometimes it is better to go ahead & speak up because of the situation (Prov. 27:5).    A near neighbor is better than a far-off brother (27:10).   A righteous poor man is better than a wicked rich man (28:6).

            There are twenty of these “this is better than that” verses in Proverbs alone. Oh, how precious their truths & how valuable their teaching to us!

            The text in Hebrews says that some of their folks had not been performing as well as Christians should (6:9). Apparently, they had not understood the weight of the expectations that were upon them as Christians. So, in effect, the verse says, “I’m expecting better things Of you.”

            If you were a not-so-good Christian before, you can be a better Christian this coming year. Indeed you should be a better Christian. Let’s apply these Proverbs which I have noted here. In order to make up whatever we were lacking last year, we can deliberately aim to be decisively better this year.

            There’s a saying that goes, “Though I may not now be all l should be, I do thank God I’m not what I used to be & I know that I am not yet all I will be.”  So we have come a ways already, but we still have mountains to climb. It may not be easy, but it is right. The terrain may be rugged, but the path that takes us to the top is worth all the effort.

            This verse says, “Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you.” That’s a noble aim, a proper goal & one that all of us ought to be pondering-to be better Christians today than we were yesterday. Surely we could serve the Lord a little better today than we did yesterday. To set such goals as Christians would be entirely worthy & every bit appropriate for what we ought to do.

 

II. HOW DO I START?

            How will we spend the days, the hours, & every precious minutes of the remaining time God gives us. As we reflect on where we have been & what has happened in 2020, it is a year we will never forget. Already the year has given us highs & lows, sorrows & joys, successes & failures.

            As you think of the days you have spent, hopefully you will not have a lot of foolish regrets or lingering anxiety over the things you did not do that you know you should have done. But whatever has been the past, let’s consider the moment where we are now & glance out toward the horizon for the start of the rest od the year. Consider these great texts:

            “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, & in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’-     II Cor. 6:2.

            “As the Holy Ghost saith, To day…hear his voice.”-   Heb 3:7

            “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, & continue there a year, & buy & sell, & get gain.”-      Jas. 4:13.

            It is a time for a fresh start. We need to see it as God’s refreshing us with opportunity. Such privilege should be quickly claimed & not squandered. May I offer these additional suggestions about how we may handle it wisely.

            1. Give God His proper place in your life! Acknowledge Him. Defer to Him. Trust Him. Receive His Word as true. Let Him guide your steps every moment, every day.

            2. Receive Christ as Saviour! If you are not already saved, then don’t delay. Confess yourself a helpless, Hell bound sinner & by faith receive the crucified & risen Christ as your Saviour.

            3. Get into a good church! You need a church because it is part of God’s provision for you. Don’t argue with God on this; agree with Him. The church will afford you a place to learn, grow & serve. You will be blessed & you will be a blessing-if you get into a good, Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, soul-winning, separated, fundamental church. Soon, your good church will be open for you Sunday morning, Sunday evening & for a midweek service too. Don’t miss! Be there!

           4. Pray each day! Prayer is the vehicle of communication that our Heavenly Father gave us so we could talk to Him. He wants to hear from each of His children. We need to speak to Him often every day.

           5. Read your Bible! When you want God to talk to you, read the Bible. It is His Word. He has already said what we need to hear. Quit looking elsewhere for the voice of God. His Book, the Bible, is His written voice. Read it.

            6. Keep close family ties! You should make much of your family. Love them. Spend time with them. Give yourself to them. If your family is not up to par, regroup your priorities & give yourself to them.

            7. Keep yourself clean! Read Exodus 20. That’s God’s moral law, ten statements of God’s declared values. Read the Book of Proverbs. There you will find roughly another one thousand principles of truth which are God-given rules to govern our behavior. Read the Epistles of the New Testament. They are loaded with a wide array of absolute truths, heavenly wisdom & distinctive principles to direct our steps.

            8. Be forgiving! If people have hurt you or in some fashion done you harm, get over it! Forgive them. Get it right with them & then go on with your life.

            9. Be loving! If you are harsh, rough, uncouth, razor-tongued, self-centered & insensitive to others, shame on you. You cannot do those things & be the Christian you should be. Learn to love & show it 

           10. Be generous! Quit your fretting over what you have corning to you & do something for somebody else. Don’t do the minimum; be generous. Don’t be stingy; give with enthusiasm!

            11. Tithe! If you make one dollar or a million, tithe! The tithe may be in your hands, but it doesn’t belong to you. It has simply been entrusted to you to see if you will honor the Lord. When Sunday comes, tithe!

            12. Win souls! If you look at our Lord’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), how can you not see & understand the task He has entrusted to us? In a dark world, lost in sin, we are the ambassadors of Light. If we fail to go after sinners with the Gospel, we have failed at our greatest task.

            13. Be grateful! Stop thinking about your rights & what you don’t have. Breathe & thank God! Look at the plusses rather than the minuses. Be appreciative of small things. Express your gratitude to those around you. Pray to God your thanks for salvation, blessings & Heaven too! Don’t be an unbearable ingrate!

            14. Keep your standards! (personal holiness; personal code of conduct) In the culture of the twenty-first century, the appetites of the flesh are unleashed, undisciplined & unrestrained. Even in Christian circles the “have it my own way” philosophy has become a major matter. You & I should not flinch in doing the unusual when we know it’s right. Your standards will define you to the world, as will the lack of them. So go get a haircut, groom yourself neatly, dress yourself in gender-specific attire, leave off the smoking, drinking, gluttony (ouch!), etc.

            15. Sing! In the shower, in the car or walking alone, let your heart resonate openly in song. You don’t have to be good at it when you’re alone.

After a while, if your song is consistent with your life, you might try the choir too. You’re saved, thus you’re forgiven; so sing! You’re Heaven bound, so sing!

            16. Take time to play! You & your family ought to take regular time to play together. In the front or backyard, in your basement or at the kitchen table, take time to play together. Shut off the tube & the computer so you can enjoy one another. Play is not an unspiritual thing. It will do you & your family good.

            17. Pay your debts! Whoa! What’s this? Rein in your reckless spending. If you have debts, make the payments on time every time. Don’t foul up your testimony by piling up bad debts. Renegotiate or refinance if need be, but don’t let your debts spoil your reputation.

            18. Stop being a grump! Some Christians use their sour spirit to intimidate the people around them. They do it so everybody will give in to them & let them have their way. It is not a good thing; & if you are prone to do it, you should start today to end your stormy behavior.  Put on a happy face & then ask the Lord to help you feel it way down deep.

            19. Quietly listen! Some of the people around you would appreciate it if you would use your ears once in a while. If you are a motor-mouth, you are likely hurting yourself & the people closest to you. So give your vocal apparatus a rest & let your ears be employed. We will all enjoy you so much more if you will just stop the chatter & listen really closely.

            20. Show discouragement the door! While you’re at it, give an exit to defeat, depression, despondency & the like. Claim God’s provisions of goodness & mercy & give no quarter to the deadbeats of discouragement, etc.

            21.Get up early every morning! Get out of the bed. Thank God for the sunrise (it’s always low in the sky just to the east of your house). Get up; get going. The past is past. Don’t cry over yesterday’s spilled milk.

Be ready to be used of God this day. So go ahead, get up as early as is practical for you. There’s much to be done & today is the day to do it.

 

III. CONCLUSION

OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS

            You and I should expect this rest of this year to be the best that we’ve ever had.

Somebody ought to thump our ears if we expect to coast through!

            Better than ever! Yes, indeed! The Lord is worthy of a better effort. Let’s shake off our failures,

our apathy & whatever else has caused us to fan short.

Let’s go for the “better things” this time!


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