Volume. XXV, No. 25
Sunday, 19 December 2010

Redeeming the Time - Part I

According to a one-time management study, the average person spends two years of his lifetime trying to return calls to people who never seem to be in. We also spend six months waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and another eight months reading junk mail. These unusual statistics should cause us to do time-use evaluation. Once we recognize that simple “life maintenance” can chip away at our time in such huge blocks, we will see how vital it is that we don’t busy ourselves “in vain”. In the fifth chapter of Ephesians beginning with verse 15, Apostle Paul gives his readers the following exhortation: “15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” With regard to this passage, J. Vernon McGee says, “This is another injunction regarding the walk of the believer. He is to walk wisely. His walk is to reveal the urgency of the hour and the importance of living for God. The entire objective in his walk is to stay in the will of God. He walks in the will of God as a train runs on the track. His walk in this world demonstrates that he belongs to Christ.” Indeed, there is nothing more important for a born-again Christian to be walking wisely and living in the will of God as his or her chief end in life. Thus, let us consider this passage from Ephesians and unpack some of the theological truths therein.   

 To Walk Circumspectly, not as fools (v.15)
 We are told by Apostle Paul to walk circumspectly or carefully, not as fools, but as wise. The phrase not as fools is connected to the practices of devotion to the ancient god Bacchus, who is “worshiped” with drinking, partying, and the orgies in which his worshippers acted like madmen running about, tossing their heads from shoulder to shoulder, and appearing to be in every sense completely frantic. In other words, Paul is urging the readers not to indulge in godless partying and fun-making coupled with intoxication of alcohol which is common among pagans. Most Christians today certainly do not intoxicate themselves with alcohol or indulge themselves in godless activities. Nonetheless, it is possible for a Christian to become addicted to other forms of ungodly activities. Despite the fact that there isn’t in the Bible a list of ungodly activities that Christians are forbidden to attend or get involved with, yet the Word of God does give us enough principles to guide us to walk circumspectly as wise. Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 says, “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This passage has been called the briefest biography of Christ. For Christ is the One who is "True." He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. "Whatsoever things are honest"—He is Honest. "Whatsoever things are just"—He is called the Just One. "Pure"—the only pure individual who ever walked this earth was the Lord Jesus. If we are to walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, we need to imitate the life and examples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
What is to redeem the time? (v. 16)
Paul says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) Why did Paul urge believers to redeem their time? Because the days are evil, Paul says. It is evil because the days of life in general are so exposed to evil, as to make it necessary to make the most of the seasonable opportunity so long as it lasts (Eph 6:13; Gen 47:9; Ps 49:5; Ecc 11:2; Ecc 12:1; Joh 12:35).
Then what is the “time” that Paul is talking about? Is he speaking of “time in general” or is he speaking of “a specific time”? There are two Greek words used for “time”. One (chronos) has the idea simply of day upon day and hour upon hour or “sequential” time. The other (kairos) has the idea of a definite portion of time or a time where something should happen. The latter is the word Paul used in Ephesians 5:16. The idea here is of the time” not just general sequential time. It is a “definite season of opportunity” that Christians must redeem. The idea behind redeeming the time is that you buy up opportunities like a shrewd businessman. This same word is translated “opportunity” in Galatians 6:10. But the word opportunity must not be confused with “random chance” or “luck”. For, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Some may ask, “Isn’t the word chance used in the Bible in Luke 10:31? The word translated as “chance” in Luke 10:31 by the translators literally means by way of coincidence of circumstances on the part of the Levite who came along, or from his perspective by way of circumstances, he saw a man lying down half-dead on the road. The context does say that that particular event happened by random chance. And the word translated as “chance” which only occurred four times (Deut 22:6; 1 Sam 6:9; 2 Sam 1:6; Ecc 9:11) in Old Testaments also has similar connotation.
We must not deny that circumstances or situations are the means God, who is the primary cause, uses to accomplish His will and purposes. They are called secondary causes. Thomas Aquinas says, “God is the primary cause of everything, but has chosen to work indirectly through secondary causes.” Yet, God is not limited by those means to accomplish to divine purposes: God acts from within and without upon them. All that happens is the result of God’s use of means to achieve God’s ends, meaning God also decrees, and announces the connection between the means and the ends. Nothing happens by random chances as the secularists or fatalists would “otherwise definite”.
Therefore, when Paul tells us to redeem the time, he isn\'t telling us to make the most of every moment. That is not the context here, though that is good piece of advice. He is telling us to seize opportunity or circumstances for the glory of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by His blood. In other words, it isn\'t to make the most of time, but to make the most of “the time” worthwhile. Whatever opportunity which God has given us, we need to make most out of it for God’s glory! Are we making the most of every opportunity for Jesus Christ? Why must we redeem the time?
To be continued…

Ps Weng


More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Volunteer. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman.
*Session wishes everyone a very Blessed Christmas.
*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30 - 1:30pm. Books & cards are for sale.
*RPG for next QTR available. Donation: $1 per copy.
*Please note: There is no Fellowship Lunch after Worship Service next Lord’s Day.
*Flower Roster - volunteers needed to be on roster to bring flowers for Worship Service 2011. Please see Sis Peng Ha Yeo.
*Service Roster for next QTR is being prepared. Please let Dn Ewdin D’Mello know of your availability or otherwise.
Looking Ahead
*Watchnight Service: Fri, 31 Dec, at 7:30 pm.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Dn Christanto & Sis Jenni Budiman & family (Qld/Adl); Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Dns Joyce Gong (Per/Mal) & Purdee Yeo (Bris/Adl); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser (Melb); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Bris); Bros Raymond Ang (Bris/Adl), Frank Wong (Adl) & Simon Yeo (Bris/Adl); Sisters Sheila Chalil & Shilsha Ninian; Mary Ting (Adl); Shu Ai Cho, Gillian Ong, Tabitha Tan (Bris/Adl), Grace Seow, Clara Sim (S’pore), Sally Teng & family (Bris); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies & guidance in our lives.
4. God's Blessing on the wedding of Bro Henry Chiang & Sis Min Yen Chia (Brisbane) on Fri, 17 Dec.
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser; Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao (Melb), & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Khmer Pastors & families
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world
5. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
6. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
7. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Kathleen Creaser; Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Adl); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye (KL), Gillian Ong (S’pore); Sally Teng & family (Adl); & others who are travelling.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates next year.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).
12. Church Finance - God’s provision of funds.
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. God’s comfort - those still in grief.
15. Batam Missions - for organisers & team members; for safety & protection; for fruitful ministry. Restrain on the Moslem extremists & protection of believers.
16. Session Meeting this afternoon - guidance & wisdom.



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