How do you Redeem the Time? - Sermon on Ephesians 5:15-16

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Dec 17, 2005.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Time is precious for the following reasons:

    First, because a happy or miserable eternity depends on the good or ill improvement of it.

    Second, time is very short, which is another thing that renders it very precious.

    Third, time ought to be esteemed by us very precious, because we are uncertain of its continuance.

    Fourth, time is very precious, because when it is past, it cannot be recovered.


    A contemporary treatment of this verse is here:

    December 18, 2005
    Redeeming the Time for Biblical Reformation,
    Ephesians 5:15-16, by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

    Just as a help overall - how do you engage in "time-redemption?" How do you practically evaluate each opportunity and use it for the good of Christ? or the good of the church? or the good of your own sanctification?

    Practically, then, how do you see time as invaluable and precious?

    [Edited on 12-19-2005 by C. Matthew McMahon]
  2. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Random thoughts:

    Drastically reduce time watching television

    buy a mp3 player and listen to:
    Sermon Audio
    Westminster Standards from Puritans Mind
    Valley of Vision
    Bible on MP3
    Lectures from various seminaries of classes (RTS, WTS)

    Honor the Sabbath.
    Institute family worship
    start visiting nusrsing homes on Sunday afternoon
    Start reading the classics in various areas
    Ask your deacons if there are ways that you can help.
    Ask your pastor the same.
    Set more time aside for prayer
    Exercise (just so we're not gnostic!)

    Oh on the PB...
  3. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    Redeeming our time is something we "should" do. As in other things we "should" do, there's often a battle that goes on between the spirit and the flesh, with the spirit 'winning out', though sometimes begrudgingly. We may turn off the TV and do other things because we "should" do them, but sometimes we really don't want to. Other than for the reason of duty, what are some practical reasons people should redeem their time?

    After thought:
    How do we set guidelines for using our time that reflect what the scripture intends and avoids legalistic extremes.

    [Edited on 12-17-2005 by blhowes]
  4. Henry from Canada

    Henry from Canada Puritan Board Freshman

    How do you make best use of your time?

    The obvious answer is to not watch as much TV, read the Bible more, help the poor, etc. There are countless good works that need to be done.

    There is some truth to this answer in that millions of people watch too much TV and perform few good works.

    The danger in this type of answer is that it can easily lead to 'justification by works' and 'loveless acts of love.'

    For example, I knew a person who volunteered a lot basically say, 'what else is there to do...God wants us to do something worthwhile.'

    He did not seem to enjoy reading the Bible, fellowshipping with others, or even talking to me. Doing good works just seemed to be a duty, or something that 'justified' his use of oxygen.

    Is making good use of your time really making good use of your time if it is not IN LOVE?

    I know another person with loads of time who seems to have no urge to volunteer. Should I tell him to volunteer if his heart is not 'into it?'

    When I need help, I frequently find myself asking the busiest people, because often they seem to have an actually love for doing good.

    Proverbs 20:24 says, 'A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?'

    Paul commands us to make good use of our time, but I suspect it is God who can best enable us.

    It would appear that when it comes to properly redeeming your time, you are at the mercy of God.

    Dr. McMahon, I do not know how useful this answer is. In my travels, I have often wondered when I see professing Christians using their time and talents in different ways and with different motivations.
  5. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    My job ehlps me so, so much. I give most of my time to these kids, and then when I have some free time I don't feel guilty watching some TV or playing a video game. So, become a house parent!:p
  6. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Lots of good thoughts on this thread so far. Good topic, Matt!

    I happen to commute approximately 5 hours a day on weekdays. To the extent that I can do so when not driving (as on the train), I try to read the Bible and other books. It a good time for study and reflection.

    Since my brother died earlier this year, it has been impressed upon me how precious our time on this earth is, and how important it is to treasure our loved ones. It is so easy to take them for granted. Never let the sun go down on your anger towards someone (Eph. 4.26). How vain it is to spend our time in foolishness.

    There is a time for everything (Ecc. 3). The Sixth Commandment requires that we engage in "a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations" so I believe we ought to work hard, play hard, rest seasonably and enjoy the gifts of God in this life. I am thankful for the Sabbath day's rest, and the blessing of God upon divisions of time: day and night, six days for man and the Sabbath for the Lord, labor and recreation.

    I have profited from reading Matthew Henry on Eph. 5.16. He brings out that the phrase "redeeming the time" means literally "buying the opportunity" as in converting our time into that which is profitable and edifying. Matthew Henry's The Secret of Communion With God gives good counsel on how to spend the day with God in all that we do. Matthew Henry said, "May the close of every day put us in mind of the close of all of our days."

    I think of Martin Luther who said "I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." Although I don't come close to that, I believe very strongly in the principle that our daily schedule should revolve around the axis of private and family worship, rather than letting events dictate when we shall set aside time for worship. It helps to rise early. Put God first in our schedule, becuase the day is busy enough, and we have need of his grace every moment.

    Jonathan Edwards has an excellent treatise on The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It. The New England Primer is full of counsel on how to value time.
  7. Swampguy

    Swampguy Puritan Board Freshman

    I am on disability and have a ton of time to fill. I try to spend several hours everyday reading Scripture and christian books. I also volunteer at various things such as teaching english to internationals and helping at a local food bank. I believe that you should work at something and since I can't work at a regular job I should be about the jobs I can work.
  8. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Matthew Henry is very right! I'll be speaking on buying up the time tomorrow.

    When you are faced with decisions to be made, is there ever a time that we are allowed to waste time, or use time in a way that is no necessarily spiritually edifying?

    In other words, though we should use recreation for a specific purpose, does the preciousness of time used wisely, and not as fools, walking circumspectly because the days are evil, omit "other things" which we might find mundane or non-spiritual?
  9. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    How to redeem the time? Think first.
  10. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I think that is a very challenging question, one i have struggled with in the past. ( Though probably not enough.) I do think that we have some leeway so to speak to spend time on 'mundane' things once we know our duties have been attended to.

    I have seen some people try to draw arbitary distinctions between what activities are 'profitable' and what are not and it seemed to me to be bordering on legalism, however unintentional.

    On the other hand i believe it is important for us to remember we will give an account to God for how we have spent our time. It is too easy to let time slip by us and to waste time on things that are not explicitly sinful. I certainly need to remember everyday that the Lord is a 'hardman' who will soon be demanding an account from his stewards.
  11. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    You will be surprised how much time can be redeemed by shutting off the TV.
  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor


    A little here and a little there... it adds up!
  13. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Redeeming the Time - Eph. 5:16

    I merged this thread with the preaching one for today. Good topic! Good discussion!

    [Edited on 12-19-2005 by C. Matthew McMahon]
  14. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I have a long commute too, but only about an hour and a half one-way. I was thinking about this thread all weekend. I listen to sermons while driving and I study Hebrew if I'm riding the bus.

    I don't watch TV, but I find other ways to waste time. Sometimes reading internet discussions are an unprofitable waste of time. But even so, I have learned a tremendous number of things from internet boards. The main problem is discerning the quality of what you read and defining, beforehand, the amount of time spent reading it. Often I blow both rules and end up reading what amounts to gossip"”to my great displeasure and shame on reflection.

    But, in terms of hours, sometimes I'm not aware that the time was well spent until much later. For instance, I spent a large number of hours reading John Owen's Volume 6 a year ago. Often I wasn't aware of getting anything out if it except the knowledge that I read an additional 20 pages in that sitting. Was I redeeming the time? In the end, in fact I was.

    Out of reading that volume I realized that John Owen had a better understanding of psychology than all the musings of Freud and his offspring. Owen's explanation of why unbelievers acted the way they did and why believers also fall into traps and errors was breathtaking in clarity. It shifted my thinking as much as anything I've read or done. So, even if you are doing something that does not seem profitable, it is a proper redeeming of the time if it has a Godly purpose and is a result of discipline.

    In my particular type of work, I must log a minimum number of billable hours each week. Although I despise the time-clock looking over my shoulder, it does have a good effect. It imposes a habit of logging your time. I'm forced to number my days. It is a small matter to remember to account for the non-working hours too.

    My inventory of how I redeem time is fairly pathetic. Nevertheless, I can report that I work about 8 hours a day during weekdays, study about 4 hours a day on the same weekdays, I build things and read about 9 hours on Saturdays, and attend worship, read the bible and older Puritans about 8 hours every Lord's day. In addition is fellowship, eating, and talking things over with my wife.

    It's the state of my mind and of my heart during many of those hours, however, that leaves me ashamed.

  15. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
    Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
    Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

    Redeeming the time rightly would be to "understand what the will of the Lord is."
  16. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Enjoyed the sermon as always. Thanks for your labouring in the Word!
  17. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

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