Redeeming the Time
The Terms Used
A. Two Words for Time
1. (Chrónos) – This word perceives time quantitatively as a period measured by the succession of events and denotes the passing of moments.
a. This speaks of time chronologically.
b. It speaks of moments in succession… the quantity of time.
a. This term speaks not so much about the quantity of time but about the quality of time… or the character of the time… as in a “time of harvest” or a “time of refreshing” or a “time of judgment.”
b. “A strategic point of time.” (an opportune season)
c. Zodhiates: It is not merely as a succession of minutes, which is chrónos, but time as a period of opportunity.
d. There is really no English equivalent to the word kairós.
e. Kairós is the term Paul uses in Col. 4:5: a season; an opportunity; an epoch; an age; a particular KIND of time period…
B. Redeem Defined
1. Defined: ἐξαγοράζω
a. Strong’s: to buy up, to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use.
b. It is from the word agora (market place) (agoraphobia!)
c. As a verb agora means to buy; to purchase in the marketplace.
d. EXagorazo = to buy and take OUT OF the marketplace.
e. It is the term used of Christ redeeming us from the marketplace of sin… and delivering us from bondage to sin.
f. The term emphasizes taking it out of the marketplace; taking it home; using it up.
g. Thus, the term is a bit more intense than agorazo (to buy; to redeem).
2. The concept of redeeming time.
a. The phrase speaks of buying up opportunities that time affords us.
b. It speaks of buying up time with a certain level of intensity.
c. It speaks of redeeming, rescuing, or delivering time from being wasted… rescuing time…
d. It speaks of taking advantage of the seasons of life… of opportunities that various seasons provide…
e. A perfect example of the meaning of these two terms would be found in the growing season for crops.
• There is a time to plant and a time to reap.
• If one does not redeem the time (misses out on the season to plant)… it is too late after the season is past.
• If you wait until August to plant your broccoli, you are too late. The season is over and you missed the planting season for cold crops.
• If you take advantage of the planting season and grow your crops… then there is another season: harvest time.
• If you are busy doing this and that during harvest season… and try to harvest in December, you missed the appointed time. The season’s over and you missed it.
• You only get one planting season and one harvest season per year around here. If you don’t redeem the time… take advantage of the opportunity… then it’s too late.
• To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
• Those seasons are to be snatched up… redeemed…
• As farmers are to redeem the time by taking advantage of the growing and harvest seasons… so we too are urged to redeem the time… the age in which we live.
• Use it or lose it!
Redeeming the Time: A Wise Walk
1. A Time to Walk in Wisdom Before the World (4:5)
a. Those that are without: the unsaved all around us.
b. They are WATCHING to see how we walk. They know of our profession of faith.
c. They are watching to see what kind of an effect Christ has on our lives. Is there anything to Christianity?
d. They want to know if Christianity really WORKS! Can it transform a life? Can Christ give peace and contentment to the heart, or is it just a religious show?
2. Eph. 5:16 – Here Paul gives us one REASON to use our time wisely: because the days are EVIL!
a. Note the context: (vs. 14-16)
• Wake up! Don’t walk around groggy… don’t sleep walk. Wake up and be alert to opportunities all around you!
• Redeem the time… make the best use of your time.
• It would be foolish to walk about and IGNORE the opportunities to speak forth for Christ…
• It would be foolish to be so sleepy that we don’t SEE the open doors all around us.
• That is our nature: to be sleepy spiritually.
• I John 5:19 – we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (lies in the arms of the wicked One)—being lulled to sleep spiritually. And we too can be lulled to sleep by our adversary.
• Wake up… be alert to opportunities… it’s hard to see an open door with your eyes closed!
b. Redeem the Time Because the Days are Evil (vs. 16)
• There is a danger in living in the world and mingling with the unsaved.
• We are COMMANDED to go into the world and preach to the lost… but as we do, we are to beware of the dangers.
• The world is alluring… full of corruption and defiling.
• We are to go into the world but to remain unspotted by it.
• When we mingle with the unsaved and become friends, there is always the danger that instead of us winning them, they will win us to their ways…
• Eph. 5:8-16 – be careful how you walk in a world of spiritual darkness.
• We can become conformed to the world in an attempt to win the world to Christ.
• We are not to stay away from people in the world because there is danger involved.
• But we are to tread carefully… to be watchful… vigilant… take heed lest we fall.
• Wake up to the dangers and to the opportunities that are all around us in the world.
• The Ephesians passage seems to emphasize the dangers in the world, while the Colossians passage emphasizes the opportunities in the world.
• Together we have a well rounded picture. Wake up and be aware of both!
• Don’t let the dangers keep you away from the world in a secluded Christian cloister… and don’t allow the opportunities in the world to cause you to become oblivious to the dangers.
• The days are evil… but opportunity to manifest Christ abound! Where sin doth abound, grace doth much MORE abound! While darkness can be dangerous, it is also an opportunity to SHINE forth and to SHOW forth the praises of Him who hath called you…
3. II Cor. 3:2 – as believers, we are known and read of all men.
a. God has placed believers in the world to manifest His Son.
b. We are His representatives, ambassadors, witnesses, and epistles!
c. Wherever a believer is, in time, it becomes known that he IS a believer… and people begin quietly watching.
d. Whether it is at school, in the neighborhood, in the office, at the factory…
e. They might notice you pray before your meal. They might see you reading the Bible at break time. Maybe you gave them a gospel tract… or hear from someone else that you gave them a tract. Perhaps you mentioned going to church… or they notice you didn’t take a drink at the business meeting.
f. A believer walking with God will be noticed sooner or later.
g. Sooner or later there will be a differentiation between light and darkness. And once they know you are a believer… they will watch you and READ you… like a book.
h. They may never open a Bible, but they will read you.
i. That might make us feel a bit intimidated. It is quite a responsibility! Our lives are an open book.
j. But there is another way to look at this. It is also an OPPORTUNITY!
k. It is an opportunity to make Christ known by the way we LIVE!
l. II Cor. 3:3 – A living epistle!
• An epistle of Christ = a book about our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
• Manifestly declared = this letter is not hidden. It is made manifest to all… the world is watching… and we make Christ manifest to them.
• Ministered by us – Paul and the apostles preached the gospel to the Corinthians and they were saved. Hence, they became living epistles through the work of the apostles… and thus they were associated with the apostles and with Christ.
• Written not with ink but with the Spirit of God – believers are like a letter… instead of men looking at the ink on a page… when they see us… they should see the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
• Not on tables of stone but on the fleshy tables of the heart—this letter is not like the Ten Commandments—etched in stone. It is a living letter… etched in our softened hearts… (Jer. 31:33 – the effects of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant.)
• Before salvation, sin was etched in our hearts. Now, in our regenerated, new heart—the work of the Holy Spirit is etched… and our lives are transformed.
• A life transformed through regeneration sends forth a message… and that message is known and read of all men.
• As we allow the life of Christ to be manifest through our daily lives, our purpose as a witness—as a living epistle is being accomplished … regardless of the response of men.
• Some will respond to the light… and others will reject the light… but they will be without excuse.
4. Just by LIVING the Christian life under the power of the Holy Spirit, we are fulfilling our purpose for being here as a Christian: to be a living epistle for Christ.
a. The Lord has strategically placed us where He wants us… whether it is on the mission field of New Zealand, the Congo, or whether the Lord has placed you at Raytheon in Tewksbury… or Lawrence General Hospital!
b. As was the case with the Corinthians, every believer is a living epistle… and our lives manifestly declare LIGHT to the world of darkness all about us.
5. Thus, because of what we ARE in Christ… because of the work GOD did in us… we have the opportunity to manifest the indwelling life of Christ to those all around us.
a. We are to REDEEM those opportunities to make Christ known!
b. The fact that men are watching is an opportunity! Take advantage of it!
c. If you work at Raytheon or Lawrence General, your regular shift is a SEASON of opportunity for you to make Christ known…
d. And it is not just by passing out tracts… but by BEING a witness for Christ in that place.
e. By doing a good job; by being on time; by keeping your word; by being kind and gracious; and in a 1000 other ways!
f. BECAUSE people are watching, use that season and take advantage of that to manifest Christ… His love, grace, holiness, purity, kindness, righteousness…
g. Just by living a Spirit filled life… you are functioning as a living epistle, known and read of all men… and fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
h. And the opportunity to manifest Christ through our lives will usually open doors… and create opportunities to SPEAK to others about the Lord too!
6. We REDEEM those opportunities BY walking in WISDOM.
a. A worthy walk… a wise walk… a Christlike walk will provide ample opportunities to speak to others about Christ.
b. When the door opens… walk through it! Redeem that opportunity!
c. Opportunities WILL arise if we walk in wisdom, with tactfulness, and are sensitive to the lost… being caring and showing the love of Christ.
d. We waste opportunity to manifest Christ by a walk that LACKS wisdom.
e. Men are reading us like an open book… and that is an opportunity for them to read about how Christ can transform a life…
f. But what are they learning about Christ if we are NOT walking in wisdom?
• If they see us being dishonest… lying… stretching the truth… being selfish… uncaring… and disrespectful… obnoxious about our faith… then we are wasting an opportunity to manifest Christ.
• We are manifesting the FLESH through our lives… when we COULD have been manifesting Christlike qualities produced by the Holy Spirit through our yielded members.
7. By walking in wisdom, we can “buy up” (redeem) every SEASON of life. There are various seasons in life.
a. In the season of youth
• As a young person, you have access to other young people that us older folks do NOT have.
• The students in your class… the kids that hang around your street… the kids on your baseball or soccer team… you have a unique opportunity to be a witness before them.
• Walk in wisdom! Don’t give them cause to mock Christianity by foolish behavior. Be an example before them. They are watching.
• Who knows? You might be able to invite them out to a teen event at church… and introduce them to the gospel.
• You have a unique opportunity to walk in wisdom before a group of young people and you have opportunity to lead them to Christ.
• Redeem that season of your life. Tell others about how Christ saved you…
• How many opportunities have you had to give God the glory before them… but you kept silent?
• How many opportunities have you had to invite them to a church function to hear the gospel… but you were silent?
• Time wasted is gone. There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. But you CAN take advantage of opportunities God gives you THIS week!
b. In the season of child rearing
• Some folks here are in the season of life where you are bringing up children.
• Redeem the time! It goes by fast and they grow up fast… and before you know it they’re gone!
• This is the time for bringing them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.
• This is the time to teach them by our words and by our lives what is really important in life.
• This is the time to teach them what God is doing in the world in this age: manifesting His Son through His Body… the Local Church.
• This is the time to point those young ones to Christ… and to bring them up to be WITNESSES in the world… children that walk in wisdom toward them that are without.
• All that means spending time WITH them. This is the season of life to dedicate to your children… the few years while they are with you…
• Your child’s LIFE is more important than a BMW.
• Don’t waste God’s time on things that don’t matter.
• Train them to be witnesses for Christ… in the classroom… on the baseball team… in the neighborhood…
• And, since you are in the season of child training… you also have opportunities to minister to other families going through the same season of life.
• What a fantastic opportunity that is!
• Just having kids in the neighborhood opens doors to witness for Christ!
• You get to meet people… on their teams… at PTA meetings…
• And many of those parents haven’t the foggiest how to bring up children.
• If you do what the Bible says (bring them up in the nurture of the Lord)… that will open doors for you to tell others about Christ.
• They will want to know about your kids… (How come you son did what you told him to without yelling?)
• What an opportunity to tell him about how to teach your son the Bible… and bring him to church… and how he goes to a teen group…
• That season of your life opens doors for you to minister the gospel to others in that same season of life…
• Redeem the time… take advantage of that season of life… and the opportunities it opens up for you to make Christ known!
c. In the season of old age.
• This time of life also opens up doors for witnessing that are not open to younger folks.
• Sometimes older, unsaved folks are not really interested in listening to what some young whippersnapper has to say…
• But they might listen to someone their own age… with years of experience under their belt… who have weathered many storms… and still have a gracious spirit about them.
d. And there will be seasons of infirmity.
• This too opens up doors of opportunity to be a witness before a whole array of people…
• Doctors, nurses, and relatives you otherwise never see.
e. The author of this epistle was going through a unique season of life: as an inmate in prison!
• Paul used that time wisely.
• He made Christ known to all those whose paths crossed his in prison.
• All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. (Phil. 4:22)
• The prison chains limited his outreach in some ways, but it did not close the door. In fact, it OPENED the doors for the gospel to penetrate into places it never would have otherwise traveled!
• Every season of life brings with it unique opportunities to make Christ known…
• And it is Christ the LORD who is seated upon His throne… sovereignly and providentially placing each member of His Body in a strategic location and surrounded by a unique set of circumstances… to extend His witness to reach those He seeks to draw to Himself.
• Redeem the time… take advantage of those seasons…
f. Each season in life comes and goes… like the time to sow and the time to harvest. And once it’s gone, it’s gone.
g. Buy up the time… and use it for the glory of God.
Illustration: imagine if a wealthy man offered you $1440 to spend every day. You were not allowed to save it, and what you did not spend, you lost. What a waste not to spend it! You could spend on yourself… or to help others… or for missionary work… anything! Well God gives every one of us 1440 minutes every day—to be used to manifest Christ for His glory. Buy up the moments!
Redeeming the Time: A Wise Talk
1. A time to speak the Mystery of Christ (4:3-4)
a. Twice Paul mentions his desire to SPEAK the mystery of Christ.
b. Just LIVING the life is not enough.
c. It is essential. It is vital and indispensable, but it is not enough.
d. Nobody ever got saved merely by WATCHING a Christian, without hearing the gospel message.
e. The message is also vital and indispensable.
2. BOTH (life and message) are ideal.
a. Just living the Christian life before the world—the life alone—cannot save anyone. They need to hear the gospel message too.
b. The message all by itself CAN save… but is usually ignored. The devil sees to it that there are 10,000 messages out there to confuse the average person. Very few people get saved by finding a tract on the ground and reading it all by themselves.
c. An accurate message coming from a life that belies the message often does more damage than good.
d. But when the true gospel message is delivered personally through a life transformed BY that message… where the hearer hears the message and SEES its results in a life… that is a powerful combination.
3. Not only should we buy up opportunities to BE a witness before the world, but we should also buy up opportunities to WITNESS verbally before the lost.
4. In a sense, time IS an opportunity to witness for Christ.
a. II Pet. 3:6-8- God has a plan to bring judgment upon this world one day. What seems like a long time to us is nothing to God. His judgment is coming and it is sure—even if (to men) much TIME intervening makes it seems like it will never come. It WILL come one day.
b. II Pet. 3:9 – the fact that much time has passed since the Lord intervened in history and brought judgment should not be misinterpreted. It does NOT mean He is slack concerning His promise of judgment. Rather, it means that presently He is being longsuffering… because God is not willing that ANY should perish.
c. Thus TIME in this age affords men with opportunities to repent and be saved!
d. II Pet. 3:15 – the longsuffering of God (the postponement of the inevitable judgment) is EQUAL to salvation!
e. This is God’s purpose for this age… TIME is given to men to be saved from the sure judgment.
f. TIME unfolds as an expression of the longsuffering of God.
g. TIME is described as the dispensation of the GRACE of God… a time in which God’s grace is offered to the whole world.
h. II Pet. 3:10 – But this day of grace will end one day. God’s longsuffering will come to an end one day… and the day of the LORD’s judgments will begin.
i. Then it will be too late. The door of opportunity to be saved will end one day…
j. II Thess. 1:7-9 – in that day, in the day of Christ’s second coming there will be no more time for repentance, but those who have rejected His grace will be judged and suffer everlasting destruction and condemnation.
k. Time is salvation for the lost… and that time is fleeting.
l. Time is opportunity for us… redeem it! Buy it up!