Redeeming the Time in 2015
Redeeming the Time in 2015
Recently, Marla and I talked about a few goals for the coming year. Like most of you, our sincere desire is to take advantage of –– and improve upon –– the time that God has allotted to us. In our text for this Sunday’s morning worship service we are exhorted by God to make good use of our time.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making
the best use of the time, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5:15-16
The Apostle Paul is instructing us to be circumspect about the pattern of our lives, not careless. As God’s redeemed children, we are called to make the best use of the time that God has given us. Therefore, we ought to evaluate our lives in the light of God’s truth, and ask ourselves whether or not we are pursuing the right goals, making the right choices, and following the right course. In God’s good providence the new year gives us a fresh start and a new opportunity to better conform our lives to the life-transforming Word of God. God’s amazing love in Christ motivates us unto grateful and growing obedience.
As senior minister of Christ Church I feel compelled to encourage and challenge us all to make a few New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps some of these will already be on your list:
1. A Stronger Commitment to Lord’s Day Morning & Evening Worship: The Lord’s Day is one of God’s most precious gifts to His children (Exodus 20:8). Think of it, an entire day set apart for God-centered worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, and rest from our common affairs. Despite the preciousness of this divine gift, most Christians these days treat Sundays just like Saturdays, except with church in the morning. It’s more like the Lord’s morning than the Lord’s Day. For most, no longer is Sunday the market day of the soul, it is simply a market day or t.v. day or errands day or sports day. This neglect of the Fourth Commandment has been to the detriment of our spiritual knowledge, growth, and maturity. Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high among evangelicals in America. In large part, this is due to the fact that Christians hear far less of the public reading and preaching of the Scriptures then they did in former days where morning and evening worship were staples in every Christian denomination. Faithful attendance to Lord’s Day morning and evening services bookends the Lord’s Day with God-centered, Christ-mediated, Spirit-filled worship. Make it your goal and your family’s goal this year to respond faithfully to God’s Call to Worship every Lord’s Day morning and evening. In addition, if you have not made attendance to the congregational prayer meeting at 9:30 a.m. a priority, I warmly encourage you to join us for this enriching time of fellowship. Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord’s Day be what God intended it to be for you and your family in 2015, a full day of wonder, love, and praise.
2. A Stronger Commitment to Family and Personal Worship: Another way to make good use of our time in 2015 is to make family worship and private worship a regular part of our daily routines. When our households are committed to reading the Scriptures, praying, and singing our Lord’s praise on a daily basis we grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s truth in remarkable ways (II Peter 3:18). In addition, we are more prepared to meet God in public worship on the Lord’s Day. Dear Christian, whether you have a house full of small children or a quiet house full of wonderful memories, make daily family worship and daily personal worship a goal for 2015.
3. A Stronger Commitment to Reading: We have become an image-based society. We are no longer word-based. These days our utmost attention has been captured by style over substance and charisma over character. It’s not hard to believe that 66% of American households own at least 3 televisions and on average the television is turned on 6 hours and 47 minutes per day. Did you know that 56% of Americans pay for cable television and 66% watch it during meals? I believe the television is one of the primary reasons that Lord’s Day observance has gone into oblivion. In addition to watching television, surfing the internet has become a national past-time / time-waster. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, video games, and myriad other internet sites consume many hours in our week. Perhaps we should think about spending less time doing these things and more time reading good books. Some time ago I was speaking to a friend who was commenting on how encouraged, comforted and intellectually stimulated he had been lately while reading a good book on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in relation to human suffering. He communicated his desire to spend more time reading quality Christian literature in the new year. Frankly, this should be every Christian’s desire. We, of all people, ought to be word-driven. God’s Word spoke creation into existence, called us into communion with Himself, and sanctifies us. It’s the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who purchased our redemption with His blood. Our physical and spiritual lives are created and sustained by God’s Word. Therefore, the Church must always be a word-based community, even in the context of an image-based world (think of the Second Commandment).
This is a rich theme and one which may be explored more fully later. However, for now let me simply encourage us to make the reading of quality Christian literature a priority for 2015. Go to the Reformation Heritage Books online bookstore or the Ligonier ministries online bookstore where you will find loads of great titles on theology, biography, history, etc. Brothers and sisters, let us spend more time in 2015 enriching our minds (and lives) with quality Christian books!
There are many resolutions that may, and should, be added to these, such as spending more quality time with our spouse, taking better care of our bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit, reaching out to the lost, and being more faithful and sacrificial in our giving to the church and to foreign missions. Whatever goals we may set for 2015, let us look to God for the strength and wisdom to accomplish them. Let us use our time carefully and wisely for the Glory of God. And may 2015 be a tremendous year of growth and blessing for Christ Church Presbyterian as we more faithfully exercise our faith upon our crucified and risen Savior. I close with this quote from John Calvin:
When God marks out our life, he does not look to what we can do, but requires from us what is above our strength, that we may learn to ask from Him the power to accomplish it. - John Calvin
- Pastor Jon