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by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Day Evening, August 3, 2019

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

A modern translation of our text says, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (NASB). These days are evil. Anyone can see that. The Bible tells you to make the most of your time. Don’t waste your time. Don’t throw it away. Use your time wisely. Use it well. Make it count. Why? Because you won’t get it back.

Time is the most important resource you have on earth. Time is much more important than money. You can live without a lot of money, but you can’t live without time. No one who was dying ever asked for more money. But many have said, “O God, give me more time.” Once you use up your time, you can never get it back. When your youth is gone, it’s gone. When your time on earth is gone, it’s gone.

Most young people waste their time. They throw away their hours, their days, their weeks, their years, and finally their whole life. They put in only as much time for school or work as they absolutely have to, and sometimes not even that. All the rest of their time is spent on video games, Facebook and other social media, talking with friends, watching sports, watching television, fooling around, and doing nothing. Yes, everyone needs a little time off – but most people spend 20, 30, 40 or more hours a week for nothing. Think of what you could do! The Bible says,

“Redeeming the time [making the most of your time], because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

God says, “Make the most of your time.” This goes against the way most people live today, but it is God’s truth. Tonight I want to talk about planning your time. First, I will talk about time in the short term, one week after another. Then I will talk about your whole life.

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I. First, how to plan the schedule of your week.

Plan your life one week at a time. That’s the way it comes to you, doesn’t it? Let’s talk about what to do with your week. There are seven days in the week. What are you going to do with them? Put Jesus first. He is the Son of God. The Bible calls Him “our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). People talk about “the Lord” today without thinking about what “Lord” means! “Lord” means “king.” Is Jesus the King or isn’t He? If He is the King, the FIRST thing to do in planning your week – not the last! – is to mark off the time that belongs to Jesus. Do things in the order they deserve! If Jesus is first, put Him first in your planning and then work out the other things.

Why should you put Jesus first? What happens if you do? Why, you will be blessed! God said,

“Them that honour me I will honour” (I Samuel 2:30).

God is the most important Person there is. God is the most powerful Person there is. If you honor Him, He will honor you. He will honor you in life and He will honor you in death. He will bless you. He will be on your side. He will meet your needs. He will take care of you. How wonderful it will be to have the Almighty God with you!

Most people have time for Jesus only if they have nothing else to do. They may want to work, or study, or spend time with their family, or see their friends, or rest, or fool around. But if you put other things first and put Jesus in only when you’re free, you are putting Him last. Jesus is nothing at all in your life. He is your last priority when He deserves to be your first. There will be no blessing then. The Bible says, “They that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (I Samuel 2:30). But if you put Him first, God will bless you and honor you. “Them that honour me I will honour.” If you rearrange a few hours, God will honor you throughout your life. What a blessing!

What should you do with your week? First of all – not last of all! – block out the time you give to Jesus. The Bible says that one day a week belongs to the Lord. The Apostle John said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day” (Revelation 1:10). What day is that? We call it Sunday. That was the day Christ rose from the dead. Paul preached in the church at Ephesus on “the first day of the week [Sunday]” (Acts 20:7). Paul told the church at Corinth to take an offering on Sunday, saying, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store” (I Corinthians 16:2). And they met on Sunday night as well as Sunday morning. The Bible says, “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them... and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). It was a church service, and it lasted until midnight. Yes, come to church on Sunday night!

Block out Sunday for the Lord Jesus Christ. That day is gone! It’s off the table. Don’t spend it sitting at home watching television or fooling around on the computer or talking with your friends. It is “the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10).

Then block out the time you spend in class or at work. Christians go to college. We have jobs. We have the same things going on that everyone else does. But we face them in a different order, because Jesus is our Lord.

If you are in school, put in study time, after you plan your time for Jesus. Plan for more study time than you are doing now. Most students don’t study much at all. After class, go and study what you just heard. Spend time studying after school in the afternoon and evening. Study more than you feel like. The Bible says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Study with your might. Don’t be afraid to over-study, even if you’re tired. You’ll get good grades and have a good life. If you have a job, do it well. Do it with your might. Do it with your strength. Come to work on time. Do an honest and good job. You’ll have a good career and a good life.

Finally (notice I said “finally”), put in personal time from the time you have left. Put in your personal time last, not first. You don’t need hours a day to fool around on the computer or play video games, or waste time on Facebook. You don’t need hours every day to watch television. Have recreation. Have some fun. But do it after the more important things are done.

Someone says, “Then I’d have a simple life. I would go to church, go to work, go to school, and go home. I wouldn’t be fooling around very much.” That’s right! It’s right to have a simple life. That was what everyone did before they had computers and cars. That was what everyone did before there was so much money floating around that you could waste a lot of time and still have everything you needed. That was when you had to take care of yourself, because the government wouldn’t take care of you. You were on your own. In the past, people had to work hard. They had to study hard. And they still made time for church, much more than they do now. Those were the people who built this country and made it better than it is now! And they were happier than people today! They were closer to their family and friends. They had better human relationships, in person and not through a gadget. They had good times! How did they do it? I just told you. They worked and studied and went to church. That was a good culture! Those were the people who built the society that you enjoy.

Those were the people who built our society, not people who drop out of school and can’t keep a job. Those were the kind of people who built good churches, not weird and emotional people who can’t remember anything, can’t keep their promises, and run off when their feelings change. Don’t be like them. Be like the builders, not the lazy and weird people who live off them and tear down what they built!

If you live a simple life, that’s just fine! Life is too complicated as it is. People don’t have peace. They run to this and that, but they never have peace. What some call a simple life, I call a good life. I call it a worthwhile life. I call it a life that produces something and goes somewhere. I call it a life that leads to a good future. I call it a good Christian life. Hooray for the simple life! It’s the right life to live!

II. Second, how to plan the schedule of your life.

Our text says,

“Redeeming the time [making the most of your time], because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

When you plan your life, do it the same way as you plan your week. Make your time count. Once a year is gone, you can never get it back. That’s why the Bible says,

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Yes, count your years and your days. Number them! Count them! Once they’re gone, you can’t get them back. Make every year count. Make your life count.

Some of you are in your twenties. This is the time to work hard in college and get through quickly. Don’t drop out of school. Don’t drop your classes.

You may think, “I’ve got lots of time to fool around.” It’s true, you’re not going to die right away. But you don’t have lots of time to waste. Soon you will be 25 and then 30. You’ll never be young again. Yes, it’s possible to go to college when you’re over 30, but why waste all those years? Why throw away ten years? It’s much harder to go to college when you’re working on a full-time job.

When you graduate, get a job and work on it hard. Yes, you could start your career when you’re 35 or 40. But how far will you get? You won’t get nearly as far as you could if you started younger.

Put your energy into your school, then into your job. Remember that the Bible says,

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Plan your years just as you plan your week. First, make time for Christ and His work. You may think, “I can’t do that. I’ve got things to do now.” But first make time for Christ and His work in church. Block that time out. Block Sundays out. Block out the times when the church meets. Consider the time as gone. It’s off your schedule. You will be tempted to say, “Now I have a job. Now I have a family. I don’t need to go to church. I’m not a lonely kid with all kinds of problems. So now I can drop out.” My friend, that’s failing one of the tests of life. That’s failing a test of whether you trust Jesus. That’s betraying Christ. Don’t do it! Don’t think only about yourself.

You got plenty of help. Jesus died for you. The pastors preached to you and counseled you. The people in the church talked to you and spent time with you. Now you’ve got your life in better shape. But don’t be selfish. Think about helping someone else! Instead of being a burden that someone else carries, you think of someone else. Put time and effort into bringing someone in. Put time and work into being friends and taking care of them. Put time and effort into helping someone else! Jesus said, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). The Bible says, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Why not obey God and do it?

Then plan your months and years. Do it the same way. Plan time for college. Plan time for work. Make it count. Put yourself to work and get something done! I sometimes say, “Do something meaningful with your life.” You can’t get much done if you fool around all the time. The Bible says,

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard [lazy person]; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

And then the Bible says,

“How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard [lazy person]? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11).

That’s what happens if you’re lazy.

Someone says, “Do you want me to be like an ant?” I didn’t say it. GOD says to be like an ant! Let me tell you something. That kind of life, that people today say is stupid, workaholic (driven to work), narrow, no fun, nerdy – that’s the life God tells you to have! That’s the way our country was built, wasn’t it? That’s the way China became a great and powerful nation, isn’t it? That’s a good culture. That’s the way to have a good church.

Someone says, “That puts me into a simple life. Go to church. Go to work. Go home.” Yes, your life may be simple, but it won’t be a mess! You’ll get something done. Your life will mean something. In the end you’ll be able to look back on it and be happy about it. And you’ll be happier than people who waste your time. You’ll be happier as you die, and you’ll be happier as you life. Ask the people here!

When does planning your life stop? When you’re dead! What about when you get old? Materially, provide for your old age. It is not the church’s obligation to carry you when you get old. And plan for your funeral and burial, and pay for it in advance. I did that and I feel good about it. Let’s face it, if you don’t do it, someone else will, and who knows what they will do?

Live a life of service. Remember the ant. Work for Christ, and work for others. When you get too old to do anything but sit, you can still pray! Always live a life of service to Christ, and service to other people. Remember that Christ “took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Remember that Jesus said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10:45). The word “minister” means “serve.” We could say, “The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve.” Isn’t that what He did? Didn’t He die for you? Are you a Christian? Why not follow His example?

Serve Christ with all your might. Do all you can for Christ. Think about that. What will you do for Christ? Will you just sit in church? Or will you serve Christ and your fellow men? Make your life count. Work to bring people to church and take care of them when they come here. Work hard to make the church a good place. The great missionary C. T. Studd said this,

Only one life,
   ‘Twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ
   Will last.

Truer words were never spoken. When I was 25 years old I heard Dr. Hymers preach, “Why not burn out for Christ? You’re going to burn out for something. Why not burn out for Christ?” I was working hard in college. I had worked hard to make money. I knew about burning out! I understood that message, and I’m glad to burn out for Christ! Why not you? Why not burn out for Christ?

Some of you do not live for Christ, because you have never trusted Him. Whatever you do on earth, it will all count for nothing in the end because you will lose your soul when you die. Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sin. He shed His Blood to wash your sin away. If you trust Christ, your sin will be forgiven and you will have a new life in Him. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Christ, please come and stand at the front of the room now. Amen.



by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

I.   First, how to plan the schedule of your week, II Peter 3:18;
I Samuel 2:30; Revelation 1:10; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2;
Ecclesiastes 9:10.

II.  Second, how to plan the schedule of your life, Psalm 90:12;
Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 10:8; Galatians 6:2; Proverbs 6:6-8;
Proverbs 6:9-11; Philippians 2:7; Mark 10:45.