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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Our society is enslaved to time and by this I mean to say many people believe and operate from the principle that “time is money,” and they pursue this philosophy heartily. But that is a lie. Time is your life. Your life and mine is an ever-evolving manifestation of the present. Looking away from the deceiver’s world, where we’ve been brought up and trained to function according to the calendar and the clock, and focusing instead on what’s true, Believers should know this life is meant to be more than pursuing money or prestige; life is about establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships. (2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Ephesians 5:23-33; Exodus 20:12)
God created man in His image because He is a social God. Our first indicator of this Truth is He is part of the Holy Trinity. When you review Genesis chapters 1-3, it becomes clear that the primary relationship Adam and the woman were intended to enjoy was their relationship with the LORD God. This vertical relationship with God would provide the foundation for the horizontal relationship they were to have with each other and then with their offspring.
It’s difficult to pin down the moment you joined the Rat Race; it just sort of happened.
You entered the workforce, doing whatever, and suddenly you needed a reliable car, a home, and the trappings that go along with living life. But as you accumulated more stuff you discovered you needed a larger home to store it in. The family grew, so you needed a bigger vehicle to pack all your children and the rest of the soccer team in comfortably. One day you discovered the more money you earned the more money you spent and around and around she goes… but there’s no getting off this spinning wheel. So goes the Rat Race.
Why do they call it the Rat Race there is no finish line? Nobody is waiting at the end to give you the proverbial gold watch or a medal. You’re not going to get a “pat” on the back or a container of Gator-aid dumped over your head for your efforts. The Rat Race continues unabated, and the longer you’re caught in the cycle of “consumption” the more “natural” it feels. You forget once upon a time it wasn’t like this…
People are hurried; their feeling the pressure of time. They race the clock from morning till night because they have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. One of the reasons for this is the “Buffet Principle:” They have put too much on their plate. In their quest to meet all their commitments they forget that life isn’t just about “clearing our calendar” from one day to the next and establishing “shallow relationships” along the way. Life, according to Scripture, can be summed up in this sentence: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Life is about establishing and maintaining loving relationships and doing the will of our Father in heaven.
Please open your Bible at Romans 13:11 where Paul writes to the Believers in Rome on the subject of “knowing the time…”
11: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
“Do this” means what? Since Romans 12:1, our Apostle Paul has covered these topics:
We must subordinate our lives to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to Him.
We must subordinate our interests to the interests of others if we are to walk in love.
We must subordinate our lives to those in authority over us as civil servants.
We must subordinate our lives to those in authority over us as civil servants.
Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself; love is the fulfillment of the Law.
So, do this applies to all the above. Every Believer in Christ Jesus is to be actively engaged in these Godly pursuits knowing the time – we are to understand the present time.
I took a nap one afternoon and slept so soundly that when I awoke up I was disoriented; losing track of the hour and the day. Was it morning, afternoon, or evening? It took awhile to regain my perspective.
This is Paul’s message to us. Far too many Christians are living in a spiritual stupor; they’re just marking time on this planet without any real direction or purpose. They are ignorant of the Church Age Doctrines or the instructions and commands from the risen Lord Jesus Christ given to the Apostle Paul. Therefore, Paul is saying, “Wake up from you spiritual coma, understand the present time.
Recognizing the Present Time
We are living in a world that is hostile to the things of God. We are living in the destroyer’s (Satan’s) domain. The world’s values contradict with our heavenly Father’s principles and since we’re His children they should conflict with ours. We need to understand this is not our home; we’re citizens of heaven and God’s ambassadors while here on earth.
Our Lord sternly warned the Jews of His day for their ignorance of “the time,” their Messiah was among them, as promised, and they knew Him not. Why not? They did not search the Scriptures themselves or apply them in order to know the time they were in (Luke 12:54-56). They could have known and they should have known who Jesus was, it was written in the prophetic Word, and He was fulfilling these prophecies one right after the other and right before their eyes.
If our Lord called the Jews “hypocrites” for applying their God-given discernment to the signs of the weather, and neglecting to apply it to spiritual things, and by so doing going blindly to judgment; what does this say about those who choose to be spiritually sleeping today? They have been given greater knowledge and Light, in view of Jesus Christ’s death, and resurrection, the indwelt Holy Spirit; and the certainty of the Lord’s coming – but the uncertainty as to the day and the hour!
If they recognized the present Time, they would realize the Dispensation of God’s Grace, a period of light and Truth, is quickly coming to a close, like sand running out of an hourglass. And just as this period of God’s Grace is running out so is the time of their lives.
The country music artist Tim McGraw put out an album titled “Live Like You Were Dying.” The song is about a man, in his early 40’s, who was told he has a terminal illness. The rest of the song is how that man lived the remainder of his life with a “new” sense of urgency. He went skydiving, mountain climbing, and he even rode a bull. Time and not money became his most valuable asset. He realized all the money in the world couldn’t purchase one more hour of life for him… So he rearranged everything in his life that he once thought was important and he spent time with the people he loved. The oft repeated phrase in Mr. McGraw’s song is this one: “Someday I hope you get the chance to live “like you were dying.”
Each Believer should be living with a new sense of urgency too. Our souls are eternal our bodies are not. One day we all have an unscheduled appointment with Mr. Death. In addition, Our Savior could return at any time… Paul is saying anyone who understands this fact will change the way they live their life. He uses the metaphor of changing clothes. He said we need to change from deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
The Bible doesn’t tell us when our Lord is coming to gather His Church, but if you knew the day and the hour would this prompt you to live differently for Jesus Christ?
Would you rearrange your priorities?
Would you spend more time in prayer?
Would you invest more of your time serving others in need?
Would you make it a priority to speak to unsaved family and friends about Jesus?
Would you finally decide to forgive those who have wronged you in the past?
Would you spend quality time with those you love and tell them you love them?
I don’t know why people have the impression they have all the time in the world. Just this week a Kentucky State Trooper stopped to help an individual who appeared to be in distress and two hours later he was dead. I’ve driven past many a cemetery and I can say this without fear of causing a controversy; I am certain every one of those folks lying there thought they had more time than they actually had. Truth is none of us own our next breath or heartbeat God does. The trumpet of God could sound today and the Lord could appear in the air for His saints, so it’s time to live with a sense of urgency; it’s time to live like you were dying.
12: The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealously.
14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
As long as the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, He was the Light of the world (John 9:5). Since He left, it has been spiritual night. But He says: so that you (Believers) will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you (insert your name here) appear as (what) lights in the world, holding fast the word of life… (Philippians 2:15-16a).
Light and darkness are prominent themes in John’s gospel and in Paul’s letters and for good reason. Light exposes what darkness intends to conceal. (Ephesians 5:7-16)
Knowing that life is temporary and that our Lord could return at any time should prompt every Believer to change the way they live. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians today have no idea what Paul is talking about when he says put on the armor of light; because they’re still in their P.J.’s. They’ve declared their faith, whether that’s in Paul’s gospel or some other gospel is unknown to this writer but it matters (Romans 2:16, 25), they believe they will be going to heaven, but they are not dressed and ready to go.
Evidently, they’re not aware of the “results” of salvation. Our Apostle Paul explains it this way: do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you (now watch this) are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is an all inclusive command from God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Our time is not our own. Our hearts and minds are not our own. Our abilities and our skills are not our own. These all belong to Jesus Christ who paid a high price to redeem each one of us from the pit of hell. Still, we must decide how to use our lives, our time, our relationships, our abilities, and our skills to serve Him and others.
Christians are to “walk” in unity and in community with their fellow saints (Ephesians 4:1-16). They are to walk in a way that is dramatically different from the walk of an unbeliever (Ephesians 4:17:2). Christians are further instructed to “walk in love” (Ephesians 5:1-6). Then Paul instructs Christians to “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:7-14). The latter meaning, once you become a true Believer in Christ Jesus a radical transformation takes place. It is a change from death to life, from darkness to light – how radical is that? Therefore, this change should have a radical impact on our conduct. If our conversion is true, we will never be the same again. We will never think, or act the same again. Our thinking and our behavior after our conversion should compare to our former “walk” as though it were night and day.
When I see Christians getting involved with the homosexual movement in America, putting their trust in Planned Parenthood or the abortion industry, committing acts of adultery, drunkenness, disputes, dissension, gossiping, immorality, and sensuality, or supporting people who do these things, I have to tell you I don’t think they’re getting it! (2 Corinthians 6:14)
First: Let us behave properly as in the day – meaning we should live our lives as if our mother’s were looking over our shoulder every minute. It’s called accountability. The stark reality of Scripture is that every person, the saved and the unsaved is accountable to the Sovereign God (Romans 3:9-19). The Lord Jesus Christ emphatically taught that a day of “judgment” is coming when every person will have to give an “account” of his or her behavior (Matthew 12:36).
Second: we should dump all cancerous behavior – meaning sinful activities that eat away at our souls like a cancer. These are things that erode our testimony and our fellowship with our heavenly Father. Paul gives us a short list: not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealously.
The first four sins Paul lists are indicators of a “free-wheeling” lifestyle and are signs of an individual loving the world and all that’s in it (1 John 2:15). Then Paul tells us to quit fighting and to stop being jealous. These are indicators that a person’s focus is on petty things and they are being distracted by them. These are unproductive endeavors. Satan intends to distract Believers from the important matters of life – be aware.
Our responsibility is to “get” focused on what is truly important and there isn’t much time in which to do it. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for (Satan or) the flesh in regard to its lusts.
What does it mean to put on the Lord Jesus Christ?
It means to engross yourself in Christ Jesus by working hard to know Him and His ways through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. It means do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Believer should be asking themselves continually, as they go about living their daily lives, is this something my Savior would approve of? Would I ask Jesus to join me in this activity? Above all it is putting on Jesus’ love for others. If you “clothe” yourself with Jesus Christ each and every morning you will be well-dressed and prepared to face the day – no matter what may come. (Ephesians 6:1-18)
Paul ends chapter 13 saying, make no provision for (Satan or) the flesh in regard to its lusts. Basically, he’s saying don’t waste your time by thinking about sinful things, and ways to justify bad behavior; just do the right thing. All sin begins in the mind (James 1:15). Thinking leads to acting out, so when we imagine long enough we wear down our resistance and eventually we’ll find ourselves doing something that we really didn’t want to do to begin with (Romans 7). Learn to say “no” to sin every time. Don’t try to negotiate with temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“We must wake up. The down-grade is a dangerous place to be. We cannot afford to be indifferent. We cannot continue our mad pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. We are all soldiers for Christ Jesus called to fight a spiritual battle, and we cannot win by appeasing the enemy. A weak church must be made strong, and a needy world must be confronted with the message of salvation, and there may be little time left.” John MacArthur
Being true Believers means getting up off the bench and into the game of life. It means no longer sitting on the sidelines in your P.J.’s but deciding to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and then becoming God’s fellow workers; (1 Corinthians 3:9).
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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