We used to have time on our hands before they invented so many time-saving devices. Twice a year we change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time, and for a few hours at least we may know the effects of that. Time is on our minds.
Among other folks, we have Benjamin Franklin to thank for that. He was in Paris, France (I suppose without his kite) with nothing else to do but walk in the early evenings.
In those early-evening walks he became disturbed about the fact that so many candles were being used and wasted. He tried to get people to change their life-styles, retire early and not waste their candles. With no success at that, he said, “If we’ll just move the clock back, we won’t be so wasteful.” He was one of the early advocates of Daylight Savings Time, which was debated from his time until 1967, when the official Savings Act went into effect. We have time on our minds.
When that Act first came into being, I was finishing my first degree at seminary and riding in a carpool of other pastors coming in to Fort Worth, Texas, every weekday morning, going back that evening to their church fields.
One of our members decided that the best thing he could do that Sunday morning — that first Sunday morning when we “sprang forward” — was to preach a sermon on time. He developed a powerful sermon entitled, “What Time Is It?”
He was going to lean over the pulpit that Sunday morning and ask the question in his beginning statement, “What time is it?” Then he would proceed to explain to them that it was time for them to start doing what God had called them to do.
He was all ready that Sunday morning. He leaned over the pulpit and asked, “What time is it?” A little lady in the middle said, “It’s about 11:30, Brother Pat.” He decided he would never again start a sermon with a question.
I didn’t preach on time that Sunday morning over in East Texas because we had among those in the church some folks who wouldn’t change their clocks. They said the “guv-ment” didn’t have any business messing with God’s time, and they refused to change their time. They may still be on the same time.
At least they got one thing right. They did relate God and time, and that’s the way it ought to be.
I. God Created Time
With time on our minds, we are encouraged to look back to the beginning of time — before time began, when God created time. In those early hours and moments of time recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years.” (Genesis 1:14). Time as we know it was created by God.
He began to place things into time and into space, and then he created man and placed him in time as a subject of time to live in time. Then Satan entered time. He tempted mankind and man chose to follow Satan rather than God.
In that disobedience sin entered time, and God began working within time to mold and shape for Himself a people to bring about the real purpose of time. God began to work first with all of mankind represented by that first creation, Adam and Eve. Upon their sinfulness and disobedience He began to narrow the focus of time, not to all of mankind but to a nation within mankind, the Hebrew nation.
As He compressed time together, time became more full and He narrowed the focus a little more to deal not just with a nation but with a line — a family within that nation — the family of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. As time went on, God narrowed His focus even more, to a line within that family: the line of David.
Finally, at the close of the Old Testament He had guided time down to a very narrow focus. The Old Testament closed with the line of David and the prophecy of One coming in that line who would fulfill all the purposes and plans of God for time.
Between the Testaments God was silent but not inactive. He worked within the affairs of men and within time.
The Greek people came to prominence and took over that part of the world known as the Holy Land. Even in their secular experience and their secular lifestyles God used them to develop a language which would be for all to understand. By the time of Christ, the Greek language was as close to a universal language as mankind had known since the early times of Genesis.
Then the Romans came to power. God used the things they developed, such as the Roman road system that enabled the Apostle Paul to travel all over the world. You don’t have to be an advanced student of history to see God working in time, molding time, shaping time.
II. God Sent Jesus in the Fullness of Time
Like an hourglass God narrowed time, compressing it until finally Paul said:
“When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4).
The fullness of time — when time was full to the brim, stretching to express itself, when time was full and everything was just right — God stepped into time again and brought forth His only Son: born in a manger, born of a virgin, fulfilling the prophecies of old, raised in Nazareth, ministering among Palestinians, healing many without medicine, helping people by the wayside, saying over and over again to His followers, “My time has not yet come.”
They would come to Him with a question and He would say, “My time has not yet come.” The authorities would attack Him severely, and He would say to His disciples, “Don’t worry. My time has not yet come.” When He was ready to go to Jerusalem, they said, “You’d better not.” He said, “Don’t worry. They can’t take me until my time comes.”
One day His time came. They nailed Him to a cross — stretched out in time above the earth so that His time could come, so that His purpose as expressed by Paul in Galatians (that in the fullness of time God would send His Son to redeem the world unto Himself) might take place. All of us — created by God, worked in by God, shaped by God, molded by God — focus in on a skull-shaped hill where a man fulfills the time and in so doing redeems it.
It was more popular years ago than it is now, but we used to collect savings stamps — S & H Green Stamps, Texas Gold Stamps, all kinds of stamps — put them in our stamp books, and look in a catalog to see what we could purchase with those stamps. When we had enough stamps, we would go to a place that had a sign over the door that read “redemption center.” We would go inside that building and trade in our stamp books for something of greater value.
We called that trade or process of exchange “redeeming the stamps.” Redemption took place. We traded in one thing of value and got back something of greater or more significant value.
That’s what God meant to do in time. With His Son on the cross, He redeemed mankind. God gave His Son in order to produce a risen Lord and a redeemed people. Redemption took place. When the time was right, God redeemed mankind for all of time. Jesus came in the fullness of time.
III. God Will Someday Call Time
Revelation 10:5-7 says:
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
And sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be TIME no longer:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
One of these days God is going to call time. “The trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more.” All that we know of as time will cease to exist. God who created time and worked in time and sent His Son in the fullness of time is going to say, “Time’s up, that’s it, no more time.”
We can throw away our watches, throw away our datebooks, throw away our calendars. We won’t need them anymore. There won’t be any such thing as time in heaven. It will be unending time, without beginning or end, eternal time. We won’t have to worry about being on time or saving time or keeping time or wasting time. There won’t be any more time. That which we know of as time will cease to exist when God says, “That’s all the time there is.”
IV. God Wants Us to Redeem the Time
Listen to what Paul says to us in Ephesians 5:15-17. In the meantime, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
The will of the Lord in the meantime is for us to redeem the time. That word means the same thing that it meant in Galatians when God said, “in the fullness of time I sent my Son to redeem mankind.” The will of God for you and me as believers is to make use of, to purchase the time, to trade in time for better time.
So it is that when we come to profess our faith in Christ, we’re saying in that action and in that commitment, “I give up all rights to my time. I give up future time. I trade it in. I redeem the time in order to get back from God new time, new birth, new man, a fresh start, a new beginning, a new season, new time for a new start.” We redeem the time, we buy it up, we purchase it from the Father.
That’s what Esther did. In the Old Testament Queen Esther was told by Mordecai the Jew, “That’s why you’re here.” Haman had built a scaffold on which to hang Mordecai as a disgrace to the Jewish people. Since Esther was the only one who could prevent the disgrace, Mordecai came to Esther the Queen to say to her, “Who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for just such a time as this.”
Esther went to the king, which could have cost her own life. She went because she knew the time was right, and “if I perish, I perish.” Because she went to the king, it was not Mordecai who hung upon the scaffolds but Haman himself who hung.
Just as Mordecai said to Esther, “Who knows but that your place, your job, your assignment is right now — on time just like God planned,” so who knows but what you are here right now in the fullness of time because this is where God wants you? This is what God wants you to be about. It may be that you have been placed in the Kingdom of God for just such a time as right now.
The longer I live the more I’m convinced that everything that happens in the will of God happens in a fullness of time. God has a way of molding and shaping our lives to bring about His purpose within our lives. It just may be as specific as this — that you are here this day in a fullness of time so that God can bring about His purpose and reveal His will and redeem your time for the days ahead.
We come before the Father sometimes and say, “Lord, I understand what you want me to do. I understand what you are saying. Sometime I’ll do that. Sometime, Lord, I want to be faithful to a church. Sometime, Lord, I’m going to get around to placing my faith in you and joining a church. Sometime, Lord, I want to teach a Sunday School class. Sometime, Lord, I want to be a part of the music ministry of the church. Sometime, Lord, I want to be the father or mother my children need me to be. Sometime, Lord, I want to respond to your will. One of these days, when the time is right, when I get around to it, sometime I’ll do what I’m called to do.”
A few years ago there was a very popular musician by the name of Jim Croce. He wrote a song entitled “Time In A Bottle,” in which he said he was going to put time in a bottle. He was going to put a cork in the bottle and bottle up some time.
When he needed some time for his family, he could uncork the bottle and take some time out. When he needed some time for his friends, he could uncork the bottle and take out some time. He was going to bottle up some extra time so he would have time when he needed it and when he wanted it.
Less than twelve months from the day he recorded that song he was killed in a plane crash. Had he been able to bottle up time, that bottle would have been smashed to pieces in the crash of that plane.
Sometime may not arrive. This is the time that God has given. Today is the day that God has given.
It’s time now for us to be done with lesser things and give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of Kings.
It’s time now to tell the old, old story.
It’s time now to pray the Lord of the Harvest and get involved in the harvest.
It’s time now to weep o’er the erring one and lift up the fallen.
It’s time now to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.
It’s time now to break the bread of life and quit fighting over it.
It’s time now to send the Light instead of just building more expensive lighthouses.
It’s time now to stop designing new bait and get back to fishing for men.
It’s time now to stop analyzing the soil and get back to sowing seed.
It’s time now to help the loving Father call the prodigal home.
It’s time now to make home the kind of place that the prodigal wouldn’t want to leave in the first place.
It’s time now to turn our eyes on Jesus, to look full in His wonderful face so that the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
It’s time. If not now, when? If not you, who? If not here, where? With time on our minds, it’s time to respond.

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