‘Redeeming the Time’  

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“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  (Ephesians 5:15-16 Berean Study Bible)

Paul encourages us to spend our time wisely. This is not to say that any of us deliberately live foolishly, but rather that we sometimes live without clear goals and objectives. Weeks, months, and even years pass by without our knowing where the time went. How should we invest the time God gives us? Let me suggest four areas that are important:

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Even A Cup of Cold Water Given in Jesus’ Name

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And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42)

A few years ago, Billy Graham was honored with the opening of a library that displays much of the memorabilia that world leaders have given to him over the years. Attending the dedication of his library were three U.S. presidents. Imagine having three of the world’s most powerful leaders attending an event held in your honor. Comparing ourselves to someone like Billy Graham makes most of us feel insignificant. Yet according to Jesus, even a cup of cold water given in His name will one day receive a heavenly reward.

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The Crown of Righteousness

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The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being ords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1 Peter 5:1-4) 

Scripture teaches us that heaven will be a place of reward and recognition. Though the presence of Jesus and the pleasures of heaven may seem like enough for many of us, according to scripture, praise from our Savior will also be a very important part of our celebration.

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The Crown of Righteousness’

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Almost anyone can run a sprint, but only a few can last a marathon. Often many believers approach the Christian life as though they were in a sprint. For a while they get emotionally excited and boast about all that they are going to do for Christ. But then as time passes on, some of them drop out. Careers, relationships, and many other things distract them and cause them to drop out of the race. Some talk of re-entering the race at a later date, but few ever do.

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The Crown of Life

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This morning I found myself asking God why some believers have so many problems. Being a pastor, I hurt when my people hurt and therefore, I naturally want to be able to give them comfort and guidance. “What should I tell them?” I asked the Lord. As the morning passed on, I felt led to take a few moments and read the book of 1st Peter. In it I found the answer to many of my questions.

Peter was writing to Christians who were suffering and no doubt many of them were asking God why. Consider what Peter told them,

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The Soul Winner’s Crown

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When it comes to heaven and our eternal rewards, I have heard some say, “Just as long as I get to heaven, that’s good enough for me.” Yet the Bible speaks much about the promise of rewards. Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) The Lord will reward every deed done in His name and for His glory.

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A Crowning Achievement 

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1 Corinthians 9:24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. (New Living Translation)

Crowns today hold little significance unless you are Miss America. But one day, the opportunity to receive a crown from our Savior will mean more to us than anything else we have ever experienced.

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What Have I Done with My Salvation?  

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“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”   (2 Corinthians 5:10)

The phrase ‘judgment seat’ is the Greek word – BEMA. During the day when the Apostle Paul wrote these words, the Greeks participated in athletic games much like our modern-day Olympics. At each event there was a raised platform called the ‘Bema Seat.’ It was here that the umpire observed the games and awarded the winners.

Paul uses this concept to describe what that will happen when we stand before our Savior.

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‘Will the Master Find the Fruit in Our Lives?’

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“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. So, you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So, take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’: (Matthew 25:24-30)

The Bible tells us that we cannot work our way into heaven. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Salvation is a gift of God’s grace. But though we cannot work our way into heaven, that does not mean that our good works aren’t important. In the next verse Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Good works are not the reason for our salvation. They are the result of our salvation.

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‘What Will We Do in Heaven?’

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People sometimes ask, “What we will do in heaven?  Won’t we get bored sitting around and doing nothing?” According to scripture, heaven will not be a place of idleness. Scripture says that we will serve. “And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.” (Revelation 22:3) How could work be a part of our enjoyment of heaven?

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