March 12, 2023
Time Is of the Essence – Part 3
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Ephesians 5: 15 - 17

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This powerful series will challenge you to understand your role in the body of Christ. Through the book of Ephesians, Pastor Philip will remind us of the joy and blessings God intends for believers to experience in the church as they live as a united family in Christ.

More From This Series


Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Ephesians 5:15, 16, and 17. We’ll take the balance of time here and just finish up our study of these verses. We have taken three runs at these three verses under the theme, Time is of the Essence. We’ve heard from the hearts of our baptismal candidates, the desire to know God’s will and live for his glory and Paul’s going to encourage us to do that. Just to change your position, let’s stand and read God’s word together. Ephesians 5:15, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be wise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” So reads God’s word. You may be seated. This is our third run through these verses. A message we have called, Time is of the Essence.
The US golfer, George Archer had a relatively successful career as a PGA Tour golfer. He won 13 tournaments and in fact won the Masters in 1969. As he drew near the end of his career coming closer and closer to retirement, he actually wondered what he should do with the balance of his life. What is life like for him after his professional career? In fact, one reporter asked him that very question, what did he plan to do upon retirement? Here’s what Archer said, “Baseball players quit playing and take up golf. Basketball players quit playing and take up golf. Football players quit playing and take up golf. What are we supposed to do when we quit?” And I love that story, it’s pretty simple, but it brings us to a very profound issue in life. The question of purpose, the issue of direction. It’s one that challenges us all, not just George Archer. What are we supposed to do with the balance of our life, the remainder of our days. Whether we’re at the beginning of life, in the middle of life or at the end of life like George Archer, we all desire to know what’s the best use of our time. What are we going to do? What are we supposed to do with the time we have left?
Well, the nice thing about being a Christian is that that question is largely answered for us. It’s a Christian belief, it’s a biblical worldview that understands that God has a will and a plan for His creatures and His children in particular. And that will, that plan, that purpose, that desire is revealed primarily and sufficiently in His word. If you and I want to know the best course of action in life, then we need to read, heed, understand, and obey the scriptures.
Ron just mentioned Psalm 119:155, “The word of God is a lamp onto our feet and a light onto our path.” If you go to 2 Timothy 3:15-17, you’ll read these words. “From childhood you have known the holy scriptures which are able,” notice that word. This is what the word of God does. This is what the word of God can accomplish once it’s read and understood and heeded. It’s able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God. All scripture is breathed out from the mouth of God and is profitable, notice this, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Doctrine, what is right. Reproof, what is not right. Correction, how to get right. Instruction, how to stay right. That’s what the word of God helps us to accomplish. “So that,” notice verse 17, “the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Now we’re in Ephesians and I want to tie that last statement to Ephesians 2:10, that we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus on to good works which God has ordained or planned for each of us to do. How do we discover those good works? Well, we discover them by being equipped and instructed and educated through a biblical understanding. I mean, look at the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. And on many times what you’ll find this free as concerning something he did or something he accomplished, think about what he achieved on the cross dying for our sins. You’ll find this free as often that the scriptures might be fulfilled. Jesus’ life was shaped by the word of God. He undertook the will of God by obeying the word of God.
So when it comes to God’s voice, God speaks through what He has spoken. An understanding of the Bible gives us an understanding of God’s will and allows us to be wise in the midst of foolishness, allows us to redeem the time from idle pursuits, rabbit holes and useless goals. So let’s come back to our text. We covered two elements of these verses. Verse 15, be serious, tread carefully through life. Walk circumspectly, not as fool, but as wise. Then verse 16, be strategic, especially about your use of time. Life is a wonderful gift. And as you on wrap it, be strategic. Don’t pursue foolish things. Stay away from rabbit holes. Get onto the main road of God’s will for your life, and that includes redeeming the time, and redeem the time because the days are evil.
So we looked at be serious, be strategic. We looked at the first part of that, redeem the time. Let me just spend a little bit of time on the second thought, recognize the times. Okay, verse 16, redeeming the time because, this is the encouragement for redeeming the time, because the days are evil and we need to understand what the will of God is. The motivation to redeem the time is found in recognizing the times. The Ephesians needed to make the most of their time because of the time in which they lived, days characterized by evil. The word evil in the Greek carries the idea of active opposition to the things of God. So they were to be expert merchants in the commodity of time, not just because it was fleeting but because history is marked by rebellion against God. The average person doesn’t love God but loves self, loves pleasure. But the church, the called out ones amidst that culture, rubbing shoulders with the average person, we’re cut from a different piece of cloth. We have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We’re not our own. And the redeemed set out to redeem the time, especially because it’s evil days that they live in.
We’re to bring God’s rule back on earth through the way we live, as we await the full expression of that in the kingdom of God expressed in the return of Jesus Christ. Paul’s theology has two ages to it. One, the current age which is characterized by spiritual warfare and wicked powers. And the coming age which will be characterized by peace and righteousness. So the point is simply this, the Ephesian church had to recognized they were living behind enemy lines. They were existing in a world under the sway of the evil one. They knew that right? Chapter two tells us that they once walked according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the error and the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. They were very much aware given the temple of Diana or Artemis, given the culture they lived in, that they wrestled not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers.
They were up against it, so to speak. The world was not a playground, it was a battleground. Morally speaking, their journey through life was like someone walking in the dead of night through a crime ridden neighborhood. They needed to be serious and they needed to be strategic. They needed to be on their guard spiritually lest they come to harm morally. And I think the basic thought here is simply this. Since the deaths are evil and men are busy disobeying God, crafting life according to their own self will, since the enemy is using their time for the purpose of evil, the church must use their time for the purpose of promoting the good, evangelizing the lost, discipling the nations, living for God’s glory, whether we eat, drink or whatever we do.
We’re to expose the darkness, is not what we learned in Chapter 5:8-14, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” I like what one commentator said, “Introduce through your life into life a compensating goodness.” Do we not need to hear that this morning as we rattle off the things that are bothering us about the downward turn in our national life and in our culture? Well, one of the things you need to do, is make sure that your life exposes that, that your life shames that, that your life is the counter argument to that, that your life introduces a compensating goodness into life marked by evil. That’s the call here, and we’ve got to love that.
There’s a headstone in a church in England dated 1653. Those were days of upheaval in the life of England. And this headstone reads this, “In the year of 1653 when all things sacred were throughout the nation destroyed or profaned, this church was built to the glory of God by Sir Robert Shirley, whose singular praise is that he had done the best of things in the worst of times.” Now that’s an epitaph. You can etch that on my headstone any day of the week. Don’t you want that said of you? She did the best of things in the worst of times. He did the best of things in the worst of times. So Paul says, redeem the time, redeem the time as you recognize the times. As such, be serious, be strategic.
Now let’s move to our third thought, which we’ll occupy the rest of the time this morning. Be smart. Time is of the essence, be smart. Given the runaway wickedness that marks this present age, Christians, the saints at Ephesus must not join the world in its foolishness. We see that, don’t we, Verse 15, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools.” Don’t be a fool, but as wise. Look at Verse 17, “Therefore do not be unwise,” he’s doubling down, double click. “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Here we have another one of Paul’s contrasts, right? Remember, this section is still tethered to the idea, put off the old man, put on the new man. Arthur mentioned, I love that testimony, drawing from our study of Ephesians. And then he draws these contrasts, Don’t lie, speak the truth. Don’t steal, work with your hands. Don’t be bitter or malice, be tender and forgiving. Don’t lust, love. Don’t add to the darkness, multiply the light. And now, don’t be foolish, be wise.” Another one of those contrasts, another one of the practical implications of putting on Jesus Christ and putting off the life that once was lived without him.
The Ephesians were to be otherworldly wise, which entailed living carefully, which entailed redeeming the time and [inaudible 00:14:00], which entails discovering God’s will for one’s life. Let me say this about God’s will for one’s life, it’s your created purpose. That’s why God gave you breath and a beating heart and a functioning mind, so that you would take all that you are and all that He gives you and all the opportunities that He sets before you and live it all for His glory. That’s why He created you.
Revelation 4:11 tells us that, we were created according to His will and for His pleasure. It’s Christian. Don’t call yourself a Christian and not be seeking to discover and do the will of God. What did Jesus say? See, if we’re a Christian, that means you’re a follower of Jesus. Hope you’ve got at least that down. If you’re a Christian, you’re a follower of Jesus. And what did Jesus saying, John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” I mean, food’s that kind of basic staple.” You want to know what my life’s about, it’s to do the will of God. And we know, right, that prayer of Jesus that we want to pray, “Not my will be done.” When God asks you to do something tough, some cross bearing, some suffering, some sacrificing, get down on your knees besides Jesus on the red clay of Gethsemane and pray that, because that’s your created purpose, that’s Christian.
And by the way, here’s a good thing too, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Well then to jack the little bit of Piper Christian hedonism into this. You want to be happy, you want to be joyful? Well then do the will of God. I mean listen to Solomon, he wrote a PhD on happiness. He wrote a thesis on how do you find meaning in life and it cost him quite a bit, because he went down some rabbit holes and he went down some dead ends. And after he had tried to find meaning in relationships and materialism and education and significance and job, he comes back to say, “I’ll tell you this, this is the conclusion of the matter. Here’s what my research has told me. Fear God and keep his commandments, for that’s the whole duty of man.”
Chuck William Barrick some years ago, an elder alongside me at [inaudible 00:16:31] Baptist Church and a Hebrew scholar at Master Seminary. I said, “I saw a translation of that verse and is it justified in the Hebrew?” And he said, “It is.” And the translation went like this, “Fear God, keep his commandments for in this man finds his wholeness.” You want to be whole? You want to be a complete human being with a sense of significance and joy and purpose? Then do the will of God, because it’s why you were created , it’s Christian and it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. The life that God has planned for you far exceeds your own plans. Rip them up, burn them, throw them in the wastepaper basket, get back to your Bible and get on your knees and say, “Lord, I know that your plan for me is a wonderful one that extends out into eternity, I want to live it.”
Remember what was said of David, King David, that he served his generation by the will of God. It’s a good description of life. David Livingston, Scottish missionary, explorer in Africa. He renounced a medical career in Scotland, went into the interior of Africa, mopped it, pointed to roads for people to follow him on, opposed slave trading within Africa and then it’s exporting to the west. He was asked once about the sacrifices he made. He was attacked and maimed by a lion, I believe one of his arms became pretty limp most of his life. His home was destroyed during the Boer War. His body was often ravaged by fever and dysentery and his wife died on the field. And he was asked about his sacrifices. And he said, “This sacrifice, the only sacrifice is to live outside the will of God.” Paul would want us to hear that. Paul would agree with that.
Winston Churchill once sent a dessert pudding back to the kitchen, with these words for the chef, “It lacked a theme.” Now Ephesians is not without a theme, and the theme is wisdom. Paul picks it up here again in Chapter 5, he mentions it in Chapter 1:8-9, Verses 17-19, and in Chapter 3:10. And it is through the pursuit of Godly wisdom that you and I can avoid our lives becoming like Churchill’s pudding, lacking in a theme.
Now let me say this, wisdom in this passage and throughout God’s word is not a matter of IQ. There are plenty of knowledgeable fools in the world. In fact, this seems to me they’re running it. Right? They’re in the world, and in our schools, they’re in government. But the fool in the Bible is not a dunce, he’s a moral incompetent. That’s what a fool is in the Bible. It’s not an issue of IQ, it’s an issue of morality. The fool in the Bible is someone who’s a practical atheist who says there is no God and either that’s his creed or it’s just the way he lives. He’s self-assured, he’s not easily rebuked, he despises wisdom, he lives recklessly and he sprays sorrow to his father and his mother and his family. Just read Proverbs to Daniel, you’ll pick all those themes up. The word fool is just mentioned so many times and that’s a description of it.
But the wise person by contrast is someone skilled in living. The Hebrew term for wisdom is [foreign language 00:20:33]. It’s used in Exodus 31:6, of craftsmen who help construct the temple. As this property of ours gets developed, there’s going to be metal workers and woodworkers and skilled men and perhaps women on this property helping construct that. That’s our word, the skilled craftsman. And then the Hebrew writer takes that and says, you know what, just as there’s craftsmen in metal and wood and art, the wise person is a craftsman when it comes to life and constructing a solid life. They’re very skilled in their relationship, skilled in their parenting, skilled in just the way they handle some of the downturns of life.
And this skill for living is sourced what? In a reverence for God and a knowledge of His holy word. Famously, right, Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10 picks that theme up and says this, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding of all those who do His commandments, His praise and endures forever.” And then I quoted Ecclesiastes 12:13, you want to know what your whole duty is? You want to find wholeness? You want to understand the meaning of life for your God, and keep His commandments? Now, we’ve got to update that because we’re not living in the Old Testament, we’re living in the New Testament. So if we’re going to update that of necessity, that means you need to have a relationship with Jesus Christ in whom all the wisdom of God is treasured. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, that Jesus Christ has been made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification.
So wisdom is a life skill and a life giving skill. We need to understand that. Wisdom’s not an issue of IQ. You can graduate from an Ivy League school with a degree, a PhD, and still don’t know the first thing about how to make a living. TS Elliot, the poet said, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” What’s this age called? The information age. And yet by any metrics, our marriages are imploding, our kids are falling off the cart, suicide’s rocketing, people just, are down in the dumps, no sense of purpose and meaning. Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? The digital age has us drowning in data but grasping for clarity. We don’t even know what a woman is anymore. Scary, dumb, stupid, foolish. We have more stimulation than any generation before us, but last synthesis. We don’t know what life’s about and why we’re here.
We can fly to the moon, but we don’t know how to live on earth when we get back. We know how to make a living, our standard of living is up. Even poor people in America can wear Jordan Air shoes. But we’re stumped when it comes to making a life. I like the statement by Hadden Robinson in the foreword to a book on the book of Proverbs, “Since 1955, knowledge has doubled Every five years, libraries grown with the weight of new books. New systems must be devised to store what old systems no longer have room for.” In fact, our generation possesses more data about the universe and human philosophy and personality than any previous generation or generations put together. High school graduates today have been exposed to more information about the world than Plato, Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin ever were exposed to. In terms of facts alone, neither Moses nor Paul could pass a college entrance exam today. Yet by everyone’s standard, even with all our knowledge, the world is a mess. Brilliant scientific thinking has produced machines and weapons that threatened to blow us off the planet. Wonder where AI’s going to take us.
“With all our knowledge,” Hadden Robinson said, “society today is peopled with a bumper crop of brilliant failures.” We probably do not have more fools than other nations, as Gian Adams once said, but in America the fools are better organized. Men and women educated who earn a living often don’t know anything about handling life itself. Alumni from noted universities have mastered information about a narrow slice of life but couldn’t make it out of first grade when it comes to living successfully with family and friend. Does that resonate? Absolutely.
That’s why Paul says, “oh, hold on a minute. That’s why, don’t be unwise, don’t be a fool. Find out what the will of God is and do it.” And that’s the beautiful thing. And for a few minutes I want to talk about this. In a very real sense, the will of God is an open secret. Now there’s three aspects to God’s will. I’d love to develop that theme, but I’m not going to. I think we have a series somewhere on our media page where I did a series on the will of God where I get into that. There’s the sovereign and hidden will of God. There’s the moral and revealed will of God, and there’s the individual and particular will of God.
But I think in Ephesians 5:15-17, we’re dealing with the second category, the moral and revealed will of God. The will of God is an open secret. It’s not a needle in a haystack, it’s a giant billboard. In a very well sense, God’s will for us is the worst kept secret, because there it sits in black and white in your Bible. See, God has revealed his will for us, largely speaking. There are aspects of what God does in our life that’s hidden and inexplicable, that’s the sovereign hidden will of God. Sometimes we can’t discover that, the only time we can understand it’s looking back. It’s why the Puritan said that the understanding the providence of God is like reading Hebrew, you read it backwards.
And the individual in particular will of God, that’s not found in the Bible. But you can discover it through principles in the Bible, godly counsel from friends, the reading of circumstances, the harnessing of desires and gifts. But largely speaking, what you and I need to know about the will of God, we can know about the will of God because there it is in the text of scripture. Because the scriptures are able to make us wise on the salvation and the scriptures equip us on every good work.
Deuteronomy 29:29 says what, “The hidden things belong to the Lord, but the things that are revealed belong to us.” So the will of God in large measure is to be found in God’s word. If you’re committed to obeying God’s will revealed in God’s word, God’s committed to revealing God’s will. I like what James Merrit, Southern Baptist pastor says, very challenging, “The problem with most Christians is not that they need guidance in what they don’t know, they need obedience in what they do know.” Let me say that again. The problem with most Christians is it is not that they need guidance in what they don’t know, but they need obedience in what they do know. The way to learn the will of God in the unknown area is to obey the will of God in the known area. It’s why Mark Twian, the American humorist and author said, “I’m not so much troubled by the parts of the Bible I don’t understand, but by the parts I do understand.”
Let me run you through a few statements quickly and make my point and wrap this up. There’s some very explicit statements in God’s word about His will. Number one, God as well as that you’re saved, right? 2 Peter 3:9, God’s not willing that any should perish, but it all should come to a knowledge of His Son.” You get that similar thought in 1 Timothy 2:4, “The first order of business is that a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, come into a right and vital relationship with the living God through a living faith in the resurrected Son, Jesus Christ.”
I want to tell you this morning, nothing else matters in your life till you’ve resolved that issue. Nothing. Because what is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul, my friend? What is it If you achieve some element of heaven on earth and then end up going to hell for all of eternity, because you missed Jesus? God doesn’t want that for you and he provided his Son so that doesn’t happen to you. The God who has given you life wants to give you eternal life through new birth. Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Are you?Have you? Today that can happen through trusting him.
Number two, God wants you sanctified. Not just saved, sanctified. 1 Thessalonians 4:5 is explicit, “This is the will of God for you, even your sanctification of staying from sexual immorality.” God wants us to reserve and preserve our bodies and our lies for his use and his glory. He wants us to be set apart. Have you ever gone into a restaurant to get a table and they tell you that restaurant’s full, there’s no room, it’s a 45-minute wait? And then you look across the restaurant, there’s two tables, they’re sitting empty. And you go, “What about that?” And they go, “What? That’s reserved.” Then you kick yourself for not having cold 30 minutes earlier.
But that’s our kind of thought here. You’re reserved, you’re preserved for God. And in particular, you’ve got to preserve and reserve your body for sexual purity. You’re to avoid sexual immorality. That’s premarital sex, that’s homosexual sex, that’s extra marital sex. That’s any kind of sex beyond God’s ordained purpose of heterosexual sex within a covenant marriage between a man and a woman for life. Anything else, forbidden. You need to take possession of your body, your passions, your desires, submit them to the Holy Spirit and keep yourself for your future spouse. Or you know what, if you never marry, keep yourself virgin for your bridegroom, Jesus Christ, when he comes to get his bride the church.
You want to know what God’s will is? Be saved, be sanctified, be satisfied. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “This is the will of God, give thanks in everything.” You want to know what God’s will is for you today? Be joyful, be happy, be grateful that you’re upright physically and you’re upright spiritually. This is a present tense imperative signifying it’s God’s will for you to be grateful all the time and in all things. There are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who take life for granted and there are those who take life with gratitude. Which one are you?
Now even in the case of adversity, you’re to embrace that as a gift, because you know that all things work together for good. God’s going to do something with the thing you don’t like, the irritant, he’s going to turn it into a pearl. And gratitude and counting it as joy will help you get there. I’ve told you this story, I love the story, it came to mind as I was reading my notes again this morning of the Puritan, Matthew Henry, who was robbed, his wallet was stolen. And he got home and he wrote down four things he was thankful for. First, “That was the first time I was robbed.” He was thankful for that, only once. Number two, they took his money but they didn’t take his life. That was the second thing he was grateful for. Number three, they took his wallet but there wasn’t much in it, and he was thankful for that. And then he said this fourthly, this is challenging, he was thankful that he was robbed and not someone else.
Here’s another aspect of God’s will, be submissive. 1 Peter 2:13-15 tells you that it’s God’s will to submit to the civil magistrate. There are three arenas of authority in God’s economy and world of family, the church and the government. And in the best of circumstances, each of those spheres of authority and government and rule compliment each other. And it’s God’s will you and I to submit to the civil magistrate, that would include showing respect, keeping the law, paying our taxes, and serving in the military if that’s required. It’s God’s will that we be good citizens. In fact, this word submit is a military term that means to come under authority. And the verb is in a voice that means you are yourself, to bring yourself under that authority.
Suffering, that’s another will of God. 1 Peter 3:17 says, “you know what? If you suffer for doing good, that’s God’s will.” Now if you suffer for doing bad, you did that. That’s under God sovereign will, but it’s not His revealed will. It’s His revealed will that indeed you and I would be willing to suffer for the glory of God. In the best of circumstances the Christian works with and within society. But there will be times when our first love commitment to Jesus Christ and His gospel brings us into conflict with society and the pars to be. And at that point, like the apostles in Acts 5:41, we find it a joy to suffer for his sake.
Surrender, that’s God’s will for us. Romans 12:1-2, “present your body, a living sacrifice that you may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God.” It’s God’s will for us that each and every day before we rise from our beds, that we pray the prayer of old Bishop Taylor of England, “Lord, this bed is the altar and my body is the sacrifice.” Do that before you get up and get going so that you know why you’re getting up and going. Our lives are to be a living sacrifice, that requires daily dedication because as John Stark reminds us, the trouble with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar. And you and I like to crawl off the altar. We like to get away from the implications of obedience and discipleship.
And then finally, be spirit filled. This is where we’ll be next week, don’t miss it. We’re told here, understand what the will of God is. Verse 17, “And do not be drunk with wine in which his dissipation but be filled with the Spirit.” That’s the immediate implication of what it means to do God’s will. It’s God’s will that we come under the control of the leadership of the Holy Spirit just as people come under the control and influence of alcohol and act poorly, so the Christian comes under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit and acts righteously.
So as we lap up, could it be clearer? It’s all kinds of verses just sitting there in the text. This is the will of God for you. And as we say it a moment ago, if you’re obeying God’s will in the known areas, it becomes easier to detect what as well is in the unknown areas. It’s hard to steer a parked car, but if you’ve taken to the road of discipleship and obedience, God will get you to where you need to be. God’s will is not the seeking of a vision. God’s will is not the pursuing of a vibe or a feeling. God’s will is the hearing of a voice, God’s voice as he speaks through the scripture. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me.” Through the cultivating of the spiritual discipline of time with God and the reading of His word, we turn down the volume of worldly noise and we turn up the volume of heavenly insight. Through reading our Bibles each and every day, we grow familiar with the shepherd’s voice and we hear Him and He leads us.
Time is off the essence. 1889, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show was in Germany. It’s been a big hit. One of the acts is Annie Oakley, famous shooter from Oklahoma. And part of her act is she invites anybody in the audience who wants to volunteer to come up and hold a cigar out in their hand or put it in their mouth and she’ll step back and shoot the ashes off the end of the cigar. It was a kind of a joke line because who in the right mind would do that? And after a little bit of time and no one volunteers, her husband always comes out and holds the cigar and she shoots it. But that day in Germany, I think in Berlin, a distinguished man stood up and said, “I’ll do it.” And she was shocked. She’s beginning to wish she hadn’t drank so much whiskey the night before, it’s true [inaudible 00:38:53]. She started to sweat in her outfit. But this distinguished man came down against the best advice of his friends and he held out the cigar. And Annie Oakley stood back, gathered her thoughts, took aim and shot the ashes off the end of cigar.
And then it became apparent, both towards the end of the show and after the show that the man was Kaiser Wilhelm, who had become the chancellor of Germany and lead them into the First World War. And during the First World War, as we were losing our boys, Annie Oakley thought about that moment. In fact, their husband wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm and said, “Annie wants a second shot.” That’s a true story, you can look it up. Annie wants a second shot. And you can be sure he didn’t offer himself for that one.
Here’s what Paul would say to us this morning. You don’t get a second shot at life. It’s a one time deal and eternity hangs in the balance. So be smart and walk carefully in the ways of God. Be strategic and redeem your time because this is the age when man dominates, but there’s coming in age when Jesus reigns. And be smart heart. Don’t add to the foolishness and the moral delinquency. Understand what the will of God is, revealed in His word and let it be a light onto your path and lump onto your feet. Amen.
Father, we thank you for our time and the word. This has been just a wonderful service this morning, not that it never is, but just particularly special with the baptisms and the testimonies of saving grace and the subduing power of the Holy Spirit in our life where we’re no longer exposed to the penalty of sin, and we’re no longer under the domination of the power of sin. Bless those candidates. Help them to be ever-growing disciples of yours. And we thank you for discipling us in the Word this morning. Help us to hear the tick-tock of the clock, bringing us to the midnight hour. Help us to think eternally, help us to live redemptively. For we pray and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.