Time is precious. Once gone, it can’t be recovered, and we are never guaranteed more of it. Though we see no signs of approaching death, today may be our last (Job 16:22, 9:25-26; James 4:14). Nothing is more precious than time, and yet we waste it like nothing else.
Don’t waste time because God is near (Isaiah 55:6, 2 Corinthians 6:2). Don’t waste time on meaningless or useless things.
Don’t be lazy and merely talk, having nothing to share with those in need. (Proverbs 19:15, 23:21, 14:23, 18:9; Ephesians 4:28). Don’t spend time on evil things, hurting yourself and others, increasing eternal misery and damnation.
Don’t spend time only in worldly pursuits, neglecting your soul and eternity. What do we really gain from pursuing the world? This time is for the eternity that follows it.
Our welfare depends on how wisely we use our time. Have we filled our time with eternal good?
We are accountable to God for our words, deeds, and how we have used our time, because we are God’s servants (Matthew 12:36). When God asks for an account of our time, what can we give? Have we made the best use of it for God and for our soul?
So, hasten and don’t delay obeying God (Psalm 119:60). Make the most of our opportunities, particularly those more important for our eternal life. This includes Sunday public worship in communion with God and His words.
We should use time not just for ourselves, but also to rescue others from their evil ways. So, God may defer anger, allowing such people to be redeemed from destruction.
Work is good, but so is rest and recreation. Use them to refresh for the work you are called to do.
In any case, we may have already wasted a lot of our time. As we get older, our opportunity, availability, and ability to do good diminish. It will be too late if our eyes are finally opened on our death beds. Even worse, if after death we end up in the fire of hell, then we will be left only with sorrow and regrets.
Whether we are young or old, we should diligently redeem time.
Make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16). Use time to prepare for our eternity. Beware that the day of judgment is coming soon (Revelation 10:5-6).
Summary of a sermon by Jonathan Edwards:
时间宝贵，一去不复返。 无人能确定自己还有明天。虽然没有看到死亡濒临的迹象，但今天可能就是最后的一天 (约伯记 16:22, 9:25-26; 雅各书 4:14).
不要浪费现今的时光, 亲近上帝吧，因为我们能与祂相近 (以赛亚书 55:6, 哥林多后书 6:2)。 不要把时间浪费在无意义或无用之处。
不要懒惰，不要嘴上多言浪费时间，以致没有什么可以与有需要的人分享 (箴言 19:15, 23:21, 14:23, 18:9; 以弗所书 4:28)。
每个人都要为自己的言行和如何利用时间向上帝负责，因为我们是祂的仆人 (马太福音 12:36)。当上帝要求对过去的时间交代时，如何回答呢？是否为了上帝和自己的灵魂充分地利用好时间呢?
所以要快快地遵守上帝的命令，不要再拖延 (诗篇 119:60)。充分利用现今宝贵的机会，尤其那些对自己永生更为重要的机会，包括与上帝和祂的话语相交的主日敬拜。
可能已经浪费了很多时间. 随着年龄增长，每个人的机会、可用的时间和作善工的能力也不断地减少。 如果在临终前才睁开眼睛领会明白那就太晚了。更糟糕的是如果死后最终落入地狱之火中，剩下的只有永远的悲伤和遗憾了。
当爱惜光阴，利用尚存的时间为永恒作准备(以弗所书 5:16)。留心审判的日子即将来临 (启示录 10:5-6)。
What does it mean to offer ourselves to God, as stated in Romans 12:1?
The Old Testament instructed the Jews to give 10 percent to support the Levites. The New Testament does not teach tithing. Instead, the New Testament teaches that we should offer our whole bodies to God, in view of God’s mercy (Romans 12:1).
God has given us so much. Our body was bought by God at a great price. It is also the house of the Holy Spirit, received from our heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
We should present our bodies to God, repent from our past ignorance (Acts 17:30), and use our bodies to honor Him. This is our worship.
Offering our bodies to God can be like the burnt offering in Leviticus 1, where an animal was cut up into pieces and offered to God. Now, we offer every part of our body as a living sacrifice, not a dead one. For example, give our eyes to God, instead of greedily yearning for other’s property, or looking at things God does not like. Our tongue is not our own anymore. Our ears should not be eagerly listening to gossip. Our hands should do things that honor God.
We can make our bodies do what they should through the help of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 9:27). We can remove bad habits and discipline ourselves. For example, we should control our appetite, instead of letting our appetite control us. Otherwise, we will live as enemies of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19). Fasting can get rid of intense passion for food and help us understand hunger. Similarly, keep sex within the limits that God has ordained (1 Corinthians 6:12-13).
Peter asked Christ what they would get for giving up everything to follow Him. Christ seemed to respond they should not expect to get more than those who followed Him right before death (Matthew 19:21-20:16). Our heavenly Father has already given us His beloved Son so we can have everlasting life.
Similarly, if we serve anyone in need, we do it for Christ (Matthew 25:34-40). Do not expect gratitude from them.
To conclude, in view of God’s mercy, we should offer our whole bodies to God.
Summarized from a sermon by Zac Poonen:
上帝赐给信徒丰丰富富。信徒的身体是祂付出了极大的代价买赎回来的。 身体也是圣灵的殿, 从天父那里得到的 （哥林多前书6：19-20）。
应该将身体献给上帝, 从过去的无知中悔改 (使徒行传17:30)，并且用身体尊荣上帝，这就是我们的敬拜。
将身体献给上帝就好像利未记一章中的献燔祭, 在那里动物被切成碎片献给上帝. 现在将身体的各部分作为活祭献给上帝. 例如当将目光投向上帝，不要贪婪地看着他人的所有，也不要看上帝不喜欢人所看的事物；舌头不再属于自己的；耳朵不应该急于听无聊的八卦新闻；并且手应该做荣耀上帝的事。
依靠圣灵使身体做該做的事 （哥林多前书9:27）。消除不良习惯，节制自律。当控制食欲，不被食欲所控制，否则就将成为基督的仇敌 （腓立比书3：18-19）。禁食可以消除对食物的嗜好，并帮助人了解饥饿。同样地，保持性行为在上帝规定的范围内 （哥林多前书6：12-13）。
彼得曾问基督放弃一切跟随祂将有何回报。 基督的回应似乎是不应指望得到比临死前才跟随祂的人更多 （马太福音19：21-20：16）。 天父已经赐下爱子基督，使人可以因信祂得永生。
Christ said that we are the salt and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). What does that mean?
These days, we worry about salt causing high blood pressure. But historically, salt was pivotal to the development of civilization.
Salt could preserve foods. So, salt enables distribution, allowing them to have different types of food all year round from different regions of the world. In addition, salt makes food taste good.
Like salt, we should help people flourish and enhance human relationships.
Light helps us see. We should put it high up so everyone in the house can see. Like light, we should let our good deeds shine before others. Then they may see them and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Though we can be salt and light, others will still insult, persecute, and bear false witness against us (Matthew 5:11). Hopefully, these pains are not caused by our bad behavior or our trying to control others. If we suffer because of following Christ, then we should praise God (1 Peter 4:15-16).
Christ, following the will of God the Father, came to Earth poor. He died on the cross to take away our curse and punishment. Because of Christ, we can be the blessed children of God, rich and fulfilled.
In return, God the Father exalted Christ to the highest place. Billions of knees bow to Christ, and billions of tongues acknowledge Christ as Lord, to glorify God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
Follow Christ. Be like salt and light. Help others so they may give glory to God. If persecuted because of Christ, rejoice because of your great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
父神因此将基督升到至高之处，让万膝敬拜，万口承认基督是主, 使父神得荣耀 （腓2：9-11）。
总而言之，跟随基督，做盐做光, 帮助他人, 使荣耀归与父神。如果因为基督受逼迫，就当欣喜，因为在天上有大赏赐为我们存留（马太福音5：11-12）。
Many consider life to be meaningless, full of despair and boredom, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. To fill the emptiness, some pursue happiness but can’t find it. What does the Bible say about happiness? Let’s look at Psalm 1.
Verse 1 says that happiness is not illusory. We could be blessed now and filled with joy.
Happiness depends on whom we hang out with or belong to. Do not hang out with the wicked and mockers, lest they own or control us (v1). They will not give us happiness.
Constantly think about and delight in the messages of the Bible. Think about how Christ became a man and died for us so we could be reconciled to God (v2). Then like a tree planted by streams of water, we will yield seasonal fruits, and our leaves will never wither (v3).
“Seasonal” implies there will be periods of cold and desolate winters. Bad things will happen. Evils exist. We will experience seasons of pain, suffering, and grief.
But even in deep distress, we can still rejoice (1 Peter 1:6) because we are God’s children forever. God constantly upholds us. So, whether our life is easy or full of suffering, God should be our center.
Happiness is always a byproduct of something else. Don’t seek it. If we focus on a happy marriage, we will not get it. Christ taught us not to worry. First seek what is important to Him and live as He wants us to. Then we will have happiness (Matthew 6:25-33).
In conclusion, bad people cannot bring us happiness. Instead, center on God. Constantly meditate on the messages in the Bible. Then we will yield fruits in season and our leaves will not wither.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon, “Search for Happiness.”
If someone wanted to meet us in San Francisco, we would ask, “Why?” Shouldn’t we also ask where we want to go in life? So why live? Why get up in the morning?
We exist for a very short time. Then we die and rot. Why does it matter whether one goes down hugging or mugging, kind or cruel? Does anything we do matter?
Why even try to do anything? In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is cursed to an eternity of rolling a large boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down. Some characterize hell as doing a pointless act, again and again, forever.
Some believe in no god, no way to know god, no heaven, and no hell. Some also believe that there is no basis for wrong and right. If one assumes everything ending in nothing, then just following one’s own desire also does not give life any meaning.
Some say that love, hate, and every emotion in us are just chemical reactions. But something inside tells us a human is different from a rock. Something inside tells us there is evil and good.
Popcorn machines should not make turkey. A sailboat should not run down main street. If we want to live a full and satisfying life, we must know ourselves, learn our reason to exist, and follow it.
According to Christianity, a designer designed and built the world. The designer came as a human being and lived among us, showing us His glory, grace, and truth. The designer loves us to the point of laying down His life for us (John 1:1-14).
Our meaning in life is found in Christ, the designer of life.
Know and love Christ. If we do so, we will “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
有些人相信没有上帝，没有办法认识上帝，没有天堂，也没有地狱。有些人相信没有衡量是非对错的真理。 如果相信一切都是空虚, 遵循自己的愿望做事也不赋予生命任何意义。
Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died within days of each other. Mother Teresa is a hero we could learn from, but the outpouring of grief towards Diana far eclipsed that for Teresa. Some attributed this to people’s shallowness, but others found Diana to be more relatable and vulnerable. Some worship heroes and others distrust them. Let’s learn from Samson, a hero, in Judges 15:9-20.
Israel was at a dangerous time. Philistines were assimilating them (v11), and many Israelites liked to be ruled by them.
God used Samson to create a conflict with the Philistines.
Samson killed a number of Philistines, doing to them what they did to him. Three thousand Jews went to confront him because they didn’t want Samson to disrupt their peace. Samson made them agree not to kill him, but to hand him to the Philistines. Then, using the jawbone of an ass, he killed a thousand Philistines and made a joke out of it (v16).
Through one man, God saved Israel from losing their faith and culture. Samson led Israel for 20 years as a judge—not judicially, but as a hero-warrior.
As a Nazarene, Samson couldn’t cut his hair. When pressed by Delilah, he let her do it. Samson thought his strength guaranteed his success, but he didn’t know the Lord had left him (Judges 16:20). Then the Philistines seized Samson, gouged out his eyes, and humiliated him.
Later, Samson trusted in God’s sovereignty again. With his death, Samson killed more Philistines than in his lifetime because he wanted to “get revenge on the Philistines for [his] two eyes” (Judges 16:28). One main purpose of Samson’s life was to get even.
In a similar way, the Jews also rejected Christ and handed Him to the Romans. But unlike Samson, Christ follows God the Father. Christ didn’t leave heaps of dead bodies. Instead, Christ forgave them, and many later became His followers. Through His death, Christ destroyed the power of sin and brought salvation.
Learn from Christ. Don’t trust your abilities but depend on what Christ has done for us.
Summarized from a Tim Keller’s sermon:
戴安娜王妃和特蕾莎修女在几天内相继死亡。特蕾莎修女是人们学习的英雄，但哀悼戴安娜的人却远远超过哀悼特蕾莎的。有些人将此归于人性的浅薄，其他人则认为更容易与戴安娜认同，她的脆弱使人觉得更接近。 有些人崇拜英雄，而有些人则不信任他们。让我们一起来研读士师记 15：9-20中英雄参孙的故事。
Being down-to-earth with one’s feet on the ground is considered a good character trait. But Colossians 3:1-4 provides another point of view.
Many believe this world is all there is, and that when they die, there will be nothing left. Such belief leads some to focus entirely on their own worldly gain, ignoring right from wrong and raping the environment for treasures. Christians believe that the world is not all there is.
Many epic stories start with ordinary people going through larger-than-life events. After prevailing in a great battle over an evil empire against all odds, they return home. They live confidently and freely. Nothing at home could ruffle them. To them, their home is not all there is.
Following His Father’s will, Christ came to Earth, lived a pure life, suffered, died a horrible death, and was resurrected. Christ substituted Himself for us, and His death broke the power of Satan.
We and Christ are one. We died with Him and have been raised with Him (v1, 3). Now when the Father looks at us, He sees Christ. We have the greatness and honor of Christ, and we have the love from the Father to Christ. When Christ returns, we will appear with Christ in glory as God’s children (v4).
Since we and Christ are one, we have been through what Christ went through. We have been through Christ’s epic battle. After going through such tragic and glorious events with Christ, nothing on Earth can ruffle us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
There are wonderful things on Earth we cherish, but they do not dominate us or control us. Our life on Earth is not all there is.
Focus on Christ. Constantly meditate on Christ and the Gospel. We must set our hearts and minds on things above (v1-2). This will help us live and do good on Earth with freedom and power.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
我们与基督同为一体，与祂同死同复活 (歌罗西书3:1，3:3)。现在每当天父看见我们，祂就看见基督。基督的伟大和荣耀与我们同在，父神对基督的爱也临到我们。当基督再来时，上帝的儿女，将与基督一同在荣耀里显现(歌罗西书 3:4)。
既然我们与基督一体，就经历了祂所经历的， 包括那场史诗般的争战。与基督一起经历如此的悲壮和光荣后，地上的任何事都不能让我们沮丧， “上帝若帮助我们，谁能敌挡我们呢？”（罗马书8:31）。
珍惜地上美好的事物，但不被它们主宰或辖制。在世上的生活并非一切。定睛在基督身上，不住地默想基督和福音。 思念上面的事 （歌罗西书3：1-2）。如此，在世上就可以有力并自由地生活和行善。