Summary: Paul identified three characteristics of a credible life.
A CREDIBLE LIFE
INTRO: In a newspaper interview shortly before his death, the English agnostic philosopher, Bertrand Russell, said: “People are bewildered and don’t know how to live a credible life in an incredible world.” The evidence that Lord Russell was right is to be found on every hand. Millions of people in this world don’t know how to live for anything beyond the profit or pleasure of a given moment.
Paul identified three characteristics of a credible life.
I. A CREDIBLE LIFE MANIFESTS WISDOM IN CONDUCT (v. 15).
Christians must live carefully. No one of us is above failing in life. We often read the expose of some person in an important, public position who was discovered in some misdeed. Jesus admonished His disciples, “Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41, GNB). A person must walk carefully on the tightrope of life.
ILLUS: Two men on a commuter train were talking about the sudden death of a traveling companion. One of the men had just finished reading the deceased man’s obituary in the paper. He commented: It says here that he was a Baptist. I didn’t know that, did you? He didn’t seem to be the religious type.” Commitment to Christ should mean a difference in conduct.
Manifesting wisdom in conduct means that Christians must live differently. Paul was writing to people who had previously walked in step with a corrupt Gentile society which had its own brand of situational ethics. His word to Christians was that in Christ they were to walk differently. Christians are to be different, and that difference is to be distinguishable.
II. A CREDIBLE LIFE MAKES THE MOST OF THE TIME (v. 16).
The Greeks had two different words for time. Chronos, from which we get our word chronology, which refers to time in terms of minutes, hours, days, and years. The other word was Kairos, the word Paul used in the text. It refers to time in terms of an opportune moment rather than a specific moment in time. The statement, “The time is right,” expresses the idea. This Paul wrote about time in terms of circumstances, not chronology.
Paul’s directive was to make the most of the opportune moment. This directive means that Christians are to discern the opportunities for service as we meet them and discard those things that distract in making the most of the opportunities.
The fact that “the days are evil” should motivate Christians to make the most of the time. Whatever a person is going to do for the Lord, he had best get busy doing it! The “evil day” emphasizes both the emergency of the crisis and the urgency of acting while there is time.
III. A CREDIBLE LIFE MAGNIFIES THE WILL OF GOD (v. 17).
First, the will of God can be known and understood. The Bible teaches that God has a will for life, and in general the Bible reveals aspects of God’s will for each life. In addition, God has a particular will for individuals. It is possible for Christians to know and understand that will (see Rom. 12:1-2).
Second, doing God’s will is an obligation for Christians. God’s will is not optional for a believer; it is obligatory. Living under the lordship of Christ mandates that one say, and Paul did on the Damascus Road,
“What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10, NIV).
CONC: A child was being questioned about comic-strip characters. She was asked who her favorite character was. She replied, “Superman.” When asked why he was her favorite, she responded, “Because he can fly.” “Would you like to be able to fly?” asked the interviewer. “Yes,” she responded but quickly added, “that is, if everybody else could. I wouldn’t want to be different.”