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Summary: Magazines and television programs review the past year as well as make predictions about this one. So here we are, already a week into 2012. What do you think the future holds for this church; for your life?

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Intro: Magazines and television programs review the past year as well as make predictions about this one. So here we are, already a week into 2012. What do you think the future holds for this church; for your life?

There is a passage of scripture that I believe can help us as we look forward to 2012 – if we’ll listen to it. The passage is Eph. 5:15-18. Paul gave godly advice on how to live as Christians in a world running out of time. There are four important lessons that we need to consider:

1. Realize that our time and life on earth is short.

People who don’t realize this are “fools” (v.15). David & Moses wrote Psalms 39:4 and 90:12. Should the Lord tarry, the length of our life is 70-80 years IF healthy. Even if we had the strength, our years quickly pass away.

Illust: Years ago People Magazine – USA published an article entitled "Dead Ahead" telling about a new clock that keeps track of how much time you have left to live. It assumes an average life span of 75 years for men & 80 years for women. So you program your sex & age into the clock; from then on it will tell you how much time you have left. It sells for $99.95. If they could make clocks that can guess death, they would be rich (Jas. 4:13-14).

2. Make the most and best of every opportunity.

Paul gives us the reason, "because the days are evil." (v.16) Jesus said that Satan is a robber and a thief. One of the things the devil tries to rob from us is our time and energy. Even good things can make demands on our time. Avoid things and people that waste your time!

Illust: Mary & Martha… Jesus told Martha there is one thing most needed in life – The Lord 1st! (Mark 12:30)

Illust: Richard Swenson, a medical doctor, has written a book in which he discusses one of the major problems of our time and generation – anxiety & stress. He calls it "overload.” Dr. Swenson’s study proved that people are overloaded with: Work + Commitments; + Possessions + Information = Complications!

Even Christians want to think that they live a “very busy” life they no longer have time for God, the Bible and church! Is that really what’s known as “success?” Why, it actually eats up more time and piles up more trouble. But all is not lose for there is hope! (Heb. 12:1; Psa. 55:22)

3. Understand what the Lord’s will is (v.17). What do you think is God’s will for you? Do you think He wants your mind filled with worries & anxieties that you can no longer think spiritual thoughts? Do you think He wants your schedule so crowded that you don’t have time for the really important things? (Rom. 12:2; Col. 4:5)

Learn how to live within God’s “good, acceptable and perfect will.” Take heed how you conduct yourselves among unbelievers (vv. 10-11; 1 Thess. 5:21)

Note: The two greatest enemies of our present time are: (1) Regrets for things we did in the past; (2) Anxiety about what may happen to us in the future.

4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18) Many of us are wondering what is being “filled with the Spirit.” Not all Christians are Spirit-filled. Paul contrasted being filled with the Holy Spirit to being “drunk with wine.” A drunk person is said to be “under the influence of alcohol;” so it follows that a believer is filled with God’s Spirit when he is influenced and controlled by the Holy Spirit.


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