Sermon #1216


          Title:           A Sermon About Time

          Text:           Psalm 90:12

          Reading:    Psalm 90:1-17

          Subject:     The Brevity of Our Time in this World

          Date:          Sunday Afternoon - December 31, 1995

          Tape #       S-11




          My message this afternoon is A Sermon About Time. In recent weeks and months I have observed the failing health of some who seemed so strong, the sickness of some who seemed so healthy, and the death of some who were so full of life just a very little while ago. And here we stand in the closing hours of a year that seems to have passed in just a few days, anticipating the dawn of another. How quickly the time passes! How rapidly things in this world change! My text this afternoon contains a prayer that I have uttered to God more times than I can count in the last few weeks. Yet, it is a prayer that weighs more heavily upon my heart than ever before. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”


          Of all mathematical problems this is the most difficult. Men can number their herds and their flocks. They can estimate the revenues of their farms and businesses with relative ease. We can count our cash, balance our check books, and calculate what our retirement income should be. Yet, mortal man foolishly imagines that he is immortal. Most are persuaded that their days are infinite and innumerable. Therefore they do not number them. We look at a strong young man, one who watches his diet, exercises regularly, and seems to sparkle with life, and say, “He has a long life ahead of him.” And we look at an old woman, weak, worn, wrinkled, and ever weary, and say, “She will not be with us very long. Her days are few.” Thus, we imagine that we can number the days of others, but few will number his own days. What folly!


          It is evident that the great thing needed to persuade us to prepare for eternity is the persuasion of our own mortality and the brevity of our lives in this world. We will not apply our hearts unto wisdom until we are brought to the numbering of our days. Yet, the fact is, no one will number his days and apply his heart unto wisdom until he is taught of God to do so. Thus Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” As we reflect upon the brevity of time, we ought to be persuaded to set our thoughts upon things that are eternal. As we look into the grave, which must soon be our bed, we ought to be humbled and made to know how frail we are. But we are not wise. Only the grace of God will cause a mortal man to number his days and apply his heart unto wisdom. Let this, then, be your prayer and mine: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”


Proposition: A sense of mortality ought to make us wise and cause us to apply our hearts unto wisdom.


          In this message, I want to show you five words from God about time, about our brief, brief time in this world. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher and apply these things to our hearts.


I. A Word of Comfort - “My times are in thy hand” (Ps. 31:15).


          Thank God, my times are not in the hands of my enemies, or even in the hands of my friends, or even in my own hands. “My times are in thy hand!” The time that I shall live is in his hand, determined by him alone. The times of my trials, troubles, and temptations are in his hand. The times of my peace, prosperity, and pleasure are in his hands too. My times of darkness, desertion, and despondency as well as my times of dancing and delight are in his hand. All my times are appointed by him, ordered by him, and disposed of by him for my good and his glory. I can think of nothing in all the world more comforting.


“Our times are in Thy hand,

Father, we wish them there:

Our life, our soul, our all we leave

Entirely to Thy care.


“Our times are in Thy hand,

Whatever thy may be,

Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,

As best may seem to Thee.


“Our times are in Thy hand,

Why should we doubt or fear?

A Father’s hand will never cause

His child a needless tear.


“Our times are in Thy hand,

Jesus the crucified!

The hand our many sins had pierced

Is now our guard and guide.


“Our times are in Thy hand,

(Help us to) trust in Thee;

Till we have left this weary land,

And all Thy glory see.”


As this fact quietened David’s heart in the midst of great trials, so let it quieten our hearts as we make our pilgrimage through this vale of tears. “My times are in thy hand.”


A.   My time in this world has been appointed by my heavenly Father (Job 14:5).

B.   My time in this world is ruled by my heavenly Father.

C.   My God will see to it that I fulfill all my time in this world. He has promised, “The number of thy days will I fulfil” Ex. 23:26).


II. A Word of Warning


          The apostle Paul warned us of the perilous times in which we now live.

·        II Timothy 3:1-7, 14-17


          In these days of apostate, free will, works religion, we must tenaciously adhere to the old, old path of gospel truth that hold our hearts in peace.

·        Jeremiah 6:16

·        Divine Sovereignty

·        Electing Love

·        Particular Effectual Redemption

·        Efficacious Grace

·        Special Providence


III. A Word of Instruction (I Cor. 7:29-31)


          Because the time is short, we must redeem the time we have (Eph. 5:16). C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour. Neither are we sure of enough life to justify us in procrastinating for a moment.”


A.   The time for salvation is short (Isa. 55:6; II Cor 6:2).

B.   The time for service is short. -”The night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4).

C.   The time for suffering is short (I Pet. 5:10).


IV. A Word of Admonition (Eph. 5:16)


          Paul urges us to redeem the time, to buy up every opportunity we have, because we are naturally prone to squander the opportunity God gives us in this world. It is our responsibility to be careful and diligent in our use of time. That does not mean that we should have no time for recreation and relaxation. But it does mean that we should study to improve our use of time to the best advantage of our souls and the souls of others.


          Nothing is more precious and valuable than time. Time and the opportunity of the moment, once it is gone, is gone forever! It cannot be recalled or even prolonged. We must not neglect any opportunity God gives us to serve him or one another, to worship him in private or in public, to gain spiritual benefit for our souls, or to minister to the bodies and souls of others for the glory of God.


          NOTE: The best way to withstand the temptations that come with idleness is to redeem the time that is wasted in idleness, buying up the opportunity to do good.


V. A Word of Preparation


          The wise man Solomon tells us that there is for us all “a time to die” (Eccles. 3:1-2). “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27).


          God help you to hear me now. “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12). Shall a mortal, sinful man meet the holy Lord God? Indeed, we must. That thought would send waves of shock and terror through your soul, if you ever gave a moment’s reflection. There is only one way you can prepare to meet God. You must trust the Lord Jesus Christ. You must flee away to him like the manslayer in the Old Testament fled to the city of refuge.

·        You must be washed in his precious blood.

·        You must be robed in his perfect righteousness.


          When the appointed time of my departure from this world comes, I want to be found in Christ, not having my own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ imputed to me. Washed in his blood and robed in his righteousness, I hope to leave this world in confident faith, like the apostle Paul.

·        II Timothy 1:12

·        II Timothy 4:6-8




          As we gather once more around this blessed table, concluding the year that is past and anticipating the dawn of a new year tomorrow, let this be our prayer: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”


          I want us to sing number 53 in your Songs of Grace book, The Time is Short, while the deacons come to serve the Lord’s Table.