Pastor Wade's Blog

The Stewardship of Opportunity

Cols 4:5, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”  Paul uses the metaphor of the marketplace in Colossians 4:5 where he says in Arthur S. Way translation: "seize every opportunity, like merchants who buy up a scarce commodity." We are to redeem the opportunities that can be grasped for God and His glory. Remember, right now counts forever!

1 Corinthians 16:8-9, But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Paul is aware that there is a difference between regular, ordinary speaking about Christ to those he is with, and periodic, extraordinary opportunities for effective proclamation. The one at Ephesus was the latter. He had an exceptional open door of ministry in Ephesus. (On “open doors,” see Act_14:27; 2Co_2:12; Col_4:3; Rev_3:8.) He saw both the opportunities and the obstacles. God had opened “a great door for effective work” and Paul wanted to seize the opportunities while they were still there.

“And many are lying opposed to me,” lined up against me. These Paul mentions as a reason for staying in, not for leaving, Ephesus. Read Acts 19 and see the opposition from Jews and Gentiles with the explosion under the lead of Demetrius.

Even though Paul was in danger in Ephesus (1Co_15:32), he planned to remain there while the door was open. Like a wise merchant, he had to “buy up the opportunity” before it vanished and would never return.

The stewardship of opportunity is important. The individual believer, and the church family, must constantly ask, What opportunities is God giving us today? Instead of complaining about the obstacles, we must take advantage of the opportunities, and leave the results with the Lord.

The capturing of opportunity is referred to in Eph 5:16 as, “redeeming the time.” The word “redeeming” is the Greek word “exagerazo.” It means “to buy out of the marketplace” so that the commodity is completely owned, possessed, and manipulated by the purchaser. And the verb “redeeming” is a middle voice verb, so it means “buying out for yourself,” or “for your own advantage.”

So, the Christian who practices this counsel is acting for his own eternal advantage. When we put all these ideas together in one package - as the word “exagorazo” does - we can see that it means “to buy up an article out of the market in order to make the largest possible profit out of it.”  This is each Christian’s responsibility regarding Time.  So, opportunity is like a captive person in this verse, a prisoner of the sin which saturates everything, and this prisoner is led by in chains (like a processional of prisoners passing in front of us), and we are to redeem it (buy it, purchase it) by paying whatever price is required.  This great Ephesians passage helps us to see the purchase price.

Capitalize on the Opportunities

We must always realize how swiftly time passes and how surely it will end.

In order to fully capitalize or redeem the time, there must be:

  1. No doting on past failures - (failing in life doesn't make life a failure.)
  2. No dreaming of a perfect future until Jesus Returns
  3. Recognize an opportunity in every problem.

Kairos was the god of opportunity and Zeus’ youngest son in Greek mythology. A bronze statue of Kairos depicted him as a youth with winged feet, a long lock of hair hanging down his forehead, and no hair at all on the back. It is depicted as the statue of opportunity. The inscription beneath it read in part: “What is thy name?” My name is Opportunity. “Why do you have wings on your feet?” “That I will be able to fly efficiently” “How come you have such a big forelock?” “That men will apprehend me when I arrive.” “Can you tell me why you’re bald in the back?” “That no one will be able to catch me as I pass.”

The message of Kairos is clear: Either we grasp hold of Opportunity when it approaches by wholeheartedly embracing our statue of opportunities or it passes us by swiftly and leaves us nothing with to detain it.

Despite abounding wickedness, corruption, perversions, potential economic collapse, and little god-players with plans to raze and reconstruct a new world order, etc., I agree with missionary Paul Washer and his astounding statement that runs counter to most believer’s thinking: “The stage is set for possibly the greatest advancement in missions the church has ever known. The world and the church’s needs are greater than ever, and so are the opportunities. Political upheavals have opened the door to countries that were previously closed, and all the great “ism’s” of secular man have fallen under the weight of their own error. Humanism has left our world disillusioned and cynical. Secular thought has left it soulless and empty. Materialism has left both the “haves” and the “have not’s” miserable and constantly at war. Sexual libertarianism has raped the individual of human dignity, exiled beauty, and driven a knife through the heart of innocence. Finally, the current revival of paganism has left men praying to rocks, hugging trees, and killing babies. The enlightenment of the twentieth century, which was to bring peace and prosperity has spawned more ignorance, poverty, immorality, and violence then any scholar could have predicted, or any prophet could have foretold. It is a day to do great things.” AMEN!

When I read the apostle Paul, I see a man who carried a gospel that he believed could save as well as unite Gentiles and barbarians with Abraham’s sacred descendants. They did not look at their world and declare that it was too bad or pagan to be subdued. Instead, they looked at their world through the Word of God and proclaimed the “STOUT” gospel of God in the power of the Spirit of God and changed their world in a few centuries.

Christians today, for the most part, focus on what they see coming upon the world instead of what has already come into the world - a sin-resolving, death-detoxifying, and devil-defeating, and world-changing, Savior and Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ who has asked His Father for the nations as His inheritance and the ends of the earth His possession — and His Father said, “You got it!”

We have been preaching and witnessing, using an abridged gospel. We have settled for a miniaturized version that cannot address the tough problems of our world. Most who preach the modern-day version of the gospel, believe it is only designed to snatch large number of souls off the sinking ship of this old world and get them into the lifeboat of salvation, whose only port call is in heaven when they die. We are preaching a gospel that we believe can change the soul of a man but then stops short of allowing that converted soul to influence every area of the world around him. It is time we challenge both the theology and logic of this position.

We have discounted the power of the gospel of God when proclaimed in the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power and the fullness of the gospel’s riches and reaches. What we need is high-powered, robust, evangelism that takes the whole gospel to the whole world. Without the whole gospel and an understanding of institutional growth and success brought about by covenant obedience, we inherently say that the pagans will inherit the earth over time until a time of final judgment when Christ comes to effect what the Holy Spirit could not through his people, the Church.

James Renwick, who was put to death for preaching such a whole, powerful gospel in Scotland in 1688, wrote in those dark, death-filled days of severe persecution all over his country: “There have been great and glorious days of the gospel in this land; but they have been small in comparison of what shall be!” That’s what a vision of the King Jesus’ kingdom gospel will do for you.

The success of the Gospel will inevitably make some unbelievers accept at least some of the truths of the Gospel only to become stronger and better prepared to oppose us. Such challenge is not a sign of the “decay of culture” but exactly the opposite: it is a sign that we are more successful in teaching and preaching God’s special revelation of the King Jesus gospel of the kingdom to the world.

There is an unprecedented open door before us. Yes, vicious, vulgar, virulent giants are standing in it, but that has always been the case. Remember what Paul said, For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

But Paul knew that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given King Jesus, and on the basis of this authority He tells us to disciple the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). He has been raised from the dead, and therefore God has given Him the name that is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11). He has ascended on high, into the throne room of the Ancient of Days, and at His coronation He was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him (Dan. 7:13-14).

 

In 2 Kings 6:15-20, the servant of Elisha the Prophet awakens one morning and goes outside only to see several thousand well-armed enemy troops surrounding their little town. Overwhelmed with fear, he cries out to the prophet, “Alas, what shall we do?”

The strategy for what to do when the enemies of God have surrounded us is set forth clearly and perpetually in the life and ministry of Elisha, the Prophet. The OT prophet Elisha is a type of the Church functioning in full faith assurance and authority as kingdom of heaven ambassadors. All the greatness of God and all of heaven’s angels and assets are available to the Church, when she replaces fear with faith; a runner’s mentality with a rulers; a reliance on Madison Avenue and Hollywood techniques with total dependence on God and His gospel; to see in the unseen, but very real alliances with us (angels) and not just the adversaries against us (devil and demons); when she has her fear-blinded eyes opened to the world-discipling opportunities being surrounded is bringing to us! God will do anything for the true Church, the Bride of His Son Jesus, in this great hour of history. We need to be expecting all kinds of fantastic, mind-boggling things as God shows His miraculous power for world harvest.

From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead, ‘til every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed!

 

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