What’s In Your Backyard?

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16Ephesians 5:15-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  

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The phrase ‘TANSTAAFL’ was popularized by sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein and is an acronym for the phrase:

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

Christians often find ourselves forever seeking to reconcile seemingly-opposed principles in our walk. For example, we believe and celebrate that:

…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  

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… but we also seek to acknowledge and live with the very next verse:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10Eph. 2:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ordained: or, prepared  

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and the missive from James that makes us all take pause:

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24James 2:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  

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We understand from the entire context of chapter 2 that James is not saying that it is the works which justify but rather that, as in Abraham’s case, the works are the external *evidence* of that faith which justifies, as in Hebrews –

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1Hebrews 11:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. substance: or, ground, or, confidence  

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“Evidence” is “elegchos” (SG 1650) and means “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.”

So then, the faith is what tests and proves us. And the manner of its display is the works it spurs us to do, naturally, from the spirit:

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20Matthew 7:20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  

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Which brings us to today’s verse from Ephesians, and a particular word in it which has been so overused that we have lost sight of its true nature:

‘Redeemed.’

Ah, the old hymn!

Redeemed, redeemed! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

We’ve gotten to the stage where even learned Christians now equate this word with “saved,” “cleansed” and “rescued.” While Christ’s death on the Cross did indeed do all those things, none are the meaning of the word.

Redeemed: “exagorazō” (SG1805) –

“by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, buy off.”

The root of this word is “agorazō.” (SG59.) Christ uses it in this fashion:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46Matthew 13:44-46
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  

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To make this purchase means you’re going to be giving up something. And not just any something. Not just a couple bucks to buy some eggs and meat.

Now look at our passage:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16Ephesians 5:15-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  

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“Time” is “kairos” (SG2540) and means “due measure.”

We only have a set amount of days awarded us, and we must be willing and able to pony up that price in order to buy back those opportunities for service.

Consider Christ’s words concerning the shrewd manager of Luke:

If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true [riches]?

And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:11-12Luke 16:11-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? mammon: or, riches 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?  

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We must do this! It is the command of Christ, and comes with a stern warning:

His Lord answered and said unto him,

‘[Thou] wicked and slothful servant! thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

” ‘Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury!

” ‘Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which hath ten talents.

” ‘For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

” ‘And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ” (Matthew 25:26-30Matthew 25:26-30
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

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What Christ is telling us is this.

God the Father has assigned good works for us to do, and that is one reason which He has created us in Christ and made us new. (Eph. 2:10Eph. 2:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ordained: or, prepared  

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It is our boldness in stepping up to and into these tasks which gives us the opportunity to exercise and display our faith. (James 2:24James 2:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  

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We are to treat these as gifts, treasures of immeasurable worth. (Matthew 13:44-46Matthew 13:44-46
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  

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I want you to understand the value we need to be placing on these gifts.

The word for “talent” in Matthew 25’s Parable of the Talents is “talanton” (SG5007.) A talent of gold in Israel weighed 91 kilograms.

That’s 2,925.718 ounces.

At today’s market prices, that equates to

$4,088,690.91.

That’s FOUR. MILLION. DOLLARS.

And that was just ONE talenton.

Do you understand now why that servant was so afraid?

Do you grasp the immense value of that which has been entrusted to your care?

I want to point special attention to verse 27:

” ‘Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury!” 

“Usury” means “interest,” like on your savings account at the bank. (The Greek word is “tokos” and actually means “birth” or “offspring.”)

Christ is telling us that even the base, foul, polluted, unholy world could at least crank out some interest on the investment if He had given it to them.

Instead, He has given it to US.

Have we buried $4mil in the ground when our master is, at the very least, expecting some interest on that principal?

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:” (John 15:2John 15:2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  

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If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6John 15:6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  

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How many of our brothers and sisters shall weep when they present their unused treasures to the Master at His return?

Will it be you? Will that be me?

Mē ginomai!” (Romans 6:2Romans 6:2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  

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Let us get out our shovels, brothers and sisters!

Let us dig up that which the Father Himself has made for us specifically! (Can you imagine? God made these opportunities just for you and you alone!)

And let us put them to good use!

So that, when He says:

Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23Matthew 25:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  

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We shall respond:

We are unprofitable servants! We have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10Luke 17:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.  

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While it is yet Today, let us

REDEEM!