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Sermon #67 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:                           See to it!

 

Text:                           Ephesians 5:15-21

Subject:                     Living for God

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — May 9, 2017

Readings:     Lindsay Campbell and Merle Hart

Introduction:

 

Saved by Grace

 

In Ephesians 1 and 2, we are told what God has done for us and in us by his adorable, free grace in Christ.

Š      Covenant Blessings

Š      Everlasting Love

Š      Eternal Election

Š      Divine Predestination

Š      Union with Christ

Š      Eternally Accepted in the Beloved

Š      Redemption through His Blood

Š      The Forgiveness of Sins

Š      Effectual Calling

Š      New Birth

Š      Spirit’s Seal

 

Knowing Christ

 

Chapter 3 describes the honor bestowed upon, the work and labor of, and the prayer, ambition, and desire of every man called and sent of God to preach the gospel. ⸺ I want you to know the greatness and glory of God in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Š      The Mystery of the Gospel

Š      The Wonder of My Savior’s Love

Š      The Power of His Grace

Š      The Glory of His Person

 

Living for God

 

In chapters 4-6, we are urged to live for God, and taught how to live for God.

Š      Addict yourself to one another.

Š      Addict yourself to the ministry of the gospel.

Š      Addict yourself to Christ. ⸺ Put on Christ! Constantly put off the old man and put on the new.

 

In the 5th chapter of Ephesians, we are admonished to behave as the children of God in this world. Paul gives us the example of God and Christ to follow, admonishing us to exemplify the love of God in our daily lives. Then he shows us the foolishness of the ways of darkness, admonishing us to avoid them and “walk as children of light.” Realizing that we are always inclined to slumber and sleep in this world of darkness, God the Holy Ghost gives us an earnest, even stern, exhortation in verse fourteen to awake. ⸺ “Wherefore he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

 

Now, in verses 15-21, he says ⸺ See to it! That is the title of my message. ⸺ See to it! You know what you ought to do. ⸺ See to it! Let’s read Ephesians 5:15-21 together.

 

(Ephesians 5:15-21) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

Not only must we awaken to the light, we must conscientiously “walk in the light.” We have similar exhortations throughout the New Testament. ⸺ “Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4). ⸺ “This is say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). ⸺ “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). ⸺ “He that saith he abideth in him ought also to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Are we the children of God? Are we redeemed by the blood of Christ? Do we abide in him who is the Light? Has Christ Jesus graciously awakened us to his light and life? If so, then we ought to walk on this earth as he walked. Let us “walk in the light.” See to it! I pray that God the Holy Spirit will graciously open the Scriptures to us, as we seek his grace, his instruction, and his direction in all things.

 

Proposition: The way to overcome the power of darkness is to “walk in the light.”

 

Our Responsibility

 

The Holy Spirit, here, places the responsibility squarely on our shoulders. True, he must awaken us, and he must graciously uphold us, or we cannot meet that responsibility. Nonetheless, he tells us to awake and arise, and Christ shall give us light. His exhortation in this text is, “Walk in the light.”

 

Read the book of Acts one more time. When the church was filled with the Holy Spirit, they were filled with the graces of the Spirit.

Š      They walked in love toward God and man.

Š      They walked in obedient faith.

Š      They walked in submission to the will of God.

Š      They went everywhere preaching the gospel. The great zeal with which their souls were fired was a zeal to glorify God and to do good to the souls of men.

They wanted to honor God’s name, serve his kingdom, and do his will. And they did, for they were filled with the Spirit.

 

Do we want to honor God? Do we want to live for God? Then let us “walk in the light.” As individuals, and as a church collectively, let us “walk in the light.” See to it!

 

Divisions: Let me show you three things Paul tells us to do in this text. Here are three things we must see to, that we may “walk in the light.”

1.    First, Paul tells us that walking in the light implies that we must walk in wisdom (vv. 15-17).

2.    Second, we must walk under the influence of the Holy Spirit (v. 18).

3.    Third, we must walk in a way that honors God and benefits our brethren (vv. 19-21).

 

Be Wise

 

1st ⸺ Paul tells us is that we must walk in wisdom. If we would live for God, we must be wise (vv. 15-17).

 

(Ephesians 5:15-17) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

 

Our Lord taught us to “be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” Light implies understanding and wisdom. So, Paul here shows us that those who walk in light are wise. This is not worldly wisdom. We are prohibited from being wise in our own conceits. But, spiritually, we should be wise. Here Paul gives us three areas in which men are usually foolish. And he tells us in these three things to be wise. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

 

If we would be wise, we must set our hearts upon the highest goals, and walk straight toward them (v. 15). The unwise, those who have no insight to the things of God and eternity, are not aiming at the highest goal. Therefore, they do not care much about the way they walk. Like fools, they choose poverty over riches, sin over righteousness, and darkness over light. But wise men have their hearts set upon God, Christ, eternity, life, and salvation. And they govern their lives accordingly.

 

Let us walk as wise not as fools.

Š      Make it your business to live by faith, trusting Christ. ⸺ His Finished Work. ⸺ His Grace! ⸺ His Providence!

Š      Make God’s Word the rule of your life.

Š      Follow Christ as the example, as the pattern of your life.

Š      Seek the grace and guidance of God the Holy Ghost in all things.

Š      Walk, in all things, as becomes the gospel of Christ. ⸺ “Adorn the doctrine of God!

 

And walk in wisdom toward men.

Š      In as much as possible, live without offense.

Š      Live as strangers in this world, as those who are looking for a better country.

Š      Live in such a way as will promote the glory of God and the good of men.

 

To walk circumspectly is to walk accurately, exactly, and in the right way, being taught of God with wisdom that is from above.See to it!

 

Wise men also make careful and diligent use of their time (“Redeeming the time” v. 16). People who waste time are great fools. Time is one of the most valuable and precious things in the world. Once it is lost it can never be regained. It is neither stopped nor prolonged. Make wise use of your time.

Š      For Your Soul

Š      For the Everlasting Good of Others

 

A great part of wisdom “redeeming the time.” We should not wait for opportunity to fall into our laps; but we should buy it up, not counting the cost.

Š      The time for service is short. Therefore, we should buy up the opportunity.

Š      Many of us have lost much of our time. We lost the time of our youth and strength in sin. Therefore, let us now buy up every moment in wisdom.

Š      Press as much labor for God into one day as you can.

 

There is a good reason for us to redeem the time because “the days are evil.” We often complain of bad times. What better reason can there be for buying up the time you now have?

 

If we would be wise, we must discern the will of the Lord (“Understanding what the will of the Lord is” v. 17). No one likes to be thought of as foolish; but those who do not set their hearts upon eternity, redeem the time before them, and seek to discern what the will of the Lord is are great fools. Believers are the children of wisdom. We should not live like fools.

 

There is the secret will of God which is unknown to men. This is his purpose and decree. It is unknown to men, until facts make it clear. This is always accomplished. And when it is made known, we should delightfully submit to it.

 

But our text, obviously, speaks of the revealed will of God. It is our responsibility not only to discern God’s will, but also to obey it.

Š      God’s will is revealed in his Word.

Š      It is revealed by the gracious illumination and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Š      God’s will is made manifest by providence.

Š      Let us seek the will of our God, and walk in it. ⸺ “Thy will be done,” should be our constant prayer.

 

These three things we should always seek:

1.    The honor of God’s name – “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.”

2.    The good of his kingdom – “Thy kingdom come.”

3.    The fulfilment of his will – “Thy will be done.”

 

Be Filled

 

2nd ⸺ If we would walk in the light, we must walk under the influence of God the Holy Spirit (v. 18). “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” First, Paul says, “Be wise.” Then, he says, “Be filled.”

Š      Both are gifts of God.

Š      Both are matters of personal responsibility.

Š      See to it!

 

One outstanding manifestation of foolishness is drunkenness. The man who is under the influence and control of strong drink is a great fool. But it is a great mark of wisdom for a man to be under the influence and control of the Spirit of God.

 

What is here prohibited here?Be not drunk with wine.” There is nothing wrong with the exhilaration of heart and mind. In fact, that is encouraged in Scripture. Believers should not be always mournful, downcast, and despondent. We have great reason to shout for joy. We should live in the fulness of joy unspeakable and full of glory. But it is wrong to seek excitement from the excessive use of wine.

 

It is the abuse of wine, or strong drink that is here forbidden, not its use. The Scriptures do not teach the necessity of total abstinence, but of moderation. There was a great danger in the early church that some might be overcome by the immoderate consumption of wine; and there is still such a danger. Therefore, we have strong warnings against that abuse.

 

Š      The pastor must be above reproach, not one who lingers by his wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).

Š      Deacons similarly must be dignified, not addicted to much wine (1 Timothy 3:8).

Š      And the aged women should also be reverent in their conduct, not enslaved too much wine (Titus 2:3).

 

Wine, and strong drink, is a mocker. It is the devil’s poor substitute for the unspeakable joy which God provides. It will not relieve the pressures and worries of life. It will not lift you up. It only brings men down to the level of brute beasts, who are given to it. Drunkenness is an evil that seldom walks alone. It commonly brings men under the control of every evil lust. So, Paul says, “Don’t get drunk on wine.”

 

But there is a positive exhilaration that is godly and good. Instead of being controlled by the spirits of the bottle, live under the control of God the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Being filled with the Spirit is not some trance like, passive state such as our modern-day charismatics and Pentecostals speak of. Being filled with the Spirit is being under the influence, control, and rule of the Spirit of God. We ought to be under the dominion and influence of the Spirit of God, just as the trees are under the influence of the wind. We should be controlled by the Holy Spirit, just like a drunk man is controlled by his wine (Acts 2:4, 13).

Š      A man who is filled with the Holy Spirit is filled with the graces of the Spirit.

Š      People are filled with the Spirit when the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. ⸺ This is best wine.

Š      To be filled with the Spirit is to be full of joy and peace.

 

Believers have the Holy Spirit given to them in all his fulness at the new birth. He is given as our Comforter, our Guide, our Teacher, and our Seal. To be full of him is simply to be full of his influence, comforted by his presence, guided by his power, instructed by his wisdom, and assured by his love. What can be more blessed?

 

This is what Paul is teaching us. ⸺ Getting drunk on wine leads to nothing better than debauchery. It will not give you any worthwhile pleasure, usable knowledge, or lasting contentment. It can never help you, but only hurt you. On the other hand, being filled with the Spirit will enrich you with precious treasures of lasting joy, deep insight, and inner satisfaction. By this means, being filled with the Spirit, we will understand what the will of the Lord is; because the Holy Spirit is given as the Spirit of wisdom and understanding.

 

Be Thankful

 

3rd ⸺ If we would walk in the light we must walk in a way that honors God and benefits our brethren (vv. 19-21).

 

(Ephesians 5:19-21) “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

1st ⸺ Be Wise!

2nd ⸺ Be Filled!

3rd ⸺ Be Thankful

 

As we are filled with the Spirit, we are enlightened and joyful, and give jubilant expression to our refreshing knowledge of the will of God.

Š      To be filled with the Spirit is to do the will of God.

Š      The person who does God’s will is a Spirit filled believer.

 

What is the will of the Lord? Paul tells us plainly what the will of the Lord is for every saved sinner, all the time. ⸺ “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord.”

 

It is the will of God that the Spirit filled believers edify themselves and one another in songs of praise to God (v. 19). ⸺ What are we to sing? The psalms, hymns of praise, and songs of grace. Our singing should not be the sentimental songs that stir natural emotions, but songs of God’s grace, his power, and his glory.

 

How are we to sing? “Making melody in your heart.” We should sing with our voices, but the melody should be the melody of the heart unto the Lord. As we worship God in song, we should do so from a heart of deep love, affection, and adoration toward God.

 

Why should we sing? “To yourselves – to the Lord.” We should sing to one another (Colossians 3:16).

Š      Our songs should instruct one another in the gospel. They must be full of truth.

Š      Our songs should admonish one another – Comforting the Sorrowful – Uplifting the Despondent – Encouraging the Fearful – Assuring the Doubtful.

 

It is the will of God that Spirit filled souls, believing people, saved sinners always give thanks unto him (v. 20).

 

(Ephesians 5:20) “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Thanksgiving is the grateful acknowledgment of God’s greatness and glory and of his goodness and grace.It is our happy response to God’s free favor. When we are giving thanks, worries tend to disappear, complaints vanish, courage is increased, peace is experienced, and God is glorified. So, let us give thanks.

 

The person who gives thanks to God recognizes three things.

Š      The good that he enjoys abounds toward him from God’s gracious hand.

Š      He is totally unworthy of them.

Š      And the blessings of God are great and numerous.

 

When should we give thanks? “Always”

Š      We should give thanks after we have received the blessings of God.

Š      We should give thanks while we are experiencing God’s blessings.

Š      We should even give thanks before the blessings are received (Jehoshaphat led into battle against Ammon and Moab, singing, “The mercy of the LORD endureth forever!” 2 Chronicles 20:21).

 

For what are we to give thanks? Paul says, “For all things.” ⸺ Even as Paul wrote this exhortation, he was a prisoner at Rome. And even for his bonds he gave thanks. Are we persuaded “that all things work together for good to them that love God?” Then we should give thanks for “all things.”

Š      We should give thanks for everything that is withheld, as well as everything we receive.

Š      We should give thanks for every temporal provision.

Š      We should give thanks, especially for every spiritual blessing given to us in Christ.

Š      We are chosen in Christ.

Š      We are adopted in Christ.

Š      We are redeemed in Christ.

Š      We are justified in Christ.

Š      We are called in Christ.

Š      We are preserved in Christ.

Š      In Christ, all things are ours: things past, things present, and things to come.

 

“I’m in Christ and Christ is in me. Everything is alright!” ⸺ Mabel Dix

 

How must we give thanks? The answer is “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ⸺ Trusting Christ! It is Christ who earned everything for us. And God will only accept our thanksgiving and praise by him.

 

To whom must we give thanks? To our “God and Father.” We give thanks to God, the Triune Jehovah, and our Father, the source of all good.

 

Paul concludes this exhortation by showing us that it is the will of God for us to be subject, submissive to one another. The rule for the loving unity of God’s family is that each member of the family prefer the good of all others to his own good. It is only in this way that we can serve one another’s good.

Š      Again, and again our Lord taught his disciples that each one should be willing to be the least. We all should be willing to wash one another’s feet.

Š      If we love our brethren, we will prefer their honor (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3).

Š      Humility breeds peace for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Š      Pride breeds division. All division between brethren is caused, maintained, and promoted by stupid, senseless, shameful, sinful pride (1 Peter 5:5).

 

Application

 

The apostle has shown us in these few verses what it is to walk in the light.

Š      It is walking in wisdom.

Š      It is walking in the Spirit.

Š      It is walking in humility.

 

(Ephesians 5:15-21) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

Š      Be Wise!

Š      Be Filled!

Š      Be Thankful

Š      See to it!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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