Ephesians 5:15-21(ESV)15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Look carefully then how you walk by frequent examination of our heart and actions
2 Corinthians 13:5-6(ESV)5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
-Purposeful application of the truth we learn
Philippians 4:9(ESV)9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you
-Serious undivided attention to being a Christian
Galatians 6:9-10(ESV)9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
A Plan to Walk Carefully By…
1) Soaking up every opportunity God has give to us to learn and to share the Gospel because these are evil days. Colossians 4:5-6(ESV)5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person
2) Knowing the will of God through the study of God’s Word and prayer.
1 Peter 2:15-17(ESV)15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
3) Being filled with the Holy Spirit by being submissive and totally obedient to God. The results of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking to one another, singing in worship to the Lord, thanksgiving for everything, and submission in relationships.
James 4:7(ESV)7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
The Bible teaches that as a Christian we are to be very careful how we live our Christian life before God and others. To “look carefully” means two things. First it means frequent examination of our life. Lamentations 3:40(ESV)40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! And second it means purposeful application to our lives of the truths of what we are learning. James 1:21-25(ESV)21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. We are to make sure that our motives and actions express the new creation that we in Christ. As Christians we are to carefully consider our attitudes, words, actions, desires, influences, heart, mind, spirit, emotions, our whole life and our whole Christian walk. We are to be aware of how we are living before God and before others. We are to give our Christian walk our undivided attention. Our Christian walk is to be our primary occupation.We are Christians first, before we are white, black, american, man or woman. We all need to ask ourselves how serious we are about living the Christian life. Is Christianity some important knowledge I have added to my life because it meets my needs or is my whole life given to becoming more like Christ and seeking to bring Glory to God?
Solei Deo Gloria
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks in Question. 1. What is the chief end of man? Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Here are two ends of life specified. 1. The glorifying of God. 2. The enjoying of God. First. The glorifying of God, 1 Peter 4:11. 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. 1 Corinthians 10:31(ESV)31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living. The great truth asserted is that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity
In these verses 15-21 Paul provides the Christian with a wonderful plan for righteous living. Paul outlines three steps to see carefully how we walk. Each step states the negative we are to avoid and then gives the positive we are to pursue. Verses 15-16 command us “not to be unwise but wise by making the most of our time”. Verse 17 says “not to be foolish but understand the will of the Lord”. And verses 18-21 teach that we are “not to be drunk but filled with the Spirit”. All of these commands fit together and form an excellent plan for righteous living.
We are not to live as unwise men and women but as wise men and women by making the most of our time. A strategic move for righteous living is to be wise by making the most of the opportunities that God has given us. Every opportunity that comes our way is an opportunity for righteous living or an opportunity for disobedience. A wise person makes the most out of the opportunity by choosing to bring glory to God, rather than giving in to the flesh. So how do we make the most of our opportunities? The wise Christian who desires to be righteous in how he lives soaks up every opportunity that comes his way to learn, to obey, to serve, to grow in Christ. The careful Christian turns away from unwise wasteful opportunities, those things which are not worth your time, says no temptations to sin, does not keep wrong company, turns away from worldly input to the mind, and wisely seeks every opportunity to put on the new man which is created in righteousness and holiness.
do not get drunk with wine. When he instructs them do not get drunk, he forbids excessive and unrestrained drinking of every description. “Do not lack self control in drinking. for that is debauchery. The meaning therefore is, that drunkards throw off quickly every restraint of modesty or shame; that where wine reigns, reckless naturally follows; and consequently, anyone who has any regard to moderation or decency ought to avoid and detest drunkenness. Being filled with the Spirit means, basically, having great joy in God. And since the Bible teaches that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”
Nehemiah 8:10(ESV)10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”, it also means there will be power in this joy for overcoming sins and for boldness in our witness.
Basically, it means radiant joy, because the Spirit who fills us is the Spirit of joy that flows between God the Father and God the Son because of the delight they have in each other. Therefore, to be filled with the Spirit means to be caught into the joy that flows among the Holy Trinity and to love God the Father and God the Son with the very love with which they love each other. And then the way to be filled with the Spirit is by trusting that the God of hope really reigns—that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from his will (Matthew 10:29).In believing that, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.
The contrast with drunkenness is the key here. What do people go to alcohol for? For a happy hour. We all want to be happy, but there is a problem: “The days are evil.” Notice the logic of verses 16–18 in Ephesians 5:
The days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk . . . but be filled with the Spirit.
Joy is different from happiness, happiness comes from happenings, joy comes from the spirit of the Lord. You can be joyful and not be happy.
Where do you turn when the days are evil, when you are frightened or discouraged or depressed or anxious? Paul pleads with us: “Don’t turn to alcohol; turn to the Spirit. Anything of value that alcohol can bring you, God the Holy Spirit can bring more.”
There are people who can’t begin to whistle a happy tune or sing a song at work because they are so tense and anxious about life. But later in the evening at the bar with a few drinks under their belt they can put their arms around each other and sing and laugh. All of us long to be carefree, uninhibited, happy. And the mounting tragedy of our own day, as in Paul’s, is that increasing numbers of people (even Christians) believe that the only way they can find this child-like freedom is by drugging themselves with alcohol or other mind altering substances. Such behavior dishonors God, and so Paul says: There is a better way to cope with the evil days—be filled with the Spirit, stay filled with the Spirit. And you will know unmatched joy that sings and makes melody to the Lord.
The fundamental meaning of being filled with the Spirit is being filled with joy that comes from God and overflows in song. And Luke would agree with that, too, because he says in Acts 13:52, “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” To be sure, one of the marks of a person filled with the Spirit is that he is made strong to witness in the face of opposition.
Acts 1:8(ESV)8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 4:8-12(ESV)8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:31(ESV)31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Acts 7:55(ESV)55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Acts 13:4-12(ESV)4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
But the reason for this is that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). When you have the joy of the Lord, you are a strong and brave witness to his grace. Whatever happiness or false peace you find in alcohol, the Spirit of God can give you more. Even the psalmist of the Old Testament had experienced this. He says in Psalm 4:7-8(ESV) 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Romans 14:17(ESV)17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. and the exhortation, but be filled, (ver. 18,) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. addressing one another, is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly or alone; for he immediately adds, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart; as if he had said, “Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.”
Did you ever notice when you are around joyful people, or when you are joyful you hum, sing, make melodies? The abundance of joy comes out in song, and it is for the glory of God that we sing.
The last part Ephesians 5:20-21(ESV)20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. No matter the circumstances or whatever it is youa re going through it says to “give thanks always and for everything” what about the seemingly “bad things” Give thanks for that also because character is being built.
Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18(ESV)18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
James 1:2-4(ESV)2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
None of these verses give any credence or or credit to Satan as the author of any of the seemingly “bad” things that happen. These verses tell a different story than what most churches and denominations teach. If it is bad then it is the devil, if it is good then it is of God. They unwillingly deny the sovereignty of God when they give credit to the devil for something God is using to build character into you through sanctification. These verse all state to give God thanks in ALL circumstances. Nothing escapes God’s notice; nothing oversteps the boundaries of His power. God is authoritative in all things. Augustine said that nothing happens in this universe apart from the will of God and that, in a certain sense, God ordains everything that happens. Augustine was not attempting to absolve men of responsibility for their actions. Men are responsible for their choices, but none of it is out of God’s will. One of the great themes of the Reformation was the idea that all of life is to be lived under the authority of God, to the glory of God, in the presence of God.
Isaiah 46:9-10(ESV) 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Job 42:2(ESV) 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Just because God knows all and nothing happens outside of His will does not mean God is the author of sin, nor is He the author of temptation.
James 1:13-15(ESV Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
By the sovereignty of God, we have a free will and are able to make choices and decisions that shape our lives. Our free will is in the confines of God’s sovereignty. God’s “sovereignty” means that He is absolute in authority and unrestricted in His supremacy. Everything that happens is, at the very least, the result of God’s permissive will.While we do not possess God’s infinite power, we can surrender our hearts, souls, minds to ways that are consistent with His holy will. This is what the Holy Spirit helps us do in our sanctification. In this way, we honor the Creator and Sustainer of all things, recognizing God is truly sovereign. Colossians 1:16-17(ESV)16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Mutual submission will begin to take place when each Christian learns how to consider others better than self. This way of living will call for a large dose of Christ-like love and humility as we look out for the interests of others first. Philippians 2:3-4(ESV)3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Whatever role we have been given provides us an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Larry Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary, p. 930.) It is when we accept our role as husband, wife, employer, employee, community leader, or citizen in light of Christ’s teaching and example, with a reverence for Him and His heavenly Father that we will begin to serve one another.
Without exception, the Greek word for “submission,” hupotassõ, always signals obedience to God-given authority.As we can see, believers welcome the opportunity of submitting to proper leaders. Biblical submission never means mindlessness. It actually signifies the opposite—a joyful, wholehearted commitment to follow a worthy figure. Submission is not dependent on perfect performance, either. As church members called to submit to church leaders, for example, we will glimpse sin in our leaders’ lives. Submission to God-constituted authority does not come and go. It is the very essence of Christian faith and discipleship. When we repent and believe, we do nothing other than confess to a holy God, “You are right, and I am wrong; I submit to you.” The fundamental posture of a believer toward God is submission.