Summary: This sermon calls us to the kind of living Paul describes in Ephesians 5:15-21. 1- Make the most of opportunities coming your way 2- Understand what the Lord’s will is 3- Be filled with the Spirit
A Good Way to Live
Text: Ephesians 5:15-21 “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” NIV
In those verses we have some good advice for living our lives in the coming year. It was good advice 2000 years ago when Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, shared it with the believers at Ephesus. And it continues to be good advice today.
Those first two words of our text, “Be careful…”-- How many times have you heard those words? I have no idea how many times my mother said those two words to me as I was growing up. I can tell you it was a lot of times. And I know she said those words simply because she loved me. That’s why Paul is saying it here. He loves these people. He wants the very best for them. He cares about their well being.
I don’t remember so much the times when I heeded Mom’s advice as when I didn’t.
When I was about nine or ten years old our family took a trip into Northern New Mexico.
We stopped beside a large hill. As a kid it looked like a mountain. I looked at that hill and thought, “I want to climb that mountain.” So my brothers, and my cousins who were also with us, and I began to beg for permission to climb the mountain. We finally wore Mom down and she said, “Ok but—be careful!” With great excitement we ran toward the hill and climbed and climbed and climbed until we got to the top. Proud of that accomplishment we waved at Mom in the distance. I could not hear her but I think she said something like “Be careful.” Well, we all began running down the hill. That worked pretty good going up the hill. But gravity was working the other way coming down. It didn’t take long to get so much momentum that we all took a nosedive. I hit the side of that mountain rolling on rocks and ridges, bouncing up and down. By the time I got to the bottom my knees, my elbows, my nose, and I think even my bottom were all skinned up. That experience helped me understand a little better what those two words mean—“be careful”.
Paul is saying to these believers, “Pay attention to how you live.” There is a right way to proceed in life and there is a wrong way to proceed in life. How many of you have discovered that you don’t accidentally do it right? You can accidentally do it wrong. You can drift with the current of society and mess up your life without much planning. But if our lives are going to be meaningful and wholesome and rewarding we will have to exercise some thought and diligence.
“Be very careful, then, how you live…” So, how should we live our lives in the year 2003?
Paul gives us three important Directives for Living in 2003:
1st he tells us to Make the most of the opportunities coming your way!
I wonder what good things God has planned for us in the year 2003? I look back over 2002 and realize a lot of good things happened. My wife got a better job. My middle daughter got married and I gained a good son in law. My oldest daughter got pregnant and is going to give me my first granddaughter. My youngest daughter got to lead a girl to the Lord in her Sunday school class and is now ministering to Moslems in the Los Angeles area. I think about the opportunities we had as a church. Through the outreach of this church over 200 people came to the Lord this year. What a joy it is to think about the opportunities God gave us during 2002.
But isn’t it also exciting to think about what God has planned for us in 2003?
In Ephesians 2:10 the Bible says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” NIV Did you catch the significance of those last few words concerning the good works God has for us to do? It says, “…which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” God already knows the opportunities He is going to give us in 2003. He’s made all the preparations for it to happen. He is preparing us as well. We are His workmanship. He has prepared the opportunities. And what is our part?