Summary: This message deals with the results of using alcohol. The scripture says that it leads to a loss of control which in turn affects our character. We need to pay attention to this warning.

“Driving Between the Lines”

Ephesians 5:15-18

We see them every day but most of us don’t pay much attention to them. Since I have been preparing this series I have paid a lot of attention to them. They’re called guardrails. Guardrails are that invisible part of the driving experience….we’re glad that they are there when we need them but for the most part we really don’t pay much attention to them. One of the things I have noticed about guardrails is that generally they are built in areas where you could actually drive if you think about it. The point of the guardrail isn’t to say don’t drive right here. The point of the guardrail is to say don’t go beyond this point. The guardrail is not really the problem. The danger is on the other side. The guardrail is usually constructed in an area where there is actual danger. But nobody really ever argues the point and says hey I don’t know why they put guardrails on this bridge. They need to take them down because if they did I could drive much closer to the edge.

The idea behind a guardrail is that if you hit the rail you will do less damage than if you actually hit what was on the other side of the guardrail. So the guardrail causes a little bit of damage as opposed to a lot of damage without it in place.

Now let’s begin with a definition. A guardrail is a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into areas that are either dangerous or off limits. So now we are talking about guardrails as a standard of behavior that becomes a matter of conscience. Standards of behavior that when you violate them you would feel like you’ve actually done something wrong. As you begin to bump into these guardrails, little warning lights, red flags, danger…danger… you are bumping against something that if you ignore it or continue to bump up against it, it may lead into an area where I might live the rest of my life with regret. As your pastor I want to keep you from that if I can.

Now here’s the thing. This is why I say every week, open your Bibles, read your Bibles, look at what God’s word has to say because what I am talking about today is all over the Bible. The first thing I want you to write think about today is this…This is our GOD book and it is our GUIDE book. God uses it to establish boundaries in our lives. And He does that because He loves us and wants to keep us out of danger. (2) NEXT, If you look carefully you will notice that you will see them basically in 3 places. On bridges. On bridges there really is not any margin for error. You see them in a median – they keep us from driving too close to cars moving in the opposite direction. The 3rd area is typically at a place where there is an unexpected change in the road-for instance at a curve.

Today I want us to look at the book of Ephesians chapter 5. It’s in the NT and it’s just a letter that Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus. In the 5th chapter Paul is talking to a group of people who if you can imagine this were even more immoral than our culture today. Not only was adultery acceptable it was actually practiced as a part of their religion.

So you can perhaps imagine Paul’s response to all of this. He writers to tell them if you do this you’re going to destroy your marriage. If you keep heading down this path you are going to be in danger.

Ephesians 5:15-18

Here is the next truth Paul gives us. Paul is saying to you and me that we must learn to drive between the lines. He is trying to keep us from going into an area that may be dangerous. Now this is not a matter of legalism, it is a matter of character. It is a matter of doing the right thing.

Now this little word here “live” in the Greek actually means walk. In fact your version of the Bible may say be very careful then how you walk. Now this may not be the best way to illustrate this but you will understand what I am talking about. Someone told me this week that they have several dogs and they let the dogs out every morning and they do their business in the same area every morning. So when people come over to visit them and they have to walk through the yard to get to the house they always say.. be careful. Watch where you’re going. Watch your step. Why? Because that’s the danger zone right over there because our dogs visit that area—so just be careful where you walk. Paul is saying as you live your life, as you walk through relationships, as you deal with people, as you deal with your marriage or if you are dating someone… be very careful how you walk.

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