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Summary: Walking in wisdom

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Ephesians 5:15-20

John Shearhart

July 4, 2010

Introduction

Before I was saved I worked in a tire shop where I was the only English-speaking employee. My Spanish-speaking co-workers called me “pelon” which means “bald.” Anyway, at some point while working there, I was converted; a man at my new church befriended me, and he often said “halleluiah” for no apparent reason. I guess I thought it sounded cool because I started saying it too, and when I went into the tire shop I said it all day long; I wanted to let my light shine. This went on for a couple days until one of the guys jumped on my back while I was crouching down working on a tire. Being a brand new Christian and very immature in my faith, I threw him off, jumped up, got in his face, and screamed some of the most awful obscenities. They all laughed at me and thought it was funny which bothered me, but not nearly as badly as what happened next. One of the men who spoke very little English came and said, “Pelon, you no halleluiah.”

That was my first experience of losing my testimony. I hadn’t been saved but a few days, but I knew I was supposed to let my light shine, and I knew that I had blown it.

Over the years I’ve learned to control my anger and my mouth. I’ve grown in wisdom to the point that I would say that now I typically walk in it. This is the theme of our text today…

Walking in Wisdom

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

The walk of wisdom is really a culmination of all the walks already listed. We’re to walk in love and light and repentance and good works because we’ve been called by God to be part of His body which makes up His holy temple. We’re to be as different from wickedness as light is from darkness.

Now “therefore be careful how you walk.” This requires wisdom.

1. Believers must vigilantly guard their steps in life (:15)

Paul told Timothy: Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. (I Timothy 4:7)

What does it mean to discipline ourselves? Paul says that we’re to walk “not as unwise men but as wise.”

This word for “wise” is also used in I Corinthians 1:26 where Paul reminds the believers that not many of them were “wise” by human standards. It’s also used in Romans 1:22 where Paul says that the Gentiles thought they were “wise” but they became fools.

The idea is that we’re to walk as people who know: we’re intelligent, informed, and skilled. We’re good at walking in the light because we discipline ourselves for that very purpose!

It’s kind of like a soldier preparing for battle. He pours over battle plans and area maps for hours a day for months. He doesn’t want to risk getting lost on the battle field so he memorizes every land mark and mine field. He’s aware of troop placements and battle lines. He’s prepared and aware of his surroundings, his resources, and his mission.

Paul commands Timothy to strive for godliness and to publicly read and teach Scripture. He says:

15Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (I Timothy 4:15-16)

When it comes to godly discipline the believer is to “take pains.”

He is to “be absorbed.”

His progress should be evident.

“Pay close attention” to your life and doctrine.

Persevere.

This is what it means to “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise…”

Walking in wisdom requires a lot of time and energy. You have to intentionally focus on…

16making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

2. Wisdom understands that the time to shine is limited (:16)

This candle represents one life. When I light it, the life begins.

[LIGHT THE CANDLE]

The candle’s life is short, and when it’s over, that’s it.

But the question really isn’t how much time does the candle have, but how will the candle be used while lit?

You are a child of Light, and your job is to shine in the darkness demonstrating God’s righteousness and exposing evil deeds.

Unlike this candle we choose how and when to let our lights shine, but (just like this candle) we don’t know how long it will be until we’re snuffed out.

[BLOW OUT THE CANDLE]

And so Paul says, “make the most of your time.”

How much of your time is spent on holiness? Paul told Timothy to be “absorbed” in the things of God. So many in our culture are far more absorbed in entertainment and distractions than they are in spiritual things.

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