Summary: God’s has given us an instruction book that deals with every area of or lives.
Have you ever been given instructions on how to do something, but you were pretty sure that you could figure it out, so you threw out the instructions? I did that one time with a brand new entertainment center. I had put all kinds of furniture together before and I just knew that this would be a piece of cake. I took the big bag of nuts, bolts, and washers that came with it and dumped them out on the floor and went to work. About an hour and a half later I was finished, and I was really proud of myself. So I moved the entertainment center to the wall where I was going to leave it, and stepped back to admire my handy work. I was not happy when I noticed that the unfinished side of the shelves was facing up and out, so that they were seen instead of the finished side. After two more hours I had it all straight, but taking it all apart caused a little damage to the unit. God has clearly given us instructions to live by, so in order to save a lot of time and possibly some permanent damage let’s look at some instructions for living life wisely.
Open your Bibles to Ephesians Chapter 5 we will be looking at verses 15-21. While you are tuning I would like to share with you a couple of verses that come just before are text. (Read verses 13 & 14 aloud) In these verses Paul tells the Ephesians that it is time to wake up because Christians are to be alert and ready to serve. He says we must rise from the dead. The Christian life is to pass from death to life not from life to death. We are to die to our old self who was condemned already and become alive in Christ our light.
Let’s read verses 15-21. (Read Aloud) Let’s pray. Dear God thank you for allowing us to gather together as one body in Christ. We love you, and we thank you for who you are. As we look into your word help us to be open to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. I pray that we will all be more equipped to serve you because of this time of instruction that you have prepared us for today. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
First, we are instructed to walk carefully. Your version may say circumspectly. The definition of this word is exactly, accurately, or diligently. We are to walk carefully not as fools. The Christians at Ephesus were mostly gentiles and there were many who were being lead away by false teachers. Paul is saying walk exactly as you have been taught. He spent the first part of this book reemphasizing the basics of Christianity. (Read aloud Chapter 2 verses 1-3.) Paul wants them to realize that they are no longer under the spirit who works in the sons if disobedience. Do you remember the day that you were drawn by the Holy Spirit and you gave your life to Jesus Christ? I remember it clearly. It is the day that my eyes were open to sin and the day that I was set free from its bonds. It is because of that realization that I can identify with what Paul is saying to us in this verse. You see before I was saved I really did not think there was anything wrong with the way that I was living, and once I could see that my life was full of sinful habits I was forced to make a decision. I could either go one living in sin as the foolish do, or I could repent, change my mind, about the way I was living. We are all given this choice. The day we realize that sin no longer has any control over us is the very day we must choose who are master will be.
Therefore we must walk wisely. Listen to the definition of this word; 1 wise. 1a skilled, expert: of artificers. 1b wise, skilled in letters, cultivated, learned. 1b1 of the Greek philosophers and orators. 1b2 of Jewish theologians. 1b3 of Christian teachers. 1c forming the best plans and using the best means for their execution. What high expectations Paul had of the Christians at Ephesus. What high expectations God has of us. (Read Chapter 4:16 aloud) “…according to the effective working by which every part does its share…” We all have a job to do in the ministry of Christ, and we need to do it by the best plan and the best means that we can. I watched a movie called “The Last Season” this week. It‘s about the final season of the Norway, Iowa baseball team before the school board shut down the school. This was a very small high school that had won nineteen state championships in twenty four years. In an attempt to get peoples mind off of the baseball team the school board would not allow the coach, who had won most of those championships, to return for the last season. One of the pitchers for the team became very discouraged and stopped trying to win games, but the team wound up in the championship game anyway. This pitcher had been struck out the two times he went up to bat in this final championship game of the school’s history. He had actually jumped back out of the batter’s box several times because he was afraid of the ninety four mile an hour fast ball that the opposing team’s pitcher was throwing. On his third up to bat with two strikes he crowded the plate and held his ground. He watched as a ninety four mile an hour fast ball came straight at him and hit him in the back. Now I would not call this a wise move, but he was willing to do whatever it took to help out his team. Sometimes doing the thing that is best for the body will not be what is best for us personally.