Summary: PENTECOST 14(B) - Live the wise life by being filled with God’s Spirit and by being filled with thankfulness.
LIVE THE WISE LIFE
Ephesians 5:15-20 - August 21 2005 - Pentecost 14
Dear Fellow-Redeemed & Saints in the Lord:
In our society many people want to live the good life. They want to have a full life. The fact is as you cross into Nebraska, the state declares: "Nebraska -- the good life." Today the Lord reminds us there is more to this life on earth than just a good life or a full life. There is the wise life. We are privileged once again to gather together to look at God’s how to manual, how to live the wise life. In our day and age and society there are lots of how to manuals: how to eat the right food, how to stay healthy, how to fix and repair just about anything. Today we turn to the Bible, our Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth, the only perfect how to manual on how to live wisely.
When Jesus was speaking to his disciples, in the gospel of John he told them how he was the Good Shepherd: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). When we honestly look at our lives, we suddenly realize the thief today is really this world, isn’t it? The world around us comes to steal our time. It comes to destroy eternal pleasures of many well-meaning people. Satan certainly comes to snuff out eternal life. So we want to live the wise life.
We LIVE THE WISE LIFE when we are
I. Filled with God’s Spirit
II. Filled with thankfulness.
I. FILLED WITH GOD’S SPIRIT
This week take the time and read a chapter of Ephesians each day; and when you get done, start over. There is a lot of advice for Christian living in this little book of Ephesians. The reason for that was Ephesus was a very large metropolitan area. Ephesus was a well-known trade route. Ephesus was a city that was filled with all kinds of sin. Because of that, these believers were just staring out on their journey of a new lift of Christianity. Christianity was the new religion at this time. These believers had to face all of these challenges, all of these sins that surrounded them. The hardest part was that for the longest time they too once lived in those sins. When they committed them, they thought nothing about them. Paul came and told them, Christ died for you. Your new lives are now different. These new believers were not to walk in their former way of life in which they had grown up. They were now to live a wise life.
Paul writes in the middle of our text: "Instead be filled with the Spirit,” This spirit is the Spirit of God they had received by God’s grace. It was not the spirit of the world, not the spirit of sin. Paul describes one of those sins, doesn’t he? He says, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery." We don’t hear that word debauchery very often. Debauchery means wickedness, immorality. This wickedness fueled by drunkenness leads to a living that does not care about anything else. Wine can dull the senses. These people had often spent their lives doing this. They didn’t know any better. Now Paul reminds these believers to now be filled with the Spirit, not with wine that dulls the senses, but the Spirit, which shows them the wise way of eternal life.
That is why this section began by saying: Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise. All around them there were people destined for destruction, and they were living as unwise. They were living for the here and now and not concerned about eternity. So their eternity would not be eternal life but would be eternal death. Paul writes: Live as wise making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Two thousand years almost Paul wrote these words.
Two thousand years ago almost, Paul wrote these words. He had spent a long time with the people of Ephesus. He lived in that city and saw the evil that was there. He says, "The days are evil." Have they gotten better or worse? Some would say they have gotten better. The Lord tells us in Scripture tells us the days will become increasingly worse until the day he returns. Our Lord says that the love of most will grow cold. The love for God will grow cold. God says the love for one another will grow cold. Instead, people are not concerned about anyone else but themselves. Paul wrote to Timothy: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy..." (2 Timothy 3:1,2). The list goes on. As I read these words, they don’t seem to have been written 2,000 years ago. That describes us and our society today, doesn’t it? It is easy for us to look around and think, "We know people who love money more than anything else. That they love themselves more than anything else, they are boastful, proud." We think of athletes today--boastful and proud. We know of the Hollywood elite who are boastful and proud and think the world should follow everything they want to do.