Summary: The importance of making use of every day, living wisely with the time we have.
Ephesians, Riches in Christ
Eph 5:14-18 NIV
"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
The apostle Paul is writing to the Christians in Ephesus here,
and he gives us clear instructions.
1. Wake Up and Live Wisely
"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise,
He tells the Christians here,
wake up, you sleepyheads.
If you’ve been asleep spiritually,
if you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in this world,
wake up, sleeper,
and start to live wisely,
because the days are evil.
This couldn’t apply more, to us today.
Most everyone agrees that we are living at a turning point in history.
The world today very different from the world even one generation ago.
If you’re 35 years old,
you’re living in a different world from what you grew up in.
In the U.S. from 1960 to 1991, while the population was increasing by 41%, violent crime increased 500%.
From 1965 to 1990,
the number of cases of juvenile violence each year tripled.
In 1972 12.9% of all pregnancies in the US were aborted. In 1996 31% of all pregnancies were aborted.
Today, suicide is one of the top 4 causes of death
for every age group between 10-44 years old.
In 1969, 10% of homes had a single parent. Today almost 30% of all homes have a single parent.
This is a different world,
and the changes keep coming.
Surveys indicate that the culture in America is redefining itself every five years.
How do we deal with this?
In the 12th chapter of 1 Chronicles, It tells about when David was becoming king of Israel,
and people from the 12 tribes of Israel
came to ally themselves with David, to make him their King.
Listen to what it says about some of them:
It says there were:
men of Simeon, warriors ready for battle-
men of Ephraim, brave warriors, men of Zebulun, experienced soldiers, men of Dan, ready for battle-
men of Asher, experienced soldiers –
but in vs. 32, "...men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do."
It helps to have a strong army,
but it helps even more to understand the times,
and know the right thing to do.
The leaders of our country are struggling with that right now.
We’ve got the strong army.
But do we know the right thing to do?
There’s a lot of argument about that.
Will invading Iraq really solve our problems,
or might it create more problems.
Do our leaders really understand the times?
Its pretty important.
If you don’t understand the times,
you can’t live wisely,
and you’re not going to have a clue how to deal with the changes in life
that are happening all around us,
King David was successful,
and at least part of that success,
was because he had people around him
who understood the times
and knew what to do.
We tend to confuse understanding with knowledge.
If someone knows a lot,
we respect him.
We respect scientists, and doctors,
and others who know a lot.
But there’s a big difference in knowing a lot, and understanding the times.
If you understand the times then you know what to do.
A few years ago, Judge Robert Bork was being interviewed on "Face the Nation."
The interviewer mentioned a number of depressing current events that were going on,
from Whitewater to Paula Jones to O.J. Simpson, then he threw up his hands in despair and said, "I don’t understand what is going on, do you?"
Judge Bork responded, "Yes, We are on the edge of the decline of Western civilization."
Now whether or not you agree with that,
At the very least you need to recognize
there are huge changes going on in our society
and we need to try to understand the times.
Now I can’t teach you in 5 minutes
how to understand the times we live in,
but let me give you a quick start,
to get you thinking.
First of all,
I believe that we’re living in a time of great spiritual warfare.
In fact, we’re going to talk about that more next week in Ephesians 6
where it says that "...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil..."
There are several areas in which this spiritual battle is being fought.