Summary: Genuine followers of Christ are those whose lives show evidence of being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Spirit-Filled Living In Christ
Text: Eph. 5:15-20
1. Illustration: In his article ’Celebrating God in Authentic Worship’, pastor Glenn Wagner (Calvary Church, Charlotte, NC) points out: "I believe that one of the most evangelistic tools the church possesses, one desperately needed in today’s society, is authentic worship. People want to know, first of all, if God exists; then second, can they relate to Him? If God exists, is it really possible to connect with Him in a vibrant, dynamic way? In genuine, authentic worship, observers see real people connecting powerfully with the real God. The outflow of a focus on God, a submission to the real Jesus, and an emphasis on ever-deepening relationships is an energetic, joyful, Spirit-filled, congregational worship of the triune God. Genuine celebration erupts when God’s people discover who they are in Christ. And powerful prayer arises from the hearts of those who have truly entered the presence of God" (PreachingNow Newsletter, June 25, 2002).
2. The question then, is how do we become authentic worshipers who have entered into the presence of an all-powerful God?
3. Paul gives us five ideals to strive towards in becoming genuine followers of Christ.
a. Be Wise
b. Be Opportunistic
c. Be Thoughtful
d. Be Spirit-Filled
e. Be Thankful
4. Read Eph. 5:15-20
Proposition: Genuine followers of Christ are those whose lives show evidence of being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Transition: The first thing that Paul tells us to do is...
I. Be Wise (15)
A. Be Careful How You Live
1. Paul begins v. 15 with "So be careful how you live."
a. He is referring back to what he has already said in vv. 8-14 about living in the light. He instructs us to be careful how we live our lives.
b. The word translated "careful" carries the connotation of something done accurately, precisely, or given close attention (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 288).
c. We need to be careful how we live because we are a living testimony, and are a reflection of the transforming work of Jesus in our lives.
d. In other words, the things we do and the things we say are judged by those around us of what Jesus does for a person.
e. Php 1:27 — Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing side by side, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
f. It is a said statement on the church when people outside of it say things like, "I don’t have a problem with Jesus, but I don’t want to be like some of these Christians I’ve met."
2. However, living carefully in front of others is only a secondary reason. The main reason is that we want to be pleasing to our Lord.
a. You see, we can fool others into thinking the we are upright people, when in reality, we are not what we profess to be, but we cannot fool God.
b. He sees what we do and He knows what we think.
c. This is why the Psalmist says, Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
d. We need to be honest before God and ask Him to search our hearts, spirit, and mind to see if there is anything about us that needs to change.
3. Paul continues this thought by saying, "Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise."
a. The unwise is the person who gives little thought about where he should go and where he should not go.
b. He just arises in the morning and goes to work or about his daily routine with little thought about God and about what happens beyond this life.
c. Psalm 14:1 (NLT)
Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
d. What Paul is saying is that we need to live our lives as though our present breath could be our last. We must not think that we will have more time later on to get things right with God because we never know what tomorrow may bring.
e. Jesus said that He is coming like a thief in the night. We cannot and will not expect His coming and so we must live as if it could be today.
4. On the other hand, there is the wise person.
a. This is the person on mission. He knows God personally and he knows that he is on earth to live a righteous and godly life and to bear testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ.