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Summary: An exposition of Eph 5:15-17 designed to motivate people to live more wisely in the New Year by Deciding: who they are going to please Examining: how they live their lives Planing: how they will live their lives

WISE UP FOR THE NEW YEAR

Introduction

There were two brothers who notorious in a town. They both drank too much, the cheated on their wives and abused people that worked for them.

One of them had a heart attack died and his brother went to see the local minister about the funeral. He said to the minister “I want you o call my brother a saint” The minister says I can’t do that, everyone knows that he wasn’t. But the remaining was insistent he said “I’ll give you a £1000 for your Church if you call my brother a saint during the funeral service”

On the day of the funeral the minister got up and said “ We all know that the dearly departed was a drunken womanizing, cheat who abuse and exploited those he employed, but compared to his brother he was a saint”

Have you ever wondered what they will say at your funeral?

How people will sum up your life and character.

New Year has traditionally been a time to think about questions like that. A time to reexamine your life.

I want to read to you some words from the NT which I think will really help us think about lives

“Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” EPH 5:15

Paul makes a very important point in those two verse. He points out that every single one of us here this morning who are Christians are living our lives in one of two ways.

You are either living wisely

Or Paul says

you are living unwisely and foolishly.

It is possibly for you to have been saved, to have accepted Christ as your Saviour and Lord and yet live your life in way that God calls foolish.

I have got say as a pastor that one of my greatest heartaches is the number of God’s people who choose to live foolishly. Who are unwise in the choices they make in life and the way they live their lives.

I would say that you are living foolishly as a Christian if you have higher priorities in your life than Christ and his priorities.

I don’t really want to talk a lot about living foolishly as a Christian this morning. Except to say, and maybe even to beg you if you know you have been living that way, to choose to instead in this New Year to live wisely.

That is really what this short passage is all about, how to live wisely as a Christian. Basically what Paul says about how we can live wisely as Christians can be summed up in three verbs, three things that you have to do, to develop spiritual wisdom.

They are Decide, Examine, Plan

DECIDE: Who You Are Going To Please

In the year that lies ahead your answer to just one question will have more affect on your life than any other decision you will make.

Who are you going to live to please in 2001?

Will it be God or will it be yourself, or someone else. In the Year that lies ahead in your life is it going to be your will, what pleases you, or God’s will what pleases him, that will have the final say in what decisions you make in every area of your life.

God’s Word says that to live wisely, we have to choose God’s Will. We are “Understand what the Lord’s Will is” or as one translation puts it. “Find out what God wants you to do and do it”

I think maybe before we talk about how to find God’s Will for our lives there is something we need to understand about God’s Will. I have talked to some Christians and they seem to believe that living in God’s Will some how reduce their pleasure in life or will rob them of many of life’s pleasures. That is a lie and its life straight from hell.

God’s will is described in Romans 12:2 as his “good, pleasing and perfect will” And what that means is the best way of life, the most fulfilling way of life. Jesus said that he came to give us life and life to the full. The way we experience that life to the full is living in God’s Will.

Jim Elliot a missionary wrote these words and something in me says amen every time I read them I have found that the most extravagant dreams of boyhood have not surpassed the great experience of being in God’s will, and I believe that nothing could be better”

If you want to live life to full in 2001 the way to do that is to live God’s Way. To live out his will in your life.

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