Christ As Everything (Eph 5:15-21)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, b/c the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but u’stand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms & hymns & spiritual songs, singing & making melody to the Lord w/ all your heart, 20 giving thanks always & for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Preachers talk a lot about growing in Christ, but sadly that doesn’t connect w/ people. They are more occupied with life events, work, bills, kids, & career. Then when one or two of these get squeezed, BP goes up… anxiety attacks happen… & fear worms it’s way in & steals our sleep. If the stress continues it effects home life & for some depression can set in & grow.

However, Jesus made a statement to consider in Jn 10:10… “I have come they may have LIFE and have it abundantly.” He meant that to be embraced, believed, & lived in EVERY circumstance & events we encounter… not just the good times. But I want to suggest something that is counterintuitive in our day: The ONLY joy & contentment is in Christ. And not only IN Christ but as we pursue being more like Him every day.

But let’s dispense w/ SS talk & be honest w/ each other. What REAL benefit is there to becoming more like Jesus? Ok… there’s the escape hell thing, & that’s really all most people in the Shoals area really care about. But being a C’ians is more… MUCH MORE… than escaping hell. C’ianity is not a just a Sunday thing… it is a LIFESTYLE. Being a C’ians is WHO WE ARE. As a C’ian, Jesus permeates EVERYTHING we say, do, & are involved in. Pleasing Him is THE motivation for EVERYTHING!

Here’s a question, how many people you encounter each week are OBVIOUSLY C’ians. How many treat others w/ total love, respect, grace, & kindness? How many are honest almost to a fault if possible? How many speak in such a way there is no gossip, griping, complaining, or slandering others? My guess is not many. But yet… living in the Shoals… a great majority of inhabitants identify themselves as believers.

So what’s the point? That’s easy, today’s study is for two people: You and me. Those are the only two we are to be concerned w/. You & me. We can’t control anyone else, but we can live as we’re called to live. Phil 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct YOURSELF in a manner worthy of Christ.” So let’s work thru Eph 5:15-21 for ourselves… just you and me.

Growing in Christ, living as a C’ian, requires two things: 1) God’s activity {Ro 8:28; Phil 1:6 & 2:13}, and 2) Our conscious efforts to live like Christ {2 Pet 1:5-11}. The PROMISED result of these two things are: 1) Holiness {Heb 12:14} AND 2) Partaking in the Diving nature {2 Pet 1:4}.

Don’t miss putting the Scripture w/ what I’ve said so far. Look them up. Read them. This study is on At least jot down the Scripture as we go along…

V 15-16. (Read it) I fear too many of us C’ians either don’t know or ignore this. I know I’m guilty. We live too much of our lives w/out a conscious acknowledgement of God.

“Look carefully.” This means w/ purpose, direction, resolve. It is a command not to sail thru life w/ little to no attention to God & His commands. We are instead to be ruthlessly aware of whether or not our heart & conduct is in line w/ Scripture.

“Walk” refers to ongoing, hour by hour, day by day, week by week devotion to Christ… for life. Christianity is not a philosophy but a lifestyle. Walking is not aimless, but moving to a specific destination… leaning forward… looking ahead… navigating obstacles as they come.

“Wise” vs “Unwise.” An unwise person lives in a manner that results in faults and failures. They walk aimlessly in relation to God. Consider the Rich Fool of Lk 12:13-21 who amassed wealth not realizing he would enter eternity. He didn’t live for eternity, but for today… on earth… & thus was a fool.

Compare him to Anna from Lk 2:36-38. She was advanced in age, never leaving the Temple, in prayer & fasting day & night. Those of the world would call her a fool, but in God’s eyes she was blessed… getting to see Jesus the Messiah.

If that isn’t enough, compare sisters Martha & Mary Lk 10:38-42. Martha was busy with things of this world while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. The world would affirm Martha’s business & serving, but Jesus affirmed Mary sitting still & listening to him as “the better part.”

What about you… me? Are we so busy doing “important” things we miss what’s imperative? Does the urgent push aside the essential? When Billy Graham was asked if he had regrets he reportedly said, “I’d spend less time traveling to preach & more time in Scripture & prayer.” What about us? As Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures IN HEAVEN…”

Vs 17. “Therefore do not be foolish, but u’stand what the will of the Lord is…” Living a foolish life is one that does not take God into account. It is right to plan, BUT it is foolish to plan w/out God in mind. Thus “If the Lord Wills” as found in James. It is sinful to plan & then ask God to bless OUR plans, but right to include God from the beginning.

“Understand God’s will.” Let’s push ourselves a little here. The last part of Eph 1:11 is, “(God) works all things after the counsel of His will.” Q: How many things? ALL of them! Let’s not dance around that. Let’s not try to modify it or soften it in some way. “All things” means “ALL things.” Just b/c we don’t see how something can be good doesn’t mean it isn’t good (Keller).

Thus! We seek God… plan… & honor Him w/ what we do. Whatever is the outcome it is 100% in His hand & is good… IF Ro 8:28 is true (And it is).

Now… here’s the result. Peace… Contentment… Joy. As Paul wrote, “I have learned whatever circumstance I am in to be content. He learned to believe & accept God DOES work all things after the counsel of His will… AND they are ALL good!

Consider: If we are w/out contentment, then we are in need of growing in our faith and trust in God. Thus the WALK. Thus the process of sanctification.

** It would be good if we both became more “God aware.” God aware in our life. God aware in our planning. God aware in what transpires in our life. If we are not God aware in these three areas we are living lives Paul describes as “unwise.”

V 18. Here Paul uses an odd illustration. He equates being filled with the Spirit w/ getting drunk! To get drunk a person has to choose to do so. Being drunk results in 3 things: 1) Staggering, 2) Impaired thinking, 3) Slurred speech.

The same basic thing is true of being filled w/ the Spirit. A C’ian must choose to read Scripture, Pray, meditate, & worship. The results are: 1) Our walk (Life) is effected, 2) We think differently (Mind of Christ), & 3) Our speech is seasoned w/ the salt of the Gospel.

Now bounce back to V 16 Here’s why all these things are important: “Making the best use of the time, b/c the days are evil.” B/c this world is the way it is, Paul encourages a purposeful life as found in Gal 5:16, “Walk according to the Spirit & you will NOT carry out the desires of the flesh.” This is Paul’s way of helping us live in a manner of God’s favor than discipline.

V 19-21. Paul’s Pastoral Practical side presses four things:

Personal interaction:

Our inner selves:

Attitude toward God:

Servanthood & love:

5:15… “Look carefully how you walk” We end where we began… living a life of ruthless evaluation. A life devoted to Christ.