Ephesians 5_15-20      Making the Most of the Moment

Rev. David Holwick  ZN                                    THANKSGIVING SUNDAY

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

November 24, 1991

Ephesians 5:15-20


MAKING THE MOST OF THE MOMENT



  I. The preciousness of time.


     Swindoll:  Let's play "Let's Pretend."

     Let's pretend that your banker phoned you late Friday night and

        said he had some very good news.

     He told you that an anonymous donor who loves you very much has

        decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your account each morning,

          starting Monday morning.

     That's $864 a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.


     He adds, "But there's one stipulation... you must spend all that

        money that same day.

     No balance will be carried over to the next day.

        Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use."

     With a big smile, you thank your banker and hang up.

        Over that weekend you have time to plan.

     You grab a pencil and start figuring;

        $864 times 7 equals over $6,000 a week... times 52.

     That's almost $315,000 a year that you have available to you if

        you work hard to spend it all each day.

     Remember, whatever you don't spend is forfeited.


     So much for "Let's Pretend".

        Now let's play "Let's Get Serious."

     Every morning Someone who loves you very much deposits into your

        bank of time 86,400 seconds of time --

          ---which represent 1,440 minutes

          ---which, of course, equal 24 hours each day.

     Now you've got to remember the same stipulation applies, because God

        gives you this amount of time for you to use each day.

     Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day.

        There is no such thing as a twenty-six hour day.

          (Though some of us wish there were).


     From today's dawn until tomorrow's dawn, you have a precisely

        determined amount of time.

     As someone has put it, "Life is like a coin.  You can spend it any

        way you want to, but you can spend it only once."

                                                               [1572]


      A. Christians must be wise about their use of time.       5:16

          1) "Time" = kairos, the critical moment.

          2) Redeeming time means to make the most of each moment.  5:16

          3) How we use time.

              a) Job.     ("Day Timers")

              b) Family needs.

              c) Amusements.

                  1> Big factor for Americans.

                  2> Do your amusements build you up or just entertain?

                      A> Sports, TV.


      B. We live in difficult times, so time can't be taken for granted.


           The last words written in Sir Walter Scott's diary were,

              "Tomorrow we shall...."

           But there was no tomorrow for him.

           He died with good intentions to accomplish a certain goal-

              -a goal that he never attained.

           Every thinking person has goals and dreams he longs for,

              plans for, and even begins to reach for.

           Yet there are many people who fall short of their goals

              simply because of limited time or opportunity.

           And that is why it is always important to get busy and do

              the right thing immediately.

           Never delay that which needs to be done today.

                                                                 #1670


II. Christians must seek God's will.       5:17

      A. With time being so short, don't put off seeking for God.


           Emperor Constantine put off baptism - thought he wouldn't

              be able to sin after doing it.

           He thought only one sin was allowed after baptism, and

              being a politician he knew that would be tough.

           So he waited till he was on his death bed, hoping he

             would die immediately after.                         #1694


      B. True wisdom is the ability to discern what is the will of God,

           the belief that in it lies our best welfare, and the

             willingness, with God's help, to do that will.


      C. Be concerned about what God wants you to do today.


III. Christians must get high on God, not chemicals.        5:18


      A. The Spirit instead of "spirits."

          1) There is a superficial similarity.  (Pentecost, Acts 2:13)

          2) People use alcohol to escape from boredom and loneliness.

              a) In our hearts we know that life is meant to be joyous.

              b) When circumstances or our own attitudes make that

                   impossible, we try to cover it up.

          3) The relief alcohol brings is short-lived.

              a) It covers, rather than solves.

              b) It diminishes our sense of responsibility.

                  1> Debauchery results.


          James Schaefer of the University of Minn did a ten year study

            of a bar in Missoula, Montana.

          (He followed it up with a three year study of 65 bars around

             Minneapolis.)

          His startling conclusion:  country-western tunes and booze go

             together.


          He found that the lyrics tend to be sad laments about love gone

             sour, personal freedom, and solace found in the bottle.

          "Particularly powerful drinking inducements" are songs that

             "celebrate heavy drinking by making heroes out of drunkards."

          Dr. Schaefer heads the University of Minn drug and alcohol abuse

             program.

          His studies found "slower music went with faster drinking,"

             adding,

          "Hard drinkers prefer listening to slower-paced, wailing,

             lonesome, self-pitying music."

          His conclusion:

            "No doubt about it, country and western can be a prescription

               for trouble among people with little self-control."

                                                                     #576

          4) Christians don't lose control of themselves.


      B. Alcohol depresses, the Spirit stimulates.

          1) Alcohol brings out the worst, the Spirit brings out

               the best.

          2) Alcohol leads to debauchery, making us animal-like,

               while the Spirit makes us more human.


      C. Being filled with the Spirit.    5:18

          1) A command, not a proposal.

          2) It's addressed to the whole Christian community.  (plural)

              a) The fullness of the Spirit is not limited to an elite few.

          3) Passive voice - "Let the Spirit fill you."

              a) No technique or formula.

              b) Parallel in Colossians - let Christ's word dwell in you

                   richly.

          4) Describes a continuous action, rather than a single one.

              a) Cana wedding:  fill jars once.  Here:  fill continuously.

              b) Sealing with Spirit is once for all, filling is every day.


IV. Seek the Spirit's joy in fellowship and worship.        5:19

      A. Fellowship: "To one another."

          1) Christians should encourage one another.

          2) (Maureen Grabosky and encouraging cards.)


      B. Worship:  "To the Lord."

          1) A worship setting is implied.

          2) It seems to have been an informal setting, spontaneous.

          3) Much participation.


      C. The importance of singing.

          1) Jesus is honored by it.

          2) If you aren't gifted, the singing can be "in your heart."

          3) Great revivals have always resulted in a renewal of singing.


  V. Be grateful to God.                     5:20

      A. Give thanks always.

          1) Difficult in practice, but stressed in the NT.    Eph 1:16

          2) The grumbling spirit is not compatible with the Holy Spirit.


      B. "Always for everything" - not to be pressed literally.    5:20

          1) Some have the strange idea that the secret of Christian

                victory is found in unconditional praise.

              a) "Praise Jesus - my mother just got run over by a car!"

                  1> Praise God for spouse's adultery?

              b) Dangerous half-truth or even blasphemy.

          2) We praise God for being God, but do not praise him for evil.

              a) We can be thankful because of our confident hope that in

                   some wonderful way God will make even disaster and

                     suffering an occasion for later blessing.

              b) "Everything" is qualified by "in the name of Lord Jesus."


VI. Being careful how we live...

      A. How are you using the time God has given you?

          1) If you knew your time was limited, what would you do

               differently?

          2) Your time is limited!


      B. What is the source of joy in your life?

          1) Something artificial?

          2) Your relationship with God?    Other Christians?


      C. What do you have to be thankful for?



***************   Study Notes   ***********************************


     John Stott


  I. The nature of wisdom.         5:15-17

      A. Christians are wise people, and not fools.

          1) Wise people make the most of their time.

              a) Ransom time from its evil bondage.

                  1> Better - buy up time, and the make the most of each

                       passing moment.

              b) Disciplined use of time:

                 Jonathan Edwards, 70th of his resolutions made when

                   twenty years old:

                 "Resolved:  Never to lose one moment of time, but to

                  improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can."

          2) Wise people discern the will of God.     5:17

              a) Distinguish between God's general and particular will.


      B. Christian wisdom is practical wisdom, teaches how to behave.

          1) The Spirit instead of "spirits."

              a) There is a superficial similarity.  (Pentecost, Acts 2:13)

                  1> Christians don't lose control of themselves.

              b) Alcohol depresses, the Spirit stimulates.

                  1> Alcohol brings out the worst, the Spirit brings out

                       the best.

                  2> Alcohol leads to debauchery, making us animal-like,

                       while the Spirit makes us more human.


II. Four benefits of being filled with the Spirit.

      A. Fellowship:  addressing one another in psalms.       5:19


      B. Worship:     singing to the Lord in our heart.       5:19

          1) Directed to the Lord rather than other Christians.

          2) Joyous, inward worship.


      C. Gratitude:  always and for everything giving thanks. 5:20

          1) The grumbling spirit is not compatible with the Holy

               Spirit.

          2) "Always for everything" - not to be pressed literally.

              a) It's a strange notion that the secret of Christian

                   victory is unconditional praise.

                  1> Praise God for spouse's adultery?

                  2> Dangerous half-truth or even blasphemy.

              b) We praise God for being God, but do not praise

                   him for evil.

                  1> Evil must be hated, not encouraged or condoned.

          3) "Everything" is qualified by "in the name of Lord Jesus."

      D. Submission:  be subject to one another out of reverence

           for Christ.         5:22

          1) The Holy Spirit is a humble Spirit, and those who are

               truly filled with him always display the meekness and

               gentleness of Christ.

          2) Christ is the key.  (In OT it would say "submit to the

               Lord")

              a) We are to please Christ and seek his will.


III. Being filled with the Spirit.

      A. Imperative mood.

          1) Not a tentative proposal, but an authoritative command.


      B. Plural form.

          1) It's addressed to the whole Christian community.

          2) The fullness of the Spirit is not limited to an elite few.


      C. Passive voice.

          1) "Let the Spirit fill you."  No technique or formula.

          2) Parallel in Colossians is "Let the word of Christ dwell in

               you richly."

          3) To obey the Word and to surrender to the Spirit are identical.

      D. Present tense.

          1) Describes a continuous action, rather than a single one

               (aorist).

          2) Cana: fill once.  Here:  fill continuously.

          3) Sealing with Spirit is once for all, filling is every day.


IV. Each of the four benefits concern our relationships.

      A. We should be harmoniously related to God.

          1) Worshipping and singing, thanking.


      B. We should be harmoniously related to each other.

          1) Speaking and submitting.



**********************************************

Resources:


  I. Music: "The God Who Sings" by Richard Dinwiddie. CT, 7/15/83, p 18f.

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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