Friday, April 05, 2013

 

Ephesians 5 sermons

Ephesians 5:1-14 Sunday March 25th

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

"Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

Ephesians 5:1,2 Walk In Love

1. The Precept Of Love

2. The Pattern of Love

3. The Price of Love

Ephesians 5:3-14 Walk In The Light

A. There are Things That Are Inconsistent With Being A Child Of God.

Things That Are Unthinkable 3

Things That Are Unspeakable 4

B. There Are things That Are Consistent With Being A Child Of God 9-10
C. There Are Things That Are Inevitable In Being A Child Of God 11-14

Ephesians 5:1,2 Walk In Love

As we come into the fifth chapter, we learn that our "walk" (or conduct) which is worthy of our calling is one in which we...
   a. Walk In Love - Ep 5:1-7
   b. Walk As Light - Ep 5:8-14
   c. Walk As Wise - Ep 5:15-21

Children are great imitators. As soon as they are able to walk. Putting on mum’s dress, high heels make-up. Little boys imitate dad, how to walk like dad.

A Theological college lecturer at Criswell I heard about was a real runner. And of course he was skinny and had the real runner’s clothes. One day he was getting ready to run during his training time and his young boy was watching him get dressed. As he put on his running shorts the boy asked his dad, "Why are not wearing any underwear dad?" Well son, the are special running shorts and they have the underwear built in them." This seemed to satisfy to boy curiosity. A following Sunday his young boy’s Sunday School teacher came to him and told him that his son came into the Sunday School room and went to the teacher and said, "I am trying to be just like my dad." The Sunday School teacher said, "Oh, how is that?" "I am not wearing any underwear."

Paul tells us as dear children of God we need to imitate our heavenly Father. God is the standard for our behaviour. Sure it would be wise to imitate the apostle Paul and Billy Graham, but ultimately we are to imitate our heavenly Father in heaven. This is Paul’s general command to be like God, imitate God. It is another way of saying "be ye holy for God is holy."

One of the problems in our country is that often young people don't have good role models. Many of them want to model their lives after movie stars. A few years ago, one survey found that Eddie Murphy and Madonna were the two individuals most admired by teenagers. That's a scary thought! All of us need good models to imitate.

That puts a great responsibility upon us for the lifestyle that we present to them. See the bad traits in children passed from generation to generation. But individuals can break the pattern by submission to the Lord Jesus as Lord and Saviour. You can blame your family for many things, but you need to grow up and take responsibility for your own behaviour and actions.

i.e. example of young man growing up in YP choosing lifestyle of gambling of father.

i.e. fellow had son walking in footsteps behind him, where are you leading him? To hell…lead to his salvation.

Enoch walked with God. Gen 5:22 after he begat Methusaleh. Realising the tremendous impact your life will have on the eternal destiny of your sons and daughters.

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Followers….imitators mimics.

Imitate God, as a beloved child.

We ought to imitate his holiness righteousness forgiveness,

Eph 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

We are to seek to be just like God.

How you doing? Fair to middling

Strange to our ears but made in country where reg grew up.

In the bank, 2 farmers old and young, “Scuse me son but aren’t you Ben Smith’s boy?”

“Son I’m gonna tell you you are the spittin image of your dad.”

Young guys eyes filled with tears “I’d rather you say that about me than anything else you could ever say.”

Don’t you and I have a desire in our hearts that folks would say we were the spittin image of our heavenly Father?

What would that look like? Vs 2.

You can’t imitate God in the creation of the Universe nor in resurrections from the dead. But do you know what God does mostly, He mostly loves. We can imitate Him here by living a life of love.

1. The Precept Of Love.

Eph 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Walk Live your life ..in Love.

If we live and act like God then we walk in love, God is Love. When God saves you he puts you in Love and love in you.

Words change their meanings. “Love” what they most mean is Lust.. what they get out of a relationship.

The people of the world want love in a bad way. In fact, the only thing they want more than love is money. Loving, being loved, and making love are viewed as the ultimate high. Love is seen as the way to experience emotional extremes: you'll never be as happy nor as sad as when you're in love. Today's music feeds that quest for love. Throughout much of it is the same underlying message: either the fantasy of a love sought or the despair of a love lost. People continue to chase that elusive dream. They base their concept of love on what it does for them. Songs, plays, films, books, and TV programs continually perpetuate the fantasy--the dream of a perfect love perfectly fulfilled. People search for love like Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth. As they look, they give themselves to other people only for what they can get. When they're no longer satisfied, they'll move on and find others who can satisfy them. The world's love is unforgiving, conditional, and self-centered--the very opposite of God's love. People in the world search for love, but it's not true love, it's Satan's perversion. Ephesians 5:3-4 says, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not fitting; but, rather, giving of thanks." If God's love and the love of His children is forgiving, unconditional, and self-sacrificing, you can be sure Satan will pervert that. Therefore the love of the world tends to be unforgiving, conditional, and self-centered. Worldly love focuses on desire, self-pleasure, and lust. It is shallow, selfish, sensual, and sexual. Satan has sold that definition of love to the world, and incredible as it seems, many Christians have fallen into the trap of believing it. Divorce and infidelity are rampant in the church today because of an unwillingness to walk in love. In Ephesians 5:1-6 Paul exhorts us to walk in God's love and then warns us about the world's love.

When a person comes to know Christ they are now in love and able to love. Rom 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We are taught of God to love one another. I heard one young lady say in Kiama, “My mother-in-law literally loved me to Jesus”

Christianity is all about love a love relationship with god through the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. NKJV

Paul is not saying anything terribly new. The Old Testament contains 39 books, 951 pages in this NIV Bible, and within it are literally hundreds of instructions. But in Matthew 22, Jesus says all of them can be summed up in two commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. Love God and love others. We live in a complex world. But, our primary purpose is still simple. Follow the example God gives us. Live a life of love.

Love is as old as God and as new as the day you came to know Jesus.

Puppy love….could lead to a dog’s life. They walk around like sick puppies.

Falling in love.

Love is a very funny thing its shaped just like a lizard

It wraps its tail around your throat and goes right through your gizzard.

Something brand new? It’s as old as God and as new as you coming to experience His love in Jesus today.

If God gives us a command , He will supply to us. What He commands He will reproduce in us.

1. The Precept Of Love

2. The Pattern of Love

“As Christ also has loved us.”

Some people don’t love because they have never seen love. They have grown up without a model of love.

But we have a beautiful pattern of love, the Lord Jesus Christ himself in the Pattern of His life.

I remember someone came to me after a service and said, “God loves me? Prove it to me!” Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us Commends, displays, exhibits.

You are not saved by imitation with Christ but identification by faith with the Lord Jesus’ death on our behalf

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

WWJD? In the past few years the letters "WWJD" have been displayed on posters, bracelets, T-shirts, and other places. The letters stand for "What Would Jesus Do?" It is marvellous that lots of young people, as well as older people, are asking themselves that question. Because Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, to do what Jesus would do is to imitate God. “In His Steps” Doesn’t save you but you are called to this sort of walk.

Remember Jn 11 Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus wept. He identified Himself with the hurts and sorrows of the family. “Behold how He loved him.”

Or take the Rich young Ruler “Looking on him He loved him.”

Jesus loved His disciples. And they weren’t an easy crowd to love. Christians can be ugly sometimes. You and I can be ugly too not very loveable. They got in a big fuss over who is #1 and #2. They must have tried the patience of the Lord.

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

He loved lost people. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

He loved the church Eph 5:25 Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,


The biggest criticism that was ever made of the Lord was: Luke 15:1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." NKJV

One of the verses in the Bible which I find a bit troubling is Matthew 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

God is love, yes, that is what 1 John 4:8 says. But His love is always true, holy, righteous, and just. To imitate God's love does not mean we smile sweetly at people no matter what they are doing. Dr. Dobson has a book entitled, Love Must be Tough. Indeed, if we really love someone, we care enough to confront that person. I've always liked the song which says, God loves us just the way we are, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. Parents understand this. If we love our children, we do not let them have whatever they want, whenever they want. It is because we love our girls that we don't let them have Mars Bars instead of vegetables for dinner at night. It is because Lorelle loves me that she doesn't let me have Mars Bars for dinner.

3. The Price of Love

given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Sounds sweet and nice But love is costly

Ephesians 5:2 ...and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. God's love is clearly linked with the death of Jesus Christ. Christ's death is God's love in action. Jesus died as a substitutionary sacrifice, taking the place of sinners like you and me. He experienced the punishment for our sins, so that we do not have to do that. We need to realize that without the death of Jesus, God's love would be rather empty. The Lord could serenade us with love songs, but it would be of little value because without the death of Jesus Christ, we would be lost in our sins. Jesus' death on the cross is exactly what we as sinners needed and it is exactly what God provided. God's love involves more than good intentions. It is love in action. As we seek to imitate the Lord, we need to put our love into action. Thomas Watson, one of the English Puritans, once said, "Faith deals with the invisible, but God hates invisible love. Affection without action is beautiful, but barren." That's good. Friends, it is great to tell people that we love them. It is super to be compassionate and shed tears for someone who is hurting. But, as in 1 John 3:18, our love for others must be more than words, to be true love it must include action.

You can give and not love, but you cannot love and not give. Love always has a price to pay. Here is the practical application of Ephesians. Right here slap dab in the middle he hits us with vs. 2 one of the greatest doctrinal statements in the bible.

Tabernacle: In the OT there were sacrifices and offerings. They would take an animal without blemish taking the animal he would transfer symbolically the sins of the people to the animal. They would kill the animal, take the blood and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, then they would take the body and put it on the brass altar and burn it, sprinkling spices and frankincense and on the altar and smoke would rise up towards heaven a sweet smelling savour.

Ephesians 5:2 says that Christ "hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." Christ's sacrificial offering of Himself was a fragrant aroma to God. Paul described a gift given to him as "an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God" (Phil. 4:18). That Christ's offering of Himself was sweet-smelling meant that God was well pleased with it.

Leviticus 1-3 describes three types of offerings Israel was to make: the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering. If we view Christ's work in light of those offerings, we could say that the burnt offering refers to Christ's total devotion to God--He gave His life. The meal offering refers to His perfection. And the peace offering speaks of His making peace between God and man. Those three offerings were well pleasing to God.

This was all a picture pointing to Calvary’s cross. The cross. The cross of Jesus was sacrificial. He has given Himself . given up Himself

Love is costly it will cost you yourself . When someone wants to get married and love your wife it cost you yourself.

The cross of Jesus was voluntary. He took it up willingly. He gave Himself for us..that’s sacrifice. He gave Himself to God, that’s satisfaction. The Father accepted the love sacrifice the Saviour made at the cross.

The only way to live is to live loving and giving. Christ Himself is our pattern. If we're to love as He loves us, then we need to know the characteristics of His love.

1. It is forgiving When Jesus died on the cross He said of those who crucified Him, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34).

The best measurement of a person's love is his ability to forgive. That's because the best measurement of God's love is His ability to forgive. Ephesians 2:5 says, "Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath made us alive together with Christ." Why? Because "God ... is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us" (v. 4).

Measure your love. Ask yourself, Do I love? If you don't, you're not one of God's own because the children of God love others (1 John 4:7-8). How can you know if you aren't characterized by love? Ask yourself, Am I bitter toward someone because of something they did to me? Do I often get angry with people, either externally or internally? Do I speak maliciously behind people's backs? Do I verbally assault people? Those are characteristics of a person who doesn't love others, and that's part of our old lifestyle--a life we must get rid of.

It is unconditional

The Bible doesn't refer to Christian love as an emotion, but as an act of self-sacrifice. A person who truly loves someone else doesn't look to see what he can get out of that person. Do you realize that God loves people on the way to hell as much as He loves those on the way to heaven? He loves those who curse Him as much as those who praise Him. Why? Because God's love is never conditioned on a response--it is unconditional.

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, shared this story about two lawyers. These two lawyers were partners and there was a lot of conflict between the two. One of the lawyers became a Christian and he came to Bill Bright and said, "What should I do, now that I am a Christian?" Bill told him that he needed to go back to his partner and ask for forgiveness and tell him that you love him." The new believers said, "no way, I can’t do that because I don’t love him." Bill Bright prayed for the attorney and exhorted him that now he was a Christian he was to walk in the same love that Christ has given him. The next morning the attorney went to his partners and said, "I have become a Christian, and I want to ask for your forgiveness for all the hurtful things that I have done to you, and I want to tell you that I love you." His partner was so shocked by this turn around that he too asked for forgiveness, and said, "I want to become a Christian too, would you show me how?" We are to walk in unconditional love for people. We cannot produce this love ourselves it comes from God. When people see imitating God by walking in love they see the love of God and are attracted to it.

 

Do you want to please God? Do you want your life to rise before God as a sweet-smelling aroma? Then live a life of forgiving, unconditional, and self-sacrificing love.

Walk In The Light


This morning we examined how God has called us to be imitators of Himself as beloved children. Did you notice how beloved you are as a child of God:

Col 1: 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Do you remember that hymn by Wesley?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night, Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke the dungeon flamed with light, My chains fell off my heart was free I rose went forth and followed Thee.

Now we follow Him, as beloved children, seeking to imitate the character of so loving and gracious a God who should rescue us and bring us into His own family.

Paul encourages us to have the character of our God. Be imitators of God.

He says in verse 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Walk as children of light. The Lord Jesus said of believers:

Matt 5: 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Paul is saying Manifest what you are. Let the sweet communion you experience as a child of God come out in your ordinary life and relationships.

He says first of all walk in love. Now he tells us some things that are inconsistent with living as a child of God.

A. There are Things That Are Inconsistent With Being A Child Of God.

Fitting, becoming, suitable, appropriate.

1. Things That Are Unthinkable

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;

The command "let it not be named among you" has to do sexual misconduct. The phrase indicates that as Christians we are to live so spotless that not even rumors about sexual misconduct would have a chance get started. There are two areas in which Paul tells us that we need to be spotless. We need to be spotless in our life and in our language. We need to have a purity of life and a purity of language. The area that Paul discusses is sensual sins, sensual sins of deed and sensual sins of speech.

Purity of Life The first thing Paul says concerns our life. He says that it is not fitting for God’s people to indulge in "fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness."

The Greek word that we translate "fornication" is the word "porneia." Hence, we get the English word pornography. Fornication is unlawful sexual intercourse. Sex is a beautiful thing that God created to be enjoyed in the normal heterosexual marriage relationship. Any sex outside of a marriage between man and woman is unlawful.

The next word that Paul uses that we translate "all uncleanness" is referring to homosexuality. And covetousness reefers to the type of behavior that is self-seeking, self-indulging, and self-gratifying. These things are not fitting for God’s people.

The church in Ephesus needed to hear this because of the culture they lived in. Ephesus was known for its temple prostitution. The temple of Diana was located there, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. So they lived in a culture that was consumed with sexual immortality, all kinds of uncleanness, and self-indulging behavior. And if they were going to imitate God they had to abandon these old ways. This may not be a popular thing to say, but I’ll say it anyway. If you are involved in sexual immorality in any way, God declares that to be sin.

I don’t care who you think you are, immorality is wrong.

They were to live such spotless lives that it could not even become a rumour among them. But Paul does not stop with the purity of life; he goes on to stress the purity of language.

2. Things That Are Unspeakable

4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Paul tells us that our conversation should be free from sensual indulgence. Three things he tells us that should not be present in the Christians conversation: (1) Filthiness, this word refers to obscene talk or indecent talk. It is particularly dealing with conversation that is full of sexual vulgarity. (2) The second word deals with profanity. (3) The third word had a favourable meaning at one time. It meant "pleasant wit" or "ready wit." But over time it acquired a connotation of suggestive talk. It has in mind here not joking, but rather dirty joking.

It is not fitting for the Christian to participate in sexual immorality, homosexuality, or the kind of self-indulgence that characterize these behaviors. It is also not fitting for the Christians conversation to be one that is filthy, or obscene, filled with profanity, and sexually suggestive in nature.

Paul tells us that jesting about immorality is not “fitting” for saints. Why? What’s wrong with humour that deals with immorality? First, it doesn’t take sin seriously enough.92 That is a deadly error. Second, it enables us to talk about things we would not dare to discuss seriously. Humour allows us to press the line of appropriateness further than we could seriously. If we venture too far, we simply say, “Just kidding.” Third, joking about immorality often is but the first step we take toward immorality.93 I wonder how many people “fell” into immorality after joking about it.

"The tongue - is one of the smallest parts of the body...and the most difficult to control."  "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence."  (Psalm 39:1)

What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.

If it is characteristic of a person’s conversation then there is something to worry about.

By their fruit you shall know them. Trees produce according to kind If continually filthy in mind and speech then that’s what is there at root. Instead of giving our lives over to that which is not fitting for Christians we are to give ourselves over to thankfulness.

Notice the very last phrase of verse 4, "but rather giving of thanks."

If we are going to maintain purity in life and purity in language then we must clothe ourselves with the power of thankfulness. A person that is thankful will not become discontent in their life situation and fall into sexual sins. Discontentment leads to adultery and other types of sexual sins. In the same manner, those who have a thankful attitude will not degrade sexual activity, but instead will preserve the beauty of it.

If we are going to imitate the Lord we must abandon sensual desires that are sinful and appropriate thankfulness. Paul goes on to give us the motive for purity.

5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

"The scripture is in agreement: no practicing sinner, no unrepentant sensualist, has eternal life. Do Christians fall into these sins? Of Course! But true Christians will not persist in them, for persistence in sensuality is evidence of a graceless state. Any one who is living a life of sensuality and is unwilling to turn from it is lost and has no inheritance in the kingdom of God and Christ" (Hughes)

(Revelation 21:7-8) “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”

If that’s your lifestyle then you are on you way to hell . Don’t let any smart talkers deceive you. If they say you’re going to heaven and you’re not?

6. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Some preachers are all positive. They don’t preach the negative of sin. They say “Don’t preach about wrath of God. People will find that objectionable.” Well that sort of idea isn’t true to the book. Those are Vain empty words. You can’t get people saved till you get them lost and realise they are sinners so you can get them to Jesus and get them saved and to church and get them cleaned up.

B. There Are things That Are Consistent With Being A Child Of God

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

You were darkness itself but now you are in the light don’t live like them. Not saying don’t know lost people, (otherwise how are you going to win them) But don’t participate with them in sin.

Now we move into the glow of the brightness. You are light. You are A Partaker of the divine nature. 2Peter 1:3, The Lord Jesus is the Son of God, When you come to Christ you become sons of God

The Lord Jesus is the stone which was rejected by the builders, When you came to Christ you become living stones,

He is the Light of the world; When you come to Him you become light of the world.

Now you see things in a different way.

1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Now you begin to see things in a different way. Today it is common for a couple living together without marriage. The Bible condemns that.

Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.

Chambering…wantonness or shacking up. It is sin to live together without benefit of marriage. I don’t beat them over the head if they are living like that. They are in the darkness and don’t know it. They are in the dark I tell them about Jesus, they say, “you know we ought not to be living together this isn’t right.” He was beginning to walk in the light and he realised there were some things that were of the darkness and needed to be got sorted out. That’s why I preach Christ and grace. Grace will take off the graveclothes. Otherwise I could turn you into a legalist with a little notebook of right and wrongs. There is nothing worse than a legalist who doesn’t understand the grace and mercy of God in Christ. It is the grace of God which changes a person.

Light produces life. 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

The good the right and the true. Proving testing and approving putting to the test for the purpose of approving what is pleasing to the Lord.

This is a real good test about anything. :Ask yourself the question; “Is this pleasing to the Lord?”

HA Ironside: One time in a social gathering, while the ladies are out of the room I want to tell you this joke.” “Brother the ladies are out of the room, but the Holy Spirit is in the room, just be sure now that whatever you are fixing to tell wont be displeasing to the Holy Spirit.” This is a real good test.

C. There Are Things That Are Inevitable In Being A Child Of God

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

"Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

Paul’s teaching on separation and fellowship is clear. In general terms, as “children of light” we are not to have fellowship with darkness. More specifically, we are not to shun unbelievers, nor to avoid association with them. We are to avoid intimate fellowship with them, especially as they practice what is displeasing to God. As Christians, we are not to have fellowship with those who profess to trust in Christ, but whose conduct denies Him.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

In some of His final words to His disciples, our Lord indicated to them that their relationship with Him would bring about a corresponding animosity from those who rejected Him:

(John 15:18-20) “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also”

Y

ears later, Peter writes to those who are suffering persecution at the hand of unbelievers and assures them that such is the normal reaction of those in darkness, whose deeds have been exposed by the light:

(1 Peter 4:3-4) For the time already past is sufficient for your to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you.

Our Lord Himself came as the “light” (John 1:1-13). Those who acknowledged their sin turned to Him for salvation, while those who preferred darkness to light rejected Him (see John 3:16-21). We, like Christ, are to live as children of light as a part of our calling to reflect and reveal Christ and to proclaim the gospel. It is the contrast in our conduct with that of the world which makes the gospel clear. It is by our contrast with the world that we fulfill our obligation as “lights”:

(Matthew 5:13-16). “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing any more, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”

I fear that in many churches today which proclaim to be evangelical, we are not “manifesting the light” to the glory of God and to the health of the church, and to the salvation of the lost. To keep with the symbolism of light and darkness, I fear that some churches are trying to win the lost by “turning the lights down low.”

The goal of the “lights down low” folks is that people won’t be attracted to a gospel which threatens their beliefs, values, and lifestyles. And so, they say, “in order to get people saved, we need to play down the negative aspects of the gospel (sin, righteousness, judgment) and slip the gospel in positively. We need to make the unbeliever comfortable with Christianity if we are to attract them to our churches. If sin and hell are unpleasant topics, then these should be set aside, at least for a time. Once people are saved, they tell us, then we can speak to them about discipleship.” This sounds a whole lot like the “bait and switch” methodology of unscrupulous salesmen.

There are many difficulties with this philosophy and methodology. In the first place, it does not square with our Lord’s methods or teaching. There were many who seemed eager to follow Jesus, but He consistently warned them of the cost of discipleship. Neither does it square with the Lord’s teaching concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit in evangelism, as found in the Gospel of John:

(John 16:7-11). 7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged”

If the Holy Spirit is to convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgment, then surely we dare not avoid these truths in dealing with unbelievers. The very subjects which Scripture identify as the foundation and starting point of the gospel are those which the “low-light gospellers” would set aside. The truth of the matter is that the gospel, in its pure form, is not appealing. Indeed, it is repulsive, to lost men. Nevertheless, it is our task to proclaim it in the simplest and clearest terms possible, relying upon God to draw men through the ministry of His Spirit

As Paul’s words indicate, our task is not to ignore sin, but to expose it. This is done by living righteously, living as lights. Those whom God has chosen, He will draw to the light by His grace and through His Spirit. And those who love their sin and the darkness will seek to extinguish our light. And so it is that some of the texts which speak about light are found in close proximity to those which speak of persecution (see Matthew 5:10-16). We are not to identify with darkness, nor to withdraw entirely from it, but to live as lights in a darkened world, so that sin might be exposed by righteousness, to the glory of God, to the salvation of the lost, and to the blessing of the believer.

Only those who are in Christ can be lights. This compels me to ask you a simple question of the greatest import: “Have you seen the light?” Have you acknowledged your sin, Christ’s righteousness, and the judgment which awaits all who reject the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary? These are dark days. Those without Christ are not only darkness, subjects of the prince of darkness, but they also await the dark day of God’s coming wrath on sinners. Come to the light. Trust in Him who suffered and died for your sins, and whose righteousness can be yours by faith.

A man bought wife a French ornamental matchbox. It was supposed to glow in the dark.

But it didn’t glow in the dark. On the side of the matchbox in French was written: “If you want me to shine in the night you must leave me in the light.”

We are to shine in the night, but we must stay in the light.

Ephesians 5:15-21 Walking Wisely


Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Walk Wisely by

Walking Carefully 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

Walking Conscientiously 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Walking Cautiously 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is

Walking Controlled 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:18 How to Have a Spirit-Filled Life

1. The Reasons for Being Filled with the Spirit

Obedience to God

Obligation to God

In your worship life,.

In your wedded life.

In your work life Ephesians 6:5 -7.

In your war life. In Ephesians 6:10-17

In your witness life. Ephesians 6:18,19

Opportunity For God

2. The Requirements for Being Filled with the Spirit

The first thing you must do is to make a complete commitment to Him.

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

There must also be a continual control.

There must be a claiming of this filling of the Holy Spirit.

3. The Results of Being Filled with the Spirit

Your relationship to God will be energized by a spirit of adoration.

Your relationship to circumstances will be energized by a spirit of appreciation.

Your relationship to others will be energized by a spirit of accommodation.

If we are going to put on our new nature, if we are going to imitate God, if we are going to walk as children of the light, then we must walk wisely. How do you know if you are walking wisely? What does the walk of the wise look like? These verses will help us understand the walk of the wise. It could be said that these verses summarize this section, that these verses summarize the Christian life. Whatever the case, as God’s children we must walk wisely.

In the earlier verses of chapter 5 Paul contrasts light and darkness. Paul now uses the contrasting language of wise and unwise, or wise and foolish. Our walk is to be a wise walk, not an unwise walk. Our walk is to be wisely, not foolishly. A similar phrase is found in the book of Colossians were Paul says, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time."

Paul’s idea of wisdom goes beyond the classical Greek idea, which thought of wisdom as and attribute, never an activity, an attribute that indicated unusual ability and knowledge.

The idea Paul had for wisdom was quit the opposite. For Paul, wisdom was first and foremost something that was revealed by the Spirit. Notice Paul’s prayer request back in chapter one verse 17, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him."" Paul saw wisdom as an attribute revealed by the Spirit. But this wisdom would effect the activity of the one who possessed it.

In a similar prayer in the first Chapter of Colossians Paul prays, "for this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." The result of this prayer is found in the next verse, "that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him."

Thus, God given wisdom is the fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord is to fear displeasing God. To walk wisely is to make decisions that would please God. It is more than just having an unusual ability and knowledge.

Our generation illustrates this fact well. We live in a generation that is probably more knowledgeable that any other generation in history. We have made great advances in medicine and research. The life expectancy has grown tremendously because or our medical knowledge. More people are finishing college and going on to do graduate work. The Internet has put knowledge at the fingertips of almost every person. Yet, with this knowledge, our nation has dropped to the bottom of the moral and ethical ladder. Our television is full of sexual immorality. Our White House is full of sexual immorality. Our churches are full of immorality. We have great knowledge, but we lack wisdom; the kind of wisdom that leads a person to live right before God.

As God’s people we need to walk wisely not foolishly. So what does the walk of the wise look like? The first thing we will notice is that the walk of the wise is careful.

1. The walk of the wise is careful

Verse 15 reads, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." The word "circumspectly" can be translated "careful" or it can be translated "accurately." That is the literal meaning of the Greek word. It means "strict conformity to a norm or a standard involving both detail and completeness." Our conduct, if we are going to walk wisely, must conform to the standard put forth by the word of God. If we are going to walk wisely we must be careful to live our lives with detail and completeness to the standard shown by our Lord and revealed in His word.

Paul is saying live according to who you are. If you are a Christian you need to live like a Christian. You must walk wisely. You do this by adhering to what you have been taught in God’s word. Paul is saying be careful to walk the walk.

Every time I go down to Sydney, or I am travelling on the road alone, my wife Lorelle tells me to be careful. She wants me to pay attention to the road. She wants me to pay attention to other drivers. She wants me to be careful. Parents tell their kids this all the time. My dad had a nickname for me as I grew up “Splaw foot.” I looked it up in the dictionary. It means that if there is somewhere you can put your foot to cause a problem, you bet I can put my foot in it. He’d mix paint, Somehow I’d get it on the bottom of my feet. He’d have nails on the bench. Somehow one would be in my foot. If there was a huge floor area swept clean and only one pin on the whole floor, I’d be guaranteed to trip on it. As a young boy I grew up in Gymea Bay in Sydney’s South. I lived only a short walk to the Gymea Bay baths. It was an old River Baths with shark netting around it and a cat walk which sat on several piers that went around the baths. I don’t know why they called it a cat walk. No self-respecting cat could negotiate that narrow set of 2” x 4 “ planks 6” wide with lots of holes in between the slats. I discovered I couldn’t either and fell through the middle. I had huge blue/black and brown bruises that covered my thighs. I learnt to walk circumspectly anywhere after that. It got me scared of heights; even today neither man nor beast could get me to walk near the edge of anything; cliff or curb-side gutter, in case I might fall off.

What is true in our earthly walk about being careful is true in our spiritual walk as well. We must pay attention. We must carefully and accurately conduct our lives. When we do we are walking wisely.

The walk of the wise is careful.

2. The walk of the wise is conscientious

Paul goes on to tell us how we are to walk carefully in verse 16, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

The clock is my dictator I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to deep depression.
It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task, I will never get it all done.
For my ideal is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval they drive me.
They demand performance from me beyond the limits of my schedule.
My "IN" basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

The verb "redeeming" is a participle, and some see it as a second imperative, but I think it is modifying the verb walk back in verse 15, and is telling us how we are to live carefully or accurately.

The word "redeeming" literally means, "to buy back." It is the same word used to describe how Jesus redeemed us." The idea is of a person being a slave or held captive, and somebody redeems that person by paying a ransom.

Time is our most precious resource. We can always get more money, but we can never get more time. We cannot save it. We cannot borrow it. We cannot buy it. But we can learn to use it wisely. How many of you would admit to never having enough time? Someone passed along to me a cartoon of Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin says, "God put me here on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.” Truthfully, our problem does not lie in not having enough time. Our problem lies in our use of the time that God gives to us. If you and I are to maximize our ability to fulfil God's purpose in our lives, then we must maximize our use of the days God has given us. The obvious question is, "How do we do this?" I believe the Bible gives us three things we are to do.

It does not take on the literal meaning in this verse. It means to make the best of every opportunity, to make good use of your time. Remember that this is in the context of walking carefully and accurately. We use every opportunity to walk carefully and accurately to the standards set before us. In other words, or Christian witness is not part time, but full time. We need to keep that in mind. We need to use our time properly, by living properly. There is no leisure time when it comes to your Christian walk. It is 24 hours a day, 7days a week.

The reason we are to walk carefully by making the most of every opportunity is found in the last half of verse 16, "because the days are evil."

We live in evil days, and I am here to tell you, God’s enemy does not rest. He does not take any leisure time away from doing evil. We should take no leisure time from walking in righteousness.

The best illustration for this point is football. A football team has so much time to win a football game. They have to carefully and accurately call the plays, execute the plays, and stop the other team from running their plays. There is no time to mess around when it comes to football. It does not take much to loose the game. The most remarkable game I have ever seen was last Sunday afternoon’s Newcastle vs Melbourne game. Newcastle picked up 30 points in 30 minutes. Melbourne failed to play carefully, dropping the ball in the silliest of circumstances. If we are going to walk wisely, then we must walk carefully and accurately, making the most out of our time because the enemy does not sleep, nor should we.

We have grown so accustomed to living on the run — we work on the run, we eat on the run, we see our families on the run, we even worship God on the run!

Only thing we stop for is to sleep — some of us do little of that!

Our time is a precious commodity; cramming all we can into a 24 hour day

The Bible tells us we need to be actively redeeming (preserving, safeguarding) our time as Christians. Each day that goes by God deals with me on making sure I am focused and in the center of His perfect will.

We need to redeem the time...

I .   BECAUSE OF THE SHORTNESS OF OUR LIFE

We are tenants of this world — Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

"World is not my home, only passing through" — True whether saved or lost!

II.  BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR LIFE

Every day that passes. you must make choices

If you are lost its time to get saved? -- Matt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

If you are Saved its time to get serious? Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink: nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

If you are serious its time to get Serving 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

III. BECAUSE OF THE STATEMENT OF OUR LIFE

A Christians life is a commentary — people can read us like a book

I ask you — do you know just how short your life really is?

The walk of the wise is careful. The walk of the wise is conscientious.

3. The Walk Of The Wise Is Cautious

17 "Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." This has the same idea of verse 10 where it reads, "finding out what is acceptable or pleasing to the Lord." Here is means "find out what the Lord wants you to do." We must seek out and try to understand what God would have us to do. Once again we are confronted with the fact that as God’s people we should try to understand what pleases the Lord and do it. The walk of the wise is Cautious concerning the will of God. We understand the will of God by understanding the word of God. For it is in the word of God that we understand that God wants us to meditate on his word so that we would be careful to do his word. It is in the word of God that we are told "not to conform to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove what the good and acceptable and the perfect will of God is." For as we grow in the knowledge of God’s will we are able to live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him.

Those who are cautious of the will of God live by the motto, "The will of God, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.”

The only way you can understand the will of God is to understand the word of God.

The walk of the wise is careful. The walk of the wise is conscientious. The Walk Of The Wise Is Cautious

4.The walk of the wise is controlled

Verse 18 says, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit."

Paul is using the law of contrast to show that the walk of the wise in not controlled by physical stimulants, but with the spiritual reality of the fullness of God the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit implies two things:

The incoming of the Holy Spirit: Before the spirit can fill our lives he must enter our lives by that miraculous operation we call regeneration. Regeneration takes place when we repent of out sins, place our faith in the Lord Jesus, and surrender to him as Lord. At that moment, when we truly believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. So one cannot be filled until they experience the incoming of the Holy Spirit at regeneration.

The infilling of the Holy Spirit: Paul says, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit." The tense of this verve is present tense, which suggest that this filling is to be habitual, it is to be daily, and it is to be ongoing. We are to continuously be filled with the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the voice of this verb is passive, which suggest that it is the Holy Spirit is the one filling us. The Holy Spirit is acting upon the subject, which is the believer. He comes upon us; our role is one of surrender and yielding to the Holy Spirit’s control over our life.

Illustrate:

A young artist was trying to copy Raphael’s "Madonna and Child," one of the most beautiful pictures in the entire world. He went to Florence and gazed on it, then got his easel. Sitting down in front of it he began to copy it. As he looked at it his picture became a thing of beauty, too. But suppose that, instead of only copying, the spirit of Raphael could have entered and filled that young man: what a difference it would have made! When we come to the Lord Jesus he gives us His Holy Spirit to help us live as he would have us live, and the more the Holy Spirit controls our lives, the more wisely we walk. The more like him we grow. (Intermediate Young People)

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. This comes as we surrender and yield to the infilling of the Spirit in our lives. When we do this we are inspired or controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit controls the walk of the wise.

Paul goes on to show us three characteristics of the life controlled by the Holy Spirit:

Joyfulness: "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Those who are controlled by the Spirit reveal that control with joy and singing. Paul tells us elsewhere that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. A spirit controlled life is a life characterized by joy and singing.

I am reminded of the story about Paul and Silas when they were in Philippi. It was there that Paul grew impatient with a slave girl who was possessed with a demon so he cast the demon out of the girl. This did not go over well with the slave girl’s owner because they were making money of her demonic abilities. So an uproar was started and Paul and Silas were thrown in gaol. But they did not let that discourage them because Luke tells us that around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. They were revealing that the Spirit of God was controlling them. The next characteristic of a Spirit controlled life is thankfulness.

Thankfulness: Verse 20 says, "giving thanks always for all things always to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Spirit filled thankfulness is God exalting. It flows from a life that has contemplated all that God is in Himself, and all that he has done on behalf of the human race. Spirit filled thankfulness in Christ revealing. We give thanks in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ because it is through him that we can approach God. Spirit filled thankfulness is Time investing. Notice that Paul says that this thankfulness is to be always and in all things. If we are going to make the most of our time by walking carefully then we need to spend that time giving thanks for all things. When we do this we don’t leave room for grumbling or complaining. The third characteristic of a Spirit filled life is mutual submission.

Submissiveness: Verse 21 says, "Submitting to one another in the fear of God." Our greatest example of submission is our Lord Jesus Christ. It was Jesus, just before his death, who stripped himself so that he could wash the feet of his prideful and at arrogant disciples. He then went on to tell them the student is not greater than the teacher. What is true of me, who is greater, is true of you, who is lesser. The Spirit filled life is one of submission, looking out for the interest of Christ and for others. We are to submit to one another in the fear of God. Christians who claim to be Spirit filled and yet they are brash, assertive, and self-promoting are living a lie. Submitting to one another is loving one another the way Christ loves us.

Ephesians 5:18 How to Have a Spirit-Filled Life

Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

Every Christian needs to learn how to be Spirit-filled, so that they can experience the full measure of the Christian life.

Imagine a man saved his money for years to buy a brand new car. He parks it in his driveway, shows it to his friends, and sits in it all afternoon so people will notice his new car. But he doesn't know how to start it, so everywhere the car goes he has to push it. That may seem silly to you, but that's the way many Christians are with their spiritual lives. They know the Holy Spirit dwells in them, but they never have quite figured out how to be filled with the Spirit. They've got faith, but they end up pushing their faith around rather than allowing their faith to carry them. Paul tells the Ephesians, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). I believe many Christians have not understood that verse. They realize it warns us not to get drunk, but they don't recognize that it also encourages us to be filled. The Christian life is not just a matter of "don'ts", it is also a matter of "do's." Don't be under the influence of alcoholic spirits; do be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

1. The Reasons for Being Filled with the Spirit

We are called to be filled with the Spirit, as Stephen Olford has said, continuously, consciously, and conspicuously. Being saved is not a matter of what you do for God, but what God does through you by His Holy Spirit. If you do not know how to be filled with the Spirit, you will never fully enjoy what God has planned for the Christian life. There are several reasons why we are to be filled with the Spirit.

Obedience to God

God has commanded you to be filled. To not do so would be disobedient. Ephesians 5:18 is not just a good suggestion, it's a command! It is written in the imperative, which means it is necessary for you to do this. The Christian who is not Spirit-filled is living in rebellion against God. It is also written in the present tense, so it commands you, right at this moment, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And the command is written in the plural, so it is not just for pastors and missionaries but for all Christians everywhere. Every Christian should be filled, right now, with the Holy Spirit.

We Baptists have a tendency to carefully study the first part of the verse, about not being drunk with wine, and forget about the last part that calls us to be filled with the Spirit. Many people seem to think that getting drunk is the worst thing someone can do. But the way that I read the verse, it is a greater sin not to be filled with the Spirit than it is to be filled with wine. I've had far more problems from people in churches who were not filled with the Holy Spirit than with people who were drunk with wine! We would all be shocked if someone came up to the platform of a church drunk, but we should be more startled if a person came up to lead a church service without being filled with the Spirit. God has commanded us to be filled, and we ought to obey.

Obligation to God

Being filled is not only our obedient response to God, it is our obligation. You have obligations as a Christian. In Ephesians 5:19-20 Paul continues, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." In our worship life, we need to be filled with the Spirit because that's the only way to truly worship God. I have been in worship services where it came across as a tired and empty exercise. But a Spirit-filled worship time is life-changing and world-shaking. You have an obligation to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

You also have an obligation to be Spirit-filled in your wedded life. Verse 22 reads, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." The wife is to respect and love and submit to her husband as though he were Jesus Christ. That won't be done through human nature; our culture is filled with the selfishness and independence of feminism. Women are called to stand up for themselves and throw off the shackles of patriarchy. However, God has called women to submit to their husbands, so feminism is dead wrong. To truly submit, she will have to be Spirit-filled. It's her obligation. The Bible doesn't stop with women, however. Verse 25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." The wife is to submit to her husband as though he is Jesus Christ, but the husband is to love his wife as though he were Jesus Christ loving the church. Jesus loved sacrificially, giving His own life for the church. A husband ought to love his wife so much that he is willing to die for her, and he ought to show it by the way he lives for her. Most women wouldn't have any difficulty submitting to a husband whom she could see loving her that much. The problem I have is that I can't love as well as Jesus Christ loves. So I have to let the Spirit work His love through me. My wife is loved by God through me. She doesn't mind being my second love, because she knows that when I am Spirit-filled she receives the love of God through me.

Not only in your worship life and your wedded life are you to be Spirit-filled, but in your work life you are to be filled with the Spirit. In Ephesians 6:5 Paul writes, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." You serve your boss as though he were Jesus Christ. Even if he isn't a Christian, you serve him as though he were the Lord Himself. "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" (vv. 6-7). You ought to go to work with the same enthusiasm that you have for church. Your job is your temple of devotion. It is your lamp stand for witness. What better place to let your light shine? Imagine the impact we would have if all Christians on the job were known for being honest, careful, punctual, trustworthy, and hard working. Of course, that's not human nature. We are naturally slow, lazy, and critical. But you could make a difference in your office if you decided to serve others like Jesus Christ. You won't be able to do it under your own power, however. You'll need to be Spirit-filled.

You also have an obligation to be Spirit-filled in your war life. In Ephesians 6:10 we read, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God." We are in a spiritual battle, and the only way to win is to be filled with the Spirit. Our enemy is real and is active. He has marshalled the forces of hell against us, and will attempt to sabotage your life and your family. He wants to bring devastation to your home, your health, your happiness, and your trust in God. He is strong and powerful, and the only way you are going to win the war is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

You must be filled with the Spirit if you are going to fulfill your obligations in your worship life, your wedded life, your work life, and your war life. But you must also be filled with the Spirit if you are going to be effective in your witness life. Notice Ephesians 6:18&19: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." If you are going to talk with anyone about your faith in Christ, you must first be filled with the Spirit. Before I step into a pulpit to preach, I want the Spirit of God filling me. Without that filling, my words have no power to touch men's hearts.

2. The Requirements for Being Filled with the Spirit

Don't think of the Holy Spirit as a substance, but as a Person. Don't refer to the Spirit as "it," but as "Him." Jesus said, "When He is come He will teach you all things." The Spirit is a person, and you are His temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us, "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" He will fill you with His presence.

The first thing you must do is to make a complete commitment to Him. You open up the door of your heart, welcome Him in, and give Him complete control of your life.

The filling with the Spirit may be pictured to the filling of a glove with a hand. Without the hand in the glove, the glove just flops about uselessly. If you have no yet become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is not living His life out through yours because He is not yet within you. As soon as you become a Christian the Holy Spirit indwells you.

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

If you are a Christian, just like the hand entering a glove, the Holy Spirit of God has entered your life. How many of you here have the same problems I do in putting on gloves. I could never live in a cold climate. I get frustrated with gloves. I get two or three fingers stuck in the same hole. If there is a little hole in the glove, my fingers will stick out through it!. I am hopeless with gloves. The Holy Spirit, just like your hand as it fills out each of the fingers of the glove, wants to fill out each area of your life and make it godly. You allow Him to come into every area of your life: your marriage, your job, your friendships, your finances. You open it all up to Him. Your complete commitment to Him is necessary before He can fill your life. He must be allowed to enter and control each area of your life. Have you let Him do that in your life? In your worship life? In your wedded life? In your work life? In your warfare life? In your witnessing life?

There must also be a continual control. The Holy Spirit wants to be continually filling your life and controlling your mind. The reason Paul used the contrast of being filled with the Spirit to being drunk with wine is because they have a similar effect on people. At the day of Pentecost, the apostles were accused of being drunk with wine. Peter had to explain they weren't drunk with wine, but drunk with the Holy Spirit. When you are drunk, the alcohol takes over and controls you. You don't act the same because the alcohol has changed your behaviour. The way you walk and talk and think are all altered. You may become generous, or violent, or talkative. You are dominated by the influence of the drink. So it is with the Holy Spirit. He controls you, and you aren't the same anymore. Your walk, your talk, your generosity, and your courage are all changed by the Spirit of God. A person gets drunk by drinking and stays drunk by drinking more. Likewise a person commits themself to the Holy Spirit, then needs to continually be dependent upon the Spirit.

There must be a claiming of this filling of the Holy Spirit. There needs to be a conscious claiming of it. "Just as you received the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in Him," the Bible says. You received Jesus by faith, so you must continually walk in faith. Just say, "Lord, I open myself up to You. Thank You for filling me with Your Spirit. I'm not looking for a feeling, I'm just claiming by faith the fact that I am filled."

3. The Results of Being Filled with the Spirit

As you are filled with the Spirit, you will see it in your relationship to God, your relationship to your circumstances, and your relationships with other people.

Your relationship to God will be energized by a spirit of adoration. You'll want to praise God and sing to Him. You'll find yourself constantly singing and praising the Lord. You can't help but praise God when you are filled with the Spirit. Your relationship with God will be strengthened as you adore Him.

You'll also find you have a spirit of appreciation, giving thanks to God for all the wonderful things He has done in your life. Your outlook on your circumstances will change, because you will begin to see your life through the eyes of God. You will no longer be under your circumstances, but will praise God that each circumstance is a divine appointment to move you toward Christlikeness.

Finally, you will develop a spirit of accommodation, which will change your relationship to other people. You'll find the Spirit helping you to submit joyfully to others, as unto the Lord. You'll find yourself looking for ways to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. That's because the Spirit of God has changed your heart. Is the Holy Spirit filling you right now?

Ephesians 5: 18-33 A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN

The week before his wife turned 45, her husband asked her what she really wanted for her birthday. She thought for a moment and said, “I’d like to be 10 again.” So bright and early on her birthday, he got her up and they were at the gates of Australia’s Wonderland when it opened. He ran her from ride to ride. They rode the Pirate Ship, the Scream Machine, the Beasty and every other ride two or three times while eating ice cream and hot dogs waiting in line. Six hours later she staggered out of the park with a splitting headache and an upturned stomach. Then he took her to a crowded movie to watch Star Wars with all the special effects and the volume cranked up to the max. While there, he fed her popcorn, candy, and Pepsi. On the way home, he stopped by McDonald’s and bought her a Big Mac meal (super-sized) and then they climbed into all the passages of the little playground out front. Finally when she fell into bed that night, he said, “Well, do you feel like you are ten again?” She looked at him through one eye and groaned, “Actually, I meant dress size!”

Paul wrote in Ephesians And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

He was talking about how a godly life manifests itself as the Spirit of God controls our hearts minds and attitudes. He now deals with the most difficult subject of how the Spirit of God will change a man or woman in that most vital of relationships, the marriage relationship. Paul is saying, “don’t talk to me about a Spirit-filled life unless all your relationships are the better for it! Particularly your marriage!”

Some one mentioned to me after a service here about marriages. “Have you heard the reason why it’s very appropriate to think of a marriage as a window?” I said, “No, why?” He said, “The reason is that marriage is like flies on a window. Those who are outside want in and those who are inside want out!” Well, I don’t know if that’s really true. The destruction of marriages today so pervades the culture that the church today is now affected. All of us know the statistics. The divorce rate has risen 700% in this century. Fifty percent of those who marry will experience divorce in their lifetimes. If you say, well, those statistics, of course, are for the culture and society broadly. Obviously, the church’s statistics will be different.” But recent research indicates that the divorce rate in the church is little different from that out side the church. So it seems to me that this subject is profoundly important for us to consider. You may or may not be married. You may be thinking to yourself, “Oh why on earth did I come to church today, he’s only going to speak about marriage!” But today you know people relatives, friends, who are going through immense difficulties in marriage. You may say to yourself, “Well I wouldn’t want to pry into their problems!” But you may be the only helping hand they will ever have! They need you to listen carefully today to be able to counsel and encourage them with their problems. If you can’t hear for yourself this morning, hear for someone else!

You are not naive. Marriage is difficult. There will be struggles in our marriages. There will be tough times — so what else is new? I saw two weddings where the celebrant was up front in the garden with a couple, and he’s administering the marriage vows to them. “And do you, Ann, take Arnold to be your husband, to have and to hold, love and cherish, until things get a little tough, you get burned out and split? “I promise to be faithful as long as love lasts."

"All weddings are happy — it's the living together afterwards that causes all the trouble." How true! When all the sparkle and glamour of that beautiful day wear off, a period of "living together" begins. Various cliches are used to describe marriage. I once asked people what were the most important phrases they had learnt to say to keep their marriage secure:

• Yes, dear, whatever you say, dear. • It wasn’t my fault. • Did I do/say that?

• Hurry up. • Buy whatever you want. It’s okay. • I love you

• Sweetheart, I just called to say I love you.

• Don’t worry about dinner tonight; I’m taking you out.

• You look better now than when we first married.

My favorite is the one given me by a sharp lady who said with a twinkle in her eye: Have thine own way, dear, have thine own way.

For us to get a good handle on the Spirit filled marriage we need first to understand the Sciptural background to marriage.

1. The Scriptural Background to Marriage

Why marriage? Now that marriage has been in existence a few thousand years, someone ought to let the secret out. God has let the secret out. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

"And the Lord God said, `It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him." Genesis 2:18, NLT Defining marriage: "Two imperfect people, who are committed to an exclusive interpersonal relationship, intentionally pursuing mutual intimacy, under the approval & support of God's love." Why is marriage important?

Because married people are promised a blessing "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them..." Genesis 1:27-28a
Because mankind receives practical benefit "God... told them, 'Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.' And God said, 'Look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.'" Genesis 1:28b-29, NLT
Because our maker tells us marriage is good! "Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way. This all happened on the sixth day." Genesis 1:31, NLT

THE GOAL OF MARRIAGE IS ONENESS BY COMPLETENESS


Most marriages share two common defects: (1) reacting to the mate's weaknesses, and (2) evaluating the mate's performance. Both defects are characterized by competition, which basically consists of each mate keeping score of what the other has done wrong and of what he or she is expected to do. Competition gnaws away at the very foundation of the marriage union. Since the world in which we live thrives on competition, it is natural to fall into this endless competitive struggle. Everyone—whether a husband, wife, or child is seeking total fulfilment — to love and be loved, to respect and be respected, to be accepted and appreciated, and to be fully expressed as a person. How can a person experience this total fulfilment? There are two alternate plans: Plan A and Plan B.

PLAN A: IS COMPETING


Plan A is based upon competition and comparison, a never ending cycle of conflict and struggle to decide who is more qualified. Even though each man and woman is searching for total fulfilment and for full expression as a person, Plan A forces them down the steps of despair and emptiness. The man begins by asking himself who is more qualified. Because of the various answers he gets, he reasons from confusion. It is obvious to him that he is not the all-qualified one in his relationship with his wife. She is able to do many things so much better than he. Yet he has heard that he should be the head of the home. He's confused! A man who is unable to step out in confidence and understanding concerning his role as head will not step out at all. So the man retreats from leadership. What else can he do?

The next step the man takes toward despair is to resent his wife when she takes leadership in areas from which he has retreated. He is the one who retreated from leadership, true enough, but deep in his heart he knows he should be the head. But he doesn't know how! So he resents his wife for taking the responsibility he should have. This resentment inevitably turns into reaction against the wife. He will be the first to let her know what she has done wrong. Because of the bondage to competition and comparison, he cannot allow her to get ahead of him. Finally, the man runs elsewhere to find that total fulfilment he is craving. It is not to be found in his marriage; so he searches outside the home—other men, his business, sports, etc. Eventually this search may lead to another woman — one who gives him at least a thread of that total fulfilment and expression for which he was created.

The woman follows the same pattern of despair as the man. She, too, begins by asking the question, “Who is more qualified?" She comes up with a different perspective on things. Throughout her life she has heard that she must be submissive to the man because woman is inferior to man. This distortion of the man-woman relationship prompts the woman to reason from pride. Who is more qualified? “Well, I am in many areas” is the woman’s answer. Her next step is to release her husband from leadership. Since she is obviously more qualified in many areas and he does not seem to be too interested in taking leadership, the wife gives up on the husband and encourages his retreat. The woman then resents her husband for not being the head. Although her actions tend to indicate otherwise, the woman in fact needs her husband to function as head. If he fails to function in his responsibilities, she resents him. That resentment must surface; so the woman reacts against her husband. If anything fails under her leadership the first one she will blame will be him — for not being her head! Her final step is to run elsewhere in search for total fulfilment and expression. She may find a degree of fulfilment in relating to her children, women's groups, employment, or even another man. There is one thing for sure — she is running away from that malfunctioning Plan A home.

The most tragic victim of the Plan A home is the innocent child. Because of the foundation of competition laid by the parents, the child reasons from insecurity. His security is not founded upon the fact that his parents love him but that his parents love each other. Competition and comparison shatter this security. Through their example the child also is caught up in the competitive struggle. He competes by trying to prove he can do without his parents' advice; so he refuses to communicate. He gradually finds it impossible to share his personal life with his parents. The so-called generation gap is actually a communication gap. Following the example of his parents, the child begins to resent them. He primarily resents not having the secure relationship of his parents. This resentment turns into rebellion to prove his independence. Finally, the child runs elsewhere—away from home—to find total fulfilment. So, as a result of peer pressures he tries drugs and pre-marital sex, among other things, in order to gain some degree of attention.

Children often are affected tragically by Plan A. An increasing problem among children of Plan A families is homosexuality. In a book highly endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, Growing Up Straight (Stein and Day, 1968), Peter Wyden reveals that "research findings overwhelmingly indicate that homosexuals are not born but bred. . .. there is increasing agreement that homosexuals rarely (if ever) occur without some important (or controlling) contribution from parents. "Many parents underestimate their own importance as models for the behaviour of their children, especially while the children are still young. ... they should appreciate that a mother's acceptance of her role as a truly feminine woman will communicate itself to a daughter at a remarkably early age; and that a mother's respect for the father's role as head of the family will help a small boy grow up to be masculine. On the other hand, if parents themselves are unsure about what constitutes appropriate male and female behaviour today—or, especially, if they are competitive with each other—their children are bound to become confused about their own place in the scheme of things" (pp. 19, 20; 236, 237). This is not to say that all Plan A families will produce homosexual children. However, Plan A is always involved in the development of the problem. Plan A leads to despair and frustration. The man and woman continue to fight it out both silently and sometimes explosively. At best they may remain together through outstanding perseverance. But this is only existence. In a day when divorce is an easy option, two people caught up in the endless competitive struggle of Plan A soon give up all hope. Plan A simply does not work! Yet most marriages are entangled in Plan A without any knowledge of a better plan. Those marriages are not enjoyed but endured.

PLAN B: IS COMPLETING


God’s idea for marriage has always involved completing one another rather than competing. Completeness was God's primary theme in the pre-marital counselling of Adam. He went to great lengths to bring Adam to realize how Eve was to complete him so that they could reflect the image of God, reproduce godly children, and reign together in the spiritual warfare.

In order to view your mate as one who can complete you so that you can reflect, reproduce, and reign together, you must commit yourself to God's process of completeness. This involves following the pattern of Adam and the biblical principles set forth in Genesis 2:18-25:

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him." And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, *This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

A. Companionship It is important to understand the background of this passage. The Lord had just finished creating everything except the peak of his creation-mankind. When God fashioned the earth he said, *This is good!" He then created the plants and said, *This is good! Next came the animals and again the Lord said, "This is good!" Then the Lord created Adam and said, "This is not good!” No doubt Adam responded, "Who, me?" Imagine the shock! Adam was masterfully created with a secure vocation, outstanding working conditions, the Creator of the universe as his employer, and most of all a perfect relationship with his Creator, the God of the universe. In spite of this, God clearly declared the situation not good. "It is not good for the man to be alone."

Alone, Adam was unable to reflect God's image, reproduce godly children, and reign in the spiritual warfare, because he was incomplete. This is why the Lord immediately followed with the resolve, "I will make him a helper suitable for him." In other words, the Lord wanted to make a helpmate for Adam who would complement him and complete him in order to help him reflect, reproduce, and reign. Without that helpmate, Adam was alone!

First, in following the pattern of Adam you must realize your problem—-you are alone! You cannot reflect, reproduce, or reign without that mate, because God created male and female to function permanently together.

Aloneness is more than being unable to reflect, reproduce, and reign. There are emotional, spiritual, and physical needs that you have right now that you are expecting your mate to meet. You need your mate to meet your needs because God made you incomplete. To the degree that your mate does not meet your needs, you are alone!

B.Completion Second, in following the pattern of Adam you must acknowledge that only your mate is the perfect provision for your problem. After God declared Adam's situation "not good," he then set out to find a helpmate for Adam. But in doing so the Lord did a strange thing. In Genesis 2:19-20 he 'had Adam examine and name all of the animals in his search for a helpmate:

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a 'helper suitable for him.”

Why did God have Adam name the animals before giving him a wife? Primarily he wanted to demonstrate to the man the nature of his incompleteness; this would also give Adam a sense of appreciation for the woman God was about to create for him. Once Adam had experienced his aloneness through the naming of the animals, the Lord created the only one who could meet that need for completion—woman.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21-22)

Since God created woman from one of the ribs of the man, woman is part of man and therefore equal to him. It is important to note that woman is not less than man, nor was she created as an afterthought. She is a vital part of God's original design. Adam had a need that God provided for through Eve. You have a need — you are alone — and God has provided for that need through your mate. You must acknowledge that your mate is God's provision for your problem of aloneness. This is not to say that you have no need for other people, but that the marital relationship is unique, completing you to a degree that no other can.

C. Communication Third, in following the pattern of Adam you must verbalize to your mate that he or she is God's provision to complete you. When Adam awakened and saw Eve for the first time, he responded ecstatically: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:23)

Now that hardly sounds like Adam was ecstatic! The problem is the translation of the phrase "This is now," which is a Hebrew expletive having the force of "WOW!" It is the kind of total excitement that a person has when he sees the one he knows he loves and wants to marry. But, unfortunately, after the honeymoon is over this 'WOW’ experience often turns into an "OOH!” God never intended that there should be disintegration of excitement in marriage; he designed marriage to be dynamic and fulfilling, where both man and woman are excited about one another.

It is interesting that Adam did not react toward his mate as many do toward their mates. His response might have been, "Lord, she's a little chunky!" "She's too tall!" "Lord, she talks too much!" Why is it that Adam did not respond as many people do? I think the reason is that Adam realized something that most people do not. He realized that to reject Eve in any way was to reject God, because God gave Eve to Adam to make him complete. It was God who designed the one-plus-one relationship, who made the provision of woman to meet man's need for completion. As Adam did, you must receive your mate from God as a completer rather than reject your mate as a competitor. To reject your mate in any way is to reject God and his design.

“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

Moses describes three main principles of marriage —leave, cleave, and one flesh.

"Leave" is the principle of severance. It is a strong word meaning to forsake or abandon. Leaving means to break one's dependence upon one's parents. A woman expressing to me a series of heated arguments with her husband repeatedly referred to her mother. I assumed that her mother lived with them, but to my surprise the mother lived thirty miles away. The reason she was continually involved in their marital struggles was that her daughter never did "leave." Going back to one's parents cuts away at the oneness of the relationship.

Leaving is an attitude, not necessarily a geographical change. In the patriarchal culture of the Old Testament the newly married children often lived with one set of parents. Geographically they did not go very far, but in their attitude they were to leave. A husband and wife are not to snub their parents. The way you leave is important— with parental blessing (Proverbs 1:8; 4:1). You are moving from an obedience relationship to an honour relationship. Children (dependent ones), "obey your parents." Everyone, "honour your parents."

"Cleave" denotes permanence. It means to stick like glue. It is in the passive and should be rendered "to be cleaved by someone else." Who then does the cleaving! In Matthew 19:5, 6 it is clear that God cleaves: "What therefore God has joined [cleaved] together, let no man separate.” Therefore, when you commit yourself to the principle of cleaving you are committing yourself to be cleaved by God to your mate as the one who now potentially completes the image of God in your life. God’s design is to mould the weaknesses and the strengths of each into a full reflection of his image. This cannot happen through competition but only through completion.

"One flesh" is the principle of intimacy. The oneness that results from leaving and cleaving is to be expressed and experienced free from inhibitions: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:25)” This is not just a description of two people without clothes. The point here is that marriage is to be a close, uninhibited oneness even to the most intimate physical relationship. Total communication!

The results of committing yourself to oneness by completeness are significant.

The first result is that you are freed from reacting to your mate's weaknesses. When you realize Gods design is to bring about a oneness between man and woman (even through their weaknesses), you are released from the normal cutting response against your mate. You must view your mate's weaknesses for what they actually are — tools in the hands of God to fashion your marriage into a more complete reflection of his image.

Second, your mate is released from the feeling of being evaluated by performance. It is only as you view your mate as God's perfect gift to complete you that you are able to take him or her off the performance treadmill. You no longer treat your mate as a competitor. When a mate feels totally accepted, that very atmosphere of acceptance and excitement encourages greater performance than ever.

Third, this commitment is the basis for communication. A proper understanding of oneness by completeness eliminates the fear of not feeling accepted. In an atmosphere of acceptance honest and unthreatened communication can take place. When two people are competing with one another, each attempt to communicate sets up a threatening situation in which every statement must be guarded so as not to lose a given point. The object must be to win! Oneness by completeness removes that competitive spirit and thereby opens the door widely to free communication.

Fourth, it is the basis of role leadership. When we commit ourselves to oneness by completeness the competitive spirit is dissolved and we are set free to function as head and helpmate. you is not to doubt your mate but to doubt God. "And the two shall become one . . " God has a better design for marriage — the only one that works. God's plan for marriage calls for a spiritual head and a spiritual helpmate. Plan B is based upon completion—not competition or comparison. The best illustration of Plan B is the lock and key. No one thinks of asking the question, "Which is more qualified?" or 'Which is the greater of the two, the lock or the key?’ Nor does the key want to be a lock or the lock a key. Two locks cannot function properly — nor can two keys. Only one lock and one key that fit together can work properly. The same is true with the marital union. It only works when you have one head and one helpmate. Just as the lock and the key are not to be compared, so the husband and wife are not to be compared. Each has distinct responsibilities that complete the other, when functioning properly. The man is to be head in the marital relationship, but he is to be helpmate in other relationships. The man is to be helpmate in his relationship to God, to his government, and to his employer. In these areas the man must submit, but when it comes to his marriage he must function as the spiritual head. The woman is to be the helpmate in the marital relationship, but she may be the head in others. She is to be head over her children, over younger women, and in some instances a woman may be head over others in her vocation. But in her marital relationship she has no other option but to function as helpmate. Plan B is fulfilling. It is the answer to that deep craving for total fulfilment and full expression that every person experiences. Plan B is Gods plan and is therefore what God intended for man and woman to experience. There is no other plan that allows man and woman to be totally expressed as persons and to enjoy a beautiful oneness together.

Fifth, it is the basis for seeing your mate as right for you at this very moment. There has been no mistake. God says you are one—-complete. To doubt that your mate is right for

2. The Spirit-Filled Marriage

The CIA was interviewing three agents for a promotion. Two were men and one was a woman. The supervisor gathered the three candidates in a room and said to the first man. Here’s a pistol. The job is yours if you will go into the next room and shoot your wife. He thought about it and declined. He made the same offer to the second man. He immediately said, “no way.” Then, he made the same offer to the female agent. “The job is yours if you will go into the next room and shoot your husband.” She thought about it and said, “That’s pretty tough. I really don’t want to, but if it’s for my country, well, okay, give me the gun.” She walked out the door and the agents heard three gunshots and then they heard a racket like somebody was tearing up the room. They rushed into the next room, and the female agent was holding the splintered remains of a chair and her husband was lying on the floor. The chief agent said, “What happened?” She replied, “The gun only had blanks in it, so I had to beat him with this chair!”

This morning we examined the Scripture based Marriage. This Evening we examine the Spirit-filled marriage.

A.The Responsibilities Of The Husband


The Responsibility To Lead One misconception is to think of the head of the home as a dictator. He is not a person who gives all of the orders in a dictatorial style expecting every breath to arouse an immediate response. Some think of the head as one who must snap a bullwhip with constant demands. This is completely wrong! Another misconception many have is that they must be nearly perfect to be the head of their homes. We must get one thing straight right now. The man was not chosen as head because he has everything going for him or because he is outstanding. No matter how inadequate a man feels or actually is does not change the fact that the man is to be the head. Still another misconception of headship is to think that merely announcing oneself as head is sufficient. After being motivated to be the head of their homes many men go home and announce, “I am the head!" The wife does not believe him and no one else votes for him. So the man retreats. He substitutes the proclamation of headship for the function of it. Some men continue to express that the man is to be head and the woman is to submit in order to convince themselves of their own responsibility. We need more men to function as heads, not just to announce their headship.

Just what is a spiritual head? Headship includes two dimensions—God's representative authority and sacrificial lover.

As Gods representative authority in the marital relationship the man is in charge of the home. He is set up as authority over his wife and children. This is just one of many relationships in which there is a line of authority. God the Father is head over God the Son and the Son is head over the husband, who is followed by the wife and children respectively. God established a line of authority in all relationships for at least three reasons. (1) No one can assume all responsibilities. Each head needs a helpmate in order to get work done. (2) Waywardness is suppressed by the orderliness of a line of authority. Chaos reigns otherwise. (3) It enables human relationships to function more smoothly. In every relationship someone must be in charge or accountable to promote ease in decision-making.

To be God's representative authority is not only to be in charge of your home; God holds you responsible to Himself for your wife and children. What a sobering responsibility!

The Responsibility To Love As sacrificial lover the man is to give of himself totally. He is responsible to be the servant of his wife—to be actively seeking to meet her needs. This is not to be done when convenient, but always—sacrificially. Is there a woman in the world who would refuse to respond positively when treated in this manner?

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. (Ephesians 5:25-30)

The first command is to love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The result is that your wife will be set apart (sanctified), and your love will elevate her to be a glorious woman without spot or wrinkle.

The second command is to love your wife as your own body. This does not mean to love your wife as much as you love your own body, but to love her as your own body, because you are one. Paul uses two words to describe this bond of love —nourish and cherish. Nourish means to build up or give strength to. Cherish has the meaning of tenderly caring for with special emphasis on warmth and tenderness. Obedience to these two commands is not optional but necessary. The spiritual head must be the real shock-absorber for the wife and at the same time build her up tenderly to present a glorious woman.

A sacrificial love (v.25) While human husbands can never attain to the degree of love which was manifested by our Lord, they are clearly exhorted to have that same kind of love. Only a man who knows the personal application of the cross in his life can truly give and forgive. Sacrificial love means you give up rights to yourself and just what you want
`We are told in one of the Greek histories that the wife of one of the generals of Cyrus the King of Persia, was accused of treachery and was condemned to die. At first her husband did not know what was taking place, but as soon as he heard about it he rushed to the palace and burst into the throne room. He threw himself on the floor before the king and cried out, “Oh my lord Cyrus, take my life instead of hers. Let me die in her place.”

Cyrus, who by all accounts was a noble and extremely sensitive man was touched by this offer. “Love like that must not be spoiled by death.” Then he gave the husband and wife back to each other and let the wife go free.

As they walked away happily the husband said to his wife, “ Did you notice how kindly the king looked at us when he gave you the pardon?”

The wife replied “I had no eyes the king. I saw only the man who was willing to die for me.

Most of us will never have the chance to put love to that ultimate test. One wife rightly told her husband, “dear I know you are willing to die for me; you have told me that many times. But while you are waiting to die, could you just fill in some time by drying the dishes?”

A sanctifying love(vv,26-27)

A satisfying love (v.28) The husband is a savior of his wife in that he cares for all the temporal and physical needs that make married life. The term husband signifies "the band of the house," or the person who keeps the marriage together. ) The true husband will study his wife in order to be intelligent concerning every aspect of her life and needs. He will see to it that she is saved from all unnecessary endangerments and embarrassments, and he will study the true laws of considerateness, chivalry, and courtesy.

The five most common needs women desire of men (and why they're important!)
That personal affection is the way I know I'm loved "And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her... husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church." (Ephesians 5:25, 28-30, NLT) To meet the need, honor your wife with affirmation "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together." (1 Peter 3:7a, NLT)
That simple conversation is the way I know you're interested "I opened the door to my lover, but he was gone. I yearned for even his voice! I searched for him, but I couldn't find him anywhere. I called to him but there was no reply." (Song of Solomon 5:6, NLT) To meet the need, communicate to care for her "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

I’m careful of the words I say
To keep them soft and sweet.
I never know from day to day,
Which ones I’ll have to eat."
That openness and honesty is the way I know we're close "An honest answer is the sign of a true friendship." (Proverbs 24:26, TEV) To meet the need, trust her with your feelings "Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor." (Proverbs 31:11, TEV)

The wife said, “Will you love me when my hair turns grey?” “He said, “I’ve loved you through eight other colours.”
That financial support is the way I know we're secure "But those who won't care for their own relatives, especially those living in their own household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers." (1 Timothy 5:8, NLT) To meet the need, make it so your wife isn't required to work "Don't build your house and establish a home until your fields are ready, and you are sure that you can earn a living." (Proverbs 24:27
That family commitment is the way I know we matter "Some children were brought to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples told them not to bother him. But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.'" (Matthew 19:13-14, NLT) To meet the need, remember the best husband is a good father "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." (Ephes 6:4, NIV)

B. The Responsibilities Of The Wife


Abraham Lincoln had an interesting poem on the roles of men and women:

The woman was not taken from Adam’s foot we see

So he must not abuse her the meaning seems to be

The woman was not taken from Adam’s head we know

To show she must not rule him, ‘tis evidently so

The woman she was taken from under Adam’s arm

So she must be protected from injuries and harm.

A Submissive Relationship

This gets people upset. It suggests authority. Rock music key element is rebellion against authority. When you suggest submission to authority there is controversy. i.e. feminism.

Misunderstanding in the area of submission has caused a massive amount of emotional reaction. The most vocal of these reactions is the Women's Liberation movement. If submission actually means what many have made it out to mean the reaction would be understandable. However, most of what is portrayed as submission is absolute distortion. There are three primary misconceptions: (1) The slave girl. This is the image of the girl locked in her house with a ball and chain attached to her foot. Her life is basically dull and uninteresting. (2) Speechless. In this case the woman is forbidden to say a word—especially that which may be contrary to the boss. Her main job is to bow and await the master's next command. (3) Brain on shelf. The woman is not permitted to think for herself at all. Even if she were allowed she would probably be unable to do so. All of these are misconceptions.

No one like Christ elevated womanhood. In terms of equality and dignity the gospel is owed a great debt.

Submission is a biblical truth which is taught throughout the whole bible in a wider context than only the family.

The Greek word Upotasso for Submit = order. It was used primarily in the military where at every level in the army people were under authority, whether of the centurion, the chilliarch or the General or the Emperor.

Young men to older men 1Peter 5:5

The Members of a church to one another 1Peter 5:6

The church members to the pastors Hebrews 13

In the family in vs 21 all are to submit to one another .

Why does this cause friction and opposition Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Submission is recognising the order instituted by God in creation or providence and placing oneself under the appropriate authorities. You have authorities over you in government, in the Police force, in the work place, and in the home. Submission is the voluntary act where we choose to follow the leadership of someone we love or respect because of their position.

The same principle is found in the Trinity (I Corinthians 11:3). The husband is the head of the wife in the same way the Father is the head of Christ. Yet Christ and the Father are equal and one! Obviously there cannot be two leaders. The purpose of subordination is to allow two people to function as a team to complement one another instead of compete with one another. It is not primarily an action but an attitude.

We can say three things biblically based on this text about submission. Note the words “as to” in verse 22:“Wives submitting to your own husbands as to the Lord.” That implies that it is not a precise similarity, that her submission to her husband is not the same as her submission to the Lord. One, her subjection to her husband is seen as a part of her subjection to the Lord. Take the Lord out of the equation and you have what we called before “terrible tyranny.” God is a God of order. In God’s ordered society there is the matter of leadership and submission to leadership. In the area of nations citizens are called to submit to the Kings, or Presidents or Prime Ministers. 1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
Second, submission or subjection is not degrading. It does not indicate inferiority. Biblically understood, what we’re dealing with are men and women who are utterly equal before God. Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. We’re not talking about worth but role assignment. There is no basis for saying men are more equal before God than their wives. None whatsoever! Equality, absolute equality of status before God, but differentiation of roles is the truth expressed here. Why? Think about it. If a marriage is to last, it cannot be a democracy, because you have a split vote sometimes. The functionality of roles where one leads when the chips are down is the safeguard to longevity. Otherwise, when you come to an absolute impasse over a major issue, what is there to do but split? But it is the prior commitment of the wife, when the chips are down, to submit to her husband, not because she is less than he is before the Lord, but because out of the functional needs of the roles assigned by God. There is a need for working out this problem. So she submits on that basis. The contemporary women’s rights movement has correctly shown that there’s a tremendous exploitation of women in our culture today. There is! It’s wrong and Christians need to call it wrong. In many cultures the citizens of that culture have women as second-class citizens, in terms of voting, educational opportunities, employment, salaries. There’s absolutely no justification for a woman having an inferior place in society at all. Paul has been unfairly accused of fostering such inequality, but he does not promote it. In fact he does promote a diversity of roles, and that’s what he’s arguing for here.

Any time there is a major decision to be made you men have a responsibility to take your wife into that decision. God has given her a mind. She may know a whole lot more on many of these decisions than you ever will. You’d be a real dumby not to take her into the decision. Amen? You better say “amen” men or there’ll be no dinner tonight!

The third thing I’ll say about submission is that, in this diversity, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. What does it mean for Christ to be the head of the church? As head of the church Christ is the source of the church’s life. This notion signifies the dependence of the church upon Christ for its growth, for its strength. It also signifies that Christ is the leader of the church. He is the director of the church. He is its guide. So the husband ultimately is to lead and guide and give direction to his wife. Headship means the wife is willing to allow her husband to lead. It means that in the practical dailyness of life she is willing to put his interests, needs and desires ahead of her own. And it means that when the chips are down and a difficult decision needs to be made and all the mutual submission has gone on, then the husband must take the lead.

A Supportive Relationship

Of all the words that could have been used to describe the beauty of a woman's submission to her husband, the Lord chose a special one. He said it is "precious." Another way to put it is “Very expensive". This term is only used to describe a very few things that are most valuable to the Lord himself. It is used to express the value of the blood of Christ—probably the most precious thing of all to God. Can you visualize the Lord walking through his universe. As he walks he makes a comment concerning everything he has made—the stars, planets, animals, man, etc. Then when he comes to the woman who is submissive to her husband (functioning in her responsibility), he stops and says, "That is expensive!" "She's precious!" Now for me to say something is expensive means little. But for the God of the universe to say that something is expensive—that's expensive!

There is one final word that can never be overlooked in a proper understanding of oneness by responsibility. Whether or not your mate is functioning in his or her responsibility, you must function in your responsibility as head or helpmate. You can effect change in your mate by fulfilling your responsibility. On the other hand you have no hope for oneness if you wait for your mate's performance to change first.

A Sharing Relationship

The women’s lib movement tried to say there are no differences between males and females

There are obvious Physical Differences

There are Psychological Differences.

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.


When the husband loves the wife as Christ loved the church, then the wife is all the more willing to submit to the husband’s leadership.

Jesus Christ loved the church so much He died for it.

Remind yourself “my husband loves me chose me is interested in my welfare. He is trying to learn to understand me.”

When you put it in that spiritual perspective it produces liberation.

When is a train most free? When it runs in the field or when it submits to the tracks.

When the train submits to the guidelines laid down for it then it is most free.

When we submit to God’s guidelines then we become most free.

Basically, the mandate for the helpmate is to submit to the husband in everything. "In everything?" What is the boundary of total submission? The principle is total submission without personal sin. There are two striking illustrations of this principle in the Bible. The first is that of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham lied to Pharoah in telling him that Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Abraham's lie certainly would be described as "disobedience to the word" (I Peter 3:1). Sarah could have interrupted the conversation and let Pharoah know she was really Abraham's wife. She had every reason to do so. Because of her husband's lie, she knew she would be placed in Pharoah's harem and probably be in his bed that night. Instead of actually telling Pharoah herself, she could have gently nudged or glanced at Abraham to show her disapproval of his sin. This would have been a more subtle way of getting the truth to Pharoah. Contrary to the natural response of a wife in this circumstance, Sarah submitted totally to Abraham even in this objectionable venture, and God delivered her. However, if Sarah had been placed in the position of actually going to bed with Pharoah, the only right thing she could have done would have been to refuse. It is at the point of personal sin that a woman must refuse to obey. The line of authority is not a line of access to God. Everyone is responsible for his own sin.

The second illustration of this principle is that of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). Ananias lied to the church leaders concerning the price of some land he sold. In this particular situation the lie was against God as well. Since Ananias continued with his lie, he was struck dead by God. When Sapphira came in later Peter asked her the price of the land to see what she would say. Here was her chance. It was good to submit to her husband even in the midst of his lie, but now she was given the opportunity of telling the truth. This was not an issue of submission but an issue of personal responsibility before the Lord. She chose to lie and, like her husband, was struck dead. If she had chosen to tell the truth she would have remained alive as a living testimony to the principle of total submission without personal sin. Instead, her death is a testimony to her failure to live up to her individual responsibility to God.

The question arises, "VVhen can I disobey!" The only time disobedience becomes an option is when you are asked to do something directly contrary to Scripture. Neither your conscience nor what you "feel the Lord is leading you to do" are reliable guides. Numerous rules and lists of sins that cannot be found in the Bible form the focal point of the Christian's life style. I have heard many women complain that their husbands had forbidden them to attend the weekly ladies' Bible study. They genuinely believed they had the God given right to disobey their husbands in this matter, and some did. But attendance at ladies' Bible study groups does not even begin to be a biblical command.

For the sake of illustration, let's look at a situation where the husband asks the wife to do something that is clearly contrary to God's word. Suppose your husband asks you to engage in wife swapping, which is definitely wrong biblically, Your initial step should not be to explode. Try calmly to ask yourself instead, "What is the need in my husband's life behind the request he is making? Why does he want to engage in wife swapping? Could it be that he wants something more sexually than what he is experiencing with you? After discerning the need behind the request, suggest a creative way of meeting that basic need without resorting to contradicting Scripture. In this specific instance you must overwhelm your husband sexually — meet his sexual needs creatively. Then trust God as Sarah did. God may want to intervene and demonstrate his power. It is only after you have carefully taken these suggested steps and still are faced with the problem of disobeying God's word by obeying your husband, that you may disobey.

The beauty of total submission is something to behold. Peter expresses it in his first letter:

“And let not your adornment be external only—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, and putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” (I Peter 3:3-6)

Ephesians 5:21-6:9 "How the Spirit-filled life affects your Politics."

Now I know that the most dangerous thing a pastor could ever do is preach about politics. Every body knows that in any group there are going to be at least 2 or 3 political parties that people follow. And the easiest thing to do is to talk about something that might offend everybody here one way or another.

But as we have been preaching through Ephesians I have come under the conviction that the Scriptures, because they are God-breathed, are entirely relevant to EVERY area of life. The most common charge made against the Christian church in our times is that it is irrelevant to people's real problems, and does not help people where they live. The church is accused of avoiding the blood and tears and guts of life. One of the most frequently heard charges is that the church is interested only in preserving the status quo. As someone has put it, "Come weal or come woe, our status is quo." Let us be perfectly honest and admit that this is often too true today. There are churches that do not come to grips with life. Many churches of our day are interested only in singing hymns and performing religious ceremonies, or in spouting moral platitudes and reading Scripture, but not really engaging in the current burning issues of our society. Where that is true, however, it is invariably due to a departure from the wisdom and authority of Scripture, either by setting aside the authority of Scripture, treating it as a collection of myths unworthy of modern man's intelligence, or, equally deadly, mechanically accepting the authority of Scripture without attempting to carry it out into life. In either case, perception of the Bible's relevance to life is lost, despite the fact no book is as relevant as the Bible. In Chapters 4 and 5 of Ephesians, we have seen that the Apostle Paul comes to grips with our constant urge to lie, to steal, to gossip, to be hateful and bitter with one another. In every way, he brings Christian truth right down into life, and shows us how to live in a sick society. This is what these New Testament books are all about.

Tonight we come to a passage where the apostle takes up the matter of Christian relationships with other human beings. Here we will face squarely the great, burning problems of our own day. From Ephesians 5:21-6:9 the Lord through the Apostle Paul deals with such matters as climbing divorce rates, spreading juvenile crime, the squabbles between management and employees, aboriginal land rights,, and all the pressing issues of our day, for this passage brings us right to grips with these very conflicts. What does Scripture have to say on these matters?

Well, the amazing thing is, and it is truly amazing, that what the inspired apostle has to say as to the solution of all conflicts between individuals can be put into one brief sentence. That is exactly what he does:

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. {Eph 5:21RSV}

Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. NIV

Eph 5: 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. NKJV

Eph 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. NASB

Eph 5:21upotasso/menoi allh/loi$ en fo/bw| Xristou

(Copyright (c)1966, 1968, 1975, 1983 by the United Bible Societies)

Having said that, he has summarized everything he says in the next several verses, on through Chapter 6, Verse 9. He will simply apply this sentence again and again to various specific situations which a Christian faces in his relationship with other people. In saying, "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," the apostle is dealing with the basic remedy for all the conflicts in our day, or any day.

Now you are going to say, “Steve, you have totally lost it here! What on earth are you talking about? What do you mean land rights issues are dealt with in this passage? What do you mean this is the secret to the terrible, terrible social problems we are facing today?”

Please, lets not be under any illusion here. We face tremendous social crises which at times make me feel as though our whole nation is going to go under. I would not at all be surprised if it did. We complain of the violence, drug abuse etc that we see rampant in the USA. But here in Australia I personally believe our social problems are a greater threat to our personal and social security than the threats the USA is under. Which of you hasn’t been affected by break-ins and robberies. Several of my personal friends have spent time in gaol for robbery, car theft and other crimes. The drug and alcohol abuse problems our city here faces are on our doorsteps every day.

I do believe that what the apostle Paul has for us in this one verse not only works, but is the only solution that really works when we consider the social issues we face today.

1. Recognise Your Personal Responsibility To The Lord.

Paul addresses himself to Christians, and he says to us, as individuals, "Start right where you are. Do not try to solve your problem on the community level first, or on the state level, or on any other level of society, but start as an individual; start right where you are." All the admonitions and exhortations of Scripture are addressed to us as individuals. The amazing thing, as you read through the New Testament, is to note the total absence of any appeal for corporate action in solving these basic problems of society. The solution is always addressed to individuals. Start where you are by doing one simple thing: "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ."

In applying this, Paul will discuss the relationship of husbands to wives, which brings in the whole realm of marriage and divorce and the problems that arise there. Then he will take up the matter of children and parents, which brings in the whole issue of juvenile crime -- its causes and what can be done about it. Then he will take up the issue of management and employees, masters and servants, employers and employees. In each case, the remedy is always the same: "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ." You see, at the basic level our problems are all one. The selfishness of human nature.

I suppose there is not one of us here, old or young, who has not at some time asked himself the question, "How can I get the greatest satisfaction out of life? How can I get the maximum expression of my potentialities? How can I escape boredom and monotony in my life? How, in other words, can I fulfil myself?" When we ask the questions this way -- "How can I get satisfaction out of life? How can I fulfil myself?" -- we are asking as though we were the only person in the world, as though we were all alone in the world and were responsible only for our own self-development. "What will I get out of this? What's in it for me?" Look beneath the surface of the violence, the difficulties, the wranglings involved in land rights squabbles, or in the employees struggles today, and you see that this idea underlies each situation. Each group is saying, "What can we get out of this? What's in it for us?" Under this approach, the inevitable always occurs. Sooner or later, in my attempts to develop myself and to gain satisfaction, I find myself on a collision course with someone else who is attempting the same thing with the same motives. And I find that my efforts to satisfy myself are continually sabotaged by his efforts to satisfy himself. I feel that he is standing in my way and he feels that I am standing in his. This person may be the boss, it may be the husband or wife, it may be the children, it may be the man who works next to me at my desk, it may be the income-tax assessor, it may be anyone! We constantly find ourselves in collision over personal desires. I insist on my rights and he insists on his rights, and so we become enemies, obstacles to each other. We discover that we cannot even successfully arbitrate or arrange a compromise, except for relatively short periods of time, because the same old suspicions remain within us and soon the same old charges are hurled all over again. That is the pathetic pattern of life visible all around us, on every side, both individually and corporately. But the Apostle Paul takes up this matter and changes the whole pattern for Christians. First, he reminds us of the presence of a third party in every relationship we experience: "Subject yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ," {cf, Eph 5:21}

First, the Christian must never forget that, in every relationship of life, another person is present: It is not merely a problem of 'what I want' versus 'what you want.' There are not only the two of us present -- the husband and wife, the parent and child, the boss and employee. In every relationship, the apostle reminds us, a third person is present -- the Lord Jesus Christ. A non-christian does not recognize the universal presence of Christ. Their primary concern is 'what I want versus what you want,' but, to a Christian, this must always and inevitably be secondary. The great issue for the Christian must never be 'what I want versus what he wants,' but "What does Christ want me to do? What does he want out of this situation?" The great question must ever be, "What does Jesus Christ, living in me, expect of this relationship and how will He supply what is necessary for my real satisfaction as I depend upon Him.

Notice how Christ is seen in each relationship. Paul has brought this to our attention in Verse 21: Subject yourselves "to one another out of reverence for Christ." Then he brings up the matter of wives and husbands. "Wives," he says, "be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord," {Eph 5:22 }. Then, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church ..." {Eph 5:25 }. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord," {Eph 6:1 }. "Parents, do not provoke your children ... but follow the instruction of the Lord," {cf, Eph 6:4}. "Slaves, be obedient to your earthly masters ... as to Christ," {Eph 6:5 }. "Masters, do the same to them, remembering you have a Master in heaven," {cf, Eph 6:9}.

So, in each of these relationships, the apostle is careful to remind us that we do not face them alone. We must never think of them that way. It is not, "This person and I, opposed to one another," but "Christ is also here, and what does he want?" That is the first consideration.

If we do not recognize his presence, then, of course, we cannot submit ourselves to one another. If we do not recognize this third party who is present in every situation, then, of course, we see only the two of us. And our pride immediately gets in the way, and grips us, and holds us, and we refuse to yield, to back down. Our pride grips us so that we cannot give in. We soon invent all kinds of reasons and excuses for why it is perfectly right and proper for us to act the way we are acting, and why we cannot, under any circumstance, yield to the other.

But when we see Christ as caringly involved in whatever matter, then the question is no longer "What am I going to get out of this?" but "What does Jesus Christ want? What is he after in this? As his representative, as the one in whom he lives, the one redeemed by his grace, what responsibility have I to him in this situation?"

Here is where the difference comes. Our first responsibility is to obey Him and trust Him with the outcome of the whole situation.

2. Recognise Your Personal Responsibility To The Structures Of Authority

Paul list for us three areas of life where there is the highest potential for conflict and social disintegration.

In The Wedded Life

In The Family Life

In The Work Life

A few weeks ago we looked at the roles of husbands and wives in the wedded life. We saw that a wife can submit to a loving husband whom she trusts.

Likewise the husbands role of submission to his wife is one of rendering to her self-sacrificing loving leadership by taking the final responsibility for the family.

Tonight we will briefly look at the submission required within the family unit of both children and parents.

It is rather obvious that in our present world something has gone drastically wrong with this relationship. This is a day when juvenile crime is skyrocketing to heights never before known. We are weel aware of the damage done by those young people who attempted to burn down our church just two years ago, and those who broke into the church 2 moths ago. These things are happening everywhere.

Perhaps the most distressing thing about this whole matter of juvenile crime is the indifference or helplessness of parents. Everywhere parents wring their hands, and cry plaintively, "I can't do anything with him (or her)." There seems to be despair on the part of parents to do anything about this situation. They look to the police to take over the responsibility of raising their children. There is a breakdown in this major relationship between parents and children.

Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Now notice it is not simply "Children, obey your parents." It is "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." The key to the whole command is "in the Lord." As we saw in regard to the wife, who is to submit herself to her husband as unto the Lord, so it is with the child to the parent. Children are to obey their parents, for Christ's sake.

That is the point he makes. They are to obey, not because this is what their parents want, so much as because this is what the Lord Jesus wants. This is their responsibility to Christ. They cannot possibly fulfil their desire to belong to him, and to reflect his life, unless they are willing to obey their parents. This is the ground upon which the apostle puts it.

This word obey is, literally, the Greek word "stand under." It means to be under another's authority, and it is used in many places in the Scriptures as a military term. It is the same word that would apply to a soldier in obeying his orders. It means to follow orders. To put it very practically and plainly, it says to children, "Do what your parents say."

Now this is a most important matter, for all through the Word of God you find exhortations to parents to teach their children to be obedient, and to children to be responsive to that teaching and to obey their parents.

Proverbs is probably the most helpful book on child-raising ever written. Its whole theme is this: A child must learn the most important lesson of all, to be an obedient child.

b. The fathers Submission to his children

But subjection is always a two-way street. The Word of God never says to one party only in these relationships, "Subject yourself to the other." It says. "Subject yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ." Therefore, if it is true that children are to subject themselves to their parents by obeying them, it is equally true that parents are to subject themselves to their children. How? Paul goes on to show us in Verse 4:

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. {Eph 6:4}

It has been pointed out that this word translated Fathers could well be translated Parents because it includes both the father and the mother

That is the way a father subjects himself to his children -- by deliberately avoiding the things which make a child rebel. "Provoke them not to anger." The word for anger here is not the common word which describes irritation or temporary upset, for obviously in any home even proper discipline can sometimes make a child angry. Children are not mature, they do not always react as they ought, and even necessary discipline will make a child angry. This word is not saying anything against that. The word used here means "anger which results in a rebellion." It is the word from which we get our English word paroxysm. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to the place where they completely lose control and break out against authority." That is the word to the parents.

What causes this? There are two things which cause rebellion in children, two things which provoke a child ultimately to rebel against his parents: Indulgence and harshness. These two things are the negative of the two things he instructs the father to do: "Bring them up in the discipline and the instruction (or the exhortation) of the Lord." The opposites of these are indulgence and harshness. Those are the things which provoke a child to wrath. During the last century the father was often a tyrant in his family. Children had to toe the mark and often had very little contact with their parents in a loving relationship. Consequently there was a breaking out against this. In our day it is the other way around. We have swung to the extreme of indulgence. We give our children everything and let them have their own way, let them raise themselves.

He’s Talking About Devotion

Fathers, bring them up

He’s Taking About Discipline

Fathers, , bring them up in the discipline

He’s Talking About Direction

Fathers, bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.

b. Submission In Our Work Life

It is a coincidence -- not planned -- that in our study of the relationships of the Christian the consideration of employers and employees has fallen after the street march yesterday by the Unions in Newcastle for May Day.

Paul begins with the word "slaves" rather than "employees," and it is, of course true that in the 1st century the relationship was that of slaves and masters. At the time the apostle wrote this letter it has been estimated that one-half of the population of the Roman Empire were slaves and many of them were Christians. The Christian message did not come first to the upper or higher classes; it came among the working people and even among slaves. Many of these slaves were highly educated people who had been captured in the war and brought to other parts of the empire and made slaves. They were not unintelligent, but they were slaves, literally in bondage to others. It was among these that the Christian message found its initial reception.

There were also among them some who were in the category of masters who were likewise Christians. As they came together in worship, as the Christian community, they were taught from the Scriptures that in Christ there is neither bond nor free. There is no slavery in Christ, there is no race, there are no sexual distinctions. The Christians all met together as brothers in Jesus Christ. They found that the ground is absolutely level at the foot of the cross.

But, of course, when they went back to their homes, and to their work, the question arose: "Well, what about us now? Are we to continue this relationship as brothers in our work? Does this mean that we are to be free from any bondage, or responsibility, to another Christian?" This question soon came up and had to be settled, and this is what the apostle is doing here. He is settling this question and declaring the great principles that apply for all time in the relationship of an employer to an employee.

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Eph 6:5-9

5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

How does submission work out here with slaves?

First, there is activity which is required by this relationship. Second, there is an attitude in which that activity is to be performed. And, third, there is an awareness of a fundamental principle at work that keeps this whole relationship from degenerating into tyranny.

This is what we desperately need to hear today. I suggest that there is nothing more important to consider in the realm of economics or of human relationships in the world of capital and labor than this great section of Scripture. Here we have set before us the principles which, if observed, would resolve these great conflicts that tear our nation apart from time to time.

Work Obediently "Be obedient to those who are your earthly masters." This is the same Greek word that occurs in Chapter 6, Verse 1, with regard to children. "Children, obey your parents." We looked at that before. It means to follow orders. It is a military term, and it means that Christian employees are under obligation to those who hire them to do what they say. It is really very simple. Do what the boss says, obey him.

Paul is dealing with the most sensitive and hate-filled relationship that ever existed in humanity, the institution of slavery. If ever there was an opportunity for the apostles, and even for the Lord, to have spoken out against an entrenched evil, an evil obviously apparent in society, it was against the institution of slavery. But the amazing thing is that

The New Testament says nothing to encourage slaves to rise up and revolt against their masters. It says not one word to incite rebellion or overthrow the yoke. Not a thing is said about organizing these downtrodden people who occupied half of the population of the Roman Empire to overthrow their masters. No appeal is made to the masters to meet with these slaves and work out a way to free them. No pressure is brought upon them to accomplish this in a civic way. The Roman Empire is estimated to have had as many as 60,000,000 slaves. It is also estimated that from one-third to one-half of the populations of large cities like Ephesus and Rome were slaves. Just as Philemon in the Colossian church was a master, so some in the Ephesian church were also masters.

It is true that many slaves were horribly mistreated. They were considered as property. Aristotle, in his Nicomachian Ethics refers to a slave as “a living tool.” Gaius, the Roman lawyer, confirmed the right under Roman law that a slave could be bought and sold and was not a legal person. In the Institutes he says, “We may note that it is universally accepted that the master possesses the power of life and death over the slave.”

Yet the interesting thing, as we look back upon twenty centuries of history, is that slavery has been largely eliminated in the world, and the force that did it was Christianity. But is was by another principle, not by direct attack. As we have ample evidence of today, direct attack only serves to perpetuate strife and violence and even to increase it. The black backlash creates a white backlash, and the white backlash, in turn, creates a counter black backlash, and so it goes.

Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire begins with these words:

While that great body (the Roman Empire) was invaded by open violence or undermined by slow decay, a pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself into the minds of men, grew up in silence and obscurity, derived new vigor from opposition, and finally erected the triumphant banner of the cross on the ruins of the capital.

That is how Christianity threw slavery out of the Roman Empire. It was not by direct appeal. And today, unless we wake up to the fact that the methods we are employing to solve these problems only perpetuate them, we are in for a greater siege of violence than we have ever seen before. The modern method only causes the power structures to shift from one side to the other, in ceaseless cycles. First power is on the side of the labor, then it is on the side of management, then it is back on the side of labor. Across the centuries the conflict rages back and forth, the power structure moving from one side to the other and merely perpetuating the conflict.

Now, there is a better way, and the apostle puts his finger on it. It is a way that takes faith, because it does not look like it is the way. But in the realm of history, wherever it has been tried, it has always worked. It is the way that Paul specifically states: "Employees (slaves), be obedient to those who are your earthly masters." That is the activity.

Work Respectfully "with fear and trembling." The fear and trembling is not to be directed toward the boss! He may be an ogre, he may be an unjust man, but no Christian is ever exhorted to be a trembling, spineless, chinless individual toward the boss. The fear and trembling that is mentioned is to be directed toward himself. It is a healthy recognition of the danger of a Christian going along with the philosophy of those around, and acting as they do, thus destroying the possibility of God working through him and the power of God being released in that situation. It is fear and trembling lest we abort the greatest force of all in these situations of strife and difficulty.

Work Sincerely "in singleness of heart, as to Christ." What does "singleness of heart" mean? It means without divided loyalty, freedom from the tension that is created by conflicting loyalties. In other words, settle it once and for all in your mind that you are not there merely to please the boss, you are there to please the Lord. You are to carry your relationship of concern for the Lord to your work as well as to your church. You are to work as unto Christ, and your supreme concern is your loyalty to him. If you are trying to please two different forces, those around you and the Lord, you will be torn apart with a conflicting tension that never lets up. So he says, obey "in singleness of heart, as to Christ."

Then Paul expresses the same idea negatively, "not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers..." I heard of a man applying for a job. The manager reviewing the application said, “I'm sorry I can't hire you, but there isn't enough work to keep you busy.” The applicant replied, “You'd be surprised how little it takes.”

I heard of a farmer who had several boys. He worked those boys extremely hard around the farm. One day one of the neighbours pointed out that it wasn't necessary to work the boys that hard in order to raise a crop. The farmer, quietly but firmly responded, “I'm not just raising a crop. I'm also raising boys.”

Work Wholeheartedly , "... but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Our work should be done whole-heartedly because we understand that we are working for the Lord. In Colossians 3:23 we read, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” 1Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”There's a story about Sir Christopher Wren, one of England's greatest architects. Approximately three centuries ago, when he was building St. Paul's Cathedral, he was said to have taken a walk among the workers, most of whom did not know him. To one he asked, “What are you doing?” The man replied, “Anyone can see I'm cutting stone.” He put the same question to another and was told, “I'm earning five shilling two-pence a day.” He moved on and asked a third, who replied, “Why, I'm helping Sir Christopher Wren build a great cathedral to the glory of God.”

Once again, Paul says, "rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men."

Four times the idea is put forth: never work for men, you Christians, work only for God. You can work under a man's direction, but remember that you are working unto the Lord, that your daily task is work that he has given you to do, and you do it unto him.

There is to be an awareness, Paul says, of an unseen but powerful fact: "knowing whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is slave or free." That is a principle that is always at work in any situation facing a Christian.

"Knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free." It does not make any difference what your status in life is. When work is done unto Christ, he undertakes to correct the conditions that make for unhappiness, or else to make recompense on another level. Notice that he does not promise always to correct the condition, because God's will is that Christians must sometimes live as his Son lived, under very difficult conditions.

Employers are to submit to their employees.

In the parallel passage in the letter to the Colossians the apostle puts it this way: "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly," {Col 4:1a RSV}. That is what this means.

The command to employers concerning employees is to do the same things to them. Here is the Golden Rule in action. Employers are to treat their employees as they would want their employees to treat them

How do you submit to one another?

Learn To recognise The Third person in all our relationships. Remember He is Lord.

Remember He is Loving

Remember He is Leading. Trust Him by your testimony of submission to work out the problems that cause you distress.

When Christian slaves in England submitted their case to the Lord and served their masters looking to the Saviour for their release, God raised up a William Wilberforce. Their release from slavery was entirely peaceful.

When Employees submitted their wage case to the Lord during the great evangelical revivals in England and served their employers, God raised up a Methodist minister to begin Unionism bringing in fair wages. When employees do not submit to the Lord and leave their case with him, then rebellion and harm often results.






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