Recap: In Ephesians 4 we learned that faith in Jesus Christ is leaving our old lives of sin behind us to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, then we had some very practical teaching on what that looks like in everyday life. We have to stop lying, and tell the truth, stop stealing, and give to the poor, and stop being hateful and be kind to one another, etc.
Then, at the beginning of Ephesians 5 we learned that we need to be imitators of God and walk in love, which is, in reality, what was just described for us in detail in Ephesians 4. If we want to be like God, then we have to put our old lives of sin behind us, and we have to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will and to his ways, becoming like him in death to sin.
And, then we were instructed that sexual immorality and all kinds of impurity should not even be named among us. There should not even be a hint of such among the people of God. And, then we were warned to not be taken in by those who would try to tell us we can continue in sinful practices and still have the hope of eternal life with God. For, it is real clear here that we cannot make sin our practice and still inherit eternal life with God.
Instead, we are to walk in the light as Jesus is in the light, and we are to find out what is pleasing to God and to do that. And, this means that our walks, our lifestyles, the way we conduct our lives day in and day out should be for the glory of God and according to his will and purposes for our lives, and we should not be those who partake in the fruitless deeds of darkness.
Ephesians 5:17 ESV
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
For the very reason that is stated above, i.e. that if we walk in sin, according to our flesh, and we make sin our practice, we will not inherit eternal life, and that the only way to eternal life with God is through death to sin and living to righteousness, we need to not be foolish (stupid, unwise).
For, if we ignore this teaching in scripture, and if we choose to go after the “feel good” messages of today which say that isn’t so, and that all we have to do is to make an acknowledgment of Christ as Savior, but it doesn’t have to impact our lifestyles, then we are definitely lacking in good sense and judgment, and our foolishness will cost us our lives. It is guaranteed!
So, we need to understand what the will of the Lord is. How do we do that? We need to read the Bible cover to cover. We need to especially read the New Testament of the Bible from beginning to end, word by word, in context. For, so much of the false teaching of today is a direct result of people taking scriptures out of context to make them say what they want to hear, which then appeases their guilty consciences.
So, the only way we are going to know God’s will, so that we can do God’s will, is if we study the scriptures in context, and if we compare scripture with scripture where they have a common thread. For, we can make up all kinds of doctrines if we cherry pick scriptures that sound good while we ignore the ones which don’t fit in with our theology or with our lifestyles.
Ephesians 5:18 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…
This not getting drunk on wine is not to be addressed solely to the subject of drunkenness related to alcoholic beverages, though. For, in context we can see a running theme here, and that is that we should not lack in good sense and judgment or in discretion. We should not behave stupidly and recklessly, living our lives out of control or under influences other than the Spirit of God. For, we can get “drunk” on lots of different sins.
So, instead of living out of control, under the inebriation (intoxication) of sin of any kind, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be under his control, instead (See: Rom. 6:1-23). For, once we were enslaved to all kinds of sins, but via God-given faith in Jesus Christ we have been delivered from our bondage to sin and we have been freed to become slaves of God and of his righteousness. And, this is what it means to be filled with the Spirit.
Then, when we are no longer under the control of sin, but we are now under the control of God and of his righteousness, we can be used of God to minister his love and grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to encourage them in their walks of faith and obedience to our Lord.
And, this is so critical to the building up of the body of Christ in faith so that we are not led astray by men in their deceitful scheming, but so we, as one body, grow in Christ to maturity in Christ, as each part does its work (Eph. 4:11-16). And, this means we are all necessary, and we are all needed.
Ephesians 5:19-21 ESV
…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The purpose of these psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is not to entertain. They don’t have to have a really good sound or beat or orchestration. They don’t have to sound professional by human standards. The singers don’t have to have great voices, either. That is not the object of them, and we would all do well to understand this, or otherwise we will miss out a lot on what God has for us in the way of encouragement to our souls.
They are also not to all have feel good happy, happy messages in them or all of them be praise and worship songs, either. These are messages, like sermons, which are meant for our instruction, for the building up of one another in the faith, and they can be to correct error, to warn against sin, to call for repentance, and to encourage one another in our walks of obedience to Christ. This is their purpose, which is much like many of the hymns of old which were rich in faith and in doctrine, too.
But, even these songs we address to one another are to be for the praise and glory of God. And, even in these songs we can worship Almighty God. In fact, the old hymns of the faith are often much more worshipful of God because they are rich in doctrinal truth, and they are not filled with a lot of fluff.
And, also, worship of God is first and foremost us laying our lives down on the altar as living sacrifices, living lives which are holy and pleasing to God. It is not being conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but it is being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and to God to walk in his ways and in his truth. And, then we can truly worship God in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, giving thanks to God in all things.
And, as we share with one another these psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, we are to do so in submission to one another out of reverence for Christ. But, this submission does not mean we compromise the truth of scripture or our morals or our spiritual convictions based on the teachings of scripture, for that would not be out of reverence for Christ.
Instead, what this means is that we are to be considerate of one another, respectful, and honoring of one another, by listening to one another in what we have to share with each other. And, we should take into consideration what each person has to share with the body of Christ, too, unless, of course, what an individual is sharing is clearly heresy.
And, we should then pray about what the others shared with us, asking the Lord to teach us what he wants us to learn. For, this would be for the glory and praise of God.
The Peace of Christ
An Original Work / October 31, 2011
Based off of Col. 3:1-17; Eph. 5:19-20
Let the word of Christ dwell in you,
As you teach with all wisdom,
Teaching one another to not
Think on earthly things;
Think instead on things above,
Where Christ sits with God, in love,
Saving us from all of our sins,
Cleansing us; made new within.
Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts,
As you sing songs unto Him;
Speak to one another with psalms,
Hymns, and spir’tual songs;
Always giving thanks to God,
In the name of Christ, His Son,
Who gave His life up for us all,
And gave us eternal life.
Let the love of Christ within you
Rule in your hearts; grace within,
Purifying you from your sin,
Make you whole within.
Forgive as the Lord forgave.
Show His kindness ev’ry day.
In word or deed, whate’er you do,
Glory give to Jesus Christ.