February 16, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Put off the corrupt sinful nature, and put on the new Godly nature! That’s what we are instructed to do in Ephesians 4:22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
What follows through the end of the epistle to the church at Ephesus is what a Godly life should look like (or not look like)! The problem is, too many who call themselves Christians do not take seriously the Lordship of Christ! And they excuse such disobedience in their own lives and in the lives of believers around them as Little and/or Acceptable Sins!
It all comes down to God’s will (what He wants) verses ours! Paul challenges us in Ephesians 5:17 to “…understand what the will of the Lord is.” And then he spells out that will of the Lord in what he writes following:
Ephesians 5:18 – “…do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation….”
• The apostle says that drunkeness leads to dissipation! The Greek word is ἀσωτία (pronounced as-o-tee’ -ah), means, “…an abandoned, dissolute life.” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions).
• I looked up on the web concerning statistics about addiction in America today: addictioncenter.com, abcnews.go.com/US/addiction-numbers/story, and usatoday.com /story/news/nation-now/2016/11/17/surgeon-general-1-7-us-face-substance-addiction. These are just a few of the facts that I found:
✞ 21 million people, age 12 and older, are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs! (Alcohol is considered a depressant drug).
✞ Every 19 minutes a death occurs from opioid or heroin overdose!
✞ 241 people die every day in alcohol-related incidents!
✞ The annual national cost of addiction (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs) is 700 billion dollars!
• Apparently, addiction (in this case drunkenness) was also a problem in first century society!
The Christian alternative to being drunk with wine is to “…be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit! What is then to flow out of such a filled life is the subject of the next three verses – Ephesians 5:19 through 21:
…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks
always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
• Paul mentions two directions of communication here, and three things we ought to be doing:
✞ Speaking to one another – I think the mention of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs means the kind of communication to one another that lifts up and edifies each other! Paul has mentioned before in this epistle (see Ephesians 4:25, 29; 5:4). Too often we give excuses for someone with a sharp and degrading tongue as one who “…just always speaks their mind! At least you know where they stand.”
✞ Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord – There ought to be a song within our heart if we keep in mind that we have “…Christ within [us]…the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27). Sometimes that melody is a mournful song sung through tears when sorrowful trials come into our lives. But even then, James tells us in James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Not that a severe trial feels good, but we count it all joy because God is doing a good work in us through that trial! (See the September 11, 2013 blog – Is It OK To Ask Why?).
✞ Giving thanks always for all things to God – For the same reasons express just above, we can thank God for all things and in everything! (See Romans 8:28, 29; I Thessalonians 5:18; also the blog from November 11, 2013 – …In And For All Things).
• Submitting to one another in the fear of God – How often do we hear others in our churches say, “He’s not telling me what to do!” or “Where does she get off trying to give me advice!” And we tolerate such ungodly independence as Acceptable!
✞ We have discussed Hebrews 10:24 before: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” The idea behind the word consider is “…to observe fully…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary), “…to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon…” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions). This might be thought of as poking your nose where it doesn’t belong – into other people’s lives! But, as Christian brothers and sisters in Christ (as members of the one Body of Christ – see I Corinthians 12:12-27) we, in love, are called to examine closely each other in order to stir up love and good works! It is quite alright to ask one another, “How are you doing? ”
▸ “Are you reading your Bible every day? ”
▸ “Do you spend time in prayer every day? ”
▸ “Are you regularly attending worship services? ”
▸ “Are you sharing the gospel with others? ”
▸ “Are you tithing as you should be? ”
…And so on.
✞ Remember what it says in Galatians 6:1 and 2 (International Standard Version):
Brothers [and sisters], if a person is caught doing something wrong, those
of you who are spiritual should restore that person gently. Watch out for
yourself so that you are not tempted as well. Practice carrying each other’s
burdens. In this way you will fulfill the law of the Messiah [which is to love
one another – see John 13:34, 35].
To do this, we must keep a close and loving eye upon each another!