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Sunday, October 16, 2016 pm                                                Ephesians Index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS
Walk in Wisdom
Ephesians 5:15-21

 We are continuing our study of Paul’s practical applications for the brethren of Ephesus.  The past 2 lessons we have noticed how we are to walk in love and walk in light.  Tonight, we want to notice a third way that Paul says we are to walk – in wisdom.

 I.                     Walk circumspectly (15)

a.       Circumspectly – (NASB, ESV – carefully) mindfully.  Deliberately or carefully.  With accuracy.  We sometimes speak of someone being aware of their surroundings
BDAG, strict conformity to a standard (cf. Luke 1:3 – perfect understanding, Acts 18:25-26 – Apollos taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.  The way of God was explained to him more accurately.  1 Thess. 5:2, you know perfectly that they day of the Lord comes as a thief…
Paul’s point here is that we must carefully and deliberately ensure that we are walking accurately as God instructs us.

b.       Not as fools, he is not foolish (or unwise) in his walk. 
The word fool (ἄσοφος,
asophos), is the opposite of wise and literally means not wise or unwise.  In the case of this text, it is one walking carelessly and without the desire to understand.  The Old Testament speaks of fools in passages such as, Psalm 14:1 – the fool has said in his heart there is no God.
 Proverbs 1:7 says that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov. 1:22, Fools hate knowledge.
Prov. 14:9, fools mock at sin.

c.        But as wise – Instead, he walks as one who is wise (with wisdom) (σοφός, sophos) – applied knowledge.  Wisdom is not mere knowledge, nor is it the full comprehension of something (that is wisdom).  Walking as wise means you APPLY to your life what you have discerned. 
Wisdom in the life of a Christian cannot be overstated. 
Colossians 4:5 calls for us to walk in wisdom toward those who are outside.
Proverbs 15:21, “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.

d.       Let it be understood – our walk as Christians is not one based upon emotion and feelings (i.e. I think…), rather it is based upon knowledge that we seek to learn and apply to our lives.    THAT is how you walk accurately and carefully, in a manner fully pleasing to God.

 II.                   How do we walk in wisdom? (16-21)

a.       In our text Paul mentions several things that can help us walk in wisdom.  While not an exhaustive list, it gives several points that will help us walk as we ought to walk.

b.       Redeem your Time – the word redeem means to buy up something (BDAG).  We think of it in terms of paying the price for someone, such as a slave. 
Secondly, there is the idea of making the most of an opportunity. 
With this idea, the term is used in our text to imply that our time is precious and needs to be used productively.  In fact, one source related the word to use something efficiently. 
Our time is a valuable resource that cannot be wasted.  Time wasted cannot be redeemed.   And with that might be lost opportunities.
In terms of wisdom, it doesn’t come easy.  You don’t just wake up one day and you’re wise.  You don’t get wisdom by being lazy and wasting your time watching television or other trivial pursuits. 
It is learned.  First there is the knowledge, then there is the effort to consider what you learn (cf. Phil. 4:8 – meditate).  Then there is the application of that knowledge.  Wisdom come with experience, with failures and persistence. 
WE are given a reason why we need to redeem our time – because the days are evil.   Don’t expect this world to give you heavenly wisdom.  AND don’t sit around WAITING for things to improve before you do what you should be doing.  The evilness of the times makes it IMPERATIVE that we use our time wisely NOW, while we still have opportunity. 
IF you want to be wise in God’s eyes, take time to act wisely.

c.        Understand what the will of the Lord is

                                                     i.      Do not be unwise – the word here is different than fools above.  But it is word that means to act foolishly.  It describes one who lacks good judgment or prudence. 

                                                   ii.      Understand the will of the Lord – We need to be using good judgment in all the decisions that we make.  That is why Paul challenges us with this statement.  In this we need to consider 2 things:

1.       We need to go to the proper source to discern the will of the Lord.  That would be His word -  what is going to be your source of knowledge?
Colossians 1:9, Paul prayed that they be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Romans 12:2- we are transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2.       We need to know that we CAN understand it!  God expects us to understand His will!  Cf. Ephesians 3:3-4.

                                                 iii.      Notice 1 Peter 2:25 – rather than being unwise, act with wisdom so that you can put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

                                                  iv.      If we are interested in the will of God, we have to go to His source and not the wisdom of men – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

d.       Be sober

                                                     i.      Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation – here Paul gives a compelling reason why we should not be drinking mind altering beverages (or drugs or foods).  They lead to reckless or senseless behavior (dissipation)
Anyone who has ever had a problem with drinking or substance abuse knows that it NEVER solves your problems and quite often makes matters worse or more complex.
It doesn’t make you wiser!   Solomon said, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” – Prov. 20:1

                                                   ii.      Paul’s point is a need to be alert and sober. 1 Thess. 5:6-8 – do not sleep, but watch and be sober.
Romans 13:13 calls for us to walk properly, as in the day – not in revelry or drunkenness.
1 Peter 5:8 – be sober so that you can be aware of the devil and his ways.

                                                 iii.      You will not gain wisdom while you are in a state of stupor.  You will not gain wisdom while in a state of rage.  Wisdom comes from controlled contemplation.

e.       Be filled with the Spirit

                                                     i.      Instead of being filled with wine and seeking escape through worldly pursuits, fill your life with that which comes from God.

                                                   ii.      Being filled with the spirit is a reference to being influenced by His will.  Let the things of God “guide you into all truth.” (cf. John 16:13)
Rather than living by the works of the flesh, you are living by “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Romans 8:1 speaks of there being no condemnation to those in Christ who walk according to the Spirit.   See vs. 5-6 also.
Colossians 3:16 gives a good parallel to our text – “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly…”

                                                 iii.      NOTE: Be reminded that a life with purpose is one that has direction.  It is not an empty shell!  When you cast out ungodliness, you need to replace it with godly things.
Let your wisdom come from the directives of the Holy Spirit.

f.        Worship God together –

                                                     i.      Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…

                                                   ii.      Worship, while directed toward God, can build us up (edify us).  Paul emphasized that in 1 Corinthians 14.   In that text, he challenges us to make sure what we do leads to understanding!  I.e. 1 Corinthians 14:15 – sing and pray with the spirit and understanding.
Preaching and teaching is designed to instruct us.  To give us the knowledge we need to apply toward wisdom.

                                                 iii.      NOTE: This is a passage that tells us HOW to worship God in song – singing with our voices - we don’t need instruments.  They don’t give us wisdom!

g.       Giving thanks always for all things

                                                     i.      Gratitude is a quality frequently emphasized in scripture.  
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in everything.   Philippians 4:6, in everything with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 3:17 tells us that whatever we do, in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord giving thanks to God through Jesus.

                                                   ii.      WHEN we are thankful, it lends to humility and good will.  
When you are thankful to God, it will provoke you to seek Him and how to please Him.  WITH wisdom you will apply these things.

h.       Submit to one another –

                                                     i.      In our morning lesson we addressed this in detail.  It is a call for us to realize that our life is not just about us but others.  Philippians 2:3-4 – we look out for each other.
1 Peter 5:5 we are submissive to one another.

                                                   ii.      Again, when we are walking in wisdom – there is a realizing of who our brethren are.  We need them and they need us. Truly grasping this will cause us to cherish this relationship.  A cherished relationship is one in which we are careful to maintain it.  We don’t want to damage it – therefore we act appropriately.  We act with wisdom!

 

These are a few things that if we apply to our lives will help us to walk in wisdom.  As noted at the beginning, perhaps there are others, but these are given to us by God.  If we apply these things, truly we will be walking in a wisdom that is fully pleasing unto Him.  So how is your walk?