The scripture for today is Ephesians 5:8-20.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:8-20)
What do we do once we are saved and have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ?
This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)
This is a quote from one of the Easter Hymn that maybe the disciples used to sing.
Then Paul goes on to say:
“Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15)
Then Paul goes on to tell us how to be wise:
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17)
The key to living carefully is be wise.
And the first thing about wisdom is understand the Lord’s will.
I. God’s Will Is Purposeful
1. God’s Purposes Are Eternal
For He(God) chose us in Him(Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
God’s purposes stretch from Eternity.
It is very important for us to realize – if we recognize that there is an Eternal God, who is working out Eternal purposes – that this will affect our whole life.
Everybody has a worldview, a concept of history.
- The world just goes from one set of circumstances to another, all is meaningless; nothing makes any sense at all.
- That this world’s history is in the hands of human beings and it is up to them to get things right.
- That history goes on repeating itself and people will get re-incarnated and all goes round and round without going anywhere.
But what do Christian believe?
That our God is a Sovereign God who has a Sovereign purpose that originates in Eternity and will be end in Eternity.
And the Christian sees himself in this Grand Scheme of God.
2. The Eternal purposes of God center in Christ.
… to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:10)
The climax of God’s Eternal purposes are found in Christ.
It is in His Majestic Lordship.
It is in His overwhelming ultimate authority.
That the purposes of God will find His consummation.
All will come under the headship of Christ.
Everything in Heaven and on Earth.
Too often people speak of our environment, and our planet – but it all belongs to God.
We are stewards of God’s creation.
God is working His Eternal purposes that will ultimately find their consummation, completion, culmination, all will end in Him.
3. His Purposes Include Individuals.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God … (Ephesians 1:1)
Note: Although God is busy with His Sovereign purposes, they have an individual application.
God wants Paul to be an apostle.
And Paul wisely knows this, – He knows God’s will for his life.
What about us?
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
God has predestined us and chosen us for His Eternal purposes.
Therefore is we are going to live carefully we need to live wisely and we must under-stand God’s will!
II. God’s Will Is Personal
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This Scripture is well known – reminding us for our salvation:
a) It is by Grace
b) It is through faith
c) It is not of works
So difficult to make the western world know that we do not get to Heaven by being good people.
We do not deserve Heaven, Christ saved us.
Now we are not saved by works – but we are saved for good works.
For we are God’s workmanship (work of art), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
As saved people, as Jesus’ people we are a work of art – a divine creation – a superb happening.
God saved us for His purposes.
He has a plan for us.
The plan relates to us.
Listen to what God said to Israel – rebellious to His plans and purposes.
The principle of this verse is for every generation:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Paul says to the Thessalonians about God’s will:
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.
The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
We should not be confused about the SPECIFIC Will of God.
As we fulfill God’s general will – He will reveal to us the specific.
God has a will, a desire for our lifestyle.
We need to recognize that there are forces at work in us, passions, desires, aspirations, longings and needs that need to be controlled according to the will of God.
God wants us to follow Him when it comes to our lifestyle.
… he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives you His Holy Spirit.
We can only bring our bodies under control if we have the Holy Spirit.
A holy life is a disciplined life – disciplined in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And this is the lifestyle that God wills for His people.
Don’t ever say: “I do not know what God’s will for my life is.”
Now you do: Be Holy!
Also – God has a general outline of attitudes.
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
We should as believers – develop a certain lifestyle:
- We have adopted a godly, biblical worldview.
- We begin to demonstrate certain attitudes.
Attitude is 90% of the battle.
You can have some very gifted people, very well trained, with rotten attitudes.
You can have some less gifted people, not very well trained with a superb attitude – and they will be a joy.
But we can be lucky to have some highly gifted thoroughly trained and with wonderful attitudes and they will be the best to work with.
Can you imagine spending your day with a joyful, thankful, prayerful person?
Wouldn’t that be a delight and thrill?
This is God’s will for us!
This is only possible through the grace and Holy Spirit of God.
III. God’s Will Is Practical
This means that:
1. God’s will is discoverable.
- God wants us to have a sense of direction.
- How do we get to the specifics for our life.
a) Have a deep desire for the things of God.
Paul puts it this way:
… and find out what pleases the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10)
Some people please themselves.
Some people try to please everybody else.
Christians, above all else, find out what pleases Jesus!
And this is their prayer:
“Lord my overriding concern in life is not to please myself, others but to please you.”
b) Be fully dedicated to God
Therefore, I urge, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy And pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
What is the dedication?
I googled this word and these are the synonyms which I read:
Devotion, commitment, enthusiasm, keenness, perseverance, allegiance, ardor, loyalty.
Lord I present my body, soul, spirit for your service. To be what you want me to be. To do what you want me to do. I do not want to be conformed to this world’s way of thinking, a world without you! I want my mind renewed, to be conformed to your principles and way of doing things. Therefore I dedicate my body, mind, myself to you.
And Scripture says, when we do that we will discover the will of God for our lives. And we will discover that it is best for us.
Do you desire to do His will?
We used to sing,
I desire to do your will, O my God. (Psalm 40:8)
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your hear. (Psalms 37:4)
- Desire to please God
- Dedicate yourself to God
- Have a deep desire for God
- God will lead you in his path
2. God’s Will Is Do-Able
“… but like slave of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” (Ephesians 6:6)
“May the God of peace… equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him…” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
We may find out what is pleasing to Him and not have the resources, strength to do it.
But then we find that God will equip us – He will give us all the necessary to do His will if that is what we truly want.
God works in us by His Holy Spirit.
He does not do anything by force in us.
God says: “I will empower you to do all that brings me pleasure.”
God’s will is do-able only in His strength.
When I take these steps, and live on these principles, then I begin to discover that:
3. God’s Will Is Desirable.
Because my life begins to glorify God.
Because my life begins to contribute to His cause.
Because my life is characterized by that which is good, right and true.
As Paul says:
… for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. (Ephesians 5:9)
And this is what God’s purpose is all about.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17)