Have you ever conceived that drunkenness could be connected to something good? What is Paul teaching?
A. I might have been a cute kid, but I wasn’t a very well-coordinated child. I was one of those kids that really did trip over cracks in the sidewalk. I never could play sports. My hand-eye coordination was non-existent. You see, I didn’t pay attention to what was around me. I would walk down the street and walk into a telephone pole. When we moved to Alaska, I ran around our pick-up truck with the extension mirrors and hit them with my face so hard it knocked me to the ground.
B. I didn’t watch where I walked. Paying attention to what is around you is something you train yourself to do. You begin looking to make sure it is safe. How many parents have yelled at their child to stop just before the kid darts out in front of a car?
C. Paul’s teaching to the church in Ephesus is powerful and practical. So Paul says to them in our text, “Watch your step and use your head.”
I. Your Walk
A. The idea of our spiritual life as a walk is very common in the NT. We are told to “walk in the Spirit,” “walk by faith,” “walk in newness of life,” “walk in a manner worthy of your calling,” “walk in the light” and other walk phrases. The idea of walking is that of our spiritual journey in this life. It is forward progress, but never fully reaching the end point in this life.
B. Life is a walk and so is your spiritual life. It is not a bad question to ask someone, “How is your walk with the Lord going?” In fact, it might be a better question then “How are you doing today?” because it hits the real question we must face – our spiritual life and spiritual health.
C. Listen again to the opening (Eph. 5:15-16). We live in evil times. It was true when Paul penned those words 2000 years ago and it is true to this day in our culture.
D. Because we are surrounded with evil influences, we told to be careful (watchful, mindful, cognizant) of our spiritual life. If I see my health declining, and am given a regimen from the doctor on what I need to do to improve my health, do I do it or simply keep on doing the things that will eventually cause me great harm?
E. Am I intentional about growing spiritually and using spiritual disciplines to help me? We give great lip service to spiritual ideas. We get a plan to read our Bible, spend more time in prayer, become more involved with our Christian family, worship whenever possible, but when it comes time to putting that regimen into long term action, many times we fail.
F. Paul begs the Christian in Ephesus to think about their spiritual life, to make the best use of their time because evil is present and it is alluring.
II. The Will of the Lord
A. So Paul directs a path for them with these simple words. Read with me Eph. 5:17.
B. Understand what the Lord’s will is. Do you? Do you understand what things in your life need to be eliminated and what things in your life need to grow? Do you understand what it means to be saved and walk in grace? Do you understand what it means to “be holy?” Do you understand God’s will – his good and perfect will?
C. Listen to how Paul stated this to the church in Rome (Rom. 12:1-2). The fact of the matter is that we as Christians SHOULD know God’s will. We may not know every particular about our life, but we can sure know God’s will for how to live our life. Don’t get caught up in what you don’t know. Try living out what you do know. Take your regimen from God and live it. Put off the old, put on the new! That which I feed will grow, that which I starve will die. Feed the will of God and starve the works of the flesh. Be a living sacrifice. Be transformed from within. Test everything against God’s word and then live in truth, freedom, grace and glory.
III. Good Drunkenness
A. That type of life, one filled with the spirit of God is intoxicating. Just listen to these few verses (Eph. 5:18-21) If I was to pick an illustration to define what it is like to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I probably would not have gone to drunkenness. But Paul does.
B. The Message puts it this way, “Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge droughts of him.”
C. A.W. Tozer said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.” I know that is simply a personal observation, and maybe and extreme, but there is some truth to what Tozer says.
D. We are to produce the “fruit of the Spirit.” That is not me working on those aspects, that is me living the will of God so deeply that those aspects flow out from me. I don’t force myself to love others, I view life and people as God does and love simply flows out from me. Drink the Spirit!
E. On one hand, most everyone understands what happens when a person lives in the sinful state of drunkenness. It destroys every aspect of their life and many times every relationship within their life. It is lonely, unfulfilling and completely selfish. Then Paul compares that life with one that is filled with the Holy Spirit. That person finds joy in God that is like an ongoing song in your heart that lifts you up. They are thankful for every day and everything. They are people who genuinely submit to others because they know that Christ is King and they don’t have to always be in control. It is a fulfilled life instead of a miserable one.
A. God saved you. He wants you to live life abundantly and with purpose. He wants you to experience the joy that only comes when you live in Him instead of trying to live in yourself. It may not be free from sin or sadness, but it will be free from guilt and burden that sin brings. Are you living the spirit-filled life? Are you walking in wisdom?