Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 24th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 15-16, Psalm 82, John 14
Today's scripture focus is Ephesians 5:15-21

Ephesians 5:15-21

English Standard Version (ESV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Fullness of the Spirit
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: Walking in Wisdom Part 1, Part 2, and Be Not Drunk With Wine Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, Be Filled With the Spirit Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Obviously, I did not read all 9 of MacArthur's sermons on this passage!  I skimmed parts of the last in each series, and read Legge's sermon.  I'm sure there are a lot of great points to be made here, but I'm going to pretty much just stick with Legge's outline as I'm just writing a quick post for Miriam and need to get going on my one for Monday!

We are charged to walk in wisdom by redeeming the time, and by understanding God's will.  We are to be filled with the Spirit - rejoicing, thanking, and submitting.

I love the phrase redeeming the time.  But, it is very convicting.  None of us knows how much time we have left - how are we using what we've been given? Are we using it for God's purposes or for our own? I admit that I am not always a good steward of my time, and I need to work on this area.

Knowing God's will for our life is not overly mystical.  I liked MacArthur's take on this.  His point, basically, was that if we are believers, and if we are living out our faith daily, pursuing God through studying of the Word and prayer, if we are growing more and more like Jesus - then God will plant righteous desires within our hearts - He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Note the slight twist there - it's not that He will give us whatever our hearts desire (taken as a genie granting our every wish), but that He will cause us to desire that which He has planned for us to do before the beginning of time.

I won't go into the drinking bit too much as we've discussed that before on this blog.  Suffice it to say that drunkeness is obviously forbidden by God, and there are many questions to take into consideration when deciding if drinking any alcohol is the right choice or not.  Is alcohol the same now as it was in biblical times? Is it necessary to drink it or are there other options?  If it's simply a want (not a need), is it the best choice?  Is it habit forming?  Is it potentially destructive? Is it offensive to other Christians? Will it harm my Christian testimony?  Is this a way to make a distinction between my lifestyle and the lifestyle of nonbelievers around me? Does your conscience both you in any way when you drink? (Because even if something is ok to do, if you feel like you are violating your conscience you shouldn't do it, as that will weaken or even sear your conscience, and produce self-guilt and condemnation that should not be there). Well, that ended up being longer than I intended! :)  I do not think it is wrong for Christians to drink, but we have chosen not due to several of the answers to the above questions.

We know that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we become a Christian, but we are to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, to work within our lives, to be purposefully sensitive to that work, and to yield control to Him.

When we do so, our lives will reflect that.  We will be people of joy and gratitude, concerned with the needs of others over ourselves.  In the coming passages we will see specific examples of how the plays out practically in our daily lives.

Tomorrow's scripture focusEphesians 5:22-24
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Judges 17-18, Psalm 83, John 15

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