This is the fourth part in the Beyond Today Bible study series: The Time Is Now! We live in fast paced, hectic, can’t catch your breath kind of world. Life can be like a handful of sand that seems to slip all too easily through our fingers. Why do we have difficulty getting a handle on it? In this study we’ll discuss how to seize control and use our time effectively.
[Steve Myers] Good evening, ladies and gentleman. Welcome to Wednesday night Bible study. Good to have you all here. Good to have those of you visiting with us on the web. Before we begin our Bible study tonight, we're going to go ahead and ask God's blessing as we look at His Word. So, if you'll bow your heads.
Great loving Heavenly Father. God, thank You so much for Your wonderful ways. We are so thankful, Father, that we have the opportunity to dig into Your Word. Father, to have You open our minds to Your truth. We pray that that would be the case, God, that You would direct us and guide us and lead us, as we seek after You and seek after Your will and strive more earnestly to understand the things that You have in mind for us. So Father, thank You for these things. We pray for Your presence. We pray for Your guidance. We pray for Your blessing. And so Father, we put all of this into Your hands, asking it by the authority of our Savior Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Well, this is the last in our series called The Time Is Now. We've been discussing quite a few things when it comes to the fact that when God begins to work with us, we are required to respond. God wants us to respond. He wants us a part of His way. And as He draws us to Him, some of those things become more obvious, and maybe sometimes some of the things aren't quite as obvious all the time.
And what does God have in mind for me? It seems in this world, one of the most difficult things is to get a hold of life. Do you ever notice that? When you want to get something done, it always seems there's something that gets in the way, or "I just can't quite get the amount of time that I need to finish this. Or when I'm about to accomplish this, something else jumps ahead of it and takes my time and I'm just not able to do it."
Well, tonight I thought it might be helpful to talk about that very thing. How do you get on with it? How do you get going? How can we accomplish things? Especially not just so much physical things, but when it comes to doing what God would have us do. How do we get to it? How can we get it off the back burner and make it priority number one?
Well, I think there's a number of ways we can. In fact, there's a section of Scripture that deals with that very thing. And I think it points us in the direction, a place that we can at least begin to consider how do we get to it. In fact, this section of Scripture is found in the book of Ephesians. And so for tonight, we're going to focus in on this particular section, and it's in Ephesians, and it's in chapter 5, verses 17 to 19. We're going to focus there for this evening. Well, we'll go to couple of other places too, but we'll keep coming back to Ephesians chapter 5.
And in this section of Scripture, it gives us three, what would you say, essentials or three necessities when it comes to getting to it. We're going to get on with it. If we're going to use the time that God's given us and recognize, "Yeah, now is that time. Now is the time that God's given me," there are three requirements that Ephesians 5 talks about. Three necessities that we've got to see the value in these things if we are going to get on with it.
And so when you look at Ephesians chapter 5...let's just jump right into it because we see that first essential, first necessity that's mentioned here. Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
American King James Version×, it says, "See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." So as God calls us, we understand His truth. He says, "Be careful how you walk." So, if we're to put one necessity up, I'll word it in my own way, He says, "Don't meander. Don't just drift around. Just don't aimlessly walk through life." He says we've got to walk.
And it's kind of an interesting concept when you think of it not in modern day terms, but think of it more in first century terms for just a moment. Think about that. Think about the world we live in; this is a spiritually dark place. This is a dreary place when it comes to any level of spirituality. When you consider the kind of world we live in, it is moral darkness. It is spiritual darkness. Paul is warning us here in this section of Ephesians that we cannot grow dim. We cannot.
If you look back just to verse 8, he says, "Once you were in darkness." It used to be like that, but then as God opens our minds, yeah, the light bulb comes on. That spiritual light bulb comes on. He says, "Now, you are light in the Lord." He says, "Walk as children of light." So we've got to come out of this darkness. He says we cannot have any relationship, no fellowship, no sharing with the ways of this world. In fact, he even calls those things "worthless."
So, in a way, I think he's asking us the question, are we still meandering around? Are we still pretty aimless, that we're getting caught up in those worldly things, those everyday things, those 21st century things that are out here that will detract us, distract us from the things that He would have us do, the things that are worthless, the things that are dark? Or we bring our life into the light. Are we recognizing those things?
Because you know what happens when you walk into a dark room and you go over to that switch and you flip it. What happens? Yeah, the light comes on. The light comes on. What happens to the darkness? It's gone. Right. It's dispelled. It is gone.
So Paul is basically telling us, as God opens our mind, we've got to turn that light on, get rid of the darkness. The darkness is unacceptable to God's way. And so he says, "Don't just walk aimlessly. Have a purpose. Have a purpose. Have a point to your walk." So when he says walk, it's not necessarily about physically walking; it's about our way of life. Isn't it? It's about our way of life.
So it's getting us to the big picture, how we live our life, what we're doing every day. The walking ties in because it ties into step by step by step, every single day, what way am I walking? Am I making that obvious choice that every day I'm going to walk this direction?
Now, as we thought about the first century kind of walking, they didn't have their step machines where they'd walk on for exercise or things like that, did they? They didn't walk for exercise. What did they walk for? They walked for a purpose. They walked for a goal. They walked for a destination. They didn't walk for exercise. In fact, when you read through the Bible, there's some pretty amazing examples of people walking around. If you go to Acts chapter 10...don't go there now. But Acts chapter 10 talks about Peter walking. He walks from Joppa to Caesarea. You know how far that is? It's about 40 miles. Yeah, I think of that. My phone didn't tell me I walked 40 miles today. Do you know how fast he did that? Two days. Walking 20 miles was nothing in the day. That was not all that abnormal to walk 20 miles in the first century in a day. I'm not sure if we can do it in a week. I don't know anymore. But when we look at that, was there a purpose? Was there a goal in mind? I mean, absolutely. Absolutely, there was a goal in mind.
Some people have tried to figure out, "Well, how many miles did Christ walk? He walked from Jerusalem and He walked to Galilee, and He walked all over the place." Some estimates say He probably walked something like 15,000 miles in His life. Do you think that was a walk with purpose? Do you think that was a walk with a point to it?
You see, that's the kind of first century walking that I believe Ephesians 5 is talking about. There's a destination. You walk to get somewhere. And so that spiritual walking that we're called to do is the progression that I'm spiritually walking with purpose, and that walk is getting me closer and closer and closer to the destination that I have in mind. And so, this world we live in is trying to trip us up from reaching that destination, from striving, ultimately, to be a part of the kingdom of God.
And so, if you can imagine what a spiritual landscape might look like, as we're striving to walk through this world, it would be like a battlefield, wouldn't it? You could just imagine this battlefield would probably be littered with mines. It would be like a minefield. And we've got to negotiate this minefield of life with purpose, and yet we've got to know where those mines are. And we've got to avoid those mines, otherwise we're going to be in trouble.
And so, God reminds us, as we're walking and we're doing it with purpose, we're going to a destination, He says we better do it His way. We better walk by His direction. And so, He tells us that. God is great that way. He tells us what's best for us.
In Jeremiah 10:23 Jeremiah 10:23O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.
American King James Version×, He tells us it's not in man to direct his steps. You see, when you talk about navigating the spiritual minefield out here, if we count on our own thinking, our own reasoning, our own logic, we look at things just from the physical perspective, what are we going to step on? We're going to step on that mine. We're going to be in trouble, right? We're going to be in trouble.
Now, it's interesting that God promises to direct that walk. He will direct our steps. But who gets to choose which way to walk? That becomes a little bit of a challenge, and I think that's part of what the apostle Paul was addressing here in Ephesians 5, is, yes, God directs our steps.
He tells us, "Do you want to negotiate this minefield of spiritual disaster out here? You want to get on with it and get to it? Here's the way you need to go." And He maps that out. But then what does He do? He says, "All right. Get on with it." Well, I could choose to go His way or I could choose to go a different way. I could choose to go whatever way I want to go.
And so I've got to make that conscious choice whether I'm going to allow God to direct my steps and whether I'm going to follow His directions. Am I going to follow God's directions or not? In a way, He gives us His spiritual compass. Maybe a GPS would be better. A spiritual GPS. Maybe a spiritual Google Maps, that He tell us, "Here's how you're going to negotiate life and succeed spiritually." I can either follow that. He's a lot better than Google. He's a lot better than Google, isn't He? I can either follow that, or I've got to watch out because I'd probably step on one of those spiritual minefields.
And so that's the challenge. Do I choose to do that? He tells us very specifically, not only do we have a destination, not only do we have a goal, but He says that when we walk, that we've got to do it carefully. We've got to be careful how we walk. He says, "Walk circumspectly. Walk circumspectly." Not a word that we use a lot necessarily these days, but it means to walk carefully. In other words, you better pay careful attention. And it is like negotiating this minefield. If we're going to spiritually grow, we're going to become more Christ-like, there's so many things out there that will take us off our path.
So, God says, "Walk carefully. Consider how carefully you live. Consider your way of life carefully." And so, when you put it all together, walking circumspectly, He's saying you're walking with precision. You're walking with exactness. Or in other words, you're not meandering around. You've got a point to life. You've got a purpose to life.
In fact, this word for circumspectly was actually a word that was used for accounting purposes way back in Greece. This was written in Greek. And it was an accounting term. And so, you've got to account for the way that you walk. And how do accountants work? And I don't know if you know any accountants; I do. Are they precise? Are they accurate? Are they exacting? Well, they better be or they'll lose their job. Right?
It's not like me going down the account in my bankbook and I say, "Is that a 10 or is that an extra zero on there? I'll just say it's a 100. That's a lot better for me. Right? Close enough." Well, it's going to bounce some checks and things like that if you consider it that way. So, you've got to be exact. You've got to be precise.
So, God's reminding us here that's the way we, as those who God is calling, that's got to be our way. We have to choose those steps carefully. And so as we're living this way, we're being careful. It comes back to our choice. Right? We have to choose those steps. They're not just going to happen automatically to be some great spiritual journey, because there's too many things out here that can derail us.
He says we've got to do it this way because of the world we live in. It is darkness out there. It is evil out here. And we can get taken in by that evil. Just a couple of verses later, it reminds us of that. There's a whole section of Scripture, about a chapter later, chapter 6, talks about the spiritual battle we're in. And so it is a war. And there is a minefield. And it is that type of a conflict that we're called to negotiate.
Now, of course, God is going to give us the directions. He's going to give us the help, and we've got to choose to do that. So just stroll along, or meander, or wander? Nobody does that through a minefield, do they? Nobody does that. You've got to be very cautious. You've got to be very careful.
In fact, you've got to be suspicious of every little thing that might be out there. And so, caution is the word that you've got to employ. In fact, there's lots of different guidelines for those who might have to go into areas like Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea or places like that. And one of the biggest things about it is that they tell you, "Don't assume anything is safe. Don't assume anything is safe."
You don't play around with mines. You have to know about them. You have to learn about them. You have to understand how they work. The moment you think there could even be a possibility of something there, you've got to stop and you've got to carefully consider where you're at. Every movement has to be careful and precise and considered, otherwise it's going to be your life that's threatened by that. So you have to assess the situation.
And I think the apostle Paul is using that here in Ephesians just to remind us of that very fact. If we're going to play with danger, we're going to face some trouble. So we've got to pay attention. So, the careless walking is unacceptable when it comes to spiritually. So, how we spend that time becomes important as we walk in this life. And so, what is our perspective?
There's a Proverb that speaks to this. It's over in Proverbs 14:15 Proverbs 14:15The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.
American King James Version×. You want to take a look over there for just a moment. Proverbs 14:15 Proverbs 14:15The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.
American King James Version×kind of hints at this whole aspect of if we're going to get on with it, we're going to strive to be a new spiritual creation, we begin by making sure we're on that path. We're allowing God to direct it and we're choosing that way.
So, Proverbs 14:15 Proverbs 14:15The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.
American King James Version×. It says, "The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps." The prudent considers well his steps. In other words, you're going to consider very carefully where you're going. You see, because most people, they're not concerned with the way they're walking. If you go back to Ephesians, in chapter 4, it talks about the way most people walk in this world. Most people, it says, are walking in futility.
There's a uselessness to the way they walk because it's not a spiritual walk. It talks about the futility of their minds. Chapter 4 verse 17 of Ephesians talks about that. Because if we're not deliberate, if we're not intentional, if we don't have carefulness, what does that imply?
Well, Paul just got done saying if we're not, we're not going to be able to turn on that light switch; we're going to miss it. And that darkness, that evil, is going to have that opportunity to overwhelm us. We're going to accidentally step on one of those mines and our spiritual life will be at risk. So, Paul says, "Don't meander." Don't meander.
Now, in the next verse, Ephesians 5:16 Ephesians 5:16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
American King James Version×, he gives us a second essential, a second requirement when it comes to the fact we're going to get to it. We're going to put God's way into practice. Verse 16 of chapter 5 says, "Redeeming the time because the days are evil." I don't think anybody would argue with the second part of that sentence there, because the days are evil. Do we live in an evil world? All you got to do is turn on the news and see all the difficult things that are going on. He points us to the fact that, for us, there's something that we need to do. We realize now is the time.
You know the old saying, "There's no time like the present." That's right. Everybody likes to get presents, but there's no time like the present. When it comes to recognizing that fact, we've got to realize now, now is the time. We can't put it off. We can't wait. He says, "We're to redeem that time." Redeem the time. That is an interesting word.
In Greek, that word was used when you would buy a slave off of the market. They would put the slaves up on a stage, up on a stand like this, and as they would auction them off, they would be redeemed. They would be bought out of slavery. And so, they'd be no longer in the marketplace.
And so, when you put that word, to redeem, to buy a slave out of the market, with time, we're to redeem the time, what is it that's in bondage? Well, it's not a person that's locked up; it's time. Time is in bondage. Time is locked up. And so, in this way, we're to take that time and make it our own. We're to make it our own. In other words, God gives us opportunities to use those moments, to use those hours, to use those days. They don't have to be locked away where we can't have access to them. And of course, the implication is as well, it's going to cost us something. Right? It's going to cost us something in order to get that time out of bondage.
How many times have you felt like, "My life is in bondage. I have to do this and I have to do that. And I have to work and I have to go there." We have all of these things that have locked up our time. And sometimes it does seem like we're enslaved. And yet, God says we've got to buy our way out of that, in a spiritual sense. You see, because this evil world really wants to lock us up.
So, if we just go to school. We just get a job. We start a family. We raise a family. We retire. We hope our health holds up while we're in retirement. We die. Okay, that's a normal life pattern. Certainly those things happen. But is there a way that that can happen in bondage and a way that is not in bondage? Is there a way that seizes those opportunities, realizing that now's the time to use our life in a way that honors God, so that He can continue to direct us and lead us? I think that's the implication that Paul is getting here. And of course today, have we got more time spent in bondage than maybe any other generation ever?
Maybe you don't think of it this way, but do you know how long the average person watches television in their lifetime? It's not hours, right? It's not days; it's years. How many years do you think the average person watches TV? 11 years. 11 years. Some estimates say 70% of our lifetime is spent in front of the television, computer, phone, digital media. Seventy percent of our life, waking time.
Is that bondage? Yeah, I think so. One of the things that reminded me of bondage. You can look these things up anywhere on Google, on the internet; they're all over in lots and lots of different studies. But one I ran across, it kind of took me back how much time in a life does a man spend staring at a woman. It caught my attention. Not just a particular woman, but women. Right?
How long do men stare at women during their lifetime? Well, you don't stare very long, do you guys? That's pretty weird. You wouldn't think so. It wouldn't seem like much. Over a year. Over year of an average man's life in darkness, in bondage, would spend a year wasted on that. And we don't think we're in bondage.
One of the things that reminded me of this. I've read another study. It's in numerous reports on the internet as well. It talked about just the time we spend laughing. Laughing is a good thing, isn't it? That's not time in bondage. That's great. That is wonderful.
How long do you think you laugh every day? Average. The average person laughs, how long do you think, every day? They say the average is six minutes. Six minutes, we laugh every day. Now, that seems like freedom, doesn't it? How long do you think they laughed in the '50s? Eighteen minutes average a day. That fact kind of jumped out at me, considering that. Are we enslaved? Do we find ourselves wasting opportunities? Do we need to buy some opportunities for eternal significance, rather than just useless pursuits?
See, that's the challenge. God's saying to us, "Here, grab every opportunity." Get to it. Get every opportunity to grow, to understand God's way, to know Him better, to be conformed to the image of His son. Rear our children to know and follow God's way. Invest not so much in the stock market and bonds, but invest in time. Invest the resource that every one of us have. To be good stewards of that time, so there's opportunities to give and to serve and to grow.
In a way, we're told here to purchase those opportunities. Buy those opportunities for the ultimate purpose, for the purpose of the kingdom of God. And of course, that cost, buying, is going to count for something that we've got to say, "Is that worth it? Is that really worth it?" Have you ever been at the store and said that? "What? They want that? How much do they want for that thing? I'm not paying that." Don't we have to do that? We have to come to the point that that activity in my life is not worth it. That is non-essential. That is dispensable. I don't need that. That is a secondary thing.
And there's certain areas of my life that this is so important, that this is non-negotiable. I'm not going to give up on the time that I spend with God. This is an unalterable commitment that I've made to follow God. And I'm not going back on that promise. So that means I've got to say no to some television. I've got to say no to my phone. I'm going to say no to answering every single little thing that comes up.
I've got to do that and make those choices in order to say, "Yes." Don't I? In order to say yes to doing the right things, in order to say, "Yes, I want to read God's Word," I've got to say no to wasting time doing something else, don't I? In order to say, "Yes, I want to spend time praying," then I better put my phone away and get down on my knees. So, I've got to say no to those selfish activities that want to pull me into this evil world and distract me from what's most important. So I can't waste the time. I can't even waste my money on those worthless things because I've got to say yes to the things that help me to walk the way that God wants me to walk.
And so, that becomes critical that now is the time. Now is the time to get to it. Now is the time to buy what's most important, what's essential, what's necessary. And so if you were to look up this “redeem” in a Greek dictionary, a lexicon, for example, Thayer's Greek Lexicon says this. It can mean “to buy up, to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good.” That's pretty amazing there, "to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity."
It goes on “to have the zeal and well-doing to purchase money by which we make the time our own.” That we have a zealousness to do well and we're going to take responsibility and will be accountable then to use our time well, to redeem that time, to make the best use of that time. We're going to make every hour count. We're going to take advantage of every opportunity. We're going to make the most of what life presents to us. And that's what it talks about when it talks about redeeming the time.
Who wants to be enslaved? Nobody wants to be enslaved. Now, Paul goes to a third essential, a third requirement. If we're going to get to it, if we're going to get into accomplishing what God would have us do in our life, verse 17 takes us to another necessity. It says in Ephesians 5:17 Ephesians 5:17Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
American King James Version×, "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Understand what the will of the Lord is. When we consider recognizing God's will, I think that's our third essential.
Recognizing God's will. Understanding what the will of the Lord is, that is an essential thing. It is the map, I think you could say, that's going to show us how to navigate our way through this minefield of life. It tells us where we're going. It tells us how to get there. It's foolish just to walk through without knowing where we're going. It is like that minefield. And to keep us safe, to keep us from the explosions that are going to occur, to keep us on course, without God's will, we're without a map, we're without a guide.
It's not just, "Well, it'll help me to get a good job when I grow up." That's not just what it's talking about. It's not just that, "Well, I need to know God's will so I get a better job or have a great career, or I'll marry a really beautiful person." No, it's something bigger than that. I think it ultimately ties in with the God's purpose itself. Recognize God's will. Understand what the will of the Lord is, so in our daily life that looks different than what daily life looks like for the average person out here in this dark, immoral world that we live in. Because it is a minefield.
I printed off...there's a number sites on the web that talk about negotiating minefields. Some of the instructions are really interesting. Especially when you consider how you can apply these to this life. How do you safely escape a minefield? Number one, it seems pretty obvious, but maybe it's not. The first thing is to scope out the situation, or maybe you think before acting. Think before acting. Look for signs that there are mines that are close by. Don't get caught off guard, right?
Why? Why do I have to look for the signs? Well, here's why. Most mines are hidden. Most mines are hidden. Is it that way in life? Especially those things that would derail us spiritually. It may not be that obvious. It may not be just right there before our eyes. Satan, we're told, is like an angel of light. This looks good. This looks right. But if I'm not careful, if I'm not looking for it, I'm going to find trouble. So, the directions, as we scope out the situation in life, we're told, "Don't let your guard down." Don't let your guard down, and it says, "Not even for a moment." Not even for a moment.
And so, look for the signs. So, you got to pay attention as you look ahead. They also give a lot of directions for, "Okay what do I do? I've scoped out the situation and now I'm right in the middle of it. Now what?" Well, the first thing they tell you is the moment you realize I'm surrounded by mines, what do you do? What would you do? "Well, I just keep walking right down." No, you're not going to do that. You freeze. Those are the instructions they give: "Stop. Don't take another step."
Those are the instructions that they give. They also say, "Reassess the situation." Right now, here's where I am. This is where I am in my life. Now, I better reassess. I better make sure that the next step isn't a wrong one. In fact, they point to the fact that without careful and considered movements, without formulating a plan, our life is at risk. Our life is at risk.
So they say, "Carefully." In fact, they say, "Ever carefully place your feet." In fact, sometimes they'll say, "If you can't find the way forward, place your feet exactly where you came from so you can get out." Which is really interesting. Sometimes that's the way life is. In fact, when you think about negotiating, "What do I know about negotiating a minefield? Well, a little bit I read on the internet."
But they talk about, are you going to be a soldier? You're going to go to one of these areas? Do you know what's required? They study how these mines are set. They study how they might look. They study trip lines. They study the fact to watch for these different things, if there's a dead animal. Would that be a clue? Maybe it stepped on a mine. You don't want to be there. They talk about those very things that you learn. You become educated. You look for the warning signs.
You see, if we don't become educated in God's way, how much more likely are we going to be at risk? You see, I think that's it. When we don't understand God's will, when we don't know His purpose, are we putting our own spiritual lives at risk? And I think that's exactly what we're told here. You can't assume, because I don't see a problem blatantly right there in front of my eyes, that it isn't there.
And so, if I'm unaware of what God's expectations, His goals for my life are, His path that He's shown that I should take, if I don't follow that and I'm oblivious to that, I do put my spiritual life at risk as well. And so, he tells us very clearly, recognize what God's will is. Become knowledgeable in that will. And recognize the ultimate purpose. When we understand the ultimate purpose and that ultimate goal, then that should set the tone for our life.
In fact, if we flip back a couple of pages, he talks about recognizing God's will. He says it a little bit differently, but at Chapter 3, look at verse 11. Ephesians 3:11 Ephesians 3:11According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
American King James Version×, because this points ultimately to His purpose for human life. In verse 11, he talks about that eternal purpose, "According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." There is an eternal purpose that God has in mind for us.
In fact, skipping down just a little bit, if you look to verse 15, he says, "From whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." So we have the opportunity to be a part of God's family, named after our great God. Verse 16 says “that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."
So it's helping us to recognize what's God's will, what His purpose is. Because the ultimate purpose is to be a part of His family. He goes on and he says “that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, the depth, or the length, and the depth and the height." Yeah, those are all directions, everything about God and His purpose.
Verse 19, "to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." So, to understand God's will, we recognize what that plan and what that purpose is all about, ultimately to be divine children in His family. And we're to walk in this darkened world understanding that very fact.
And does that change anything in our lives when we know we have the opportunity to be a part of the family of God forever in His family, divine children in His family? I mean, that should change everything. That should change every step that we walk, because of this amazing plan that God has opened our mind that we can begin to grasp that purpose and make that change in our life to live with it, to understand it, to live every day with that very purpose in mind.
And if we go back to chapter 5, he gives us a little insight how that looks then in our daily life, what does that appear like to understand that we're going to be filled with the fullness of God. We will be like God. We will be His children and His family.
Ephesians 5:27 Ephesians 5:27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
American King James Version×, he talks about that purpose. He talks about Christ. He says “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." Well, we could say, "Who's the church?" We're the church. We make up the church. We've been called out of this evil world, and not just called out but we've been brought together, that ekklesia means that. Called out, brought together, just like a citizen was called out of the general population, brought into an assembly where they were then the council that decided things for the city.
You see, we are called out of this evil world and brought together as a part of the church of God. And he says, because of that great calling, that should impact how we live, how we walk, realizing now is the time. He's saying that, as a part of this church, we're to be holy. We're to be without blemish. And understanding God's will, we recognize the fact if we're going to be that kind of an individual, does that mean I choose what I want, my way, when I want it, how I want it, where I'm going to walk, what I'm going to do, how I'm going to say it? You see, you can't. If I recognize God's will, it means I'm going to submit my will to His. I have to, if I'm going to follow His direction.
God has to be Lord over my life and not just over one step that way or one step – over all my life. I don't have any reserve areas. I don't have anything that I'm holding back. This verse here is reminding us that, if I'm going to seek to honor God and glorify Him, it needs to be according to God's will. Meaning that it's every thought. Meaning it's every attitude. Meaning it's every word. Meaning it's every action.
He's not using those words here, but how could you not have a spot, how could you not have a wrinkle if those thoughts aren't godly thoughts? Well, you're going to have wrinkles. You're going to have spots. If we're going to be holy and without blemish, then it has to be with our all. We've got to get to it and give it our all, honoring God with everything. And so, that submission of our will to God's will, to His way, it's so vital. It's so vital.
And it leads us to the other aspect of what that particular passage is talking about there as well. It's not just to submit, but we also have to commit ourselves into His hands, into His word. And not only that, do you recognize what else it's saying here in verse 27? It says Christ is presenting himself a glorious Church, and this Church, this group that has been called out and brought together are to be holy and without blemish.
If Christ is marrying the Church, He's working out this eternal purpose. And so, as individuals, don't we have to ask ourselves "How committed am I to the church?" Because it's not just about me; it's about us. It's about the bride. It's about all of us together. Yeah, I've got individual responsibilities, no doubt. But if I'm not committed to His Church, if I'm not committed to His people, if I have a lackadaisical attitude, a careless attitude, a half-hearted connection with the Church, is it fair to say, "I'm really recognizing God's will"? Is it fair to say, "I'm really walking in the way that God is directing me"? Is it really fair to say that I'm utilizing the time in the way that God would most want me to?
You see, I don't think we can claim that. Because in a way, what he's saying by these words, submitting and committing ourselves as a Church, to the Church, to each other, we're showing a unity that only God can have. That only by God's Spirit can we demonstrate the unity that God the Father and Jesus Christ have, and we emulate that in the Church. And so, we are committed to each other. We're committed to the Church. In fact, he talks a lot about this in the whole book of Ephesians.
Just a couple of pages back, if you go over to chapter 2 verse 19, chapter 2 in verse 19, he mentions this in a little bit different way, but you can see how this connects in chapter 2 and recognize what he says here, beginning in verse 19. Ephesians 2:19 Ephesians 2:19Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
American King James Version×, he says, "Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." So we're God's house; we're His children.
Verse 20: "We've been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." And so, it becomes pretty clear. You see, God's working an amazing purpose. He's doing amazing things with us.
And He says, "There is a job. There's a mission for us. There's a job for the Church. There's a job for each and every one of us." And that is to accomplish His will in the Church and in our lives. And by doing that very thing, we recognize God's will. We declare His will. We show His will. We live His will. And it is a powerful, powerful thing.
If we go to chapter 3 verse 10, he zeros in on this very thing, recognize the importance of our part in His body, in the Church, in that temple that is growing. He says, Ephesians 3:10 Ephesians 3:10To the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
American King James Version×, "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places."
You see, part of God's intent, as we walk this way of life, as we choose His way, and as we buy that time out of useless wasted time, doing it for God's purposes, for His reasons, making that commitment submitted to His will, as the Church, we recognize His will; we recognize what it says here, "the manifold wisdom of God." And then what does that allow us to do? He says that leads us then to a proclamation. He says that that “manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places," which is even more than just the principalities and powers of this world.
He's saying that understanding God's will, submitting to it, being committed to it, he says that wisdom of God becomes evident in heavenly places. He's talking about the spiritual hosts here, right? Read that again. It says, "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church." So the Church is making this known, God's wisdom. God's receiving the honor. He is receiving that praise by our actions, by what we do, to the extent that the angelic realm becomes aware of it.
Do you think that's a powerful thing? That's an amazing thing. And I wouldn't be surprised if that's also known on the other end of the spectrum, on the evil side of the principalities. Because a little later in Ephesians, Paul talks about we're battling spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. We're battling demonic powers. Are we making known the wisdom of God as they look upon us, as they look upon the church? Is it evident that we are submitted and committed to God's will? Wow! That's what is expected from us.
And when we submit our lives to God's Holy Spirit, that's the power, I believe, that is unleashed in us. And then collectively within the Church, that is an unstoppable power. And of course, it's not our power; it's by God's Spirit, right? It's by God's Spirit these things can be accomplished. And so, there's this amazing calling that we have, to get out of this dangerous world, this darkened age that we live in, and recognize that now is the time. You see, now is the time to be more fully committed to God and His way.
And as we negotiate through life, I think, with these three essentials, it's going to lead us down that right path and keep us out of spiritual danger. Because we're not going to just aimlessly walk. We're going to have a purpose. We have a direction. We have a goal. We have a destination. We are certainly recognizing the fact that we can't wait. We can't wait. We have to be on the goal. We have to be on that path, and now is that time for God and His way. And so, we got to recognize that will of God. We've got to put it into practice in our life.
And so, as we do these very things, I think it points to the fact that now is the time. Now is the time to take that opportunity that God has called us to. And what a great opportunity that is. It realizes the fact that we can do this. With the help of God and with His Holy Spirit, we recognize it is the time. Now is the time to make the most of every single opportunity. So, let's get to it.
That will do it for our study for this evening. I'm glad you were able to join us tonight. This will conclude our series on The Time is Now.
In January, just a couple weeks from now, it sounds like way next year – that's just in a couple weeks – we're going to start our new series. We're going to begin a series on the 10 Commandments. And so, we hope you'll join us for our next biweekly Bible study in just a couple weeks in January. So, I look forward to seeing you then.