Bible Study Series: Ephesians - The Third Heaven Epistle
Ephesians 5:11-20 Bible Study - Staying alert in evil days
by I Gordon
- It instructs us to oppose & expose the deeds of darkness
- It instructs us to watchful, wake and alert,
- It instructs us to make the most of the opportunities we have
- It instructs us on the only way to survive such days... through a Spirit-led, Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled life
So that is what we will be focusing on today. Let's push the go button.
- My mother was led into the New Age when it started becoming popular in the early 1980's. This led to many practices that were 'deeds of darkness' even though they were portrayed and expressed as being 'the light' and 'the truth' back then. She eventually saw through it all because a friend, who was worried about what Mum was getting into, took the time to expose it by getting Mum to read a book called 'The beautiful side of evil' by Johanna Michaelson. Suddenly the light went on and she saw that, through deception, she had become involved heavily in 'deeds of darkness'. She then repented, removed everything in her life that was associated with the New Age and told others of this deceptive darkness. Having seen the truth she had nothing to do with these deeds of darkness but rather exposed them.
- My cousin, who is a musician, began 'channeling' using a spirit guide to write songs. Yes, it worked, Yes, it was successful (in terms of quickly being given songs you wouldn't have come up with yourself). And yes it was evil. She didn't know at the time that it was evil but she now exposes those deeds of darkness. In a recent book she writes:
My dark journey really began early 2016 when I asked a spirit guide to help me write. Within six weeks I had written a 22 song musical using a writing technique called channeling. Although at first this was exciting, over time alarming things began to happen. The musical began to act out around me and the theme of it was death and destruction. The project was aborted when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3⁄4 way through filming. This book is for anyone who thinks it is safe to communicate with the dead, consult psychics, read tarot cards, use pendulums, talk to spirit guides or dabble in the occult in general. It is also for anyone who does not believe in a spirit world because I have discovered this dimension is very real.
- Or what about the darkness and evil that is now taught to the youngest of our children? What do you do as a parent when you see the sexualized and corrupted material being taught to the most impressionable and precious minds?
So many people are quickly sliding down along with society as it slips away. So let me ask you... are you anchored? Are you anchored to the truth? Or, as society proceeds on it's downward spiral, are 'deeds of darkness' now becoming acceptable to you? As mentioned, these are difficult days so we must be steadfast anchored to the truth of God's work. There will be, there must be, a separation between the child of light and the children of darkness.
Then with trembling the Pilgrims desired to go forward, only they asked their Guide to strike a light so they could go the rest of their way with the help of the light of a lantern. So he struck a light and they went by the help of that through the rest of this way, though the darkness was very great."
Oh, can't you see it's such sin? The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight 'cause it's asleep in the light
How can you be so dead when you've been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave. And you, you can't even getta out of bed
Keith Green, lyrics "Asleep in the light"
That then is the order... Arise and then you'll shine! Arise from your sleep, wake up and move towards God, and the face of God will shine upon you again and give you light. And though there be deep darkness upon the people and the land, you will have the direction, comfort and guidance that comes from God's light and glory upon your life.
- Walk in the good works God has prepared in advance for you (Eph 2:10)
- Walk in a manner worthy of your calling (Eph 4:1)
- Walk not like Gentiles who don't know God (Eph 4:17)
- Walk not with a futile mind (Eph 4:17)
- Walk in love just as Christ loved you (Eph 5:2)
- Walk as Children of the light and not in darkness (Eph 5:8)
- Walk in wisdom, knowing the days are evil (Eph 5:15)
In terms of the difficulty of the day in which we live, a key consideration is this word 'time'. We only have so much of it left and it could be a lot less than any of us expect! Note that following that we are to:
- Know the time - Rom 13:11-12 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
- Redeem the time - Col 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Eph 5:16 Making the most of your time, because the days are evil
- Reap in time - Gal 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
"What lends special urgency to this matter is the evil character of the days in which we live. They remind us God will not always strive with man, the day of grace will soon close, the opportunities for worship, witness, and service on earth will soon be forever ended."
William MacDonald, Believers Bible Commentary
Do we know the time? Do we know that we live very close to the return of the Lord? If so do we redeem the time that we have knowing that the days are evil and that we can be a light in these dark days? And do you also know that if you do this you will also reap a harvest in the proper time? The Lord doesn't leave His workers unrewarded.
Paul contrasts the effect of the Holy Spirit with the state of drunkenness. Alcohol is a depressant; it "loosens" people because it depresses their self-control, their wisdom, their balance and judgment. The Holy Spirit has an exactly opposite effect. He is a stimulant; He moves every aspect of our being to better and more perfect performance.
Pastor David Guzik
- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs - that is, allow your thoughts and conversation to be filled with God's word. Pray the Psalms... they are God's direct word!
- Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord - where is the biggest battlefield going on today? In the mind of the believer. We must renew our minds with the truth and what better way that to sing spiritual songs in our hearts as we go about our day! Instead of the doom and gloom of the world's songs, sing that which uplifts your spirit and turns your mind onto Him once again.
- Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything - Wow! Always giving thanks? For everything? Really? It doesn't mean that all things are good but all things can be used for good with God. Therefore we should give thanks. In all things! This is actually a command of the Lord and is stated as God's will for you... and note that in this verse it is connected with putting out the Spirit's fire if we don't do these things: 'Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire.' (1Th 5:16-19 )
“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” A.W. Tozer
"True Worship: All that I am, responding to all that He is—in gratitude and praise." Adrian Rogers
2Ch 5:13-14 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud... for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
- Know the time - Rom 13:11-12 We are to know that we live near the return of Jesus Christ. All things are coming to a head. These are difficult days to be a believer and spiritual sleepiness abounds, but recognizing the time should push us closer to the Lord, dependent on Him and His Spirit. That is the only way in which we will remain a light in these dark times. We should know the time.
- Redeem the time - Col 4:5, Eph 5:16 Realizing, as scripture says, that the days are evil, we are to have the spiritual sight to see and wisely use the opportunities that come to us for God's glory. But we do so realizing that it is only through His Spirit that any progress can be made. We must be filled with God's Spirit to wisely use the opportunities that come our way. So we redeem the time.
- Reap in time - Gal 6:9 God rewards His own for the work they do and we shall reap in time. Today is the day of seed sowing but the day of reaping the rewards is not far off! We shall reap in time if we do not grow weary and sleepy!
As remember, as you go about your journey, to 'strike a light' as Great-heart did as they came near the Enchanted Ground where the air was thin and those on their pilgrimage often got sleepy. You can strike a light by following what Ephesians tells us to do. Renew your mind with the truth... with Psalms and hymns. Sing and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. Give thanks to Him in all things... continue to do so and His Spirit will guide you through the darkest of times! May God bless!
We often think of Jesus' love, forgiveness and healing ministry and so we should. He treated even the outcasts of society in a way they had not experienced before and attracted the masses around Him. But He exposed the evil hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Read the seven woes that Jesus announced publicly upon these so-called 'leaders' and see how Jesus exposed their deeds that kept the masses in darkness while coming over like the teachers of truth. ↩
Believer's Bible Commentary states: "Sometimes in the Bible, the filling with the Spirit seems to be presented as a sovereign gift of God. For instance, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb (Luk_1:15). In such a case, the person receives it without any prior conditions to be met. It is not something for which he works or prays; the Lord gives it as He pleases. Here in Eph_5:18 the believer is commanded to be filled with the Spirit. It involves action on his part. He must meet certain conditions. It is not automatic but the result of obedience.
For this reason the Spirit's filling should be distinguished from certain other of His ministries. It is not the same as any of the following functions:
1. The baptism by the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit which incorporates the believer in the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13).
2. The indwelling. By this ministry the Comforter takes up His residence in the body of the Christian and empowers him for holiness, worship, and service (John 14:16).
3. The anointing. The Spirit Himself is the anointing who teaches the child of God the things of the Lord (1Jo 2:27).
4. The earnest and the seal. We have already seen that the Holy Spirit as the earnest guarantees the inheritance for the saint, and as the seal He guarantees the saint for the inheritance (Eph 1:13-14)."
Again the Believer's Bible Commentary gives a good overview of the results of being filled with God's Spirit:
"These then are four results of the Spirit's filling—speaking, singing, thanking, and submitting. But there are at least four others:
1. Boldness in rebuking sin (Act 13:9-12), and in testifying for the Lord (Act 4:8-12, Act 4:31; Acts 13:52-14:3).
2. Power for service (Act 1:8; Act 6:3, Act 6:8; Act 11:24).
3. Generosity, not selfishness (Act 4:31-32).
4. Exaltation of Christ (Act 9:17, Act 9:20) and of God (Act 2:4, Act 2:11; Act 10:44, Act 10:46).
We should earnestly desire to be filled with the Spirit, but only for the glory of God, not for our own glory."
Just a few other important scriptures to remember on giving thanks:
“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1
"Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High," Psalm 50:14
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Col 3:17