Ephesians 5:15-18

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 16, 2006


While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip. When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn’t miss them until they had been driving about twenty minutes. By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses. All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn’t let up one minute. To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her, “While you’re in there, you might as well get my hat and credit card.”

We’re all on a road trip.  It’s called “life”.  Sometimes it’s important that we make the right turns.  Sometimes it’s just important to be nice to the people we’re traveling with.

:15 See then that you walk circumspectly,

circumspectlyakribos exactly, accurately, diligently, carefully

Paul has been telling us how we are to “walk”, that road trip we’re on.

(Eph 4:1 NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

We mentioned then that to “walk worthy”, in context, meant that we were to walk in unity with other believers.

(Eph 5:2 NKJV) And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Live your life in a manner characterized by sacrificial love, laying down your life for others.

(Eph 5:8 NKJV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Live as a light to the world. Live as if every moment of your life was being done in the open, in the sunlight, maybe even being broadcast for the whole world to see.

:15 not as fools but as wise,


Foolish walking

Solomon has a story to tell us.
(Prov 7 NKJV) My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you. {2} Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. {3} Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. {4} Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your nearest kin, {5} That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words. {6} For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, {7} And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding,

This is a fellow who is not going to be doing the wise thing. Watch where he is going to go for a “walk”.

{8} Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house {9} In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night. {10} And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. {11} She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. {12} At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. {13} So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him: {14} "I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. {15} So I came out to meet you, Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you. {16} I have spread my bed with tapestry, Colored coverings of Egyptian linen. {17} I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. {18} Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with love. {19} For my husband is not at home; He has gone on a long journey; {20} He has taken a bag of money with him, And will come home on the appointed day."

Now if this is what you’re looking for in life, something forbidden, something that actually reaches out to you and helps you do what you’re fantasizing about, well then it looks like the guy made a smooth move. He just “happened” to walk down her street.

{21} With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. {22} Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, {23} Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life. {24} Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: {25} Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; {26} For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men. {27} Her house is the way to hell, Descending to the chambers of death.

On the way to hell? Really? Yes. Maybe it’s not such a smart place to walk down her street.

The Five Chapter Book:

Chapter One: A man was walking down the street. He fell into a hole. He groped his way in the darkness. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Two: A man was walking down the same street. He pretended not to see the hole. He fell in. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Three: A man was walking down the same street. He sees the hole. He falls in. He says it's not his fault. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Four: A man walks down the same street. He sees the hole. He knows it's there. He tries to walk around it. He falls in. He knows it's his fault. He quickly gets out.

Chapter Five: A man takes another street.

Is there a “hole” you keep falling into? Walk wisely. Take another street.

:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

redeemingexagorazo to redeem; to buy up for one’s self; We don’t necessarily buy with money, we buy with the choices we’re going to make.

timekairos – Wuest: “time as regarded in its strategic, epoch-making, seasonable, opportune seasons.”


Buying the opportunities

I was thinking that I’d launch a whole tirade on how television is a waste of time. But I’m not sure that’s the idea here.
(Eph 5:16 NIV) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
The idea is that we are constantly faced with “opportunities”. Do we take advantage of the opportunities in front of us?
Indeed, things like television might side track us from opportunities.

But the focus here is on the opportunities. Take the opportunities. Buy them. Make them your own.

The focus isn’t on being “busy” just for the sake of being busy. The idea is seeing the opportunities in front of you and making them your own.

Opportunities for what?
Opportunities to do God’s will.
Esther was a gal in a unique position. She was an orphaned Jewish girl living in the kingdom of Persia. Her cousin Mordecai encouraged her to enter a beauty pageant, she won, and ended up as the Queen of Persia. No one but Mordecai knew she was Jewish.

What was her opportunity? It came with a wicked man named Haman cooked up a plot to have all the Jews destroyed in the kingdom of Persia.

And Esther was faced with an opportunity. Her cousin sent her a message asking her to intervene for her people with the king. But she was reluctant. If she sent into the king’s presence without an invitation, she could face being put to death (not a great marriage in my eyes).

(Est 4:13-14 NKJV) And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. {14} "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Esther decided to “buy” the opportunity. She had to give some of her time. She had a couple of meals prepared. She risked her life. But she interceded for her people and in the end Haman was put to death and the Jews were rescued.

Do you see the opportunities God has for you?
The disciples didn’t always see the opportunities, but Jesus did.
The disciples were bothered when noisy blind people got too close to Jesus. But Jesus stopped to heal them.
The disciples were bothered by parents bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus stopped and blessed them.
Life is short.
Some of us live as if we’re going to live forever. We act like there are certain things we don’t need to worry about because we’ve got plenty of time to take care of it.
(Luke 12:16-21 NKJV) Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. {17} "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' {18} "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. {19} 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' {20} "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' {21} "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
We don’t know when our time will be up. For some, it may be a phone call from the doctor telling us it’s cancer. For others it could be from a heart attack. A car accident happens suddenly.  It may be in forty years.  It may be tomorrow.
Are there opportunities we’re passing up because we think we’ve got plenty of time?
We have some modern examples of people taking advantage of opportunities
Billy Graham preaching in communist Russia
George Bryson taking groups to Russia, we don’t know how long the door will be open.
Rick Warren is trying to get an opportunity to preach in North Korea. Pray the door opens completely.
Our opportunities
Groups going witnessing down on the beach.
Someone at church invites you to lunch.
The pagans at work invite you to dinner.
Teaching a Sunday School class.
Walking the campus at Cal State Fullerton – what kind of door might God open?
The upcoming outreach at La Caffepia.
Plans for a food-drive this fall with Second Harvest – we’ll have the opportunity to pass out flyers in the neighborhoods and hand out $1500 worth of food for FREE once a month for three months.
Upcoming trips to Mexico, next year to Russia.
You hear that someone in church has a need – and you actually have something to offer to help.
How do we “buy up the opportunities”?
Would you consider paying money for the opportunity to teach Sunday School?
Would it cost you something to take someone out to lunch?
What are you willing to pay in order to take advantage of opportunities that God has for you to serve Him?

:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

unwiseaphron (“not” + “mind”) This is a different word than the one used in verse 15, which simply meant “not wise”. This word means “without reason; senseless, foolish, stupid; without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly”.

understandsuniemi to set or bring together; to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived; to set or join together in the mind; i.e. to understand: reflective thinking.

It’s putting the puzzle pieces together in front of you and making sense of it.

It’s like a detective show where the detective takes all the clues and solves the mystery.

willthelema what one wishes or has determined shall be done; of what God wishes to be done by us; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

This is not the idea of God’s sovereign declaration of how things are going to be. It’s more the idea of the things that God desires, what He likes, what He wishes for us.


Understanding God’s will

God has a plan for my life.  He has roads He wants me to travel.
(Eph 2:10 NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
For some of us, hearing that God has plans for my life brings nothing but frustration. How can I know what God’s plans are? What is God’s will for my life?
I want to split up this discussion into two areas:
1. What we know for sure is God’s will
There are some things that we can all know are God’s will for us.
a. Salvation

(1 Tim 2:3-4 NKJV) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, {4} who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The Greek word translated “desires” is the same word translated “will” in our passage. It is God’s will, God’s desire, God’s heart that all men be saved.

That doesn’t mean that all men will be saved. But it does tell us where God’s heart is.

God wants you to know Him. God wants you to experience His forgiveness for your sins. God wants you to be in heaven with Him for eternity, and He’s made it possible for you to do that by sending His Son to die on a cross and pay for your sins.

It may sound crazy, but there are people who wonder if God could ever love them. They wonder if they could ever possibly be saved from their sin.

It is God’s will that you be saved.

b. Being filled with the Holy Spirit

Our passage tells us clearly:

(Eph 5:17-18 NKJV) Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. {18} And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

After telling us to know God’s will, Paul gives something specific to do, to be filled with the Spirit of God.

We’ll talk more about this next week.

2. The areas we aren’t sure about
For many of you, this is all fine. You don’t argue over what God is clear about in His Word. What you are wondering about are the things that aren’t in the Word?

Which job should I take? Where should I live? Who should I marry?

a. Stay in the Word

(Psa 119:105 NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

There will be times when you will find God speaking directly to your situation.

If you are wondering whether or not you should move in with your boyfriend …

(1 Th 4:3 NKJV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

God says “no”. Not because He wants to ruin your life, but because God wants something better for you.

There will be times when God will speak indirectly to you through His Word.

I remember when we were agonizing over selling our condo and buying our first house. Our condo had been on the market for over a month without any offers. I had panicked and was trying to get out of the deal when I sat down and had my Quite Time. And in our daily through the Bible reading, I read …

(Deu 1:8 NKJV) 'See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land …

(Deu 1:26 NKJV) "Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God;

I sensed that God was speaking to me about our situation. He wanted us to trust Him. We did. That week our condo sold. He took care of us.

b. Pray

Ask God for help. Ask Him for direction. Ask Him for wisdom.

(James 1:5 NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Often times we don’t know what God wants because we simply haven’t been asking Him. And don’t just give Him five minutes to give you an answer. Wait for His answer.

c. Give yourself to Him.

(Rom 12:1-2 NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This is one of the most crucial steps of finding out God’s will.

When you give yourself completely to Him, you will find God’s will. You will find that it is good, acceptable, and perfect.

d. Figure it out

Remember our verse? Understand the will? Put it all together like a detective.

You may make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.

But if you are doing the first three things, you’re in the right place, the best place to make a decision.

(Psa 37:4 NKJV) Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

When you are spending time daily with the Lord and giving yourself to Him, you will find God at work in your heart. He will be affecting your desires. He will be changing your heart.

I believe that in some of these unknown areas, God will lead us through our own heart’s desires, as long as we stay yielded to Him.

Looking for which turn to make on that road trip of life?

Know Jesus and be filled with His Spirit.

Read your Bible.  Pray.  Give yourself to God.

And God will lead you.