Volume. XXV, No. 29
Sunday, 16 January 2011


Redeeming the Time Part II


In the first part of the article, we learned that the Apostle Paul commands us to redeem the time, that is, to seize opportunity or circumstances for the glory of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by His blood. In other words, God’s people are called not just to make the most of their time, but to make most of “the time” worthwhile. In the second half of the article, the Apostle Paul tells us that, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” This verse in the context is tied to both the verse that came before it (v.16) and to the verse that follows (v.18). It is tied to the verse that came before it by the word “wherefore.” The verse that comes after gives more information about what is the will of the Lord. In the verses that came immediately before this one, Ephesians 5:15-16 is on the subject of being foolish or wise based upon how we use the time that God gives to each us: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (v.16)

 
Why don’t people use their time wisely? (Eph 5:17,18a)
 
Some people do not make the proper use of their time. Ephesians 5:17 gives another reason that such people are foolish. It says, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (v.17) There is nothing more important in life than knowing what is the will of the Lord. Our Lord knew that it was of utmost importance. He prayed to His Father and said, “Not my will, but thine be done.” (Lk 22:42) If only God’s people were wise enough to understand the will of the Lord for them, then their lives would be abundantly fulfilled. Then they would accomplish the divine purpose and object for which they were put on this earth by their Maker. How sad it is that so many Christians are not fulfilling the will of the Lord their Master. It does not have to be that way. The wonderful truth is that we can know it, and this passage of scripture tells us how we can know God’s will! Some people ask, “What do I need to do to know and to do the will of the Lord? Do I need to sell all of my possessions and move to the other side of the world, or make some other great sacrifice?” No, not necessarily. The verses that follow here in Ephesians chapter five tell us exactly what we must do to know God’s will. Basically there are four things needed to do the will of God. We will see them in the rest of Ephesians chapter five. Those four things are: 1) Be filled with the Spirit; 2) Sing to the Lord; 3) Give thanks always for all things; and 4) Submit yourselves one to another.
 
Ephesians 5:18a says, “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess…” This verse is fully expounded by recognising the total context from which it is taken. One part of this context in chapter five has to do with the biblical mandate to believers to not be “partakers with the children of disobedience” (Eph 5:6,7) and to have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness”. (Eph 5:11) As far as specific actions are concerned this refers to sexual immorality and human covetousness. Now we are being told that it also refers to drunkenness and therefore by inference we can say that it refers to any substance abuse. Some readers look at this verse and say that it only speaks about drunkenness and therefore to drink alcohol is okay as long as one does not get drunk. Of course, some people would totally disagree with this interpretation and go for total alcohol abstinence. Whatever the case may be, this verse is teaching that one of the problems with alcohol is that it can cause drunkenness, and the problem with drunkenness is that it always has a negative effect on human behaviour. When we speak of human behaviour, we are talking about the works that we do and the testimony (positive or negative) that we put forth as Christians. The goal is to have fruitful works, works that are produced by the Spirit. This is why this passage is recorded for us. The Holy Spirit of God wants us to produce fruitful works and the most conducive condition would be for a person to be sober and controlled by the Spirit, not by any other influence such as alcohol. In Proverbs, we are told that “Wine is a mocker; strong drink is raging. Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Also in Proverbs 23:29-31 says, “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red…” It is clear that alcohol is or can be an addictive substance. Alcohol is mostly harmful to the body, and the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should not be harmed in any way. Having said this, it is not necessary for us to engage in meaningless debates and attempt to figure out the percentage of alcohol contained in wine of biblical times to make a case for how much or how little alcoholic beverages we should consume.
 
Be Filled with the Holy Spirit and Bear Fruit (Eph 5:18b)
 
The key teaching of Ephesians chapter five really boils down to Eph 5:18b “…be filled with the Spirit”. Or, more precisely, be filled with the Spirit and bear spiritual fruit! In fact, the Apostle says in Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” This truth is vitally important for us to understand in this evil age. Since the Spirit of God works in conjunction with the will of man (ie. as in the case of converted persons), if we lose control of our will through drunkenness or some other substance abuse, we will not be able to surrender our will to the Spirit. Thus, we will not be filled with the Spirit and thus we will be unwise and without understanding of the will of the Lord or produce any positive testimony for Him! But in order to bear the fruit of the Spirit, one must be filled with the Spirit. That makes it clear that you have the choice if you are filled with the Spirit or not. You may have heard some people pray a prayer that goes something like this: “O Lord, please pour out your Spirit upon us so that we may have a revival.” You do not have to pray that prayer. God’s Spirit has already been poured out. That happened on the day of Pentecost. If you are really saved by faith in Christ, then you already have all of the Spirit that you will ever have. The question is: does the Spirit have all of you? That is what the command, “be filled with the Spirit,” is about. It is about us allowing the Spirit whom we already have to control us willingly and totally. It is our choice. He wants to control us for our own good so that Christ’s name may be magnified and glorified, but are we letting Him?
 
The Three Spiritual Things we Can Do
 
The Holy Spirit can only fill us to the degree that we are emptied of other things, especially of ourselves and our own carnal thoughts and desires. The Spirit of God also fills us when we do the three things listed in verses 19, 20, and 21: 1) speaking, 2) giving thanks, and 3) submitting. The phrase “be filled with the Spirit” speaks directly to what is going on inside of you. Ephesians 5:19 is about speaking to yourself and what you should be saying to yourself and how you should be saying it. It says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Human beings speak to themselves. You can observe this in young children. Human beings also see what is going on around them, interpret those things, and then speak to themselves about them. We, as human beings, are in a sense creating our own reality by how we interpret things. Be careful what we say when we speak to ourselves. We are telling ourselves one thing or another. Make sure that we have the best thoughts possible about what we see. This is NOT about self-hypnotism or positive thinking. This is biblical. God wants us to make sure that we have the thoughts that are the will of God or pleasing in His sights and want us to be constantly filled with those holy thoughts. Did not the Apostle Paul say, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
 
Dear brethren: What is God’s will for you? God’s will is that we think the good thoughts that He wants you to think. God’s will is that we speak the things to yourself that we ought to speak giving thanks always to God. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The will of God for us is that we be a person who gives thanks to Him. The giving of thanks is very closely related to having faith, and we know how important faith is! For “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6) If we believe that God is all-powerful, and if we believe that God loves us with His great eternal love; then we can be thankful for all things that come our way! A godly person is hardly a person who always whinges and grumbles. Even the things that most humans call bad or even evil, we can be thankful for because we know that God allowed them for a reason. God’s reasons are always good reasons. He knows things that you do not know. God knows the end from the beginning. He knows how things are going to ultimately work out for His holy purpose, and the final result of all things will be seen at the judgment, if not before.
 
Conclusion:
 
May we, in the new year, be challenged to redeem our time by constantly seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and encouraged to live by faith and be thankful for all things “giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God and the Father.” (Eph 5:20)
 
Ps Weng 
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Lucas Yiew. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht.
*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30 - 1:30pm. Books & cards are for sale.
*First “Tiny Tots Sing-a-long” session commences this Tue at 10 am. For further information please contact Sisters Bernadette Ng or Josephine Wong.
*New address for Ps Weng: Unit 7/80 Wattle St, Fullarton. Phone number same as church number.
*Daily Manner for Jan - Mar QTR available - please help yourself to a copy.
*Batam Missions commences on 20 Jan and ends on 23 Jan.
 
Looking Ahead
*YAF Adelaide Uni O-Week - 21 & 24 Feb.
*YAF Welcome Dinner, Fri, 25 Feb at 6:30 pm.
*Easter Family Bible Camp, 22-25 April.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Dn Christanto & Sis Jenni Budiman & family (Per); Bros Lincoln Law (Hob) & Jason Teng (Syd); Sis Daphne Lai (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Freedom to worship God in Australia.
4. Orientation for new International students at Life BPC, S’pore, last Sat - Sis Felicia Tan
5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser; Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Khmer Pastors & Bible students.
3. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry (Vientiane).
4. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
5. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
6. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
7. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
8. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
9. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
10. Journey mercies: Ps Weng, Dn David Yeo, Bro Phil Surman, & Sis Clara Sim (S’pore/Batam); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Melb); Bros Daniel Ki (Adl) & Daniel Volvricht (Melb/Adl); & all those who are travelling.
11. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates this year.
12. Good health in pregnancy & labour - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. God’s comfort - Those still in grief.
15. Batam Missions - for organisers & team members; for safety & protection; & for fruitful ministry.
16. Dn Christanto & Sis Jenni Budiman & family as they settle down in Perth.
17. Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & family to Melbourne for three years.
18. Floods in Queensland, Northern NSW & Victoria - Comfort for those affected by the floods; & volunteers. People to repent and turn to Christ.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063