17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Be Filled with the Spirit
This world, that we are living in today, are filled with many things. We are filled with all kind of stuff that only leads us farther and farther away from God.
We are filled with hatred.
We are filled with animosity.
We are filled with grief.
We are filled with vengeance.
We are filled with malice and envy.
We are filled with confusion.
We are filled with anger.
We are filled with violence.
These things are leading us farther away from where God wants us to be. We are to be full of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we can’t lead the good life, we can’t be engaged in the peace that God has for us, unless we are being led by the works of the Holy Spirit.
It doesn’t take much to look within yourself and see if you are being led by the Spirit. It doesn’t take much to take inventory of your life, look at how you are treating other people, look at how you are treating yourself, look at how you are treating God, and compare it with God’s Word and see if this is truly how God wants you to live.
We need to understand tonight that God is not the author of confusion. If there is confusion in your life, you can rest assured that God is not in it. If there is problem within your life that is pulling you away from the place where God wants you to be, then you need to drop some of the negative things that you are doing in life, and make a conscience decision to follow Christ.
Paul here wrote this letter to Ephesus while he was bound in a Roman jail. His first order of speaking to them was to let them know how they became to be what they are. See, many of us today think that we got to where we are because of us. You think that you’ve done so good in life that God just showed favor on you. Folks today feel like they are blessed because of who they are, or simply because of their last name. They are too blessed to be stressed. Many of us are so blessed, that it’s got us in a mess.
But I need to serve notice on you. God reminded us that our best is like filthy rages in His sight. You are where you are because of God amazing Grace. Because of His Grace and His Mercy.
Paul says it like this to the Ephesians. You’ve been elected, You’ve been predestinated, You’ve adopted into the family. You really didn’t want God, but God wanted you. See, your flesh only do things that will lead you away from God.
Your flesh leads some of you to the clubs.
Your flesh leads some of you into adultery.
Your flesh leads some of you into gambling around to old Oak Tree
Your flesh leads some of you into cussing and complaining.
Your flesh leads some of you into all acts of wrongful doings.
But, as I often say to the church where I preach the most, When God looks at you, He doesn’t see you for who you really are, He sees you for what you can become. Thank You Lord!!! I don’t know about you, but the Blood of Jesus got me covered.
The first part of Paul’s letter is doctrinal. He is teaching them the truths that are in God’s Word. He’s teaching them how God planned the church, how Jesus purchased the church, and how the Holy Spirit protects the church. Even the very gates of hell cannot prevail against her.
Now the problem in Ephesus was that there was a temple there. The temple of Diana. And many of the believers were engaged in some of the practices that were going on inside this temple. They would come to church, but they would leave church and go get drunk, come to the temple and become involved in orgies and all kind of immoral sex acts.
When Paul gets to the practical part of living, which is the last three chapters of Ephesians, he encourages them not to practice this kind of living. So, here in verse 18, Paul says, you ought not to be drunk with wine.
Really, you can follow this back to verse 17, he says, “every Christian” ought to have an understanding of God Word. You ought to know the will of God in your life. God don’t want you engaged in some of the wrongful practices that you are engaged in. God wants you do well in life. And don’t think for one minute that you can play with God. He is an all-seeing God. He is an all-knowing God. He is omnipresent. He knows what you are going to do, even before you do it.
So, when Paul says be not drunk with wine, he is encouraging us not to be influenced by anything other than the Holy Spirit. Even your very own feeling ought not to get in the way. Don’t be influence by Husband, nor by wife. Don’t be influence by friend, nor by foe. Don’t allow your love ones to influence. But only be lead by the Spirit.
That’s really what Paul was saying when he said in (1 Cor. 13:11), “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I though as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” He was talking about love there, and he really said, when I was in the world, I loved like worldly folks, but now that the Lord have changed me, I’ve learned to love like He wants me to love.
Paul likens the church to a drunken man. He really is not talking about drunkenness, but he is only using it as an example. When you are drunk you are unwise. Drunkenness makes you do a lot of foolish things. What Paul is saying here, when you are lead by any other force, anything other than the Holy Spirit, you are going to do foolish things.
I’m here to tell you this tonight, I don’t care how much you pray, I don’t care how much you plead, I don’t care how much you partition God, and your life is not going to get any better until you become lead by the Holy Spirit.
You are not going to know how to treat other people, until you are led by the Holy Spirit. You are not going to know how to treat yourself, until you are led by the Holy Spirit. You are not going to know how to have true fellowship with God, until you are led by the Holy Spirit.
Paul here is saying to the Ephesians, and to us, drop all of those things in your life that is leading you away from God. Those things that are hindering your progress, and start getting closer to God by the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
How do we do that preacher? I’m glad you asked. It right here in the Scripture. Paul actually gives us three results of how to become filled with the Spirit. First he says speak to yourselves in psalm, and hymns and spiritual songs. Second, he says giving thanks always for all things. And lastly, he says, submitting yourselves one to another.
Speaking to yourselves in songs
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
What exactly does Paul mean here, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”. Now “psalms” here means “praises”. If you will look at the books of Psalms, all you will find there is where the writer praised God for all of His wondrous works.
So, we ought to have some praises within our hearts. I know, things are not going well for you right now, but still God is good. He still good, even though things might not be working in your favor, God is still good. You still ought to praise Him. Don’t let nothing or nobody stop your praise. Right now, you ought to be getting your praise on.
So many of us go to work with the wrong attitudes. We go wondering what other folks are saying about us, we go wondering who are going to do what and when, we go to work trying to see what people are going to do. We ought to be going to work praising God, giving Him some glory. Thanking Him for all that He has done in your life.
If you don’t think that you’ve got anything to praise Him for, just move your hands, and say Lord I thank you. Just open your mouth and speak, then say, Lord I thank you. Just open your eyes and see, then say, Lord I thank you. If you are on your job, be thankful that you even have a job. Some folks want to work and can’t, because their job have shut down. There a plenty of things that we can be thankful for, and give God praise.
Many of the problems in our churches today is that we don’t want other folks to see us praising God. But I don’t know about you, God has been too good to me, He has brought me from a long way. If you don’t want to praise Him, get out of my way. I’ve just got to give Him some praise.
Then Paul says, “hymns”. Hymns are “songs of praise”. Not only are you to speak praises to God, but you ought to sing praises to Him. There ought to be a personal song in your heart.
I don’t know about your God, but I’ve got a personal God. My God will bring deliverance, when I’m in trouble. My God will bring healing when I’m sick. My God will bring happiness, when I’m burdened down. So, I’ve got a personal song in my heart.
Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart feel lonely,
And long for my heaven home,
When Jesus is my fortress,
A constant friend is He,
His eyes is on the sparrow,
And I know He’s watching me.
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
God’s eyes is on the sparrow,
And I know, He’s watching over me.
Paul says, we ought to be praising Him, and singing in our heart to the Lord. Lord, even though I’m going through, I’m still going to praise you. I’ve got a song in my heart that just won’t stop. I’m going to praise you when I’m up, and I’m going to praise you when I’m down. I know you are God and beside you, there is none other.
Giving thanks always in all things
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
1 Thes. 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. You don’t have to thank God “for” all things, but “In” all things. This might be hard to understand, but God didn’t bring all things in your life. Some of those things, He just got back and allowed them to come.
When Paul says “for” in the 20th verse, in the Greek, it really is talking about a place. What it is really saying is, God, no matter where I am, I’m going to give you thanks. If things are going good in my life, I’m going to give you thanks. If they are not so good and I’m catching hell on every hand, I’m still going to give you thanks.
If I already got all my bills paid for the month, I’m going to give you thanks. If I don’t have my bills paid, and don’t know how I’m going to make end meet, I’m still going to be thankful to you. For I realize that you are fully in control of all things.
See, no matter what I think, no matter what I see, no matter what I understand, God is in control of everything. And I just know in my heart, that God would not bring me to it, if He wasn’t going to see me through it.
He is worthy of all my praise, so I’m going to thank Him. IN all things, my heart is fixed and my mine is made up, I’m going to thank Him. Paul and Silas were down in jail. They were down in the inner prison. Yet they found a way to sing and praise God. God sent His angel down there and shook that jail.
Many times in my life I get in a bad situation, but I’m going to find a way to praise God. I just believe when I got trouble in my home, God will send His angels to shake some thing loose. I believe when there is trouble on my job, God will send His angel by to see about me. I believe when all hell have broken loose at the church, God will send His angel my way, and we can shake the devil off.
Submitting yourselves one to another
Lastly Paul says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” This is much of our problem in the church today. See, submitting means that you have got to be under the authority of another person, and today, we don’t want anybody telling us anything.
Especially if it is your pastor, and you don’t particularly like him, you will not listen to anything that he has to say. But Paul said, in order to become filled with the Spirit, you got to learn how to submit yourself to another person.
I should be able to listen to you, and you should be able to listen to me. We are fighting this war together. God sees us all on the same level. IN Christ, there is no big I’s and no little u’s. In Christ, EVERYBODY is somebody.
We need to learn how to listen to one another. If I’m wrong in the Word of God, that’s alright. If I’m a child of God, I should be able to stand correction. And you should have the courage to correct me. This is how many of the arguments occur in the church. If you are wrong, you need to search out the situation before making judgments on another person.
So, Paul here says, we need to learn how to get along with one another. We need to grow up and become mature within the church.
Because when the Lord comes back
We are going to have to answer for all the things done in our bodies,
Whether they be good or bad.
You are going to have to answer for all the lies that you’ve told,
You are going to have to answer for all the tricks that you’ve pulled.
You are going to have to answer for all of the times you scandalized my name.
So, I encourage all of you here tonight,
To become filled with the Spirit.
Began right now, making melodies within your heart.
Start right now, giving God thanks for all things.
Don’t let another go by, without submitting yourselves to one another.
You ought to able to say within yourselves.
For God I’ll live, and for God, I’ll surely die.
I know He’s able,
Said, I know He able right now.
You ought to have a song in your heart.
Be not dismayed,
What ever betides you,
God will take care of you.
Father I stretch my hands to thee,
No other help I know,
If thou withdraw thyself from me,
Whether shall I go.
I’ve come to the garden alone,
Where the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ears,
The Son of God discloses,
He walks with me, And the Lord, He talks with me, He tells me, that I am His own. The joy that we share, as We tarry there, none other, has ever known.
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What a blessedness, what a peace of mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
We are often tossed and driven on the restless sea of time,
Somber skies and howling tempest often succeed a bright sunshine,
In that land of perfect day, when the mists have rolled away,
We will understand it better by and by.
The Lord, died for you and me,
Surely, we ought to live for Him
One Thursday night.