- Sermon Notes
- First impressions matter.
ILLUS – I’ll never forget the first time I met my wife, Heidi.
2. What is your story?
3. The fact that you’re here means there’s more to be written. In fact, each day is another page written in your story.
4. How do you want your remaining “Todays” to read?
5. Ephesians 5 gives us important insights for making the most of our “Todays” so that our stories glorify God and leave us without regrets.
- “Walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (4:1).
- “Be imitators of God” (5:1).
- Contrast Light vs. Darkness (5:3-14).
I. Today – Watch Your Walk (15)
A. Keep your eyes wide open (15a)
- In the original language, this is a present tense command which means that the Apostle Paul was telling us to “look and keep on looking,” or to “be alert and keep on being alert.”
ILLUS – An adventure through the Ape Caves with my kids.
2. In essence, Paul was telling us to pay close attention to our priorities. We must make sure our priorities line up with God’s priorities.
3. Paul was also telling us to pay close attention to our choices. We must make sure our choices line up with God’s Word.
4. If we heed Paul’s counsel, then we will avoid the way of the unwise, or the way of the “fool.”
APPL – The devil has mastered the art of distraction.
- Pleasure, leisure, procrastination, and even fear are devices at his disposal which lead the unsuspecting, distracted, and deceived to believe they can put off weighty matters for another day.
- But if we follow the devil’s way, we will get off course, we will miss the mark, and suffer the consequences, the loss of another valuable day.
APPL – Have you ever noticed that when it comes to life, often there is a difference in perspectives between young and older people?
- The young live for the moment without any awareness of consequences.
- The old, on the other hand, realize time is short. Often, they regret the foolish choices they made earlier in life because they felt the impact of those poor choices later in life.
ILLUS – A truck driver’s response to my greeting.
1 Peter 5:6, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
B. Walk wisely (15b)
Transition – The Bible reveals that there are certain characteristics which are true of people who walk wisely.
- First, they are humble because wisdom begins with humility.
Proverbs 11:2, When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
but with the humble is wisdom.
APPL – Why is a wise person humble?
- Because a wise person knows that God exists, and that God alone is God.
Psalm 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
- A wise person honors God by giving God the highest place in their lives.
- This means a wise person recognizes and submits to God’s authority.
- What is God’s response to those who humble themselves and submit to His authority?
- He graciously gives them grace over and over again.
James 4:6-7, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
2. Second, they are teachable because a humble heart is a teachable heart.
Proverbs 1:5, A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel
APPL – It’s also important to see that a wise person knows where to find wise counsel.
- God is all-knowing.
- God is all-wise.
- The wise person knows that God is the best source for wisdom and asks the Lord first, knowing that He will generously give wisdom when asked.
James 1:5, But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
3. Third, they are doers of God’s wise counsel because a teachable heart acts upon God’s Word.
Strong’s Lexicon states the word “wise” involves “forming the best plans and using the best means for their execution.”
James 1:22, But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
ILLUS – Adam’s youth football game against Scappoose; an example of walking wisely.
Transition – After failure it’s easy to pack it up and give up, but the Lord has more “Todays” to write in our stories.
- He uses our failures to teach us about His love, grace, wisdom, and power!
- We must give God room to move.
II. Today – Make a Difference (16)
ILLUS – Malina at Anna’s volleyball game.
A. Redeem the time (16a)
Strong’s Lexicon states “making the most of your time” literally means “redeeming the time … To buy up, to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good.”
Warren Wiersbe adds, “As we obey His will, we buy up the opportunities and do not waste time, energy, money, and talent in that which is apart from His will. Lost opportunities may never be regained.”
- This implies there are rewards for good stewardship.
- It also implies that our days are numbered.
Psalm 90:10, 12, As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
3. The problem is life can be so mundane, boring, or dull.
4. But there are opportunities to “buy up” even during mundane times.
5. Our choices during the mundane “Todays” prepare us for handling future peaks andvalleys.
APPL – To compete, an athlete must make the right choices every day in order to prepare for the big event.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
Transition – Redeem the time.
- Make the most of every opportunity.
- Walk as children of the light.
- Be imitators of God.
- Walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
B. Overcome evil with good (16b)
- The days are evil.
- But God’s answer for evil is His grace lived through people like you and me who walk
carefully, wisely, making the most of every opportunity.
Romans 12:21, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
3. We need an eternal perspective – Our God Wins!
4. Even when it appears, from an earthly perspective, He will not.
Pastor Rich has said, “Whenever light confronts darkness there will be tribulation.”
Pastor Rich also said, “Don’t doubt in the darkness what God has revealed to you in the light.”
Esther 4:14, And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?
There’s an old Rabbinical saying, “And if not now, when?”
III. Seize Your “Todays” (17)
A. Value what God values (17a)
- Notice the repeated warning to “Avoid the way of the fool.”
- “Foolish” means “without reason, without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly.”
APPL – It’s like a sleepwalker who is unaware that each step brings him closer to disaster.
- The Apostle Paul is saying, “Don’t sleepwalk through life.”
- “Wake up.”
Ephesians 5:14, Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
B. Understand what the will of the Lord is (17b)
- Throughout his epistles, Paul refers to the value of knowing the Lord and walking in His will.
- We were made for God’s will. To love, to be holy, to be thankful, to seek unity, to serve one another, to help the poor, to protect the orphan and widow, to share our faith, and eagerly wait for Christ’s return.
Transition – How do we make Christ’s Lordship a reality?
Romans 12:12-1-2, I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
APPL – Living the Lord’s will is living life to the full. This is what we were made for.
APPL – I am confident that as we live by these principles from God’s Word, God will do something miraculous because He is a God who redeems, restores, and gives new beginnings.
Joel 2:25, 26, I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, … Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame.
Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB