- Sermon Notes
How To Make Your Todays Count
July 4, 2021
1. First impressions matter.
ILLUS – The first time I met my wife, Heidi.
2. What’s your story?
3. The fact that you and I are here means there’s more to be written.
4. In fact, each day is another page written in our stories.
5. So how do you want your remaining “Todays” to read?
6. Ephesians 5 gives us important insights for how to make each of our “Todays” count so that our stories glorify God and leave us without regrets.
Transition – The first principle from this passage is to Make Your Todays Count by. . .
I. Watching Your Walk (15)
• In the Greek, this is a present tense command which means that the Apostle Paul is telling us to “look and keep on looking.”
• It can also mean to “be alert and keep on being alert.”
A. Walk with your eyes wide open (15a)
ILLUS – Walking with my eyes wide open through the Ape Caves with my kids.
1. In essence, Paul is telling us to pay close attention to our priorities; make sure our priorities line up with God’s priorities.
2. Paul is also telling us to pay close attention to our choices; make sure our choices line up with God’s Word.
3. 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 can lead the unsuspecting, distracted, and deceived to believe they can put off the weighty matters of life for another day.
• If we follow the devil’s way, we will get off course, we will miss the mark, and suffer the consequences; the loss of a valuable day.
APPL – Have you ever noticed that when it comes to life, often there’s a difference in perspectives between younger and older people?
• Many young people live for the moment without any concern or concern of consequences.
• While the seasoned citizens realize time is short.
o Many regret the foolish choices they made earlier in life because they feel the impact of those poor choices later in life.
o For some, they live with the consequences of their poor choices every day.
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 certain characteristics are true of people who walk wisely.
1. First, wise people are humble people 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 the God of the Bible exists and that He alone is God.
• Conversely. . .
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 life.
• This means a wise person recognizes, welcomes, and submits to God’s authority.
• What is God’s response to those who humble themselves, welcome, and submit to His authority?
• He graciously gives them grace upon 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.
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.
• They exercise care and discernment when selecting their source for counsel.
Proverbs 13:20, He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 14:7, Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.
• May I recommend a proven source for wisdom; the inspired, inerrant, infallible Holy Bible, God’s written Word to us.
o Since God is all-knowing and all-wise, His Word is filled with nuggets of divine wisdom for our lives.
o The wise person knows that God’s Word is the best source for wisdom.
o They study God’s Word so that they may benefit by having it richly dwell within them.
Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
• The wise person is also devoted to prayer and daily asks God for wisdom, knowing that He will generously give wisdom to those who ask and trust in His ability to deliver.
James 1:5-8, 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. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
3. Third, teachable people are doers of God’s wise counsel because a teachable heart acts on 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.
APPL – After a failure it’s easy to pack it up and give up, but the Lord has more “Todays” to write in our stories.
• He can use even our failures to teach us about His love, grace, wisdom, and power.
• But we must trust God, act on His counsel, and give Him room to move.
Transition – The second principle from this passage is to Make Your Todays Count by intentionally choosing to . . .
II. Make a Difference (16)
• Be intentional with your Todays.
• Intentionally choose to make a difference every day.
• You would be surprised how the Lord can use your life and your voice to make difference in the lives of others.
ILLUS – The difference Malina made at her big sister’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.”
1. This implies there are rewards for good stewardship.
2. 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 overwhelming. Many people are stuck in fear, afraid of what’s around the bend.
4. But there are opportunities to “buy up” especially during these trying and uncertain times.
5. Our choices during these difficult “Todays” will strengthen us and prepare us for handling future peaks and valleys; just like an athlete in training.
APPL – For an athlete to compete, they must make the right choices every day to be prepared 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 – Make the most of every opportunity.
• Redeem the time. (5:16)
• By doing do so you will also. . .
B. Overcome evil with good (16b)
1. The days are evil.
2. But God’s answer for evil is His truth and love lived out through people like us 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 is not or will not.
Pastor Rich has 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?”
Transition – Ultimately this passage is teaching us to. . .
III. Seize Our “Todays” (17)
A. Value what God values (17a)
1. Notice the repeated warning to “Avoid the way of the fool.”
2. “Foolish” means “without reason, without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly.”
APPL – It’s like a sleepwalker who is unaware that each step is bringing 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.
• Don’t let life happen to you.
• Live intentionally for God by faith.
• Let your light shine.
B. Understand what God’s will is (17b)
1. Throughout his letters, Paul refers to the value of knowing the Lord and walking in His will.
2. 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 God’s will 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 God’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
15 So then, [a]be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 [b]making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.