- Sermon Notes
How To Make Your Todays Count
February 12, 2023
- What’s your story?
- The fact that we are here means there’s more to be written.
- In fact, each day is another page written in the story of our lives.
- So how do you want your remaining “Todays” to read?
- 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 Watching Your Walk.
I. Watch Your Walk (15)
- In the Greek, this is a present tense command which means the Apostle Paul is telling us to “look and keep on looking” at how we live our lives, to watch our walk.
- It can also mean to “be alert and keep on being alert” as you walk through life.
A. Walk with your eyes wide open (15a)
ILLUS – Walking with my eyes wide open through the Ape Caves with my kids.
- In essence, Paul is telling us to pay close attention to our priorities; to make sure our priorities line up with God’s priorities.
- Paul is also telling us to pay close attention to our choices; to make sure our choices line up with God’s Word.
- If we heed Paul’s counsel, then we will avoid the way of the unwise, also known as the way of the “fool.”
APPL – The devil has mastered the art of using distractions to entice people to go the way of the fool.
- Pleasure, leisure, procrastination, and even fear are deceptive distractions at Satan’s disposal which he uses to lead the unsuspecting, distracted, and deceived to believe they can put off the weighty matters of life 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 a valuable day.
APPL – Have you ever noticed that when it comes to life, there’s a difference in perspectives between those who are younger and those who are older?
- Many young people live for the moment without any concern for the consequences.
- While us seasoned citizens realize time is short.
- Many regret the foolish choices they have made earlier in life because they feel the impact of those poor choices later in life.
- For some, they feel the weight 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 someone who walks wisely.
- First, a wise person is 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 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; knowing God and walking with God is their highest pursuit and greatest privilege.
Philippians 3:7-14, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . . that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him. . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This means a wise person recognizes, welcomes, and submits to God’s authority.
What is God’s response those who humble themselves, who welcome and submit to God’s authority?
God 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.
- Second, the wise person is 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 the wise know 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.
- Since God is all-knowing and all-wise, His Word is filled with nuggets of divine wisdom for our lives.
- The wise know that God’s Word is the best source for wisdom.
- The wise study God’s Word because they want all the blessings of having it richly dwell within them.
Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you
- 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, 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.
- Third, a wise person is a doer of God’s wise counsel because a humble, teachable heart acts on the counsel from 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 even use our failures to teach us about His love, grace, wisdom, and power.
But we must trust God, then act on His counsel and give God 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.”
- This implies there are rewards for good stewardship (i.e., “Crowns”).
- 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.
- The problem is life can be overwhelming. Many people are stuck in fear, afraid of what’s around the proverbial corner.
- But there are opportunities to “buy up” especially during these trying and uncertain times.
- 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)
- And also. . .
B. Overcome evil with good (16b)
- These are evil days.
- 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.
- We need an eternal perspective during these evil days, here it is. . . our God wins!
- Even when it appears that God is losing or will not win, remember our God wins! In fact, God has already won!
APPL – God, in His sovereign wisdom, placed us here, at this time, to make a difference for His kingdom.
Esther 4:14, And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?
- You have a divine calling.
- You have been called for such a time as this!
Transition – Ultimately Paul is telling us to. . .
III. Seize Our “Todays” (17)
There’s an old Rabbinical saying, “And if not now, when?”
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 is bringing him closer to disaster.
- The Apostle Paul is telling us, “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. And. . .
B. Understand what God’s will is (17b)
- Throughout his letters, 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 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’m 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.