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Sermon #59 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:                           Live for God

 

Text:                            Ephesians 5:1-33

Subject:                     Living for the Lord

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — January 10, 2017

Readings:     Lindsay Campbell and Mark Henson

Introduction:

 

It has been my heart’s desire and unceasing prayer every day for the past 50 years that the Lord God would give me grace to live for him. I want to live for God. Don’t you?

 

“Take my life, and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee!”

 

I am more and more convinced that Christianity, true Christianity, faith in Christ, true faith in Christ is nothing less than the utter consecration of myself to God my Savior, the devotion of my life to the will, honor, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is exactly what our Lord Jesus teaches us. Is it not? (See Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35-36; Luke 9:24; 14:25-33; 17:33; John 12:25.)

 

(Matthew 10:39) “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

 

(Matthew 16:25) “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

 

(Mark 8:35-36) “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (36) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

 

(Luke 9:24) “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”

 

(Luke 14:25-33) “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

 

(Luke 17:33) “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

 

(John 12:25) “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

 

In the 5th chapter of the book of Ephesians, God the Holy Ghost tells us exactly what it means to live for God. The title of my message is — Live for God. Our text will be Ephesians chapter 5. — Live for God — (Ephesians 5:1-33).

 

Divisions: We will look at these 33 verses under five heads.

1.    God’s Dear Children (vv. 1-2)

2.    Denying Ungodliness (vv. 3-13)

3.    Awakening Required (v. 14)

4.    Understanding God’s Will (vv. 15-21)

5.    Married to Christ (vv. 22-33)

 

God’s Dear Children

 

1stWe are inspired to live for God by the fact that we are God’s own dear children. Every loving son wants to be like his father, the one he admires more than any other, the one who loves him more than any other. Every loving daughter wants to be like her mother, the one she admires more than any other, the one who loves her more than any other. And nothing can be more inspiring to devotion in God’s saints, nothing can more effectually inspire a saved sinner to consecrate himself to God than the fact that the God of heaven has made me (of all people) his own dear child. Therefore, the Spirit of God says to you and me, sinners saved by the grace of God, washed in the blood of Christ, born again by God the Holy Spirit…

 

(Ephesians 5:1-2) “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (2) And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

 

Let us imitate God our Father in all things.

Š      Forgiving one another, for Christ’s sake.

Š      Forbearing one another’s faults and weaknesses, for Christ’s sake.

Š      Walking in love, one toward another, for Christ’s sake, loving one another “as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

 

What motive can induce such behavior? What can inspire such love? — God has made us his own “dear children” (Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:3-6; 1 John 3:1-2).

Š      By Election

Š      By Redemption

Š      By Regeneration

 

(Galatians 4:4-6) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

 

(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

 

(1 John 3:1-2) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

 

Denying Ungodliness

 

2ndIf we would live for God, we are told by God the Holy Ghost that we must do so “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,” living “living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). And he does not leave us to guess what he means by that. In verses 3-13, he tells us exactly what that ungodliness is that we must deny.

 

(Ephesians 5:3-4) “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; (4) Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

 

O God, my God, teach me to live in a constant state of giving thanks to you for all your rich, free, abundant grace in Christ Jesus! — Thankful hearts are obedient hearts.

 

(Ephesians 5:5-8) “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (6) Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (7) Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

 

We know what we are by nature. And we know that this is where we were and what we were when God saved us by his grace. But, blessed be his name, we are washed, we are sanctified, we are now justified by the Spirit of our God and by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! So, let us live for him (1 Corinthians 6:9-20).

 

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

 

Read on…

 

(Ephesians 5:9-13) “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

 

Awakening Required

 

3rdIf we would live for God, we have learned, by long experience, that awakening, constant awakening is required (v. 14)

 

(Ephesians 5:14) “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

 

We are alive. Yes, bless God, we are alive, made alive in Christ! Christ is our life; and we live in Christ! We have been raised from the dead by the Spirit of God in the new birth. If you trust Christ, that is true of you. If I trust Christ, it is true of me. Faith in Christ is the evidence. — But, O my soul, what deadness there is in me! Like Sarah’s womb, there is a deadness in us, a deadness we feel! We feel ourselves as good as dead, utterly impotent! There is a deadness, a lifelessness about us, while we live in this body of flesh, that puts us in constant need of awakening, reviving, and enlivening.

 

Here we are called upon to awaken ourselves. It is our responsibility. But every heaven born soul knows that we can no more awaken ourselves now than we could awaken ourselves in the beginning. We must be awakened that we may awake and rise from the dead (Song of Solomon 4:16-5:9). — “Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name” (Psalm 80:18).

 

(Song of Songs 4:16-5:8) “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

 

(5:1) “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”

 

(5:2-8) “I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. (3) I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? (4) My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. (5) I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. (6) I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. (7) The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. (8) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.”

 

It is, distressing, very distressing, to know, what poor, sinful creatures we are. But nothing short of this painful, humbling knowledge ourselves will break us and convince our proud hearts that it is Christ alone who is our strength, our righteousness, our holiness, and our salvation!

Š      So, this spiritual poverty and leanness of soul are blessed things, designed by our ever-gracious, all-wise God to endear Christ the more to our hearts (Romans 7:14-25).

Š      Blessed be God, our Savior, he has promised that those who mourn for him shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

 

Understanding God’s Will

 

4thIf we would live for God, we must know God’s will. So, in Ephesians 5:15-21, we are given instruction by our God himself, by which we may understand what his will is.

 

(Ephesians 5:15-21) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (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.”

 

Redeeming the time, buying up the opportunity God has given us while we pass through this world, let us

1.    Walk circumspectly, doing that which is right (v. 15).

2.    Be filled with the Spirit, live under the control of God the Holy Ghost, ruled by his Word (v. 18).

3.    Speaking to ourselves in the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs recorded in Holy Scripture, singing and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord (v. 19). — Moses’s Song — Deborah’s Song — Hannah’s Song — The Songs of Heaven — Praise is always good for the soul.

4.    Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20). — Thanksgiving always makes life easier and makes our Lord’s yoke lighter.

5.    Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (v. 21). — We will not greatly err in any relationship, if we simply submit ourselves to one another, fearing God.

 

Married to Christ

 

5th — Now, let’s look at verses 22-33. If we would live for God, let us live in the constant awareness of this blessed factWe are married to Christ. I will come back to this passage on another day, the Lord willing, but for now, I want to impress this one thing upon your heart and mine. — Christ is marred to us; and we are married to the Lord Jesus Christ. — What could be more inspiring and compelling? What could more effectually consecrate our lives to him than the constant remembrance of this sweet fact?

 

(Ephesians 5:22-33) “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (33) Nevertheless let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

 

This blessed, blessed union of Christ and his church was beautifully portrayed in the Garden, before the fall, when God created Eve out of Adam’s side, presented her to him, and married them.

Š      Christ is the Head of the church.

Š      He is the Savior of his body.

Š      Christ loved the church and gave himself for his church. — We have our life from him, by his death. And we have our life in union with him, being married to him.

Š      His purpose from everlasting has been and is that he might sanctify his church, make us holy, and wash his church, and at last present his church to himself “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish!

Š      You and I are, by the wondrous mystery of the grace of God one with Christ. — “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones!

Š      Being married to us, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is utterly, totally consecrated to us!

Š      Being married to him, we should be utterly, totally consecrated to him!

 

(Romans 12:1-2) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

“Take my life, and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee!”

 

That’s the only thing that makes any sense. Isn’t it? — That is what it is to live for God.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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