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Sermon #71 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:               What the Will of the Lord Is

 

Text:                            Ephesians 5:17-6:10

Subject:                     Doing the Will of God

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — June 13, 2017

Readings:     Bobbie Estes and Merle Hart

Introduction:

 

If you will open your Bible to the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Ephesians, we will begin reading at verse 17. My text is Ephesians 5:17-6:10. ⸺ Let’s begin at Ephesians 5:17.

 

“Wherefore” — Because we live in this evil world of darkness, among perishing, ungodly men and women, and because it is our responsibility in this world to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” men and women for the glory of God, — “be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” That is the title of my message — WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD IS.” I am going to show you what the will of God is for every one of his children in this world.

 

Many talk very piously about seeking the will of God for their lives, and act as if it is very difficult to know and do the Lord’s will. I realize that in some matters of specific service in the cause of Christ, it is sometimes difficult to discern the will of God. But I am certain that those who do the will of God in common, ordinary relationships and responsibilities will also find and do the will of God in areas of specific calling in the service of Christ, his gospel, and his people. And those who do not do the will of God in these common affairs of life will not and cannot serve the cause of Christ in higher capacities.

 

Tonight, I want to go into each of your homes, follow each one of you to your work place, and talk to you right where you live every day. In all earthly relationships and responsibilities, the will of God is plainly revealed in the passage before us. It is not mysterious, “super-spiritual,” or difficult to discern. It is as plain as the nose on your face. The only question is this:Will we, or will we not do what God reveals his will to be?

 

Proposition: The true believer, that person who is truly born of God, does what is right in the sight of God, with a willing heart, in all his earthly relationships. ⸺ “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand” (Ecclesiastes 10:2). His heart rules his hand!

 

God’s saints do not live perfectly, or even come close to doing so. We do not always do that which we know to be right. And when we do something that is right sin defiles it. But in the tenor of his life, every believer follows Christ, obeys his Father, and does what is right, because God has put that which is right within him.

 

Righteousness Imputed

 

In justification, righteousness is imputed to us. We have been made right in the eyes of God’s holy law by the obedience and death of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Substitute. As God made Christ sin for us and imputed our sins to him, he has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us, making us the righteousness of God in him. Redemption is…

Š      Righteousness performed by Christ’s obedience.

Š      Justice satisfied by Christ’s death.

Š      Sin put away by Christ’s sacrifice.

 

Righteousness Imparted

 

In regeneration (sanctification), righteousness is imparted to us. In the new birth, God the Holy Spirit makes us partakers of the divine nature. He gives us the nature, the mind, and the will of Christ. The old, sinful nature of flesh is still with us. But now Christ dwells within. That is imparted righteousness! God has put right within us. Righteousness reigns within every believer, and makes every believer do that which is right with a willing heart.

 

I want you to hold your Bible open in your lap and follow me, as I give you a brief, verse by verse exposition of this passage. Would you do the will of the Lord? Would you live in this world for the glory of God? If you would, I have a message from God for you.

 

Divisions: Our text is Ephesians 5:17-6:10. In this portion of Holy Scripture, God the Holy Ghost tells us six specific things that are the will of God for every chosen, blood-bought sinner, six things that God would have us be in this present, evil world. The Lord our God would have us, you and me…

1.    To be Filled (v. 18).

2.    To be Joyful (v. 19).

3.    To be Thankful (v. 20).

4.    To be Submissive (v. 21).

5.    To be Good (vv. 22-6:9).

6.    To be Strong (6:10).

 

Be Filled

 

1st. ⸺ It is the will of God, the will of the Triune Jehovah, the will of God the Father, the will of God the Son, and the will of God the Holy Ghost, that the people of his choice be filled with the Holy Spirit. He would have us give ourselves up to the dominion, rule, and control of Christ our Lord by his Spirit (v. 18).

 

(Ephesians 5:18) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

 

The only way to live for God is to live by God. ⸺ “Ye must be born again.” You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You must surrender yourself to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ as your Lord to be ruled, motivated, and governed by his Spirit through the Word of God (Luke 14:25-33).

 

(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.

 

Awake, come to Christ, trust him, and he will fill you with his Spirit (John 7:37-39).

 

(John 7:37-39) “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

 

This filling of the Holy Spirit is not some ecstatic, emotional, unexplainable, senseless Pentecostal experience. It is the experience of every believer. When you come to Christ, your life ceases to be ruled by sin, Satan, and self. Now you walk in the Spirit, and mind the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:1-5).

Š      This is what happens in the new birth.

Š      This is what faith in Christ is.

Š      It is giving myself over to the Son of God, bowing to him as my Lord.

 

Yet, this admonition is here given to us who are already believers, to people who are already born of God. Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment we must come to Christ in faith, surrender to him as our Lord, and be filled with his Spirit.

 

“Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.” ⸺ Do not yield yourself to intoxicating, excessive drink, so that you are controlled by wine. ⸺ “But be filled with the Spirit,” give yourself over to the rule of Christ, so that you are controlled by the Spirit (Romans 12:1-2; Mark 8:34-36).

 

(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.”

 

(Mark 8:34-36) “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (35) 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?”

 

Be Joyful

 

2nd ⸺ It is the will of God for his people to be a joyful, singing people (v. 19).

 

(Ephesians 5:19) “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

 

O Spirit of God, give me grace to ever have a song of joyful praise in my heart to God! The Lord God would have us constantly rejoicing and promoting and inspiring joy in one another (Psalms 97:1, 12; 98:4; 105:3; Philippians 4:4-8).

 

(Psalm 97:1) “The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.”

 

(Psalm 97:12) “Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

 

(Psalm 98:4) “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

 

(Psalm 105:3) “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”

 

(Philippians 4:4-8) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

 

Be Thankful

 

3rd ⸺ It is the will of God for his people to be thankful (v. 20; Colossians 3:15-17).

 

(Ephesians 5:20) “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

(Colossians 3:15-17) “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

 

Be Submissive

 

4th ⸺ It is the will of God that we be submissive, not only to him, but also to one another (v. 21; Philippians 2:1-5).

 

(Ephesians 5:21) “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

(Philippians 2:1-5) “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

 

Let each prefer the other and all strife will cease. But, as long as we insist upon having our way, as long as we esteem ourselves more highly than others, strife and division runs rampant.

 

Be Good

 

5th ⸺ It is the will of God that we be good, be good to one another, be good to all and do good to all, in every relationship of life (vv. 5:22-6:9).

 

If you ladies would be good wives, you must and will “submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” (vv. 22-24).

 

(Ephesians 5:22-24) “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.”

 

Any woman who knows Christ, follows Christ, trusts Christ, and is under the rule of Christ as her Lord, willingly submits to her husband in the Lord, and submits to him as unto the Lord (1 Peter 3:1-6). ⸺ What a beautiful woman such a woman is!

 

(1 Peter 3:1-6) “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (3) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (6) Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

 

This submission is real. It is not in word only, or in outward deed. It is a matter of heart and spirit. It is every wife’s responsibility to think well and speak well of her husband. If she thinks highly of him, her esteem of him is reflected in outward obedience. As the church makes the will of Christ her law, so the wife must make the will of her husband her law. A wife should have no will of her own, but to submit to the will of her husband.

 

The husband is the head of the wife.” ⸺ This is God’s order. It does not change (1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:34-35; 2 Timothy 2:11-12).

Š      Wives, obey your husbands “in the Lord.”

Š      Young ladies, do not marry out of the Lord.

Š      And do not marry any man to whom you cannot give this unreserved submission.

 

Husbands, love your wives (vv. 25-33).

 

(Ephesians 5:25-33) “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 every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

 

The primary responsibility of every home rests upon the shoulders of the husband. Contrary to popular opinion, husbands make or break the home. The husband is the head of the household by God’s design, decree, and revelation. Every man is responsible under God to exercise the rule of his family. But, if you would have your wife’s reverence and willing submission, you must win it by your unquestionable, selfless, committed love.

 

Illustration: Jacob’ Love for Rachel

(Genesis 29:20).

 

How is a husband to love his wife? The answer is clear — “as Christ loved the church.” Love is not a mere emotion. It is not merely a passionate feeling. Love is a matter of resolute, determined commitment. Love lays down its life for the good of its object!

Š      Nourish her. ⸺ Provide for her!

Š      Cherish her. ⸺ Comfort, protect, and cheer her!

Š      Forsake everything for her (v. 31).

 

Marriage is a permanent union of two into one!

Š      Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:23-25).

Š      Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 25:67).

Š      Marriage is a union of lives.

Š      It is a permanent union. ⸺ Close the divorce door!

Š      It is the best of all earthly relationships.

 

Marriage is that for which every mother and father should prepare their children. ⸺ When you son gets married, cut the apron strings. ⸺ When your daughter gets married, cut the apron strings.

 

It takes two things to make a marriage work.

Š      Every husband must love his wife as himself.

Š      Every wife must see that she reverences her husband.

 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord(Ephesians 6:1-3).

 

(Ephesians 6:1-3) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (2) Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

 

Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (6:4). ⸺ Mothers tend to be too lenient. Fathers tend to be too severe. But fathers have the primary responsibility of discipline. So, there is both a word of caution and a word of instruction.

 

Do not alienate your children from you, from Christ, and from the gospel by unwise and unreasonable discipline.

Š      See to it that your children mind you, but do not be severe, demeaning, sharp-tempered, and unforgiving.

Š      Do not place unreasonable restraints or unreasonable expectations upon them. Don’t spoil them! But don’t isolate them!

 

Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.⸺ Teach your children the Word of God and the way of faith.

Š      By precept!

Š      By example!

Š      By exposure!

 

Let every worker serve his employer with singleness of heart, doing service as to the Lord (6:5-8).

 

(Ephesians 6:5-8) “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; (6) Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (7) With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: (8) Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”

 

Do what is right, for the glory of God, serving God in all things, and you will be blessed of God. God will honor you. ⸺ “Them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30). ⸺ You honor Christ, and God will honor you! You do what is right, and God will take care of your needs.

 

Let every employer treat those who work for him fairly and honestly (6:9).

 

(Ephesians 6:9) “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

 

Be Strong

 

6th ⸺ It is the will of God that you and I be strong. In all things seek grace and be strong in the Lord, doing the will of God for the glory of Christ (6:10).

 

(Ephesians 6:10) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

 

Š      We are altogether insufficient for these things.

Š      God’s grace is sufficient!

 

Everything here spoken of springs from and is done by faith in Christ. When Paul says, “be strong,” he is saying “be empowered by the might of God’s strength.”

Š      To be strong, to be empowered, in doing is to acknowledge that you cannot do the things here declared to be the will of God for us.

Š      To be strong is to look to Christ, to believe on the Son of God, to be filled with the Spirit.

Š      To be strong is to live for God.

Š      To be strong is to do the will of God.

 

Application

 

Let us “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10).

 

(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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