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It's about Time

"15 So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 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."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here. 
Proverbs 22:15 says "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.." I absolutely no doubt, we are living in a world of fools. In fact, the saying goes, "There's a fool born every minute." Scripture defines a fool, as one who exists apart from God. In contrast, the Bibles defines a wise man as one who lives in accord with God’s divine principles.
In our culture today, we seem to always be in a hurry. Often times, we hurry up and the wait. We’re always looking for a short cut. And, as such, I believe we are so tempted to take shortcuts in our walk with God. In our quest for the quickest, easiest and most expedient way to God, we’re often tempted to follow the latest program or fad which promises a shortcut to spirituality. But if there is one thing we’ve learned in our journey through Ephesians, it is that, because the destination is already assured for those who are followers of Jesus Christ, God leaves us here on this earth to experience the journey. And when we try to take shortcuts on that journey, we miss out on many of the experiences that God wants us to take part in. A fool makes a mockery of sin. He therefore, makes his own rules; and he wants to justify his own behavior; and he wants to make sure he’s going to be all right in the end, so he eliminates sin with its consequences. That principle is perhaps no more apparent anywhere in Ephesians than in the passage we’ll be looking at today.
First, let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
We again thank You for this marvelous truth, the tremendous wisdom revealed to us packed in these three short verses. Lord, we are so grieved as we look around our world. I think of our founding fathers who wanted so much to make sure that everyone knew there was a God and that God had given a law and His law alone could govern man. And here we are, more than 200 years later and the whole nation is plummeting into an abyss of darkness with minds that are absolutely useless, trying to solve problems of iniquity without a standard. People are literally drowning in their own sin. Our society is categorized with sin and more sin, totally unrestrained. Fools despise wisdom.
Yet, in Your grace, You have provided a way out, if they would only open their hearts and minds. Lord, we know there comes a time, when Your grace runs out. We remember Your Words in Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit will not remain with man forever." Father, we know that the days are evil, and we must redeem the time and live according to Your standards. Help us O Lord, to walk not as fools, but as one who is wise. Help us to apply the wisdom of Your Word, to disciple our lives, forsaking the foolishness of the world, and walk worthy as a citizen of Your Kingdom.
Lord, if there is anyone among us here today, who does not know Christ, we pray that today would be that day. We ask that You would touch the hearts, open their minds. And in Your grace and mercy, receive them into Your arms. For Christ's sake and for Your glory
In His name we pray
Today's Message: It's About Time
We saw last time, when God shines His light into our lives and reveals the darkness and brings conviction and we respond to that light, we don’t just become enlightened, we actually become light. And so Paul was encouraging his readers first of all to remember the light. He was urging them to think back to the time when God brought light into the darkness of their lives and allowed them to see the nature of their dark deeds. And then God did something even more miraculous. His light actually transformed their lives so that they became light themselves. What a beautiful truth. 
Paul also commanded his readers not to be joint participants with those whose lifestyles were characterized by immorality, impurity and covetousness. Darkness has no place with light. 
In our text today, Paul is commanding his readers to keep on walking, or living, in a manner consistent with their new life in Christ. No man can live without a god. So it really isn’t a question of do you worship; the only question is whom do you worship?
Open with me your Bibles, to the book of Ephesians chapter 5, to day we will be looking at only three verses. Verses 15 through 17. No, for the record I'm not slacking, I just believe that these very are vital to the Christian walk, and require spending a bit more time on them. 

I would like to now encourage you to follow along with me as I read, it is crucial that we look at that passage in its proper context. So I'll be reading all the way to verse 21. Though our study is on verses 15 through 17. Ephesians 5:15-21

"So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ."
Paul begins in verse 15 with a command to his readers to walk circumspectly. As a footnote, this is the fifth and final time that Paul will command his readers to "walk" in a manner that is consistent with their new life in Christ. You may recall that our beloved apostle Paul, also called us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called" in Ephesians 4:1; in Ephesians 4:17, he wrote "walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk," to "walk in love," in Ephesians 5:2 and in Ephesians 5:8, to "walk as children of the light."
I'd also like to make mention of the first two words Paul uses 
here, "See then," and that takes us backwards. That’s just like, “Therefore.” And you go back to verse 14 and you read this invitation: "Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." As we discussed previously, that’s an invitation to get saved. Now, in verse 15, Paul is saying look if you are those who have come alive from the dead, if you are those who have come awake from sleep, if you are those who are now in the light, not the darkness, then walk wisely. Walk wisely. I believe that’s a very important truth. 
Allow me to show you why. Paul is saying that "Since you are awake, since you are alive, and in the light you can walk wisely." Now, I have had some say, "Certainly you don't mean that just because you're saved, you get enough wisdom to be able to be responsible for your whole life do you?" Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Let me show you why.

Turn with me to I Corinthians 1:30. "But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption"
Most of my life, I have heard people proclaim, that "All we need to do is get them saved and then in time, they'll recognize their sin, they'll repent and it will all get straightened out. And they actually believe that. I don't believe that to be true. Let's look at the verse again, when you receive Jesus Christ He did what? He became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
Do you see it? When you receive Jesus Christ, all four of those things simultaneously became yours. 
I'd also like to point out that isn’t it interesting that wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification precede redemption? Why do you think that is? Allow me to shed some insight on it for you, at that moment of salvation, are wise, righteous, set apart, because you’re redeemed. I believe that the order is of tremendous importance there. Beloved, I believe with all my heart, from the moment you’re saved the wisdom of God takes up residence in you and you therefore become accountable.
Now, in Colossians 2:2-3, no need to turn there, I'll just read it to you. "I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him." Where is all the wisdom and knowledge? In Christ, right? And you are in who? Christ. And His Holy Spirit resides where? In you. 

Now move down just a couple of verses, verses 9 and 10. "For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority." In other words, in Christ you're complete. It the gift of the whole salvation package! You see, that's the thing about salvation, once you've been filled with Christ, there is, what I like to call a blessed dissatisfaction. No matter how much of God’s wisdom you have, there is always the hunger for more. I used to hear people say that when I was younger, and to be honest, I didn't believe it. I mean come on, that's just what you say, right? Wrong! Once you begin to feed upon the Word, the truth, there is this insatiable desire that kicks in, a hunger, and you just have to have more... and more.

That's why I believe that you cannot have a salvation without wisdom. You cannot have a salvation without righteousness. You cannot have a salvation without sanctification. In the church today, we have this easy believism, cheap grace, and quickie salvation. Everybody gets born again, and there’s no real consideration of the reality of it. Let's just get them to say they believe in Jesus, and we'll talk about all that wisdom, righteousness and sanctification stuff later. Uh No!!!

Just one more verse and we'll move on. Titus 2:11. "For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people." Now verse 12, "instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age."
It means when you're saved, salvation itself teaches you to deny ungodliness, worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously, godly in this present age. See, that's the thing unbelievers hate about the gospel, it is confrontational. And once you've heard the truth, you have to make a decision. You have to choose sides. How you respond to that truth makes all the difference.

Aren't you thankful we're looking only at these three verses today? I've been told I can get carried away on occasion. Personally, I don't agree with that. I just want to ensure that you get the stuff that's really important. You know, I don't want to leave you out in left field. So where were we? Verse 15, that's it.

So depending on what translation you use, in some translations you will find that they use the word "live," rather than "walk" in all five of these passages. Although the Greek word Paul uses here, "peripateite," literally means to walk or tread around, it can also be described as the way that a person conducts themselves and lives his or her life. I believe there is no doubt that is how Paul is using this word here. 
Though many translations have the word walk, I believe that live is actually a very accurate translation. And I believe it's certainly the best one here. I'd like you to notice, that the command is in the present tense, which we all know indicates continuing action. So Paul is commanding his readers to keep on walking, or living, in a manner consistent with their new life in Christ.
Now, obviously, we don’t use the word circumspectly a whole lot today, in fact, I can't recall the last time I've heard or used it. The word literally means "accurately." It describes paying careful attention to a standard. Allow me to give you an illustration. Picture walking through a minefield without paying close attention to every step you took. I believe we can all agree, that certainly is not a situation in which we would want to try and take a shortcut. And what would be even better would be to go through that minefield following in the footsteps of someone who was an expert in recognizing those mines.
That is exactly what Paul has been doing here throughout his letter, he doesn’t leave us wondering aimlessly, but rather, he gives us some very clear, practical advice on how to do that. The structure of this passage is so important in understanding how we are to live circumspectly, or accurately and carefully.
"See then that you walk circumspectly..." not as unwise people—fools— but as wise. "...making the most of your time, because the days are evil." Not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Paul tells believers to redeem or buy back the time. The word time here does not mean the passing of time, days, hours, minutes, which is "crono". From which we get the word chronology. But the word "kairon." which means fitting season, proper time or opportunity.
In Christ, we are no more fools; we are wise. And on that basis Paul says, "Walk as wise." Don't just talk it. Live it out. That’s the point here. We have all the wisdom we, and the beauty is, there's a lot more, if we desire it. But you have to want it. We should desire it. We should grow in wisdom. We should grow in knowledge. And in doing so, we are conformed more into the image of Christ. That's the goal. To be like Christ. 

In Closing...
I believe that verse 15 is a pretty good summary of the last three chapters of Ephesians where Paul describes how followers of Jesus are to live out their faith in this world. We are not be flippant, cavalier or careless in the way we live our lives, but we are to pay close attention to make sure that we live our lives accurately in light of what we’ve already learned in Paul’s letter, as well as in the rest of Scripture. In other words, we don’t want to take any shortcuts in our spiritual journey.
Though you’re filled with God’s wisdom from the moment of salvation, I hope and pray that you want more. It's available to you, all you need to do is ask. James 1:5 very clearly teaches that. Listen as I read it to you. "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him."
Beloved, Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, narrow is the gate. Narrow is the way. So we must pay close attention and be careful how we walk, or we're going to miss the little things that are in our path that cause us to stumble. We have been given far too much wisdom, far too much knowledge and far too accountable to walk like fools. 
It is so sad to see many Christians who walk that way. I mean, it's just astonishing to me. They may claim Christ, but they don't believe Him. They don't take Him at His Word. They say that they do, but their life doesn't manifest it. Theology is not behavior.
When they became Christians, they just signed on the dotted line, with any implications of what it means. That's the problem with Christianity today. The flock is literally starving, while the shepherd is getting fat. 
The human mind really amazes me. In our culture today, you take someone who believes in a cause, something they think us important and they'll fight for it, and in many cases, literally die for it. Yet, when it comes to the Word of God, we don't want to offend anyone.  
And then there's discipline. I know people who will spend 2-3 hours a day, or more preparing meals to eat a specific way, people who will spend hours a day in the gym, or athletes who will train endlessly, but people won't spend even 30 minutes a day reading and studying the Bible and 15 minutes in prayer.
Beloved, the priorities of this world are really messed up! 
We are all given the same amount of time each, we get the choice of free will to decide how we spend it. The difference is discipline. It comes down to that. We must learn to manage our time carefully, and to stop wasting our lives. 
If we make no plans for our lives then that is exactly what we will accomplish in our lives, nothing! Time stands still for no man, I pray that you choose wisely.
May it be so....
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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