Thursday, August 13, 2015

Grace And Conviction In Ephesians Chapter Five

I am reading Ephesians chapter 5 over and over again this morning. It is hitting me hard in a good way. It makes me think of this passage.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." - Isaiah 55:9-13 ESV

Just starting the chapter we see the intense conviction of the writer...

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." - Ephesians 5:1-5 ESV

When Jesus is in focus everything else falls away. Everything else falls short.

"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." - Ephesians 5:6-10 ESV

Yes, Discern what is of God and what isn't. Jesus pleases God. We walk as children of light basking in the glow of God's Son. We are surrounded by sexuality in our culture. Crude humor is all around. It isn't our focus. The light is our focus. Jesus is our focus.

"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.' Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:11-16 ESV

Wow. Just wow. Conviction. The same way we might wake someone up and say, 'It's morning and it's time to wake up.' We say, 'God is here. The light is here. Wake up. Jesus is in the room. There is no condemnation and it's time to open your eyes.'

A wise person knows that waking up at a good hour leaves time to get things done during the day. If we stay in bed all day not much is going to happen or we will begin to stay up late into the night.

"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." - Ephesians 5:17-21 ESV

Yes. This is a continuation of discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Jesus pleases the Lord. My heart begins to sing when I focus on the finished work. That from before the foundation of the world Jesus was and Is a lamb that was slain so that my sins could be put away forever. When that is my focus and the context of my conversation then I'm not thinking about the next party. I'm not looking for diversion.

The realization of grace produces reverence. Good and bad are empty words. Dead and alive are what we think about. Jesus is alive and our old lives died with Him. We are new people who walk in a light that has been made visible to us.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." - 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV


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