September 22, 2021

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Old Testament Lesson; Proverbs 9:1-6

Psalm of the Day; Psalm 1

Gospel Lesson; John 6:51-58                             

Sermon Text; Ephesians 5:15-20


The portion of God's Word we look at is taken from Ephesians chapter five, looking at verse fifteen through twenty.  The theme we will be looking at is The Joy of Following True Wisdom.


Consider carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise people, but as wise people.  Make the most of your time, because the days are evil.  For this reason, do not be foolish, but understand what the Will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk on wine, which causes you to lose control.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit by speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (singing and making music with your hearts to the Lord), by always giving thanks for everything to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


This God's Word.


So, last week the theme of the Epistle Lesson was, “Light and Darkness”.  And today, as we look at the Epistle Lesson as our Sermon Text, we are going to see the contrast between wisdom and foolishness. 

(You may have known this.)  Over the lasts number of weeks, the reading from the Epistle Lesson has been from the book of Ephesians.  The book of Ephesians is broken into two, nice, little parts. 

-The first three chapters are doctrinal, pointing us to Jesus. 

-The last three chapters are very practical, telling us how to live our lives, after we come to faith to believe in Jesus, as our Savior.

Somebody once said that the first three chapters of Ephesians is like the root, as the nourishment is coming in to you.

That same person said, the last three chapters is like the fruit.  It is the result of your faith in Jesus, as your Savior.

Our text for today is in the last half of the book of Ephesians.  It is really telling us how to 'walk'.  Hence the hymn before our sermon, I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light.

Also consider the responsive Psalm from Psalm One.  Here is how I started it, and it talks about walking:

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the advice of the wicked, who does not stand on the path with sinners, and who does not sit in a meeting with mockers.”

So, be careful how you walk.

Why is it we should be careful how it is we walk?  The Apostle Paul tells us.  It is “because the days are evil”.

Now, I don't need to tell you the days are evil.  You can just turn on your TV, and see the local news, the national news, and the world news.  You can take out your newspaper, and you can see for yourself that the days are evil.

So, the Apostle Paul says in light of the days being evil, make the most of your time.

There once was a man by the name of John Erskine.  He learned a valuable lesson from his piano instructor.  John Erskine went on to write the famous book that became a playwright, The Helen of Troy, or the Private life of Helen of Troy.  His piano instructor asked him, “How long do you set aside to practice the piano?”

He said, “Oh, I set aside an hour, or more, to sit down, and play the piano.”
His instructor said, “Don't do that.  Instead, set aside minutes at a time.  Use some minutes in the morning, and in between your chores in the middle of the morning, and after lunch for a little bit, and after school.  And then, a little bit in the evening.  You add all of that up, and it is going to be more than an hour.  When you grow up, you wont' always have a big chunk of time in order to play the piano.  But, if you do it in small, little chunks, you will always be practicing, and you will always be playing.”

Well, that was good advice for John Erskine, when he wrote the book that became pretty famous, The Helen of Troy.  He wrote it, when he was commuting to and from work.  He wrote it, when he just had a few minutes in the morning, and when he had a few minutes in the evening.

We can also use our time wisely by setting it aside for God, and His Word.  Sometimes, we may think we need to set aside big chunks of time, in order to study God's Word, whether it is a whole worship service, or for an hour Bible Study.  But, what about the other days of the week?  Well, here is where I believe a Smart Phone can come in handy, where just minutes at a time, in the morning, afternoon, or evening with a little devotional thought, or a little Gospel Bible Passage.  Or, if you don't have a Smart Phone, just a small New Testament you can keep on you.  So, instead of 'killing time', we can use our time wisely to the best of our abilities.

Here the Apostle Paul also says to understand what The Will of the Lord is.

Well, you know what?  There are some things we don't have to guess, or we don't have to wonder what The Will of the Lord is.  I am holding in my hand the Catechism we use to teach the youth here at Holy Cross.  Just yesterday, we had our Confirmation Meeting, in which we sit down with parents, and we sit down with the students to talk about the expectations of this upcoming year.  That meeting is always very beneficial.  What is The Will of the Lord?  Did you know that is the very first question in the Catechism that addresses that point?  Here is what the question says in our Catechism. 

What is God's Will toward all people?

The answer is this.  God wants all people to be saved, and to learn from Him what to believe, and what to do.

The answer there, is almost like the book of Ephesians.  To learn what to believe (that is the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians), and what to do (that is like the last three chapters of the book of Ephesians, how it is that we 'walk' in keeping with our faith in Jesus, our Savior).  Here is the proof passage that is given for that question.  It is 1st Timothy, two, verse four. 

“God wants all to be saved,

and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

In this practical portion of God's Word, the Apostle Paul does something very good.  He takes one of the two themes from God's Word, one of the two teachings from God's Word, which is The Law.  He lays it out for us, when he puts it this way.  (I have highlighted three things from our text.) 

-He says, Do not be “unwise people”. 

-He says, “ not be foolish...” 

-Finally he says, “And, do not get drunk on wine...”

Now the first two are basically synonyms with each other.  Don't be unwise, and don't be foolish.   And, it seems like the third one is a little out of place, but it fits in very well, here.  He says, “Don't get drunk on wine.” 

Maybe I will ask this question.  Has it ever been the case for you, or for me, where we have been filled up with too much wine, and it has caused us to not to be filled up with the Spirit?  It has caused us to miss a worship service, or an opportunity to worship our Savior, Jesus.

The problem that was prevalent in Paul's day in Ephesus, continues to be a problem in our day, as well. Drunkenness.

Paul says don't be unwise.  Don't be foolish. 

But now, he is going to point us to what true wisdom really is.  In this world, there are two types of wisdom.  The author of the book of James puts it this way, when he writes about those two types of wisdom.  (I am going to read a few verses from James, chapter three.)

“Who is wise in understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But, if you harbor bitter envy, and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast about it, or deny the truth.  Such wisdom does not come down from Heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, and of the devil.  For where you have envy, and selfish ambition, there you find disorder, and every kind of evil practice.  But, the wisdom that comes down from Heaven is first of all pure, then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.”

So, what is true wisdom?  Maybe it is the book of Proverbs that puts it the best, and puts it well, when it just simply says this. 

“The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of wisdom.”

True wisdom is Jesus.  

You guys remember the account of Jesus, when He was twelve years old, and His parents went back to Nazareth, and Jesus stayed in the temple, visiting with the religious leaders?  Jesus' parents thought He was with them, and on their journey home, they looked around, and saw that Jesus was not with them.  So, they went back to the temple, and there they found Jesus, visiting with the religious leaders.  When He was done conversing with them, He did go home to Nazareth with them. 

Here is the very last verse from that portion of scripture.  It says,

“Jesus grew in wisdom and knowledge

and in favor with God, and with men.”

Jesus is true wisdom.  Here, also is what scripture says about Jesus being true wisdom.  This is just one verse Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, when he said,

“It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus,

who has become wisdom for us,

and He is our righteousness,

our holiness,

and our redemption.” 

-As true wisdom, Jesus has become your righteousness and holiness.  God looks at you through your faith in Jesus, as your Savior, and He proclaims you to be righteous.  He proclaims you to be holy. 

-As true wisdom, Jesus, is also is our redemption.  He bought us back from our sin.  He bought us back from death.  And, He bought us back from the power of the devil.

Now again, back to knowing what God's Will is, that we talked about a little bit earlier.  It is God's Will that He wants you to be in Heaven.  We have no question about that, because scripture tells us.  Jesus, as true wisdom, now comes to you.  And God's plan of salvation is made perfect in Jesus.  The most simple Bible passage in all of scripture reminds us of that. 

“God so loved the world

that He gave His one and only Son

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,

but have everlasting life.”

God loves you so much, and He loves me so much, that He sent Jesus, as true wisdom to save us.

Well, now what is our response to what God has done for us in Jesus?  It is to “be filled with the Spirit”.  We do that in these ways.  (As I say these three things, you tell me what it reminds you of.)  As we are filled with the Spirit, we respond by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Where do we hear psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?  Exactly.  Right here in church.  Paul does not tell us that, but it certainly sounds like a worship service, where we are gathering together, and we are publicly sharing God's Word with one another.  We can certainly do that privately, as our text for today says we can do it in our hearts,

“(singing and making music with your hearts to the Lord)”.

But, here is where I want us to know that even painful experiences can bring about spiritual benefits.  In the last week or so, a childhood friend of mine reached out to me, and shared with me that he was hospitalized, because he had come down with Covid 19.  So, here is a young guy like me struggling to breathe, because of that.  Well, as we were going back and forth with one another, do you know how he was spending his time, while he was in the hospital?  He was planning out his funeral service.  He was looking through portions of God's Word to find comfort for himself, and his family.  He had his hymnbook there, and was picking out hymns that he wanted to be sung at his funeral service.  He knew the days were evil, and so he was making the most of his time, while he was in the hospital. 

Now, praise God he is out of the hospital, and recovering well at home!  But, it is a reminder to us to fill our time with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  And, as our text says,

“...always giving thanks for everything to God the Father,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I close with this illustration.  There once was a little girl who was walking through an open air market with her mom.  One of the vendors in that open air market handed the little girl an orange.  (It reminded me a little bit of an LYA trip a few years ago, when we went to Cincinnati, and walked through Findlay Market, and one of the high school kids also got a piece of fruit from one of the vendors there.) 

The mom saw the girl with the piece of fruit in her hand.  She looked at her, and asked, “What do you say?”

(Now, you are all formulating in your minds the response, the simple response that little girl was supposed to say to the vendor.)

The little girl looked at her mom, and then the little girl looked at the vendor, stuck out her hand, with that piece of fruit, with that orange in her hand, and said, “Peel it.”
Well, that might be an excusable response for a four year old girl, and that is kind of a cute, little story.  But, that would be inexcusable for an adult to say that to the vendor, “Peel it.”

But, in all things, and in all circumstances, for everything we receive in life, we can give thanks and say thank you.  We can say,

“This is the day the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We don't just need to set aside one day of thanksgiving to thank God for all of the things He gives to us in this life.  Every day of our life should be a national day of thanksgiving!