Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're concluding a study of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Today's message will be preached by Dr. Sam Horn. Every generation has a defining moment. And for most of us who are living in this generation, we are experiencing what could potentially be the defining moment for our generation. There are those, perhaps our parents or even our grandparents, who remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
They remember exactly where they were when that event took place. Most of us, my generation, remember 9-11 as a defining moment. I think as we think about this semester, when we began the semester, none of us anticipated that we would be where we are today. And I think as we look back on this in years to come, this semester will be a defining moment for us in many, many ways. And so I don't think it's an accident that this semester, before we had any idea that this pandemic would be upon us, the Lord led Dr. Pettit to the topic of the Holy Spirit as the theme for our doctrinal chapels this semester.
We've entitled the series Breath of Life. I'd like to talk to you this morning out of Paul's letter to the Ephesians about the ongoing essential ministry of the Holy Spirit when we finish a theme and a semester like the one we have had. And so in order to do that, let me sort of set the stage for you. We are going to be reading together Ephesians chapter 5, beginning in verse 15 and going all the way down to verse 21. But that paragraph in Paul's letter to Ephesus is actually preceded by some important theological realities. So for the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians, Paul has been informing and instructing the believers at this new church that God was raising up at the city of Ephesus of the theological realities that were theirs and how they got them through the work of Christ that had been planned out by the Father and had been applied to them and was being guaranteed to them by the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.
And so as you kind of work your way through those first three chapters, what you discover is that the Holy Spirit has been very active in every aspect of your life and my life as a believer. And the way that Paul describes this, the way that Paul talks about that work is in this sense. For the work to even begin, God the Father tasked God the Son with the work of redeeming us and God the Father and God the Son agreed together and the Holy Spirit energized that work and brought it to bear in our life. And so one of the first things from our side of the equation that the Apostle Paul wants to make sure we understand is that all that we enjoy as believers began with the work of the Holy Spirit that is described for us in Ephesians chapter 2 with the word quickening.
And it's the word that simply means to enliven. There was a work that the Spirit of God, the third member of the Trinity did in your heart and in my heart so that we could move from a status that is described in chapter 2 as one that is dead and trespasses and sins to one that is now enlivened. And then as Paul continues to unfold the teaching in these three chapters, it's not just that we have been enlivened, it's also that we have been enlightened. If you go back to chapter 1 verse 9, we are reminded that we have been brought in as believers to the very council chamber of God and we have been allowed to listen in to the big purpose of God that He is now revealing through His Son Jesus Christ.
And that work is a work that will culminate in everything in the universe, everything in the heavens, everything on earth, everything underneath the earth being restored to its rightful position through the ministry of a messianic character known as Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity. And the reason that you and I know that is because the Spirit of God opened our eyes so that we could understand the revelation of all of this truth that God was giving to us through the writers of scripture like Paul. So by the time we get to Ephesians chapter 4, we have discovered that we have been enlivened and we have been enlightened by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But at the end of chapter 3, there is a final prayer and in that prayer we discover a third ministry that the Spirit of God has already had to us.
We have been enabled. We have been enlivened, we have been enlightened and we have been enabled to follow Christ and to walk in a certain way. And so once we understand the enlivening, enlightening and enabling work of the Spirit of God, Paul then opens in chapter 4 and he lays out a series of walk statements. And I'm going to point them out so that we have them in our Bibles before us.
I actually have them highlighted. But the first of those is a very general statement in chapter 4 verse 1 where Paul exhorts us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. In other words, we could say it this way, since the Spirit of God has enlightened us and enlivened us and is now enabling us, there is a commensurate responsibility to that great privilege that has come into your life and mine as believers. And that responsibility that is commensurate to that privilege is to walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling.
So what exactly does that look like? Well, as you continue reading down in chapter 4 in verse 17, Paul says there is a worthy walk that happens in the church. And he's going to spend the first part of chapter 4 talking about that. This is how you and I are to live out our life.
That's the idea of walking worthy. Because we have been enlivened and enlightened, we know the truth now. That affects the way that we live. And the first thing that Paul says is that the center of your life is going to happen as an enlivened, enlightened person through the enablement of the Spirit. The center of your life is going to be the church. The relationship that you now have with Christ and with other believers.
And so that relationship is described for us in the opening section of chapter 4. But then there's also a commensurate response that as enlivened, enlightened believers, we are to display as we live our life around people who do not know the Lord. And the word that describes all of that walk in verse 17 that goes all the way down to the end of the chapter is the word contrast. And the Apostle Paul takes every aspect of our personal life and he displays that life in the context of living in the midst of people who have not been enlightened and have not been enlivened and enabled. And he says to us that a worthy walk is going to look like a walk of contrast to all of that.
And then in chapter 5 he says actually here's really how that's going to take place. As you walk, as you live your life in the body of Christ, and as you live your life among the nations of the world, you are to live it in such a way that people who encounter you actually begin to come to right conclusions about who God is and what He is like. And that's why in chapter 5 the third walk statement is that we are to walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
And that's only going to happen to people who have been enlightened. And that's the fourth walk statement that we see in verse 8. Therefore do not become partners with evildoers for at one time you were darkness but now you are light in the Lord. So walk, live as children of light. And as a part of that what we find is that the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true and people who desire to walk worthy of their calling, to walk in contrast to the world, to walk in love, to walk as children of light are people who strive to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. And that's where I want us to begin to connect the series that we've been in this semester to the ongoing ministry of the Spirit of God in our lives. How do I, how do you actually discern what is pleasing to the Lord?
And I'm going to argue that that is the ongoing ministry of the Spirit of God that we have been studying all semester. That without the Spirit's enlivening, without the Spirit's enlightening and without the Spirit's enabling we have no ability to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. And so as we come down to our text in verse 15 the Apostle Paul is going to lay out three overarching realities that ought to mark the life of a believer that has been enlivened, enlightened and enabled by the Spirit of God.
In other words we could say it very, very plainly today, we could say it very frankly, these realities should mark our life. Not just as a student at Bob Jones University but as a follower of Jesus Christ. And so let's notice how Paul unfolds these three realities that should be part of a believer's life as the ongoing ministry of the Spirit of God is displayed in the transformation of that life. And so maybe the first way to describe that is found in verse 15 and 16 and we could summarize it this way. People who have been enlightened, wise people make the most of every opportunity God sends their way. And so Paul says it this way, see then that you walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise redeeming the time because the days are evil. And what Paul is talking about here is that there are two categories of people.
There are people who are foolish and there are people who are wise. And these two categories that Paul is referencing here are not being referenced as a measure of one's intelligence or one's IQ. In other words when Paul is talking about wise people and fools here, he is not talking primarily about people who are unable to process versus people who are. He is talking in moral categories. People who are wise in this verse are people who have been enlightened to a particular truth about God and they have been enlivened so that they can understand and respond to that truth and now they are enabled to live out that truth in their life.
Whereas someone who is in the category of fool is actually someone who does not know God or who has refused to follow God. And so in essence what the apostle Paul says is this, the ongoing daily ministry of the Spirit of God in your life as an enlightened, enlivened and enabled believer is to help you seize every opportunity that comes your way. And the reason that we are instructed to do this is because the days are evil. And in essence what we could say about that is this, as you live your life as a believer, someone who has come to know the truth about God, someone who has been enabled to respond to that truth, someone who is now being energized to live out of that truth in your life, one of the things that should mark your life as the Spirit of God operates in you is that you are constantly looking at life in terms of how you can accomplish God's mission, how you can use your life.
And in every opportunity that comes into that life, no matter how difficult that opportunity is or how wonderful that opportunity is, that you would seize that moment and you would recognize it as an incredible opportunity to live out the Gospel and to significantly advance the mission of God in this world. And that puts our own current scenario in context. Every single one of us have had life alternating circumstances that have come into our life because of this pandemic. Some of you are living at home with a parent who has been furloughed and all of a sudden life is no longer secure.
The economic stability of your home has been threatened. Some of you have friends or you have family members who have actually been infected with this virus. And some of you here are actually praying for loved ones who may have this virus and who may not know the Lord. And in every one of our cases, in every one of our lives, this opportunity that comes into our life in a very evil and disruptive moment gives us the opportunity to make significant advancements for the mission that God has called us to accomplish through His Gospel.
Every single one of us can do that. Maybe it's a mission that God wants to accomplish in the life of your younger brother or sister as your home. Maybe there's something God wants you to accomplish in the life of a neighbor.
Or maybe there's something that God wants to accomplish in you or in your parents. And as a person who has been enlightened by the Spirit of God, you recognize this time for what it is. An opportunity to advance the global mission of God. Now there's a second thing that the Apostle Paul points to and that is this. People who are wise.
And remember our definition of wise. By Paul's use of that term in Ephesians, he's talking about people in whom the Spirit of God resides. If you go back to chapter one, at the end of that opening paragraph, that opening hymn, the Spirit of God has a ministry that is described as being the seal of the believer.
And the idea there is that He is the present guarantee of a future reality that is coming our way. And because we have that Spirit, we have been enlightened, enlivened, and enabled, and we are the category of wise people that Paul is talking about here. And so he's already said, wise people make the most of every opportunity God sends their way through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But secondly, wise people discover and do the will of God in every circumstance that God permits to come into their way. And this again is a ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life. That's why Paul goes on to say in chapter five verse 17, therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In other words, Paul's being very direct with us here. And he is saying, as you live life in uncertain times, as you live life under circumstances that are less than ideal, as you experience life under the sun that is twisted and broken and missing pieces, as you live life under the sun, a wise person, a person who has been enlightened, enlivened, and enabled by the Spirit of God does something that unwise, unenlightened people do not do. And that is this, they are determined to understand what the will of the Lord is.
That is an incredible difference between you and the vast majority of the world around you. The vast majority of the world around you that is going through this pandemic is trying to discover a way forward and for most of them, the Spirit of God, the reality of God is not driving their thinking. There may be token references to God, oh we sure hope God will keep us and protect us and we're praying that God will remove this.
Sometimes people may even be wondering why God allowed this, but as for people who are intentionally seeking out the will of the Lord, that is primarily reserved here in this text for people in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. And those people who have been enlightened, enlivened, and enabled by the Spirit are consistently on an ongoing basis of their life as no matter what comes into their life, they are trying to discern what the will of God is in that circumstance. That's a very convicting reality to me.
And I'm sure as you listen to this and as this sits a little bit down on your soul, that's a convicting reality for you. Have you stopped to think what God is actually trying to do through this pandemic that has disrupted our lives to such a degree? I had an incredible conversation recently with someone who was explaining to me that they have the opportunity to preach live stream to thousands of people more than they would ever have the opportunity to preach to on a Sunday morning in their church. And I got to thinking for a minute and I thought, you know, that is one of the things that God is doing through this pandemic. Every Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people are listening to God's Word in ways that maybe they wouldn't have listened to it before.
And please don't misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting that our technology takes the place of what happens in a church service. I think that the body of Christ coming together is actually mandated in the Spirit of God, by the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
And so I certainly don't see what we're doing on Sunday morning as a replacement for that. But for this moment in time, as a person enlightened by the Spirit, one of the questions I have is, Lord, what are you doing? How can I be a part of discerning your will for my life and for the life of others that I have influence and impact on so that we as wise people who are being driven and energized by the Spirit of God can accomplish the mission? And that brings us really to the final thing that Paul says here in relationship to the ongoing ministry, the day to day ministry of the Spirit of God in our heart.
Wise people, he has said to us, make the most of every opportunity. Wise people seek to discern the will of God, the will of the Lord in everything. And they do this by the energizing and illumination of the Spirit of God. But wise people also obey the Spirit of God in everything as they journey along the way. And that is exactly what we find in this very familiar passage beginning in verse 18, where Paul says, do not be drunk with wine, which is dissipation, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. And so Paul begins to say to us as he unpacks this, that a person who is driven by the Spirit is a person whose life, every part of life comes under the control of that Spirit. That's the idea here, but between the contrast of being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit, the idea here is that there is a controlling substance or there is a controlling influence that dictates what you do in your life. And he's looking at the Ephesians and he is saying, wine is the wrong influencer for your life. Instead of wine, turn to the Spirit and let the Spirit have that sort of influence and control over your life. And when you do, your life on a daily ongoing basis will be marked by certain evidences.
And so here are the evidences. A person who is being driven by the Spirit, who is being energized by the Spirit, will manifest that through transformed communication. Notice how Paul talks about this in verse 19, when you are filled with the Spirit, addressing one another. And then he talks about the communication and he talks about the content of the communication coming from the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. And here he's talking about the idea that our conversation, what we talk about, how we communicate with one another would be driven by content that comes from the Scriptures. It will be biblical and it will be spiritual and the character of that communication will be marked by joy and by harmony. And so God says one of the ways that the Spirit of God will continue to have ongoing ministry is in the transformation of your communication. And then he talks about the fact that a Spirit-filled person, a person controlled by the Spirit of God, will not just have transformed communication, but because of the ongoing ministry of the Spirit, he will have a transformed attitude, giving thanks always for all things, including a global pandemic, to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then in verse 21, a Spirit-filled person will have transformed relationships. And he points to the primary relationships in which a believer lives in the world.
We have a relationship with our spouse in marriage, we have a relationship with our family, our parents, our siblings, our sons and our daughters, and then we have a relationship with those that we exist in in our vocational calling. And Paul says a Spirit-filled person, an enlightened, enlivened, and enabled person will be markedly different in every one of those relationships. Now, as we close, how does the Spirit actually do this? And the answer to that is that he fills us.
And I want you to notice how Paul talks about this. He talks about being filled with the Spirit. And he is not talking about the Spirit being the content of what fills us. He's actually talking about the Spirit being the agent, the person who does the filling. So the Spirit should be controlling us.
And so what does he use to control us? And the answer to that is in Colossians chapter three, the parallel passage to what we're looking about here. And here's the passage. 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.
And so here's what I want you to think about. When Paul writes to the Ephesians and then later the Colossians, and he talks about the ongoing ministry of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer way beyond the end of a doctrinal themed semester of messages. The ongoing ministry of the Spirit of God should demonstrate itself in our life in every area of our life. And the only way that is going to happen is if the Spirit of God is filling us with something. And we're told here what that is. It is the word of Christ.
In other words, the word that Christ delivered through the Spirit to holy men of old who wrote it down just like Peter talked about. And so in essence what we're saying is this, that if you want to be filled with the Spirit, if you want to take every opportunity, seize every opportunity that is in front of you, if you really want to discern what the will of God is in your life, and if you really want to have a transformed life, the Spirit of God and the work that that Spirit does in our life is essential. And the instrument that he uses to bring all of that about is not subjective.
It's actually objective. It's the Bible that we hold in our hand. And that's why we're told in Ephesians 4.30, don't grieve the Spirit when he convicts you about his word. Don't quench him in 1 Thessalonians 5.19. Live obediently to him.
Walk in the Spirit, Paul told the Galatians in chapter 5, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. And so as you and I close out our semester, for a semester that we will remember for the rest of our lives, may the thing that we remember be that the Spirit of God that indwells us has enlivened us, enlightened us, and is now energizing us so that we can live transformed lives that will advance the mission that God has called every one of us to accomplish for his glory. Our Father, how we thank you for your word, how we thank you for this series. Lord, there's so much that we could have said and perhaps should have said about your Spirit.
And so Lord, forgive us for the frailty of how we have done this. But Lord, our heart has been to come to your word and to celebrate the truth that you have given there about yourself, about the third member of the Trinity. And Lord, how we thank you that you have given that Spirit to us, a Spirit of holiness, a Spirit of peace, a Spirit of power. And so Lord, as we take that Spirit and as we live according to the word that that Spirit has given to us, I pray that you would bless us and keep us and cause your face to shine upon us and bring us again here safely, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Sam Horn. Join us again next week for more messages from God's word here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-07 23:17:07 / 2023-03-07 23:26:56 / 10