My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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New Living in New Creation
Beautiful new creation in West Africa.
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Eph. 5:15–20 NRSV)
This entire chapter begins with an encouragement from Paul for the Ephesians to become imitators of Christ. In this context he discusses the influences of the culture upon life in the new Christian community. The life of the Christ-follower (imitator) is to be different from that which is found in the world.
If God’s people are new creation, then there is new living. Careful attentiveness must be given to the ways in which the culture is allowed to influence because, it is people who have made the days evil (not God), and therefore wisdom is needed to live in a discerning way. If not, foolishness will rule the day.
The people who worshipped Dionysius would drink until they were drunk as a part of their ritual. Wine was a part of this worship and in continual use. When they were filled with the wine and acted in such odd ways, they believed this was a sign of being filled with the spirit of Dionysius. Therefore drunkenness was associated with god-worship. Drunkenness plagued the culture in Ephesus. This is why Paul contrasts the use of wine with the infilling of the Spirit. It is a challenge to those who believed they needed wine to “lift their spirits,” rather than depending on the filling of theSpirit.
Chrysostom put it this way:
Be ready for the Spirit’s filling. This happens only when we have cleansed our souls of falsehood, anger, bitterness, sexual impurity, uncleanness and covetousness. It happens only when we have become compassionate, meek and forgiving to one another, only when facetiousness is absent, only when we have made ourselves worthy. Only then does the Spirit come to settle within our hearts, only when nothing is there to prevent it. Then he will not only enter but also fill us. (HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 19.5.19–21)
Therefore when we are tired and weary, anxious and afraid, we should not seek to have our spirits lifted by the drinking of alcohol. In the end it is the strong drink which can make us feel even more sorrowful. Instead, it is through prayer and the singing of Psalms that we are to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In this way we can avoid those things which may keep us from living as new creation.
Chrysostom’s message on this passage is powerful and so, we continue:
Do you wish to be happy? Do you want to know how to spend the day truly blessed? I offer you a drink that is spiritual. This is not a drink for drunkenness that would cut off even meaningful speech. This does not cause us to babble. It does not disturb our vision. Here it is: Learn to sing psalms! Then you will see pleasure indeed. Those who have learned to sing with the psalms are easily filled with the Holy Spirit. But if you sing only the devil’s songs you will soon find yourself filled with an unclean spirit. HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 19.5.19–21.
New creation means new living, day in and day out focused on giving thanks to God, our lives an offering in worship before our Lord.
In the power of the Spirit, may we live daily as imitators of Christ. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…
Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Observation:
Paul’s deep love for his spiritual children in Galatia becomes evident in this passage. With very pastoral tones his heart grieves that these children have not pursued their very basic need, and that is for Christ to be formed in them. All else becomes a distraction to the desire that they become Christlike disciples. His heart aches at the loss of his children, those that had already been conceived but failed to thrive. Chrysostom refers to the loss of these children as spiritual miscarriages, and those for whom Paul is again, willing to travail in labor. Paul is perplexed by the Galatians’ attitude and is at a loss for words to understand what they have done; the result is a broken heart. Application:
Many churches have cute catchphrases and mission statement…