Ephesians 5 ~ Part 3 (vs. 15-17)

Eph 5 vs 15Section 3, vs. 15-17 – Wisdom.

Having noted the first two sections of this chapter that tell us how to be imitators of God:

  • The Pattern for Our Walk, Walking in Love as God’s Dear Child, Eph 5:1-7.
  • The Proof and Reason for Our Walk, Walking in LightEph 5:8-14.

We now understand the third way in which we become imitators of God:

Eph 5:15-17 – The Power and Provision for Our Walk, Walking in Wisdom.

This section will also conclude the discussion in Chapter 5 on how we are to conduct our lives “In Relation to Evil” as we follow “God’s Standards for Faithfulness in the Church,” Eph 5:1-17. So, this third section continues the overall discussion of this Chapter regarding our “walk as a child in God’s family.”

Major Doctrines and Topics in Part 3 of Ephesians 5:

  • Doctrine of the Wise Man and Wisdom, vs. 15.
  • Doctrine of a Day at a Time, vs. 16.
  • Doctrine of Divine Guidance, Knowing the Will of God for Your Life, vs. 17.
  • Doctrine of Yieldedness, vs. 17.

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Vs. 15

Eph 5:15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise.”

This passage needs a little correction. It begins with “therefore” the Particle OUN, οὖν, but then has the Verb BLEPO, βλέπω that is untranslated. BLEPO is in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, “see, notice, watch, beware of, look toward, perceive, behold.” In addition to meaning physical sight, it has the connotation of “conceptual perception.” BDAG notes it means, “to process information by giving thought, direct one’s attention to something, consider, or note,” in our verse and in Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; 1 Cor 3:10; cf. 1 Cor 16:10. It can be translated “watch out,” or “take heed” or “be very careful.” The old term “circumspectly,” used in the KJV literally means “looking around,” contains the idea of walking “strictly.” The Imperative mood is used once again for a command, so we translate this, “Therefore, pay close attention to.”

Then we have, “be careful how,” which is the Adverbs AKRIBOS, ἀκριβῶς and the interrogative POS, πῶς, for, “how.” AKRIBOS means, “perfectly, carefully, exactly, or diligently.” It is also used in Mat 2:8; Luke 1:3; Acts 18:25; 1 Thes 5:2. Technically, AKRIBOS is the Adverbial form of the Adjective AKRIBES that means, “careful or accurate.” It pertains to strict conformity to a standard or norm, and with BLEPO it means to focus with careful attention, accurately, carefully, and well. We will translate this “how accurately.”

Next is “you walk,” the Present, Active, Indicative of PERIPATEO once again, literally meaning, “walk,” but in context, “live or conduct oneself.” It is in the 2nd Person, Plural regarding all the readers of this epistle. This is the fifth time Paul uses the word “walk,” PERIPATEO in this book, cf.  Eph 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15.

PERIPATEO means more than walking, it means advance, to move toward your objective, to close in on the target. The target is the super-grace life. As you know, there is only one way to advance spiritually and that is consistency in the intake and application of Bible doctrine.

Therefore, the first part of this passage should read, “Therefore, pay close attention to how accurately you conduct yourselves.”

As such, we have our third category regarding being “imitators of God,” as we are to “walk in” a certain way. This third category of how to live our lives is given in the next phrase, “not as unwise men, but as wise.”

“Not as unwise men,” is ME HOS ASOPHOS. The Adjective ASOPHOS ἄσοφος is from the Noun SOPHIA that means, “skill or wisdom,” with the negative prefix “A.” So it means, “foolish, not wise, one who lacks the power of proper discernment, unwise, or not having wisdom.” It is used only here in the NT; a hapaxlegomena. It is synonymous with our English word “sophomore” that means, “a wise moron,” though ASOPHOS is a bit stronger. Its synonym, APHRON meaning, “foolish, inconsiderate, or rash,” is used in vs. 17. Therefore, ASOPHOS means here, “not walking as God expects you to walk,” and therefore, believers are commanded to not walk as the unwise or foolish people of this world do.

The contrast to this comes next with ALLA, “but” HOS SOPHOS, σοφός meaning, “as wise, clever or skillful.” It comes from the Noun SOPHIA that means, “skill or wisdom.” SOPHIA over time acquired various shades of meaning including “insight, sound judgment, and practical wisdom” regarding matters of common life. It could also mean “speculative wisdom” when used of the complexities of life and existence, and theoretical knowledge.

To the Greeks SOPHOS described the man in whom was the ideal combination of practical skill and theoretical knowledge. As we would say, someone who has learned God’s Word and applies it.

The book of Proverbs speaks extensively about being “wise” and “wisdom.” To the Hebrews, “wise” was the word CHAKHAM from CHOKMAH, and meant:

  1. That the truly wise man is the one who fears God and understands His ways, cf. Prov 1:7.
  2. Such wisdom is spiritual, a gift of God, cf. Prov 2:6.
  3. It is the opposite of being “wise” in one’s own eyes, Prov 3:7.
  4. It comes from righteous living, Prov 2:7-9, and having practical wisdom, Prov 6:6.

Therefore, “being wise” is the ability to apply with skill what one knows in respect to Divine things, being enlightened, as conjoined with purity of heart and life that results in wise attitudes and conduct, James 3:13.

So once again we see that SOPHOS is the believer who has learned God’s Word and is faithfully applying it daily.

James 3:13, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”

James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

1 Cor 2:6-7, “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

Col 4:5, “Conduct yourselves, (literally “walk” – PERIPATEO), with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.”

Therefore, believers are commanded to live wisely, and wise living is described in three ways in the following verses:

  1. It makes good use of time in an evil age that is passing away, vs. 16; cf. 1 Cor 7:31; Gal 1:4.
  2. It seeks to learn God’s will, vs. 17; cf. vs. 10.
  3. It is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.

Recalling Eph 4:14-15, “only a fool drifts with the wind and tide. A wise man marks out his course, sets his sails, and guides the rudder until he reaches his destination. When a man wants to build a house, he first draws his plans so he knows what he is doing. Yet, how many Christians plan their days so that they use their opportunities wisely? True, we cannot know what a day may bring forth (James 4:13-17). But it is also true that a planned life can better deal with unexpected events. Someone said, “When the pilot does not know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind”.” (Bible Exposition Commentary)

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Doctrine of the Wise Man and Wisdom

Eph 5:15, “Therefore, pay close attention to how accurately you conduct yourselves, not as unwise men, but as wise.”

  • Wisdom is the sum total of the teaching of Bible doctrine under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit and the positive response to that doctrine, resulting in perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Wisdom must always have a textbook. The textbook is the infallible Word of God, the canon of Scripture, with emphasis on the New Testament epistles for wisdom in the dispensation of the Church.
  • Our wisdom comes from God and Jesus Christ, who are the wisest of all, Rom 16:27; 1 Cor 1:25, 30; Rev 5:12; 7:12.

Rom 16:27, “To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”

1 Cor 1:25, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

1 Cor 1:30, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

  • We are taught God’s wisdom, (Bible Doctrine), through the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit, Job 32:8; Luke 10:21; John 14:26; Rom 9:1; 1 Cor 2:12-13; Eph 1:17; 3:10; Col 1:9; 2 Peter 1:20.

Job 32:8, “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

Luke 10:21, “At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You did hide these things from the wise and intelligent and did reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Your sight.” Cf. Mat 11:25.

  • You have to have humility to gain and maintain wisdom; for no one is teachable apart from humility, Rom 16:19; 1 Cor 3:18. Without humility, your mind is not open to teaching. Metabolized Bible doctrine is the mastication of wisdom.

Rom 16:19, “For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.”

1 Cor 3:18, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise.”

  • Humility is the basis for teachability, and teachability is the road to wisdom. No one has or will attain wisdom apart from virtue and humility. From virtue comes great happiness. From humility comes grace orientation to life.
  • For the Church Age, God’s wisdom is found in the Mystery Doctrines for the Church Age, 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:8-9; Col 2:2-3.

1 Cor 2:7, “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

Col 2:2-3, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

  • If you desire to acquire more of God’s wisdom, you are to pray for it, Eph 1:17; Col 1:9; James 1:5.

James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

  • Wisdom is both knowing and doing the will of God. Knowing and doing the will of God requires wisdom. Wisdom therefore, is a buildup of your spiritual muscles, as a result of the exercise of doing the will of God.
  • Wisdom understands both the will and the plan of God for your life. You have to know both. You have to know what the will of God is and what the overall plan of God is. The two go together. Wisdom begins when you understand that God has a plan for your life and begin to see it from the Scripture, and then to understand the spiritual life and use it. From this comes wisdom.
  • With the wisdom of God in your soul, you are able to discern Scripture and the trends of history according to God’s Plan, cf. Rev 13:18; 17:9.

Rev 13:18, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

  • The wisdom from the world, Satan’s cosmic system, is actually foolishness at best, Rom 1:22; 1 Cor 1:19-27; 3:19-20, but also evil and demonic, James 3:15.

1 Cor 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”.” Cf. Job 5:13.

James 3:15, “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.”

  • We are to conduct our lives as “wise master builders” inside God’s Plan for our lives, 1 Cor 3:10. When we do, we will receive blessings for time and eternity, 1 Cor 3:11-15.

1 Cor 3:10, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.”

  • The Wisdom of God causes the believer to grow up spiritually, to grow to spiritual adulthood, and attain the super-grace life, Eph 4:13Col 1:28.

Col 1:28, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.”

  • Deacons are to be selected based on their demonstrated wisdom of the Word of God, Acts 6:3.
  • Wisdom was a special spiritual gift of the early Church, 1 Cor 12:8.
  • God’s Wisdom allows you to encourage and exhort your fellow members of the Royal Family, and praise God, Col 3:16.

Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

  • Wisdom gives you power for witnessing and evangelizing, Acts 6:10; Col 3:16.

Acts 6:10, “And yet they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he (Stephen) was speaking.”

  • You should have wisdom through the Word to decide matters between members of the body of Christ, 1 Cor 6:3-6.

1 Cor 6:3-6, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?”

  • Likewise, you are to apply wisdom when interacting with unbelievers, Col 4:5.

Col 4:5, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.”

  • As a result of the wisdom you acquire from God, you will be wise and produce the Fruit of the Light, i.e., Divine Good works, Mat 11:19; Luke 7:35; James 3:13, 17.

Luke 7:35, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

James 3:13, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”

James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”

Conclusion:

Wisdom is the sum total of the teaching of Bible doctrine, under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit and the positive response to that doctrine, resulting in perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Wisdom understands both the will and the plan of God for your life.

Rom 11:3, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”

Rom 16:17-19, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissentions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.”

Wisdom gives us great discernment between right and wrong, holiness and unrighteousness, good and evil, love and hate, righteousness and wickedness, the truth and the lie, goodness and sin, true doctrine and false doctrine, light and darkness, and God’s Plan versus Satan’s cosmic system.

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Eph 5 vs 16Vs. 16

Eph 5:16, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”

As we noted above, believers are commanded to live wisely, and wise living is described in three ways in the following verses:

  • It makes good use of time in an evil age that is passing away, vs. 16; cf. 1 Cor 7:31; Gal 1:4.
  • It seeks to learn God’s will, vs. 17; cf. vs. 10.
  • It is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.

This verse begins with the Verb EXAGORAZO, ἐξαγοράζω that means, “redeem, deliver, buy back, or rescue.” It comes from the verb AGORAZO that means, “buy, or purchase in the marketplace,” as the Noun AGORA means, “marketplace.” EXAGORAZO reminds us that we have been purchased by Christ from the slave market of sin. It is used that way in Gal 3:13; 4:15 regarding Christ’s redemption of the believer from “the Law,” which means from sin. Therefore, Jesus purchased our sins from us, purchased us from the slave market of sin, as a result of His completed work upon the Cross.

Gal 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”.”

Gal 4:5, “In order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

But in our verse and Col 4:5, it has the meaning of buying back time or making the most of each opportunity to produce Divine Good. That is why it is translated in both passages as “making the most of the time / opportunity,” literally – “redeeming the time.” The same phrase is used in the Greek version of Dan 2:8, meaning that you are gaining or protracting time.

In both our passage and Col 4:5, EXAGORAZO is in the Present, Middle, Participle in the Imperative Sense, Nominative, Masculine, Plural, giving us another command that we are to perform daily that has a benefit back to ourselves. It refers to purchasing for ourselves or for our personal benefit on a continuous basis. BDAG defines it as, “to gain something, especially advantage or opportunity, make the most of.

With this we have “the time” HO KAIROS, καιρός in the Accusative Singular for Direct Object that means, “time, a fixed time, season, or opportunity,” as it is translated in the parallel verse, Col 4:5.

Col 4:5, “Conduct yourselves (walk) with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity(literally – “redeeming the time”).”

With the Possessive Pronoun HO, it stresses the importance of each and every opportunity we have daily to apply God’s Wisdom and produce Divine Good, especially in the evangelization of or witnessing to others. It tells us that we cannot buy anyone else’s time; we can only purchase our time. So, the definite article is used as a Possessive Pronoun meaning, you have time; time belongs to you, and that God has assigned to you time.

Therefore, it simply means to make the best possible use of all circumstances, like a prudent merchant would. We are to make the most of the time or opportunity in the sense, “take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way,” with the context of our verse of the avoidance of anything that interferes with understanding of the Lord’s will. This is further emphasized in vs. 18.

This command is given with an exhortation, “because the days are evil,” HOTI HO HEMERA PONEROS in the Nominative Plural. The Adjective PONEROS, πονηρός means, “painful, serious, grievous, bad, wicked, evil, or depraved.” Although used in the NT to describe Satan, the devil, Mat 13:19; Luke 8:12, here it is used to characterize this age, an “evil generation” that is under the grip of the evil one, that tells us of Satan’s cosmic system, cf. Luke 11:29; Gal 1:4; 1 John 5:18-19.

Luke 11:29, “And as the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah”.”

Gal 1:4, “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

“Evil days” or “evil age,” is speaking of a time period and system, whereby Satan tries to control the world. Satan is basically an evil being and every bit of good that he does is just as evil as every bit of sinning he does. Therefore, we are given this warning because the “evil days” or “evil generation” is in active opposition to that which is good and Godly. If we believers are not careful, the evil nature of this age will rob us of the opportunities to do God’s will. In addition, because many are walking in sin, and since the time is short, believers must make full use of their time to help turn those in darkness to light. This necessitates wise conduct.

“Our English word opportunity comes from the Latin and means “toward the port.” It suggests a ship taking advantage of the wind and tide to arrive safely in the harbor. The brevity of life is a strong argument for making the best use of the opportunities God gives us.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary).

How we live matters. In this passage, we are called to identify the things that waste our time away and remove them the best we can and then to prioritize everything that has to do with God and His will relentlessly. We must passionately shine our light in this dark world while we have breath. If we do, when we see our Lord, we will not regret having spent our lives wisely. This is the tactical victory in the Angelic Conflict.

Therefore, in the execution of the Plan of God for your life, you are commanded to purchase or redeem time. As such, you purchase time by your Perception, Metabolization, and Application of Bible doctrine, from which comes the application of wisdom, from which comes maximum utilization of your time daily walking in the Plan of God. This means you have purchased time because you are utilizing your time to the maximum. When you do not utilize your time for the things of God, you have lost that time in regards to the spiritual life and impact therein.

By learning the mechanics of the Plan of God, (doing a right thing in a right way), by understanding and utilizing your Portfolio of Invisible Assets, by knowing the Problem-Solving Devices and using them, and by being faithful in the little things, you maximize the time you have, and therefore purchase it for God’s good; i.e., Divine Good Production. In God’s timing, faithfulness in the little things must precede faithfulness in the big things.

In the parallel verse, Col 4:5, “Walk with wisdom toward outsiders, (unbelievers), redeeming, (purchasing), the time,” means in one sense to be ready to evangelize at all times through your words and actions. It means being a witness with your life to lead unbelievers away from sin and towards the Cross. It also means that the believer should not be negatively influenced by the ambitions and desires of unbelievers by getting caught up in them too. Unbelievers get pushy, want things in a hurry, want shortcuts to success, bypass virtue, want what they want right now, and there is no tomorrow. If the believer picks up on these things and operates in the same manner, he will lose out on understanding and living in the Plan of God.

Eph 5:16, also reminds us of Eccl 3:1-8, in which God has given us an appointed time for every aspect of our lives. Our task is to know the will of the Lord at all times and live in the moment, to His glory. The music group the Birds turned this into a hit song back in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

Eccl 3:1-8,

1There is an appointed time for everything. and there is a time for every event under heaven–

2A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up.

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

5A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.

6A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away.

7A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Conclusion

Life for the believer is assigned in terms of days. God gives us one day at a time here on earth until our assignment runs out and He takes us home. These days that God gives us are inside of Cosmos Diabolicus, which means that we are living on earth while Satan is the ruler of this world and his is administering his cosmic system. It means we live in evil days. Even so, God has given us all the resources, power, and strength necessary to overcome these evil days and to live victoriously inside of God’s Plan for our lives. To be victorious is a volitional issue. Only you can purchase each day from the evil grasp of Satan. Bible doctrine applied from the soul is the way that you purchase a day from the evil grasp of Satan and be victorious.

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The Doctrine of a Day at a Time.

  • The believer with an ECS and super-grace life learns to regard every day alike, Rom 14:5-9. He regards every day as from the Lord; it is a grace gift given to him as an assignment, as part of an allotment. The purpose of that day is to purchase it with Bible doctrine and walking in God’s will for your life.

Rom 14:5-6, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

  • Only the believer has the grace provision to purchase that day, Eph 5:15-18. The super-grace life gives perfect purchase of every day, Eph 3:16-21, as the Holy Spirit teaches and leads us daily, John 14:26; 16:12-14; 1 Cor 2:9-16.
  • Every day, we as believers in phase two, live that day as a gracious gift from God. The only time we possess, in which we can honor God, is the number of days God has graciously provided for us in time, Psa 90:12; James 4:13-15.

James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that”.”

Psa 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

  • The fact that the believer lives another day on the earth is a sign of Divine grace and faithfulness, Lam 3:22-23.

Lam 3:22-23, “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

  • Each day, in phase two, the believer must avoid mental attitude sins, which produce self-induced misery, Prov 27:1.

Prov 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

  • God has provided soul capital in the form of Bible doctrine for the believer to purchase each day, Jer 15:16; Mat 4:4’ Rev 3:18.

Jer 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”

Mat 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”

Rev 3:18, “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”

  • Every day, therefore, becomes a special day in phase two, John 11:9-10.

John 11:9-10, “Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him”.”

Psa 118:24, “This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Remember, God is working for eternity, so do not worry about how fast you go, but the quality of each day.

Oswald Chambers notes, “… so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24).

“Joy means the perfect fulfillment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had rests in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says—”As My Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say—”Well done, good and faithful servant”; to know that you have done what He sent you to do. We all have to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this, we must be bound with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Savior. “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake.”

“Do you love Me?” Then—”Feed My sheep.” There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s mandated loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.” (My Utmost for His Highest.)

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Eph 5 vs 17Vs. 17

Eph 5:17, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

As we noted above, believers are commanded to live wisely, and wise living is described in three ways in the following verses:

  1. It makes good use of time in an evil age that is passing away, vs. 16; cf. 1 Cor 7:31; Gal 1:4.
  2. It seeks to learn God’s will, vs. 17; cf. vs. 10.
  3. It is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, vs. 18.

Continuing the message from vs. 10, what is pleasing to the Lord, is understanding His will, which also means walking in His will.

This verse begins with “so then,” which is the Preposition DIA, “through, by, with, because of, or for the sake of,” and the Demonstrative Pronoun HOUTOS, meaning, “this or this one.” Based on the structure here, we translate this “because of this,” referring back to vs. 15 and vs. 16 in particular. That is, we are to pay close attention to how we walk, not as unwise men but wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil by “not being foolish,” (i.e., not living in sin and Satan’s cosmic system).

Do not be foolish,” is the Negative ME with the Present, Middle, Imperative of GINOMAI and the Nominative Plural Adjective APHRON. So once again we have a prohibition from God.

We noted GINOMAI in vs. 1, 7, and 12 that means, “to come into being, into existence, to become, to come into a certain state, etc.” It means to be something that you previously were not. So, the command is to “stop becoming” something; in this case “fools.”

Since we are the children of God and have capacity to obtain God’s wisdom, and have, we are commanded to not turn back to the Old Nature and the world’s way of thinking, thereby becoming fools once again. We are not to become fools by going back to sin and Satan’s cosmic system, the very thing Jesus purchased us out from. We began as fools; let us not return to our former foolish state. In other words, we are now part of God’s Royal Family with wisdom in our souls, let us not lose that wisdom and become fools or sinners once again, because if we do, as the Word tells us, “the last state becomes worse than the first,” 2 Peter 2:20.

2 Peter 2:20, “For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

APHRON is the word for “foolish,” in this passage that can mean, “foolish, inconsiderate, rash, a lack of prudence or good judgment, or ignorant.” It comes from the root PHRONEO that means, “think, decide, or to set one’s mind on,” that comes from the root PHREN that means, “mind or heart,” that we also call the right lobe of your soul. With PHRONEO is the Greek negative prefix, A, which means the opposite of those things, just like we noted in ASOPHOS in vs. 15. In classical Greek, it had the idea of being “senseless.” It referred to statues, the person who is crazed or frantic, or simply the person who acts silly or foolish. It stands in contrast to the person who is wise, as the one who acts in ignorance. And remember, ignorance means, “one who lacks knowledge or understanding” and/or “one who willfully chooses to ignore what he knows.”

Titus 3:3, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.”

Prov 1:22, “How long, O naive ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?”

Rom 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

1 Cor 1:20, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Gal 3:1, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”

Gal 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

1 Tim 6:9, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

It is also used to refer to the “transgressor;” the one who opposes God and His Word. It is the APHRON who says in his heart, “There is no God,” Psa 14:1. 

Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”

Luke 12:20, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared’?”

So, we are commanded to not be foolish in our ways, but instead apply the wisdom of God in our lives, especially so that we are able to turn people from darkness to the light.

2 Tim 2:23, “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

Titus 3:9, “But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

Therefore, the first half of this passage is a reference to believers in reversionism with emphasis on having negative volition, who cannot “redeem or buy back the time.”

Next, we have the contrast to being foolish, “but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

But,” is the contrasting Conjunction ALLA. It sets up a contrast between ignorance of Bible doctrine and cognizance of Bible doctrine. This separates the sheep from the goats, the men from the boys, the adults from the children, as far as the spiritual life is concerned.

Understand” is Present, Active, Imperative of the Verb SUNIEMI, συνίημι that means, “understand, comprehend, or perceive.” In classical Greek literature, it was used to mean, “to bring or set together.” This nuance is never found in the NT. Instead it is used figuratively to mean, “to understand, to comprehend, or to perceive,” in the sense of gaining insight into something. So, it signifies “perception, taking note of, and grasping” in the sense of understanding. In the LXX, it replaced the Hebrew word BIN that means, “to observe, to notice, or to understand.”

Prov 2:5, “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.”

Prov 2:9, “Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.”

This “insight or ability to understand,” comes when we are obedient to the Lord and His Word, which too is a gift imparted by God, Dan 2:21.

Dan 2:21, “And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding.”

Likewise, in the NT, its primary meaning is “to understand or to perceive,” emphasizing not only the process of gaining information, but also the process of obtaining comprehension. This “understanding” is the capital God has given to us to “buy back the time.” And, in our passage, we are encouraged to understand God’s will for our lives, which is noted in the last phrase, “what the will of the Lord is,” TIS HO THELEMA HO KURIOS.

THELEMA, θέλημα means, “will, desire, determination, purpose, inclination.” We have noted this word in Eph 1:1, 5, 9, 11; 2:3. We will see it again in Eph 6:6 in regard to not being “man-pleasers” but doing the will of God.

Eph 6:6, “Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

Having use also in sexual vocabulary for “desire,” 1 Cor 7:37; John 1:13, including man’s inclination to gratify the sinful nature, and being a captive of Satan doing his “will,” cf. 2 Tim 2:26, this word gives us a nice concluding contrast to the lifestyles noted in Eph 5:3-5.

2 Tim 2:26, “And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Now, the believer is to live according to God’s “pleasure,” 1 Peter 4:2, which he formerly could not know, cf. Luke 12:47, as only the servant of God knows the “will” of his master, Acts 22:14.

1 Peter 4:2, “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

Therefore, “doing God’s will,” is the supreme example of discipleship, Mark 3:35; Mat 12:50; cf. Heb 13:21; 1 John 2:17.

Mat 7:21, indicates such action provides the proper credentials for entrance into the Kingdom.

Mat 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

As such, THELEMA indicates God’s Divine purpose that we are to know and live in, John 4:23; 5:30; 6:38-40; 7:17; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14; Rom 1:10.

Luke 22:42, “Jesus saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’.”

1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

Doing God’s will cannot become a reality in your life, unless you understand what God’s will is. God provides us every opportunity to know His will and walk in it.

Acts 22:14, “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth’.”

Therefore, when we GAP it daily, it results in understanding God’s Divine will and viewpoint for life, and allows us to walk in it, thereby redeeming the time.

How can we know the will of God? This is answered in the Doctrine of Divine Guidance.

First, we are going to talk about the technical theological aspects of “the will of God,” to set up our future discussions on knowing the will of God for your life. Our future discussions will include, “yieldedness” to God and what we will note in vs. 18 regarding “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” But first we need to lay the ground work by understanding the technical theological aspects of the “The Will of God” and “Divine Guidance.”

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The Doctrine of Divine Guidance – Knowing the Will of God for Your Life.

  • Divine guidance is the doctrine of determining the will of God for your life, related to both specific and general things, by the function of your own thinking in the application of Bible doctrine. It is the communication of God’s Divine will through the Divine revelation of His Word resident in your soul.

a) Today God’s revelation is confined to the Canon of Scripture and through the pain of discipline for the reversionist in the cosmic system.

b) In the ancient world, Divine guidance included direct communication from God through dreams, visions, dialogues, the Canon which then existed, discipline, and the teaching of angels.

c) During the Church Age, the only way to know positively what the will of God is for your life is to understand Bible Doctrine and metabolize it. You cannot know the will of God apart from knowing the Word of God.

  • Classification of the will of God. There are three classifications of God’s will. The story of Balaam in Numbers 22-24, communicates this well.

a) The Directive Will of God, which is the same as the desire of God, Num 22:12. These are direct commands like, “do not do such and such,” or “do such and such” as we have in Eph 5:17, where we are commanded to “not be foolish,” but instead, “understand the will of God,” which means we will not be foolish.

b) The Permissive Will of God, where God allows certain things to happen but they are not His desire, Num 22:20, 35.

c) The Overruling Will of God is that Jesus Christ controls history, Num 23:5, 8, 23, 25‑26; 24:13, in that God will or will not allow certain things to happen, even though man or angels have chosen to do the opposite.

d) Therefore, the will of God can be declared under four principles.

1) The will of God is directive. God has a plan for your life.

2) The will of God is determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or discipline.

3) The will of God is permissive. Negative volition to Bible doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides discipline.

4) The will of God is preventative providing doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition in the will of God.

  • Besides God’s sovereign will, that is manifested in three ways towards angels and man and is consistent with His attributes, there are two other categories of will:

a) Angelic will or volition.

b) Human will or volition.

Both are sovereignly bestowed by their creator God as part of the Angelic Conflict.

  • The will of God is manifest in the decree of God; His sovereign plan for angels and man. The decree teaches us the will of God.

a) The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their courses, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition.

b) The contents of His one eternal purpose is perceived by us in partial aspects and in both logical and revealed relations, because of the limitation of our mentality and faculties, Isa 55:8-9.

Isa 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

c) The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events which happen in time, and the precise manner and order of their occurrence.

d) Therefore, the decree expresses the eternal plan and will of God by which God has rendered certain all events of history in the past, present, and future.

e) As such, the will of God is the sovereign choice of the Divine will and mentality inherent in the essence of God by which all things are brought into being, controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification.

f) It is the pleasure of God to permit creature volition in both angelic and human beings. This explains why man and angels have free will.

  • The will of God. There is one all-inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or is or ever will be among creatures. This will and purpose originates within God himself without any outside influences. The will and plan of God were objectively designed for His pleasure, glory, and satisfaction in eternity past.

a) All creatures have been placed in space and time, and all events relating to space and time were simultaneously and instantly decreed. These simultaneous decrees result in all Divine action. Divine action falls into two categories.

1) Within the Godhead, the interaction between the members of the Godhead is called immanent, intrinsic, and subjective.

2) Actions related to creation are the actions of God which are called extrinsic (outside of God), transient (they function in human history chronologically), and objective (the function of Divine justice in human history).

  • God’s decrees are efficacious. They determine all that ever was, is, or will be. Efficacious refers to the directive will of God. Efficacious is used in a technical sense for that which is the direct work of God, in contrast to permissive will, which is the will of God accomplished through man’s free will and through the action of God’s creatures. There is a distinction between the decrees of God in eternity past and the actions of God in time. The action of God in time is the execution of the decrees of eternity past. The execution is not the decree, but logically follows the decree. One follows the other, but they are not the same.
  • As part of God’s will there is a distinction between what could have happened and what does happen. God knows both, but only puts what is going to happen in the decrees.
  • God’s decrees do not originate from His foreknowledge. In the logical order of things, the function of the foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain. God’s decrees originate from God’s omniscience, not his foreknowledge. The order is: omniscience – decrees – foreknowledge. The foreknowledge of God merely perceives the things that are certain. It is the decree of God that makes all things certain. The decrees are from omniscience; foreknowledge only confirms what has been decreed. Therefore, all things depend on God’s will, and nothing is certain apart from God’s will, Rom 8:28-30.

Rom 8:28-30, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

  • The decrees of God and the desires of God. Sin, suffering, reversionism, death, human good, and evil are not the desires of God, but they are in the decrees of God. God desires His perfect will, but both human and angelic volition, using Divinely-created free will, violate the desires of God. This is how sin and evil come into the world.

a) When human will equals God’s desires, this equals Divine guidance, cf. Eph 5:10-17. For example:

1) God does not desire to throw creatures into the Lake of Fire, but that judgment is decreed for all who reject Christ as Savior.

2) God does not desire to discipline believers, but that punishment is decreed for all believers in reversionism under the influence of evil or persistent carnality.

Therefore, it is the justice of God which reconciles desire and decree. And it is the justice of God to which we adjust when we obey, do, or function under the will of God.

  • The Divine objective is the preservation and deliverance of believers to the point of maturity. To achieve this God works to mold all events into the fulfillment of His eternal purpose, (which is often called Divine providence). Preservation continues the existence of things, but providence directs their progress. Advancing believers progress to the Divine objective. Therefore, the will of God is:

a) Directive. God has a plan for each of our lives communicated in His Word.

b) Determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or cursing.

c) Permissive. Negative volition to Bible Doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides a horrible life and death.

d) Preventative. Providing Bible Doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition inside the will of God.

  • The axiom for Divine guidance is found in 1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He has commanded us.”

This verse is the desire of God. It reduces the will of God to its utmost simplicity; i.e., that the entire human race believes in Jesus Christ; and that all believers function under impersonal love of the Royal Family Honor Code toward all other members of the human race. So, the chief principle of Divine guidance: for the unbeliever, salvation; for the believer, spirituality.

  • God’s will for your life is found in three categories. These three categories are discovered by the believer who is consistently taking in and applying Bible Doctrine while growing in spiritual maturity. They include:

a) The viewpoint will of God is what God wants you to think.

b) The operational will of God is what God wants you to do.

c) The geographical will of God is where God wants you to be.

Each of these revolves around the three wills of God, directive, permissive, and overruling, as God has given free will to man, so that man would be a rational creature who would resolve the Angelic Conflict.

You can know the viewpoint, operational, and geographical will of God for your life only by having maximum Bible doctrine in your soul. You receive Divine discipline for not knowing the right answer and being outside of God’s will.

  • All Divine guidance depends on the perception of Bible doctrine and then its application. This principle of Bible Doctrine in the soul is found in Psa 32:8; Isa 58:11. The pure thoughts of doctrine, not the deceptive thoughts of man, are the basis for Divine guidance, Prov 3:1-8; Rom 12:2.

Psa 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”

Isa 58:11. “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

  • Acts 11:1-18, gives us the mechanics of knowing and walking in the will of God.

a) Guidance through prayer, vs. 5.

b) Guidance through objective thinking of Bible Doctrine, vs. 6.

c) Guidance through perception and recall of doctrine, vs. 7‑10.

d) Guidance through providential circumstances, e.g. the people we meet, vs. 11.

e) Guidance through the filling of the Holy Spirit and humility, vs. 12.

f) Guidance through fellowship and comparison of spiritual data, vs. 13‑14.

g) Guidance through recalling Bible doctrine, vs. 16.

h) Guidance through doctrinal conclusions, vs. 17.

i) Guidance through obedience to the Word of God, vs. 18.

  • The principle of Divine guidance is based upon the fact that man possess volition/free-will designed to resolve the Angelic Conflict, designed to respond to God’s purpose, God’s will, God’s policy, and God’s law. That is the basic concept of guidance. We have volition which must become totally subordinate to and compatible with Divine volition. Therefore, we have to know what God’s policy is, what His will is, and what God’s desire is on any given subject. Then it is simple. All we have to do is do it and do it in the power of the Spirit. Bible doctrine in the soul, plus free will in man, equals Divine guidance, the execution of the will of God.
  • Divine guidance reaches its peak in spiritual maturity, as witnessed in the lives of the visible heroes of the OT. in Hebrew 11. The ultimate in the will of God is found in, 2 Pet 3:18, “But grow by grace and by knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and in the day of eternity.”
  • And as we will see in Eph 5:18, Divine guidance is achieved through yieldedness. Yieldedness, is simply a technical term for the filling of the Holy Spirit, as per Rom 6:13. It is found in Rom 12:1, “present,” which is yieldedness or the filling of the Spirit. Basically, the concept comes from 1 John 1:9, the mechanics of yieldedness.

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The Doctrine of Yieldedness

Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting (yielding) the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present (yield) yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

The word for “presenting” and “present” is the Verb PARISTEMI, παρίστημι. It come from the Preposition PARA that means, “beside,” and the Verb HISTEMI that means, “to place or stand.”  Combined it meant, “cause to stand, place beside or present.” In addition, it was used for, “put at someone’s disposal, yield, offer, provide, etc.” In this passage and doctrine, it carries the meaning of “put at someone’s disposal, present,” and therefore, “yield to someone or something in your life.”

The concept of the “yielded life” in both the positive and negative sense is noted in Rom 6:16; 19; 12:1; 2 Cor 5:14ff; 1 Peter 2:24.

“Yield,” in the English language, has many different meanings. The term “yield” means, “to stop resisting,” that is, to stop opposing or resisting and agree to somebody’s demands or requests. It means, “to surrender,” to admit defeat. It means, “to give something up to somebody else or allow somebody else to take it over.” It means, “to produce something naturally or as a result of cultivation, work, activity, or calculation.”  It also means, “to gain an amount as a return on an investment.”

But in this doctrine, and the passages we will note, it is talking about the aspect of giving way to someone else. That someone else for the believer is God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, by being filled with Him, as we will note in Eph 5:18. In this regard, yield, yielding, or yieldedness means, “to stop resisting or opposing God and agree with Him, to surrender our lives to His leading, to give ourselves over to the filling of the Holy Spirit and let Him take control of our lives, to replace the Old Man nature with the New Man nature that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and to let the Holy Spirit take the reins of your life so that there is profit and gain called Divine Good Production or the Fruit of the Spirit or Light.

To yield to God means to give way to His power, love, and wisdom for our lives. It means to allow Him to design and execute the position and effectiveness of our life, as He alone can do this. We noted in the Doctrine of God’s Will, all the numberless paths in which we could walk; He alone knows which is best, and He alone has the power to place our feet in that path and to keep them there. He alone has love for us that will never cease to prompt Him to do for us all that is in His wisdom, power, and love to do. If we yield to God’s will, we will be blessed by His love, power, and wisdom.

As a result of the fall of Adam, man received an independent human will toward God along with a sinful nature. Yet, even with that free will and sin nature now in man, we were originally designed by God to conform to His nature. We achieve harmony with His nature, when we are yielded to His Divine will.

We cannot be rightly adjusted to God or be spiritual, until we are yielded to the mind and will of God that includes being filled with the Holy Spirit during this Church Age we are in. Therefore, our daily lives will be helpless and a failure apart from yielding to God’s will through the leading ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 12:1 says, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual (reasonable – LOGIKOS), service of worship.”

When we fully dedicate our lives and bodies to be a “living sacrifice,” it is the “reasonable service” God is looking for, and is the first most important issue in the life of the child of God.

The words “I urged you” are far from being a command. They are a pleading for that manner of life which becomes the children of God. It is not something that we must do to be saved; it is something we should do because we are saved.

This is the appeal from God for the manner of life that becomes one who has been saved from the guilt of sin and for whom salvation has been provided from the power of sin. With the issue of sin and salvation taken care of, God now looks for an ongoing daily relationship with His children, which is only accomplished through the yielded life.

Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This is an exhortation for dedication of the whole body as a living sacrifice. It is a call for self-dedication to whatsoever God may choose for us, now, or ever. It occurs when we are not conformed to this world but when we are transfigured by the filling of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds, through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine. When we are yielded to God in this way, we will show our lives to be “good, and acceptable, and perfect,” inside the will of God.

James 3:17, NKJV, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield (reasonable – NASB), full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

Yield” here is the Adjective, EUPEITHĒS εὐπειθής that means, “obedient, compliant.” The force of this adjective includes the sense of “agreeability.” It is more than mere acquiescence. Vine says it comes from EU, “well,” and PEITHOMAI, “to obey,” and indicates a “readiness to obey” (Expository Dictionary, “Intreat”). James used it to describe the availability and attributes of the “wisdom that is from above”

Romans 6:16-19, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present (YIELD) your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in (experiential) sanctification.”

Three Principles of Yieldedness.

  • Yieldedness to the will of God implies, first of all, yieldedness to the Word of God and the standards of moral excellence, which are set forth in the Scriptures. However, many issues we face are not taught explicitly in the Bible.
  • Therefore, the second principle of yieldedness is there must be yieldedness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to the individual to provide guidance in these matters. That is, His purpose is to apply the general principles of the Bible to the particular issue which is facing the individual. Yieldedness to the Holy Spirit begins with the confession of our sins post-salvation after any sin we have committed, 1 John 1:9, which results in fellowship with God, and being filled with the Spirit,” Eph 5:18. Then we are in a position to be guided by the Spirit in application of Bible Doctrine resident within our soul.
  • In addition to being yielded to the Word of God and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yieldedness implies adjustment to the providential acts of God, whether it be of the nature of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” or anything else which might prompt rebellion against God’s dealings with His child.

Therefore, the believer must be willing to accept Divinely appointed situations, although he is still free to pray and ask God to change them. The role of the Spirit in comforting the believer is often related to providential situations in which, contrary to the believer’s own desire, God is fulfilling His purpose in providing a means and context for life, which ordinarily would not be the situation of human choosing.

Christ is the Pattern for the Yielded Life.

2 Cor 5:15, “And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting (yielding) the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present (yield) yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

One of the human perfections of the Lord Jesus was His complete yieldedness to the will of His Father, Heb 10:5-7, Luke 22:42.

Heb 10:5-7, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for me; 6in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. 7then I said, ‘behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.'” Cf. Psa 40:6-8.

Luke 22:42, “Jesus saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’.”

The absolute yieldedness of the Son to do the Father’s will is the supreme example of a normal attitude of a child of God toward his Father. This same attitude is imparted and maintained in the believer’s heart by the Word and Spirit, after the first act of dedication has been accomplished, (i.e., faith for salvation). But if the believer is not yielding to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit cannot impart and maintain that attitude in him.

That is why we are commanded in Phil 2:5 to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

“Have this,” compresses all the teaching in the Bible into one principle concerning the believer’s responsibility toward the possible manifestation of Christ in our daily lives by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. We could not produce such a manifestation, but we can let it be done in us by Another.

This does not come from “resolving to do anything,” it is rather that of an attitude of willingness that Another may do according to all of His blessed will for us and through us. This is the attitude of a servant’s heart.

Phil 2:7-9, “But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

Phil 2:5-9 is not given to us so that we can merely be at awe of Jesus Christ, but it is given so that we are fully aware of what is to be reproduced in us and what we are to let Him do in us and through us.

Yielding is the Sacrificial Life.

The highest motive for yielding to the will of God is not the mere desire for victory in life, or for power, or blessing. It is that we may live the sacrificial life which is the Christ life. Sacrificial does not mean painful; it is simply doing Another’s will. Some pain may be in the path, but as we will see below, the prevailing sense is joy, and the blessing of the heart is one of peace.

Three things are shown about Christ’s life that can be manifested by the Spirit in our lives.

  • Christ was willing to go where His Father chose. He was obedient to the Father’s geographic will for His life. His attitude may be expressed by the words: “I will go where You want me to go, dear Lord.”
  • Christ was willing to be whatever His Father chose. He was not only willing to lay aside the garments of His glory, but He was willing to be placed in humility, to be spit upon, and to be crucified. His attitude may be expressed in the words: “I will be what You want me to be.”

As Paul stated in 1 Cor 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”

  • Christ was willing to do whatever His Father chose. He became obedient unto death, and in so doing, His attitude may be expressed in the words: “I will do what You want me to do.”

Like Christ, believers in the will of God may have unpleasant tasks to perform which require yieldedness of heart and the sustaining grace of the Holy Spirit. Like Christ, the believer must say, “Not my will, but your will be done,” Luke 22:42. Therefore, yieldedness is making the will of God final in your life and being willing to do anything, whenever, wherever, and however God may direct.

There is no true spirituality until this surrender is made in the life of the believer. But when it is, God imparts all sufficient power for the realization of all His will, Phil 2:13.

Phil 2:13, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

The Divinely produced manifestation of the “Christ-like nature” in the believer’s life will be, “the mind of Christ,” and Scripture assures us that this will be attained by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When dealing with the believer’s responsibility in being wholly yielded to God, our Lord spoke of it as “abiding in Him,” John 15:1-17.

The results of an abiding life are threefold:

  1. Our Prayer is effectual, vs. 7.
  2. Our Joy is heavenly, vs. 11.
  3. Our Fruit is perpetual, vs. 16.

These results include all that is vital in a spiritual life and are conditioned by obedience to all that Christ has said, vs. 10. Therefore, abiding is simply yielding to the known will of our Lord, just as He was yielded to His Father’s will.

Yieldedness to the will of God is not demonstrated by one particular issue. It is a matter of having taken the will of God as the rule of your life. To be in the will of God is simply to be willing to do His will without reference to any one particular thing He may choose. It is electing His will to be final, even before you know what He may ask you to do.

Therefore, it is not a question of being willing to do something. It is a question of being willing to do anything, when, where, and how, it may seem best in His heart of love.

Yieldedness then, is taking the normal and natural position of a childlike trust that has already consented to the desires of the Father, even before anything of the outworking of His desire is revealed.

Many believers say, “If God desires me to do something, let Him tell me and I will then determine what I will do.” This is not yieldedness to God. God will reveal nothing to the person with that attitude in their heart. Instead, you must have a faithful relationship of trust in God, where His will is agreed to in advance once and for all, without reservation. That means, no “if, ands, or buts,” in your attitude.

The Opposite of Yieldedness is Grieving and Quenching the Holy Spirit.

In yieldedness to God, we make no promises that we will never sin or violate the will of God again. And we do not promise to change our own desires. The attitude we have in yieldedness to God is, “I am willing to be made willing to do His will.” This means we trust whole heartedly that in every detail, He will work in us that which is well pleasing in His sight. He will “work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” Phil 2:13.

Sometimes we may have to wait a long time to ascertain what His will may be, but when it is clearly revealed, there can be no room for debate in your heart that would grieve or even quench the Spirit, Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19, which we are commanded not to do.

The Spirit of God is “grieved” in a believer when he enters into sin. At that time, the fellowship, guidance, instruction, and power of the Spirit are hindered; the Holy Spirit, although indwelling, is NOT free to accomplish His work in the life of the believer.

The Spirit is “quenched” in the believer by any unyieldedness to the revealed will of God. It is simply saying “no” to God in many different ways, either directly or indirectly, including saying “no” to Divine appointments for service and resistance to the providence of God in your life. That means, when God creates an opportunity for you to act, you do not act, or when God provides for you in a certain way you say, “no thanks, I’m good,” or “I’ve got this one God.”

Quenching the Holy Spirit is to suppress, stifle, or otherwise obstruct the ministry of the Spirit in your life. In a word, it is saying “no,” and replacing the will of the Spirit with your own will.

The word “quench,” when related to the Spirit, does not imply that He is extinguished or that He withdraws, although that is the affect that occurs in your life. The Spirit does not remove His presence. He has come to abide. Quenching the Spirit means acts of resisting the Holy Spirit, i.e., saying no to His leading and guiding ministry.

On the other hand, a yielded heart toward the will of God has no rebellion or rejection towards Him, and is one that realizes His will is always infinitely best, therefore I will be led by and follow it. This is the life of no regrets because you have done the will of God.

“It is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Therefore, we must learn God’s Word and the reality of the indwelling Spirit and what it means to “walk” in Him.

The Yielded Heart Knows the Will of God:

God’s leading is only for those who are already committed to do as He may choose. To such it may be said: “God is able to speak loud enough to make a willing soul hear.”

The Divine leading will always be according to the Scriptures. We go to His Word with prayerful expectation as to what His will may be.

  • Be careful not to treat the Bible as a magic lottery. We do not learn the meaning of a passage by “casting lots.” We do not find out the will of God from the Bible by opening the Book and abiding by the sentiment of the first verse we may chance to read. It is not a matter of chance, nor is our relation to His Word so superficial that we expect to find His blessed mind for us by blindly reading one chance verse. We are to study and know the Scriptures that every word of His testimony may instruct us.

He does not lead His children by any rules whatsoever. No two of His children will be led alike and it is most probable that He will never lead any one of His children twice in exactly the same way. Therefore, rules are apt to be misleading. True spirituality consists in a life which is free from law and legalism. It is a life which is lived to the minutest detail of individuality, by the power of the Spirit.

The Divine leading is by the Spirit who indwells the believer. Therefore, it follows that true leading, in this dispensation, will be more by an inner consciousness than by outward signs. After we have faithfully met the conditions for a spiritual life, we have “the mind of the Spirit.” He is both able to convince us of what is wrong and to impart a clear conviction as to what is right. Because of our present unique relation to the Spirit, it is hardly necessary, or wise, to depend much on “fleeces” or a “pillar of cloud;” although sometimes, He may lead providentially through these external things.

Yielding to the mind and will of God is a definite act which opens the gate into the Divinely appointed path, whereon we may walk in all fellowship and service with Christ. A child of God cannot consider himself to be in the appointed path, if he has no consciousness that he is subject to the will of God. This pattern of yieldedness as revealed in Christ is seen in John 4:34, 5:30; 6:39; 9:4.

A Warning Regarding Unyieldedness.

Satan’s sin against God in the primal glory was a five-fold expression of two defiant words: “I will,” Isa 14:13-14. This original act of rebellion against God on the part of Satan was extended to the human race in the Garden of Eden. The conflict of the ages is accordingly between the will of the creature and the will of the Creator. Every unyielded life is perpetuating the crime of Satan.

To be spiritual, we must not say “no” to God and “yes” to our own wants, lusts, and desires. That would be quenching the Spirit.

In our day, Satan, appearing as “an angel of light,” 2 Cor 11:14, will seek to confuse the mind of the unyielded heart by presenting his counterfeits for the leading of God. Every believer should be aware of this danger.

As you know, Satan makes use of a morbid conscience, (doubtful and disbelieving), a mistaken impression as to duty, (legalism), or a lack of understanding as to the exact teachings of God’s Word (ignorance, including willful rejection), to misdirect the believer’s life.

Nevertheless, Satan’s misleadings are to be detected since they are irritating, painful, and disagreeable, in contrast to the leading of the Spirit, which is sweet and satisfying to the heart of the one who is yielded to God.

We must remember that the will of God is “good, acceptable, and perfect,” Rom 12:2, and that when we are walking with Him, He works in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Phil 2:13.

If we walk with an unyielding heart, on the Divine side, the Father cannot suffer rebellion in His household, nor can He realize His blessed designs for His child until His judgment is freely acknowledged to be best. As such, in love God must bring discipline to His child, Psa 119:75; Prov 3:12; 1 Cor 11:32; Heb 12:6; Rev 3:19. As such, we need to be aware of the distinction between chastisement for correction, which may often be repeated, and the once for all “scourging” which every son must receive, Heb 12:6.

Discipline is unto correction as often as it is needed; but scourging is the once for all conquering of the human will.

When our will is conquered, it does not mean that our will is weakened in relationships with our fellow men. It means the will has been yielded to God.

Not all afflictions are to be counted as scourging. We will know it is scourging because we will be conscious of our own stubbornness in not yielding. There will be no uncertainty. Unfortunately, many have suffered years of scourging because they would not be yielded in relation to the mind of God for them.

Every child of God, then, must definitely yield to the will of God, not concerning just one issue or another of the daily life, but as an abiding attitude toward God in everything. Apart from that there can be no true spirituality and no escape from the Father’s scourging hand; for He cannot, and will not, suffer His child to live on without the priceless blessings that His love is longing to bestow. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Therefore, to avoid discipline and scourging, we must learn God’s Word, the reality of the indwelling Spirit, and what it means to “walk” in Him.

Conclusion

When an individual is spiritually renewed by being born again, he is prepared for a life in the will of God. The believer has: 1) A new nature, 2) The life of God in him, 3) A vital relationship to God and to other believers in the baptism of the Spirit, and 4) The presence of God in his body and consciousness. This sets the stage for an effective expression of a life yielded to God in keeping with the character of God.

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer provides an inexhaustible and constant source of spiritual direction and empowerment. However, the ministry of the Spirit is not automatic and is not effective without cooperation on the part of the individual, hence the command in 1 Thes 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”

By understanding God’s Word, thereby having the wisdom of God in your soul, and being filled consistently with the Holy Spirit, you are yielding to the leading and guiding ministry of God and will execute His will and plan for your life, being a good and faithful servant of God. To be an imitator of God as His beloved child, Eph 5:1, we must live the yielded life.

Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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