Friday: Further Thought ~ Living Wisely

Further Thought:

 Looking back at Ephesians 5:1-20 as a whole, we watch Paul take a strong stance against sin and evil, especially in the form of sexual immorality and crude speech.

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He is unwilling to accept the presence of corrupt behavior among the people of God. Instead, he calls the believers in Ephesus to a high standard of conduct and to embrace their identity as the “beloved children” of God and as “saints” or holy ones, (Ephesians 5:1-10, ESV). He dares to believe that when the Christians in community do so, they shine a light into the darkness, drawing their neighbors away from self-defeating lifestyles and into God’s grace and truth (Ephesians 5:11-14).

Paul imagines the church, buoyed by a renewed commitment to “walk as children of light” while they await Christ’s return (Ephesians 5:8; see also Ephesians 5:15-16) and blessed by the presence of Christ (Ephesians 5:14), gathering to worship. As they are motivated by their status “as beloved children” of God and by Christ’s death for them (Ephesians 5:1-2, ESV) and are filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), their shared worship is characterized by energy and joy as together they sing thanksgiving praise to their Lord, Jesus Christ, and to God the Father. With a firm grip on heavenly realities, they celebrate their hope for the future, rooted in the story of what God has done, is doing, and will accomplish through Jesus Christ their Lord (Ephesians 5:18-20).

Understood in this way, the passage becomes far more than a set of disconnected commands about Christian living. It becomes a prophetic call concerning Christian identity, commitment, community, and worship in the last days, a pathos-filled invitation to “snap up the bargains” on offer in the days until Christ’s return (Ephesians 5:16).

Discussion Questions:

Confronted today with a viral culture that preaches its values 24/7/365 through a withering array of media, how can believers adopt Paul’s high standards?
What strategies might believers today employ to “discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10, ESV) and to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17, ESV)?
Someone might argue that Paul’s ban against speaking of sexual immorality among believers (Ephesians 5:3-4) means that we should not deal with issues of sexual misbehavior and abuse. Why is that an inappropriate conclusion?
In what ways does our contemporary society reflect similar pagan practices to those that Paul dealt with in his time?



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