THE CHURCH: GOD’S NEW SOCIETY
Jerry A Collins
v What does it mean to walk wisely?
v What is the meaning of being filled with the Spirit?
v What is the significance of music and the Spirit?
It is football season this time of year and it impresses me as to how seriously football teams prepare themselves for the season. Imagine taking a casual approach to preparation. It would never do. You would be easily outplayed. Winded and whipped your team would be unable to stay in any of its games. Each new game and succeeding quarters in those games would expose your casual approach during the practice season. It would be embarrassing especially when you lost to much less talented teams. Unless the coaches or players really did not care, the team would be humiliated and unable to perform with precision. But this is true about many areas of our lives where we take a casual approach. It can even happen to us spiritually and that is where our passage comes in. Imagine taking your spiritual life casually. You set yourself up to be spiritually fatigued. You will be unable to perform under pressure. Your weaknesses will be exposed and you may be embarrassed or humiliated. God makes it very clear that we should never take a casual approach to our personal and spiritual lives but a wise one.
TAKE A WISE APPROACH TO YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE TO FULLY UTILIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY 15-17
1. Be careful. Watch carefully or continue to watch how carefully you conduct your walk or conduct your life. So take your life seriously.
2. Walk wisely not unwisely. So do not take your queue from the world around you but from your faith. Don’t make unbelievers your role models but apply God’s wisdom.
3. Redeem the time. That is, make the most of the time you have. A wise person will take hold of this and not be frivolous with his or her life and its choices and priorities and passions. What is an ‘opportunity’ or ‘time’? It is to do some good generally that makes a difference or meets a need.
4. The days are evil. So evil characterizes our time period. The evil is evil morally and that is what the world is and how we should view the world at large.
5. So don’t be foolish 17. You can
ignore the need for a wise approach to your spiritual life but then you would only be foolish. How would you be foolish? By your inability to be knowledgeable of the will of God. That is the only way you can avoid the evil days and utilize every moment that comes your way. What sets you apart from a spiritually casual person is your applying God’s wisdom in the evil days.
So the spiritual life is not lived by being casual. It is not lived by relaxing and being yourself. It is a thing of constant watching and applying God’s wisdom to evil days in a timeframe characterized by evil. The command is not to make the world into a place where we don’t have to do that (Reformed Covt Theology) or to become wealthy so we don’t have evil days (Prosperity gospel)—both of these are a move away from wisdom. The spiritual life is an ongoing battle with evil days, which will destroy you if you don’t constantly walk in wisdom making the most of each day that way.
A. You are a target of the evil in this world. Evil wants to have you and you can let it if you live an unwise life—one that avoids applying God’s wisdom from His word.
B. The evil of this world will always want you to conform and then perform the evil they do. You will lose time if you allow the evil in your life. Time that is permanently lost and can never be recovered.
C. Evil will overtake you if you neglect your spiritual life. You cannot afford to do that according to the HS. Don’t be casual spiritually!
BE CONTINUALLY FILLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH PRAISING, THANKSGIVING & SUBMISSION 18-21
1. Filled 18. There are two ways to be ‘under the influence’. One way is being drunk and he says don’t do that. The other is being filled and he says to do that. So coming from somewhere outside of us—either the wine or the HS is this influence. Being filled is a command to keep on being filled by the HS. So this filling must be continually maintained as the wise approach to life—unlike the indwelling of the HS which takes place when we believe (as do many other things like, regeneration, baptizing and sealing) and is once for all and permanent. The description of the filling is in the negative in contrast to being drunk with wine, which he adds is dissipation (Tit 1:6 rebellion & 1 Pt 4:4 excess). So this is the idea of uncontrolled chaos, especially when it promotes excesses or rebellion. Being filled with the HS is a command which results in the opposite of chaos namely controlled conformity to God’s will. This is how you beat the evil days. It is with the filling of the HS in your life. How to we maintain this filling?
A. Don’t grieve the HS of God by doing what you must not Eph 4:30
B. Don’t quench the HS by not doing what you must do 1 Thess 5:19.
C. Confess your sins—agreeing with God that those sins He brings to mind are indeed wrong 1 Jn 1:9.
D. Don’t rule out the HS with man-made rules, laws & traditions.
2. Praising 19. The filling of the HS is applied to music. We are commanded to be speaking, singing, and making melody as part of being filled with the HS. If drunkenness results in dissipation, the visible manifestation of one filled by the Spirit is speaking or communicating to one another. The means of doing that is psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. ‘Psalm’ is a song to the tune of s stringed instrument. A ‘hymn’ is to sing a song to extol praise to God in choral singing. The ‘songs’ are ‘spiritual’ in nature. So being filled by the Spirit, that is, controlled and ordered, rather than in chaos associated with drunkenness, is in part, by singing spiritual songs to one another. These are songs conducive to the teaching of the wisdom of the Word of God. It is the same kind of singing, by the way, going on around the throne of God—Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3. This is evidence that one is being filled with the Spirit of God. This may refer to the worship of the early church where they did this when they assembled as they directed their heartfelt praise to the Lord in their worship of Him.
3. Thanksgiving 20. This is another characteristic of one being filled with the HS. Thanksgiving to God ought to encompass all things that come into Life’s path. This will be in lieu of complaints or anger or discontent (Marion’s response to her future need with John’s death). In difficult circumstances an attitude of thanksgiving is easier to achieve with the knowledge that God always is working in my best interests! The direction of my thanksgiving to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! As ‘Father’ the emphasis is ion the personal nature of our relationship. So again the Trinity is emphasized.
4. Submitting 21. So an outcome of being filled with the HS is setting aside my independence, my autonomy, and placing it under another person’s autonomy according to the prescription of God. Submission is not mutual since someone is choosing to place one’s independence under another’s. This is the character of one filled with the HS. For instance, when one submits to Christ’s commands, or to husbands, or to masters, or to parents. Submission is applied when we disagree with the one we place our independence under but that is the nature of submission and the characteristic of one filled by the Spirit. There is no submission when we agree. That’s agreement not submission.
1. Vigilantly maintain the fullness of the HS in your life. This is essential!
2. Surround your life with music that adores the nature of God and His work.
3. Be much more thankful than you are.
4. Don’t avoid submission.