Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Use of Time (Ephesians 5:15-20)

"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:16)

We have seen that Paul is making a quick tour through the Ten Commandments as he instructs the church in godly living. In Ephesians 5:15–20, he applies the first four commandments, relating to worship, to the life of the church.

He begins in verses 15 and 16 by telling us to live wisely and to use our time wisely. This calls to mind the fourth commandment, which tells us to work for six days and to rest on the seventh, setting that day aside for worship. The Old Testament law also set aside several annual festivals and other days of rest as well, such as the new moons. Thus, the law does not require us to work for six days and never take vacations. But God does tell us to make good use of our time.

Paul continues in verses 17–20 by telling us that the focus of our life should be the worship of God. Men become drunk with wine as a way of seeking happiness, but this is only a fruitless counterfeit of the real joy of the Spirit. If we want real joy, we should become filled with the Spirit.

How do we become filled with the Spirit? Contrary to much modern teaching, this is not something that happens instantly whenever we confess our sins. It is certainly true that when we confess sin, our fellowship with the Spirit is restored. But in the context of this passage, Paul is saying that we become full of the Spirit when we are able to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Some have argued that these are three divisions of the 150 psalms. Most have seen that other biblical songs and also uninspired hymns are included here. But one thing is for certain: The starting point is learning to sing all 150 psalms. The Psalms are the ABC’s of worship. Paul says to speak them to one another, which means we have to have them memorized. Yes, all 150 psalms memorized. This would not be hard if we sang the Psalms all the time in church, and, in fact, for most of church history the Psalms have been the core of worship. If we want to be filled with the Spirit, we shall have to become filled with the Word, especially the Psalms (compare Colossians 3:16).

How much time do you waste each day? Modern, affluent Americans waste an amazing amount of time with things that are meaningless and pointless. Think over the past few days and see where you have wasted time. Ask God to help you become more disciplined in at least one area.