III. The challenge of fulfilling of the Lord’s commission. (vv. 15-16; 17b; 19b-20) “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. . . . understand what the will of the Lord is. . . . singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The challenge of fulfilling the Lord’s commission involves understanding the will of God. The following is a collection of the will of God passages in the Bible:
Romans 8:26-27 reads, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 reads, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 reads, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Peter 2:13-16 reads, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1 Peter 3:13-17 reads, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 4:19 reads, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” (Emphasis mine) If you do the will of God you do know; you will know the will of God you do not know. “Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge” according to Dr. Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853) who explains, “In God’s spiritual universe there are no favorites of heaven who can attain knowledge and spiritual wisdom apart front obedience.” John 7:17 reads, “If anyone wills to do His [God’s] will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” Deuteronomy 29:29 reads, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
The challenge of fulfilling of the Lord’s commission involves undertaking the will of God. Understanding the will of God means little until there is an undertaking of the will of God!
Are you undertaking the will of God in practice? Ephesians 5:15-16 reads, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. . .” Recently I read the following clipping from the files of Dr. Michael Guido (1915-2009):
“Two Englishmen were cruelly arrested and cast into a cold, dirty, rat infested dungeon.
One swore, the other sang. One pouted, the other prayed. One wasted his time, the other redeemed it.
The Christian supported his family by making shoelaces. In his spare time he wrote religious books.
One of John Bunyan’s [1628-1688] books, Pilgrim’s Progress, has been translated into over a hundred languages and dialects, more than any other book except the Bible.
Why don’t you make use of every opportunity you have, and let the Lord lead you from trial to triumph!”
In a message titled, “Redeeming the Time”, Dr. Stephen F. Olford shared, “David Brainerd [1718-1747] who died at age 29, cried, ‘Oh how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misimproved it, or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity.”
Are you undertaking the will of God in praise? Ephesians 5:19b reads, “. . . singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
James D. Smith III begins an article titled, “A Singing Faith” in the following way:
“I will sing with the spirit, I will sing with the understanding also.” (1 Cor 14:15) The components of any spiritual experience are heart and mind—the heart to will and the mind to grasp; the heart to sense and the mind to comprehend. Both are needed. All heart and no mind means fanaticism. All mind and no heart means pharasaism. These songs will warm your heart, for they comprise tried-and-true favorites of our generation. They will stimulate your thoughts, turning them to Calvary and the Christ of God.’
With these words, Dr. Bob Cook [1912-1991], president of Youth for Christ International, offered a foreword to the spiral-bound Singing Youth for Christ songbook of 1948.”
Are you undertaking the will of God in prayer? Ephesians 5:20 reads, “. . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Emphasis mine) God is in control!
Although the times change God’s Word remains the same. Isaiah 40:8 reads, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
God through Paul issues challenging truth:
The challenge of following under the Lord’s command.
The challenge of fellowshipping in the Lord’s community.
The challenge of fulfilling of the Lord’s commission.
May we take to heart this challenging truth for changing times.
Frederick W. Robertson, “Obedience the Organ of Spiritual Knowledge” Sermon Notes (John 7:17).
“From Trial to Triumph” Read Ephesians 5:16-21, Guido Gardens Library, Ephesians 5, #550.
Stephen F. Olford, “Redeeming the Time” Sermon Notes (Ephesians 5:16) Guido Gardens Library #538-539.
James D. Smith III, “A Singing Faith” Accessed: 03/09/16 http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2008/august/singing-faith.html