"SHINE: Embracing, Connecting, Engaging, Transforming"

Printed Sermon

Pastor John Montgomery's Weekly Sermons:


Dear Church Family,

 

The deacons and the church staff have discussed actions that will be necessary to serve our congregation during the coronavirus pandemic. They include the following: At present we have canceled Sunday School, small groups  & Wednesday night services.  We will update this info when this info changes.

 

1. Canceling services when needed.  If you do not have access to the internet, please call the church 

office at 904-781-9151.

 

2. Members are urged to be careful about shaking hands with each other, washing your hands thoroughly and often, maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and others. Also, if you are feeling sick, please stay home.


3. We will make every effort to sanitize all surfaces in our church including pews, chairs, doorknobs and countertops.

 

4. Avoid touching eyes, noses and mouth.

 

If we all practice good hygiene, we will be less likely to catch the coronavirus.

 

                                                                                               Dr. John Montgomery, Pastor





Sermon Notes

October 4, 2020

“HIGH on GOD”

Series, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered”

Ephesians 5:15-20

John W. Montgomery, DD

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

God wants us to live deliberately and to yield all control to God. Anything else is a cheap substitute. Nothing else fulfills us. When we are "high on God" (filled with the Spirit), all kinds of special things happen.

Many states across the United States have now legalized marijuana. Why do people like to get high? I know sometimes there are medical reasons. But for recreational use, it is an escape of sorts. If I do not feel good about my present life, maybe for a little while I can escape to a better life, where everything is happy, where everything feels good ... at least for a little while.

But what if we could be high on God? What if we could find our greatest fulfillment in our Heavenly Father? What if we could lose control to THE Spirit instead of to spirits? And if we could, what would that look like? How would it benefit us? That is the gist of today’s passage. Two big thoughts today: live deliberately, and yield control to God. We will consider both.


1. Live your Life Deliberately, v15-17

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is”.

The King James Version says to “walk circumspectly.” The idea is to navigate life with care, the way you might walk through a thorny path. If you are picking wild blackberries that grow alongside the road, you have to walk circumspectly. You need to move deliberately. Because as good as those fresh berries are, there are a lot of thorns between you and the ripened ones. All the ones closest to the trail have already been eaten. So, you have to lean over and stretch your arm, and move your leg carefully between briars. You have to move circumspectly, deliberately.

For some of you who have been in combat, consider walking through a minefield. Same idea, with greater consequences. One false step and you are gone, or at the very least, part of you is gone. You must tread carefully.


In the passage, Paul gives some ways to walk carefully. He says to make the most of every opportunity. The word is “kairos” in the Greek. It is talking about “the appointed time.” In fact, some translations use the phrase, “redeeming the time.” Think of “seizing the day.” Take advantage of each opportunity God gives you. Watch for what God may be doing around you. Do not waste a moment. Live on purpose.

And in so doing, Paul says you will understand what the Lord’s will is. You will see the hand of God at work. You deliberately build a relationship with your neighbor, and God will show you what may come from that relationship, how you may be there in a time of need, to convey the love of God to a not-yet-believer, or to someone who has drifted away from the faith. And now that person experiences the love of God through you, and their life is forever changed.  Live deliberately. Watch for what God wants you to do in and through your life.


2. Allow God to Control your Life, v18-20

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  Verses 18-20 contrast two different forces to which a person may yield control. You can get drunk on spirits, or you can get drunk on the Holy Spirit. When it comes to spirits, several Bible verses speak against drunkenness: not the use of alcohol, but the misuse of alcohol. Since Paul mentioned wine specifically, some scholars think he was referring to the cult worship of Dionysius, which included drunkenness with wine as part of the worship service. I am sorry to disappoint you, but we have no plans to initiate such a practice here at Cedar Creek any time soon! Paul actually says elsewhere that a glass of wine is good for your stomach. But if you are one of those types who cannot stop with a glass, stay away completely. Guard against letting other things take control of your life.


Now you might expect the Bible to say, “Do not get drunk on wine; rather, abstain! Just stay away from the stuff!” But instead, he says, “Here’s something you can get drunk on - get drunk on God’s Spirit. Fill yourself with God! Get high on God!”


Consider two actions the Holy Spirit takes in our lives: He “seals” us the moment we believe in Christ, the moment we enter the family of God, the moment we turn away from our sin and throw ourselves at God’s mercy. God’s Spirit seals us into the family of God for all time. It happens at salvation. We have no role, no choice in it. God does it. God brands us as his children for all eternity.


Then, daily, hourly, minutely, we are to be “filled” with the Spirit. Elsewhere, Paul calls this “walking in the Spirit.” Note it is a command, so we have a say in it. Yet, notice it is passive, meaning it is something done TO us, not BY us. We choose to yield to it. It is ongoing, and it is repetitive. We need to keep being filled with the Spirit. The literal translation might be, “Go on being filled.” We need to keep yielding to the Holy Spirit’s control every day of our lives. You are sealed, then you are filled.


What is the evidence that one is filled with the Holy Spirit? Some cool things are going to happen when you are high on God: Your conversations with other believers are going to be musical: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (verse 18b). There are different opinions about what these categories represent. It is not really important. The important thing is that our conversations will be marked with praise of God, rather than gossip about others. We will make music in our hearts (verse 19). And we will constantly give thanks to the Father, regardless of what is happening in our lives (verse 20). That is no easy task! We do not have to be thankful FOR what happened, but we can be thankful that God can still work through it, no matter how bad, for his good plans (Romans 8:28).


John MacArthur says, “Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done” [The MacArthur Daily Bible, p. 997]. Of course, our model in this is Jesus himself, who always lived on this earth in a prayer connection with the Heavenly Father. He told his followers, in John 5:19, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Similarly, those “filled with the Spirit” will be “under the influence” of the Spirit. God’s Spirit will control how they think, speak and act.

If you want the Spirit of God to fill you in a powerful way, if you want to be led by Him, if you want Him to control how you think, and how you speak and how you act, THEN, you need to make your heart a comfortable place for His Spirit to dwell. You need to create an atmosphere within your soul that is a place where God wants to stay.

How do you make your heart a comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell? You make your heart a comfortable place for the Spirit by following the instructions found in Ephesians 5: 19-21.

First, Consistently Listen to Inspirational Christian Music, v19

“…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…” (NIV)

Second, Maintain an Attitude of Thankfulness, v20 –

“always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Third, Adopt a Servanthood and Submissive Spirit toward others, v21 –

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. (NIV)

Fourth, Daily Confess all known sins and ask God’s forgiveness, 1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

The problem with many believers is they fail to follow these daily steps. If they had followed them, that would have changed them from “unspiritual” to “spiritual” people who were capable of understanding the deeper things of God.

Lord, you know we are by nature selfish creatures who tend to live for ourselves, and sometimes for others we love. What if we were to live for you first and foremost? What if our greatest desire would be to seek more of you? Help us to give up on anything less. Help us to be high on you, to allow your Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, our feelings, our actions. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord and supreme example, amen.


                                                                                                                                                                                             Message Preached at

Cedar Creek Baptist Church

Jacksonville, Florida 32205

October 4, 2020