Relative to learning and obeying the will of God, few passages of Scripture are equal to the first 17 verses of Ephesians chapter 5. Here we find the Apostle Paul writing to God’s Church about problems that had arisen within the body. It seems that the parishioners had failed to maintain their spiritual focus on the will of the Lord. Lack of focus always creates a spiritual vacuum. Like a physical vacuum, a spiritual vacuum demands to be filled. Unless the problem is addressed, Satan steps in and fills the void by supplying a religious substitute which he always presents as better than what the Lord has prescribed. His deception of Eve is a prime example of his ability to “improve” on God’s Words. Invariably his vacuum-filling “truth” is geared to meeting man’s self-glorifying needs. An example of a false (better) doctrine embraced by the whole of professing Christendom is the rejection of God’s seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath and the observing of Satan’s first day (Sunday) Sabbath–the day the heathen worshipped Tammuz the sun god in ancient times. Like lemmings blindly heading toward the cliff, the modern church continues to obey Satan’s call to congregate each Sunday morning. The Counterfeit Church’s rejection of God’s will–His Word/Truth (Jn. 17:17)–has left her vulnerable to the wiles of the devil. Her obedience to his Sunday Sabbath dictate is the most obvious sign that she serves him as her master and not the Biblical God. See The Mark of the Beast. This obedience-service-master connection is brought out in Romans 6:16 where we are told that the one we OBEY is the one we SERVE. In Matthew 6:24 we are told that the one we SERVE is our MASTER. In summary, the one we OBEY is the one we SERVE which is our MASTER. As the Matthew 6 passage states, there are only two masters in the universe. Man obeys and serves one or the other. Claiming God as one’s master while obeying and serving Satan condemns the servant. We must determine the will of God, obey and serve Him by fulfilling His will. With this in mind, let us study Ephesians 5:1-17.
In verse one Paul addresses those in the Ephesian church as “followers of God” and “dear children” (of God). In verse two He reminds them of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf. In verses three through five he warns them about allowing sinners to remain in the church. Church sinners, he reminds them, have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God–cannot be saved in their present condition. In verse six he warns about false prophets in the church who had led some of them away from God. He notes that the wrath of God would come upon these “children of disobedience” (both prophets and their followers). Bear in mind that these disobedient people are members of God’s church. Paul is writing to the church about the church. In verses seven and eight Paul warns them about returning to the darkness out of which Christ had brought them. In verse nine he commands them to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This fruit can be summed up in one word: RIGHTEOUSNESS. In verses 11-13 he tells true saints to have nothing to do with the workers of darkness–“sinners saved by grace”–in the church. Paul commands true saints to reprove (call out) church sinners by showing them the light of God’s Word, which is His will. Recall in 2 Timothy 3:14-16 where Paul told Timothy that the Word of God is good for “REPROOF, CORRECTION AND TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.” In verses 14-17 (Eph. 5) he tells the church to “WAKE UP FROM SLEEP, TO ARISE FROM THE DEAD.” Being in deep spiritual sleep/death, they had allowed Satan’s prophets to spread his darkness throughout the body of Christ. Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus can be compared to the field workers written about in the parable of the tares. In this parable the landowner’s wheat field had been polluted with seeds of tares. This had happened “while men slept.” Paul’s words to the Ephesian church bring forth the true meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares. In both cases, “sleeping,” “dead” parishioners had allowed errors to be presented as God’s “truths.” In verse 15 God, through Paul, tells the sleepers to wake up and take advantage of what time they have. Verse 16 is the crowning statement relative to the Lord’s will: “Do not be unwise, instead, KNOW THE WILL OF THE LORD.” Knowing God’s will, as expressed in the Holy Bible, is the first step. After learning His Will one must believe it and obey it. Salvation will be the result of one’s following God’s three step program: KNOW HIS WILL; BELIEVE HIS WILL; OBEY HIS WILL. The wise will do so. L.J.