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Ask It (1-6)

Ask It  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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For the next six weeks, we’re going to discuss a question that will clarify your best option for 90 percent of the decisions you make in life, the question that answers just about everything, a question that has the potential to foolproof your relationships, marriage, finances, calendar, pace, and health. It reduces complexity.

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Question Everything

Theme: The question we should bring to bear on every decision, invitation, and relationship is “What’s the wise thing to do?”
Text: Ephesians 5:15-17
Goal that they would ask the question : What’s the wise thing to do?”
ME: ORIENTATION: FIND COMMON GROUND WITH THE AUDIENCE
I am Excited about this Series, book and Sermon Series by North point Church, Andy Stanley
For the next six weeks, we’re going to discuss a question that will clarify your best option for 90 percent of the decisions you make in life, the question that answers just about everything, a question that has the potential to foolproof your relationships, marriage, finances, calendar, pace, and health. It reduces complexity.
The reason we are going to spend six weeks is that I would like to convince you to make this a lifelong habit.
It will save you time, money, and tears. You will carry around less regret. And best of all, you won’t have to apologize near as much.
WE: IDENTIFICATION (MAKE IT CLEAR THAT YOU STRUGGLE)
I bumped into a similar thought years ago and a graduation party realizing that the decisions we make both open and close doors.
This cuts through emotions and desires.
AS: So here's my point, if you're not really a Bible person, you're kind of skeptic about the
whole thing, in fact, you're not even sure why you're in church or why you're even listening to this, I
get that.
So today, as we look at these verses, don't think, "Oh, well I don't believe the Bible," this
has nothing to do with you believing the Bible.
This has to do with you listening to a man who lived in the first century that believed maybe what you believed or used to believe what you believe about Jesus, who became a Christian, who became a person who went around convincing other people to follow Jesus, who was a friend of the people who knew Jesus.
And he wrote this like in the mid'50s, maybe 20-something years, maybe 20 years after Jesus lived. So this isn't long, long ago in a
land far, far away, you know 100 years after the fact. And he gives us this extraordinary,
extraordinary life insight.
And here's one more thing before we look at it; even if you don't take the Bible seriously,
and even if you don't take Christianity seriously, you should take this question seriously, because as
you're gonna see, this is something for all of us.
The good news is, if you're not a Christian, you get to decide whether or not you wanna ask the question; it's optional for you. If you are a Christian, you have to ask it, okay? This is required of us. And I think as we unpack these verses together, you'll understand why it's so important.
So here's what happened, The Apostle Paul, he's writing a letter and he's writing it to a whole bunch of churches. This letter just got labeled Ephesians, but we know this was a letter that went around to a whole bunch of churches around the Mediterranean Rim where he planted these churches. And in this letter, he's telling Christians how to live their lives. He saying, "Look, you used to be in darkness, now you're in light. You used to get along just
deceiving each other and mistreating people, but now you're a Jesus follower. You can't continue to
deceive other people and you can't mistreat other people. Now you have to treat people not the way
they treated you, now you have to treat people the way your Heavenly Father treated you through
Christ."
As he is talking to them he talks about baby steps
GOD: ILLUMINATION (THE GOAL IS TO RESOLVE THE TENSION

I. Ephesians 5:15–17

A. The verses in question follow a list of things Christians are supposed to do and not do. Predictable stuff. But stuff we are all tempted to dabble in: greed, sexual immorality, dishonesty, unkindness, revenge.
B. He says, “Hey Jesus followers, you are part of God’s kingdom—kingdom of light and love. You can’t keep living like you are in the dark. Live as children of the light.”
C. To which we say, “That’s not easy!” I’m still temptable. I’m still susceptible to the same foolish decisions and relationships and spending habits as before.”
D. So, he gives us a bridge, a first step.

II. Text

Ephesians 5:15–17 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, NIV
15 Be very careful, then, how you live
Live – Lit: walk. Every sphere of life.Careful
Lexham Theological Wordbook περιπατέω

περιπατέω (peripateō). vb. to walk. This word generally means moving from one place to another on foot; it has a metaphorical sense of practicing a lifestyle.

You can see the same word used in Ephesians 5:8
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light ESV
Look:
– Blepo-­‐ To perceive with the eye. Observe. Look at. Pay attention to. Examine carefully.Don’t be careless.Look back.Look around.Look ahead.
not as unwise, but as wise,Implication: Careless is unwise. Careful is wise.Don’t live with your eyes closed, but eyes wide open, all the information on the table, seeking input from every reliable source, not dragged along by my emotions and desires.
Carefully:
pertaining to strict conformity to a standard or norm, w. focus on careful attention, accurately, carefully, well βλέπειν (POxy 1381, 111f [I/II]) Eph 5:15.
And as a result . . . if you live carefully,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
This term carries the idea of occasion, period of time, era, or opportunity
Opportunity = Gk: Time = LifeYour most valuable assetThe way of wisdom yields the highest and best use of your
καιρός (kairos). n. masc. time, season. An opportune period of time.
Less wasted time.Days are evil: There are always cultural currents dragging in a negative direction. Move with certain currents of society and your regrets will stack up relationally, financially, socially . . .
17 Therefore do not be foolish, BUT understand what the Lord’s will is.
Foolish/unwise: “I know, that’s probably not the best thing to do, but I don’t care.” Don’t be careless; be careful.BUT/alla – Foolish vs._______Understand! Use your brain! Face up to what you know God wants for you. No more games. No more excuses.

III.The Question: What’s the wise thing to do?

Let’s say it out loud.
Of every invitation, opportunity, decision . . .
But we are going to tease it out. Customize it. Make it three-­‐dimensional.
In light of my past experience, what’s the wise thing to do?
Last time I went, saw him, said yes, bought one, leased . . .In light of the fact that I just got out of a relationship, got my car paid off
. . .
Everybody doesn’t share your past. What’s fine for him is not fine for you.
In light of my current circumstances, what’s the wise thing to do?
EmotionallyFinanciallyMaybe later…but in light of what’s happening now.Current stage of life.
In light of my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?
In light of the story I want to tell someday . . .Personal vision is often a catalyst for wise decisions.Isn’t it true that we often betray our own futures with decisions we make in the moment?Don’t trade in your future for something or someone that won’t be there in the future.Measure the present against the future.
Putting it all together:
In light of my past experience, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?

IV. Nobody plans to mess up his life…he just fails to plan not to.

A. Nobody plans . . .
Financial ruin through credit card debt.
A bad marriage.
To get involved with a married man/woman.
Regret.
B. But by ignoring this simple principle, they don’t plan not to.
C. Most relational and financial nightmare stories would have been avoided if someone had asked this question and followed through.
The truth is, you know exactly how you got yourself into it. And I'll tell you how you got
into it. You made, as we're gonna talk about in two weeks, you made a series of unwise decisions
that led you to a decision that was absolutely wrong. And when you made the, what you knew to be
the wrong decision, you knew it was the wrong decision but it was so easy, and the reason that it
was so easy is because you started with one unwise decision that led to another unwise decision,
that led to another un... They weren't wrong, it wasn't bad, it wasn't against the law, if somebody
caught you, you'd be able to talk your way out of it, but unwise, unwise, unwise, unwise, unwise,
big fat mess. And so Paul says, "Look, come on, we're adults. Let's just wise up. Let's be honest
with ourselves. Let's face up to what we know God's will is for us." And for every invitation, every
opportunity, every decision, ask yourself the question, "What is the wise thing for me to do?" Now
let's look at this in three dimensions; the first one is the past. In light of my past experience, what's
the wise thing for me to do? Let's say this one out loud as well. Ready? Here we go: In light of my...
19:01 S?: Past experience, what's the wise thing for me to do?

V. Homework: Ask It!

A. Of every invitation, opportunity, relationship, and/or decision, ask “What’s the wise thing to do?”
B. You don’t have to do anything differently, but you owe it to yourself to know. If I were going to do the wise thing, what would it be?
C. By asking it, even if you don’t follow through, you will discover something about you.
1. Teenagers, when the answer to that question is exactly what your parents have been telling you…but you aren’t about to let them know… stop and consider what that says about you.
2. Bosses, when the answer to that question is exactly what your team has been telling you . . . but you aren’t about to let them know. What does that say about you?
3. Husbands, when the answer to that question is exactly what your wife has been telling you . . . but you aren’t about to tell her . . . what is that? That’s normal.
4. Wives, when the answer to that question is exactly what your husband has been telling you, that’s a miracle. We’re usually not that on the ball.
D. And if something in you resists even asking . . . then you know: You don’t have your own best interests in mind.
E. Here’s what you will discover – especially if you aren’t a church person or you think the God of the Bible is too narrow—you will discover that the path of wisdom will look strangely similar to the moral, relational, and ethical standards given in the New Testament.
F. God is not primarily against sin. God is for you, which means he is against anything that hurts you.
YOU: APPLICATION (TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO AND WHAT THEY HAVE HEARD)

Conclusion

So, Ask It. And we’ll pick the discussion up there next week.
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