"PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD"
(A Series on Ephesians)
C.R.4/12/87a.m. Ephesians 5:5-21
PROPOSITION: The believer is not just called to exchange
one set of carnal activities in his life for a set of "spiritual" activities but to actually become partners with Christ in His inheritance, in His light, in His wisdom and in His Holy Spirit.
- YOU and I live in an age when our society is being totally shaped and fashioned by the media.....and most of us don't even realize it.
- KATHRYN, my five year old and I were watching TV the other evening and the commercial came on for People Magazine.
* Read about the lives of the significant people...they advertise.
* Find out how many husbands Zsa Zsa Gabor has really had.
* Find out how much blood and gore there is in an Ozzie Osborne concert. Did he really bite the head off a bat in a concert in Des Moines?
* Find out how much Alimony Johnny Carson is really paying!
* And then they wrapped the commercial up by saying, "People celebrates People!"
- AND without a moment's hesitation Kathryn said, "That's not right Daddy. People should celebrate Jesus".
- EVERY moment of every day we are bombarded with empty promises of what good will come our way if we team up with;
* Crest....and smile our way into happiness.
* Diet Pepsi.......and look like Cristy Brinkley.
* Pontiac......and build excitement.
* EF Hutton....and protect your future.
* Sugar Frosted Flakes...and stay young and child- like.
- THE road of life is marked, every ten minutes, with a message on TV, or in the Newspaper, or in some magazine or on the radio......a message to create meaning for yourself by teaming up with some product or some pursuit and, thereby, to make yourself complete.
- AND I am not going to stand up here and insult your intelligence by telling you that those things that are promoted in the media are empty and hollow....and that they simply cannot satisfy the deepest longings in your heart...because you already know that.
- IN fact, the reason most of you are even here this morning is because you have found partnership with the world and its systems empty and hollow.
- YOU are here this morning because you have already found or are hoping to find out that partnership with God will provide the adventure and hope and excitement that is so missing from your life.
- THE world that we live in does not satisfy the deepest longings of man.
- THERE is a TV campaign against drugs....that tells our young people to just say "NO!"
- I AGREE. I think they should say "NO!"
- BUT I think that the campaign is weak because it ignores some pretty important facts.
* It ignores the reasons they are saying "Yes!"
* They are saying "yes" because their lives are flat and listless and dull and without any hope.
* Their parents are divorced or getting a divorce...in 1 out of 2 cases.
* Dad is gone, either at work or out with his hobby.
* Mom is depressed and watching "Days of our Lives"...to find someone more miserable than she is.
* God has been taken out of the schools and is missing from most churches.
* And we wonder why they say "yes" to drugs. They are just trying to find a way to forget they are alive....and left to their own devices to find real life.
- WHAT we need for our young people is to give them a reason to say "NO!"
- THEY need a vital, living adventure that comes from a personal partnership with God for life.
- YOU and I need a partnership with God that is vital and real and powerful to change our lives.
- WE need a partnership with God that is more than the games of religion and church attendance.
- A PARTNERSHIP that will be so real that being holy is a natural result.
- A PARTNERSHIP that will be an adventure of faith, spending your life for Him and His kingdom.
- A PARTNERSHIP with Him that makes getting up in the morning something to look forward to.....because you start it out with fellowship with Him....and live the day in fellowship with Him.
- YOU need a partnership with God, where His power is at work in you to change your life.
- THE apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:5-21, spells out 4 elements to this partnership that I would like to share with you this morning.
- IF you are tired of partnership with the world and what it has to offer, this message is for you.....and many of you are here this morning searching for something real in this life.
- YOU are not here by accident. God has brought you here in the destiny of His eternal plan for you.
II.PARTNERS IN THE INHERITANCE (vv5-7)
- ANYONE who becomes a partner of God's through faith in Jesus Christ, becomes a partner in the inheritance of the kingdom of God.
- NOW, in Romans 14:17 Paul said that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, "but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
- IN this life it is the reign of Christ in the hearts of His believers, producing righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.......and in the life to come it will be the reign of Christ over a new heaven and a new earth.
- IN Luke 12:32 Jesus said, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."
- GOD delights in giving the kingdom to those who, by faith in Christ, become partners with Him....partners in His kingdom.
- WELL, hallelujah! What a cure for depression and hopelessness! Partners in His kingdom!
- BUT listen to Paul in Ephesians 5:5-7 concerning this partnership;
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
Therefore do not be partners with them."
- THIS divine kingdom is a righteous kingdom from which all unrighteousness will be excluded.
- THE kingdom of God is for those who are righteous in relationship with Christ through faith....and who are being made righteous by Him in their daily lives.
- THIS righteousness is the result of partnership with God.
- LISTEN to Paul in I Corinthians 6:9-11;
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
- WHAT is PAUL saying here? That a person with a lifestyle of unconfessed, on-going unrighteousness will have no share in the kingdom of God.
- "LET no one deceive you with empty words" Paul says in verse 6........don't let them convice you that God doesn't care how you live, as long as you just say that you are a Christian.
- HE cares very much how you live. That's why the Holy Spirit wrote in James 2:17, "....a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
- WHY such a stern warning from Paul? Because God's wrath is going to be poured out on all unrighteousness NOW and in the age to come.....and if you are a partner with the world in its darkness you will be a partner with them in judgment.
- WHAT is Paul saying to the believers in Ephesus? "Don't forfeit your inheritance of the kingdom by a lifestyle of rebellion and disobedience against God."
- "OF this you can be sure..." echoes the words of Paul...."...no immoral, impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God."
- WHOSE partner are you this morning?
III.PARTNERS IN LIGHT
- THE next benefit of partnership with God that Paul covers is found in verses 8-14. He writes;
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'"
- PARTNERS of God are partners in light.
- PAUL sets up a contrast, much like he did in I Corinthians 6, between what the believers were and what they are now.
- THEY used to be darkness, now they are light....in the Lord.
- PARTNERSHIP with God has changed their very nature...they are something and someone that they were not before.
- PARTNERSHIP with God doesn't mean "getting forgiveness"......"getting eternal life".....it means becoming someone that you were not before.
- BEFORE you were darkness, now you are light...in Christ Jesus.
- PAUL goes on...."so live in a way that is consistent with your new identity."........"have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness."
- LET'S just face it. The deeds of darkness just don't go anywhere.
- PAUL says, rather, to expose them by being light where you are.
- THIS doesn't mean that you go around publically condemning everyone.....but it does mean that your light is to be so bright that the darkness is shown up for what it is.
* Your peace and joy are to be in sharp contrast to the hopelessness of the world.
* Your trust in the Lord is to be in sharp contrast to the world that frets and is anxious over every little thing.
* Your joy is to be unmistakeable in a sad world.
* Your speech is to be above reproach in a world hip deep in foul conversations.
* Your honesty is to shine right in the face of commonly accepted business cheating.
- WHO knows, your light may transform someone's darkness into light. Isn't that what happened to you?
IV.PARTNERS IN WISDOM
- PAUL'S next principle is based on two assumptions;
* Christians are wise people, not fools.
* Christian wisdom is intensely practical wisdom.
- WE are partners in God's wisdom.
- IT is found in verses 15-17;
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
- "BE very careful..." says Paul.
- MAN, we are careful about a lot of things nowadays......a lot of things that really don't matter in the scale of God's eternal economy;
* We are very careful about our jobs.
* Careful about our education.
* Careful about our homes, our dress, our appearances, our hobbies.
- PAUL says, "Be very careful how you live your partnership with God."
- HE describes this care in two ways;
* Make the most of your time.....once it is past even the wisest person cannot retrieve it.
* Discern the will of God.
- PARTNERSHIP with God will impart the wisdom to handle these two crucial areas of life.
V.PARTNERS IN THE SPIRIT
- LASTLY, Paul says here that God's partners are also partners in the Holy Spirit.
"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (vv18-20)
- GOD has given the Holy Spirit to those who become partners with Him in this life.
- EVERY moment of every day can be lived in the power and joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit.....singing and praising God with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
- WHOSE partner are you?
- ARE you living like a partner...or an orphan this morning.
A PERFECT HEART