Always Giving Thanks

Ephesians 5:18-21

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Let’s get this first thing out of the way quickly.  This verse does not say we should not drink wine.  It says to not get drunk with wine.  Paul tells Timothy a little wine for the stomach is a good thing (1 Tim 5:23).  I have seen a lot of contention in the church over wine or beer.  To me, it is a non-issue unless the person is overdoing it, which is clearly spoken against here.  Let’s not make a big deal  out of it.  For some, God may require total abstinence.  For others He may allow a sip here and there.  Who are we to judge what God will allow in someone else’s life?

The main point we need to gather here is that we are to be filled with the Spirit!  When the Holy Spirit fills us, we will walk as God wants us to walk.  The Spirit will convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment if we are walking contrary to God’s word (John 16:8-11).  But the main reason we should be filled with the Spirit is that the Spirit cries out to praise God and will lift us up to a higher level.  Notice in verse 19, Paul says we are to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  This is not worship to God.  This is uplifting talk to ourselves!  How many of you need a pick-me-up once in a while?  I do!  As I walk in the Spirit, He rises up within me and causes me to worship within myself to God.  You can be sure that will lift your own spirits to new heights.  I know it does for me!

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Always.  Not some of the time. Always.  Not only when I feel like it.  Always.  Not only when things are going right.  Always.  Give thanks always for all things.  All things.  Give thanks for all things.  You mean  am supposed to thank Him for the hard times and trials?  All things.  This is a hard concept to grasp and that is why I  am repeating it so much.  It is similar to Phil 4:4, where Paul tells us go rejoice in the Lord always.  If you missed my comments on that, you can read them HERE,

This is no misprint or mistake.  It’s easy to give thanks for the good times, when things are going right.  But understanding that the trials in life are there to help us grow, we can easily give thanks in the middle for them.  Thanks that God loves us enough to bring growing pains into our lives.  Thanks that we know He will bring us through anything that comes our way.  Thanks that He walks with us through the fire and through the storm.  Giving thanks always will free us from worry and doubt. Thanksgiving lifts our spirits above the doldrums  of life, and into heavenly places.

Practice giving thanks for all things.  You will quickly learn the benefits of this practice.

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

One to another.  No one is above another, except your Pastor.  And the Pastor is servant to all, as Jesus was.  Submitting does not mean we are subservient.  It does not mean we become second class citizens in the church.  It is simply that we acknowledge that all are equal and have the same rights to express their opinions and views.  All are important, from the elders all the way to the janitor.  It s so important that, if we hold a position on the church that is more visible, like elder or worship leader, that we never see ourselves as more important.  I’ve been there, and I never want to go back there.  Stay humble on your ministry, whatever it is.

Philippians 1:29

” For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him,

but also to suffer for his sake.

 

 

Salvation  is a two-edged sword.  One the one side it is a wonderful, life changing event that was made possible by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on a cross many years ago.  He took the penalty of our sin, and freed us from the bondage of sin.  This was foretold in Genesis 3 when Eve is told by God in verse 15 – her seed will bruise the heel of the serpent.  The thread of salvation flows all the way through the Old Testament.  Prophecies in places like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 tell details of what Messiah will suffer.  And once the events took place, His salvation was available for all who will call on His name (Rom 10:9-10, 13).   guidance

 

The good side of this salvation includes healing, deliverance from addictions and torments, love, joy, peace, fellowship, the Holy Spirit, revelation into His word, grace, mercy, -I could go on and on.  Oh, and it gives us eternal life in heaven with all the others who have called on His name.  We have hope now, a hope that is forever.  Those without Christ are headed for a hell they have not even imagined in their wildest dreams.  We hear jokes about hell all the time.  Things like it’s hotter than hell, or I’m going to party in hell.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Hell is a place of torment forever and forever.  You do not want to go there, for any reason.  Imagine­­­ constantly grinding your teeth to ease the pain (Matt 8:12), eternal punishment (Matt 25:16), fire and worms all over (Mark 9:48), and finally cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).  Salvation in Christ is the only way to avoid hell.  Please make sure you do do.

 

But the other side of the coin is that we who are saved will suffer persecution while we still live.  When you get saved, depending on your previous life style, you will probably have to give up friendships or you may lose your salvation.  You may be made fun of for becoming a religious person, you may be cast out of your social circles.  Now, there are new friends to be made, don’t get me wrong.  Betting into a local church will bring people around you who can help you with your walk.  They will be a blessing to you.  Persecution and suffering gets worse if you get into ministry.  Missionaries in some countries risk their lives to preach the gospel.  But it is worth it to them, just like it was to Paul the apostle (Philippians 1).

 

Accept Jesus as your Savior.  Avoid Hell at all costs.  And allow God to walk you through the storms that may come.  He is worth everything!

 

 

Lord, I thank you for your amazing grace and mercy.  You took a lost sinner and saved me from a devil’s hell.  You turned my life around when II need it, gave me a wonderful family, filled my heart with the heart of a worship leader and preacher, and keep me in every storm.  What a wonderful Savior you are.

 

Philippians 1:19b

“and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”

The endless supply of the spirit will never let us down.  I think sometimes I forget just what the Holy Spirit can accomplish.  We have to go back to Genesis and the creation for the first example.  The word says the Spirit of God hovered above the earth.  When the word went forth, spoken by God, the Spirit went into action, causing creation to come about.  At least that’s the way I see the trinity working together to give us this great planet we live on. as well as the rest of the universe.  Imagine the endless supply of the spirit when this all happened in 6 days!

Whenever you see a miracle in the bible, you must see the Holy Spirit behind it.  The red sea parting, the manna, the walls of Jericho falling, the sun standing still, the fiery furnace not burning – all works of the Spirit by the word of God.  It’s all the work of the trinity – the three in one.  We can never leave the Spirit out.

But so many do.  In many churches, the service is so structured that the spirit never has a chance to move.  I remember a time that I was travelling back to Iowa from Massachusetts.  It was Sunday  morning and I stopped in at an old church in Central Pennsylvania.  I felt an urge of the spirit to give a word to that church, and they were without a preacher that morning.  But no one greeted me or talked to me.  At no time in the service did they have a time when the spirit could speak, and I walked away feeling they missed out.  When I arrived home, the Lord had me write a rebuke to that church.  I will never know the outcome of that until I get to heaven.

The point is – what would my church do today in that circumstance?  What would your church do?  Do we allow a time for the spirit to speak?  Do we seek out His supply through Christ?  It is an abundant supply that will fulfill all our needs.

Paul knew this, and He knew that this supply would serve him well in that prison he was in.  he was not worried.  The gospel was being preached, and he was at peace.

Lord, help me rely on your Spirit and the supply it brings to my life.  Help me to always be listening for the Spirits call, that still small voice that comes in the middle of the night, or in my busiest moments, and tells me your great secrets.  Help em to write down what I hear, and share the vision.  You love us with an everlasting love, and want to talk to us through your Spirit.  Help me to be attentive.