How to Walk in the Light, Part 11 — Ephesians 5:17-21 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #22)

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A series of homilies on Ephesians 5 & 6

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians 5 & 6 (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

Ephesians 5:17-21:

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

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;

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

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

——-

Phillip J. Swihart and Wilford Wooten said, “Joy is characteristic of a truly Christian home. Having said this, it’s important to understand that joy and happiness are not necessarily the same thing. Happiness is a result of what happens to us. Joy has deeper roots. Every marriage and every family will experience trials and hardships of various kinds, but there is no circumstance that can rob us of our joy if we know that the key to our present welfare and future destiny lies in Christ alone.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The Gospel is not an old, old story, freshly told. It is a fire in the Spirit, fed by the flame of Immortal Love; and woe unto us, if, through our negligence to stir up the Gift of God which is within us, that fire burns low.”

According to this passage, one of the marks of a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is that he is joyful. Based on verse 17, we looked at three of five ways in which a Christian expresses this joy.

1. Speaking to yourselves in psalms. The “yourselves” whom Paul is writing to are the church at Ephesus. But this command also extends to Christians in the home. It is believed that the “psalms” referred to here are David’s psalms in the Old Testament, many of which express the joy of serving God and simply being alive in God’s world.

2. Speaking to yourselves in hymns. Adam Clarke defines hymns as “extemporaneous effusions in praise of God, uttered under the influence of the Divine Spirit, or a sense of his special goodness.” I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who derives joy from even the small things of life. I spontaneously thank God for a good meal, a good nap, a safe drive home, among many other things. When we realize how much we have to be thankful for, we will find it easy to be joyful.

3. Speaking to yourselves in spiritual songs. The Greek word used for songs here is “odes”, which is defined as ‘premeditated or regular poetic composition.’ These are songs that are written down and set to music with the spiritual purpose of glorifying God and expressing the joy of being in a relationship with Him. We should communicate our joy through spiritual songs in the church, in the home, and in the community.

Before we begin looking at the last two ways in which we are to express joy in our lives as Spirit-filled believers, allow me to share with you these words from the Bible Exposition Commentary regarding this verse: “The Spirit-filled Christian’s song comes from God, a song he could never sing apart from the Spirit’s power. God even gives us songs in the night. In spite of pain and shame, Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God in the Philippian jail, and the result was the conversion of the jailer and his family… Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit enjoy being together and experience a sense of joyful oneness in the Lord. They do not need the false stimulants of the world. They have the Spirit of God—and He is all they need.”

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Let’s look at the latter two ways in which a Christian should express joy.

4. Speaking to yourselves by singing unto the Lord. This is vocal praise and worship of God — something that we do regularly in church, but that we should do even more often in the home. Singing in itself can be edifying and uplifting to our own lives and to the lives of others. Many important spiritual truths have been communicated through singing and music. Martin Luther considered music second only to theology, and compared singing with musical accompaniment to ‘a heavenly dance where all embrace in a spirit of friendliness and care.’

5. Speaking to yourselves by ‘making melody in our hearts to the Lord.’ This is perhaps the most important command in this verse. What good is speaking words of joy and singing songs of joy if our hearts are not joyful? The words “making melody” literally mean to pluck the strings of an instrument. Obviously, you will not always be in circumstances where singing or speaking aloud is appropriate. But, if you are truly joyful, you will always be making a melody, playing an instrument, singing a song in your heart to the Lord.

If you are a Christian, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit. You have joy from God inside of you. Commit to expressing that joy not only in the five ways listed in this passage, but in any way that the Lord leads you.

Let’s pray.

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