Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians
Verse By Verse

Lesson 34 Chapter Five Verses 17 - 19

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

“Wherefore be ye not unwise...” Then He goes on to say, “but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” To understand God’s will is to be wise. Though a person have all knowledge except an understanding of God’s will it is of no eternal value to him nay, on the contrary, he would be puffed up and proud, which in the end stands him in a class with the foolish.

…Spiritual Wisdom Infinitely Superior to Worldly Wisdom...

The most minute measure of wisdom regarding an understanding of God’s will is infinitely more valuable than a perfect knowledge of all the arts and sciences. The wisdom of this world neither can nor desires to know God, and to those whom God has revealed Him-Self the wisdom of this world is in fact foolish by comparison. Simply, to know God is to be wise, not to know him is to be foolish. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men.”

 “But of Him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom...” (Read 1st Cor. 1:17 - 31).

Vs. 15 (Eph. 5) After having received wisdom (“light” Vs. 14) the Holy Spirit admonition is, “see then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise”.

...God Given Wisdom Manifests Itself in The Life of Believer...

God given wisdom will manifest itself in the life of the believer by a circumspect walk, by spending his energy and substance in redemption of time. That is, making the most of the time which has so as to purchase a good reward at the mercy seat of Christ. Then too, Godly wisdom produces an understanding of what the will of the Lord is, and with this understanding he seeks to please that which profits in this life and world becomes secondary to that which brings honor to his God, and eternal values not only become primary, but their glory and radiance seem to relegate all else to oblivion, Paul said, he was determined to be oblivious to all things that did not contribute to a better standing in Christ (1st Cor. 2:2).

Vs. 18 “and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

Paul manifests spiritual wisdom in his instruction of the Ephesian Saints, he all through the epistle belabors the fact that salvation from sin is by the free grace of God, that the elect are saved from terrible lives of sin, and that sin should be avoided by the saints he mentions sin after sin, and in each instance points the Ephesians to the remedy, or to that which will give them the victory over sin. That is, he sets up a negative, and highlight the positive which will cancel it out.


Example: Vs. 14 “...Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

Vs. 15 “...Walk circumspectly, not as fools...”

Vs. 16 “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.”

 Vs. 17 “...Be not unwise, but understanding...”

And then in verse 18 one of the most terrible negatives is placed in opposition to the one great positive that will keep the saved person in the center of God’s will. Namely, “be not drunk ....but be filled with the spirit.”

…Cannot be made more lucid...

This language is clear and precise, and cannot be made more lucid. In my manner of expression, the commands are, “do not get drunk, rather have your life controlled by the Holy Spirit.” A drunk man knows not what he does nor does he care, he is insensible to all good. On the other hand a spirit controlled life is one of wisdom, and ever seeks that which is good. The vice of drunkenness is one of the most vicious, not only does it destroy the immediate victim, but inflicts tremendous suffering all those who care for him.

The terribleness of the sin of drunkenness is seen in the ends the drunkard will go to in order to gratify his appetite, family, friends, and reputation are but a part of the price the habitual drinker will pay in order to accommodate his thirst for alcohol.

....Stress The Positive Command...

We could spend hours renouncing the evils of alcoholism, highlighting the ruin that inevitably follows in its wake, yet it is more needful for us to put the stress on the positive command, “be filled with the Spirit.” Being filled with the Spirit brings surrender to Christ, and surrender to Christ means not only the casting down of carnal weapons, but a taking up of the sword of the Spirit. Let us bear in mind, that the words, “be filled with the Spirit, is not a request, but a command, and leaves no option.

…Not What Charismatics Deem It To Be...

Being filled with the Spirit is not what a lot of our charismatic friends deem it to be. It is not realized instantaneously nor spontaneously, neither is it an experience whereby one is made perfect in the flesh, but it is realized by an Holy Spirit given understanding of the will of God: understanding of God’s will results in a life regulated by the word of God, and impelled by the Holy Spirit. This should not be the extraordinary experience of the believer, but the regular state of life with him.

…Euphoria - Unintelligible Jabber…

Intoxication by, or being filled with the Spirit does not lead to euphoria, or unintelligible jabber, but leads to quiet and positive dedication to God. A Holy Spirit led study of the bible brings revelation of God’s will, the consequent being a further yielding of ones life to the Spirit, and a filling up of the cup service to God. Such a life may be referred to, as, being filled with the Spirit.

 Vs. 19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

…Cheerful And Glad Service...

Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are indicative of cheerful or glad service. These are to be sung with the heart, not merely mechanical or with the mind. And certainly not the bombastic kind of singing which characterizes the Pentecostal groups, which excites The emotions, and creates an atmosphere akin the ancient pagan rites.

While I lay no claim to ability to sing, I know there is more to singing than a matter of form. David said, “but I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation, I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Psm. 13:5-6).

1. David trusted in the mercy of God,
2. Which trust produced in David a rejoicing heart,
3. Which rejoicing was expressed in singing unto the Lord.

Paul says, “...I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1st Cor. 14:15). While there are certain forms to follow in singing, we should never let adherence to form take precedence over the exercise of worship in singing. I believe if we keep in mind that we are to worship God in our singing; the proper form will naturally ensue. The danger lies in letting form be primary in singing.

Col. 3:16 “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

A prerequisite for worship in song is, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...” As far as the mechanics are concerned I have heard people sing with polished form, but the words, if believed would lead away from true worship, rather than enhance it. A lot of what is called special singing in churches is designed with the purpose to entertain the audience, but we must remember if we are to worship God in song, it is his approbation we must have and not our human listeners.

We can be entertained with human skill, and it is feared that many which become proficient in music and song put on a show in the flesh. While we are to guard against becoming fleshly in any part of our worship service, we are at the same time to be on guard against becoming slipshod, or haphazard in our worship service and this includes the song service, for the song service is a vital and integral part of the worship service.

The reason we sing unto the Lord is because of His bountiful Providence toward us, especially has his providence been kind toward us in delivering our souls from the curse. So it is, Paul Says, “...singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (I bid). Before people can have grace in their hearts, they must know it experientially in the redemption of their soul. This truth excludes practically all professional entertainers, and casts doubt on every profession that does not give God all the credit for salvation.

We need not worry about becoming stereotyped in our worship of God in song, if we have grace in our heart we will sing to his glory and the edification of the church.