#22 Control Issues

Ephesians 5:17
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

The word wise is sophos and unwise is simply "a" sophos, describing one that is without wisdom. For further clarification, we're told that instead of being like the unwise we need to know the will of God.
So what is the will of God? How can a man know the will of God? In the midst of this crazy world where much of the time nothing seems to be going right, how can I learn God's will or know God’s ways?!
Psalms 51:13
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Unfortunately, there is often a long path that must be traveled before a person is really ready to be a recipient of God's wisdom, ways, or will.
Biblical wisdom is more than just book knowledge. Please don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say here. Without an understanding of this book-- the Bible lifted in the air, there can be no wisdom received from God, simply because this is how God has chosen to communicate His wisdom to man.
Nevertheless, the meaning of wisdom is more than just knowledge. There is a gift of a word of wisdom given by the Holy Spirit that can be given in a moment of time for a specific situation (1 Corinthians 12:8). Yet, still, this is not the wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament. The wisdom of God literally has the word skill connected to it.
A skill is something that must be developed over time. It humors me sometimes when new Christians walk around puffed up and thinking that they're walking in the wisdom of God. In reality, many times they don't even have knowledge, so they definitely can't have wisdom.
No, wisdom is something that requires time to develop, time where a mixture can take place. It's the mixing of godly knowledge and practice exercising that knowledge in specific circumstances. Through this process, godly wisdom is acquired, through this process a man or woman of God becomes skillful in their response to situations by applying the word of God in the midst of circumstances, which they've probably encountered before, where they previously applied their own understanding, failed, and now coming around and facing it again, there is another opportunity to apply the wisdom of God.
Actually, that's what the word "understanding" literally means in the Greek of the Ephesian passage "for it to come together". In other words, there is a union between knowledge and practice, which results in comprehension. In other words, "Oh, I get it!" or "Ah ha! I see now."
Take the Psalm that I just referenced. This Psalm is written after great trial and tribulation, after much heartache and pain. It's written by a man who thought that he knew God and thought that he knew what would make his self happy and satisfied, but the results of his choices left him in a state of brokenness and despair (2 Samuel 11:1-12:24).
But from the place of brokenness and despair, he was able to remember that what he was lacking was God. In this place one receives revelation that self isn't okay. And in this place, self can cry out to God for revelation.
Nobody likes Egypt (the slavery of sin: that place where sin goes from being fun to misery) when they're there. In other words, no one wants to be a slave of sin, but until a person is delivered out from Egyptian bondage and goes through the process of longing for what it once offered only to find it still results in the same heartache and pain, then and only then can a person gain the comprehension or wisdom necessary to understand that Egypt is slavery not freedom.
Ephesians 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

The idea that's being portrayed here is one of control. The word excess being used was used in the original language to describe being "soaked".
When a person is soaked with wine, they're controlled by it. The effects of the wine control the person through a variety of ways: the senses are dulled where what is heard and seen are not properly perceived, resulting in a clouded mind where understanding can't be achieved. The wine, beer, Vicodin, marijuana, Prozac, psychological counseling, the program....all these things cause a dulling of the spiritual perception, because we are being soaked in another way that's not God's way; therefore, it's just one more way to keep us disconnected from the truth and life that's in Christ.
And then someone from the crowd screams, "Hey, crazy preacher! The program, the counseling, and the Prozac are there to help me get my head sober not drunk, so how dare you say that!"
That's what you're told, but it's a sobriety void of the knowledge of God. And in essence these entities control us and move us in a direction opposite of God's prescription for victory. He has one way for true victory. His answer is the sending of His sinless Son to die in Matt's place and for Matt to trust his plan by faith and when faith is placed in God's plan the old Matt born like Adam dies and a new Matt born again in Christ is resurrected and if there are preachers that aren't telling the people that every time they get a chance, then they aren't preaching the gospel, and if it offends you that a pastor would say that then you need to find another one, and let me give you a news flash-- God's offended!
God's offended because He sent the darling of heaven to remedy our malady and the hireling stands behind the pulpit and he gives God's people an alternate version that never sets the captive free.
The scripture says, "but be filled with the Spirit."
This scripture describes control issues. In one scenario, the person is controlled by sin, and in the other, he's controlled by the Spirit of God.
Romans 6:6-23
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And that's what this long passage in Romans describes: how a person who was originally born a slave can experience transference of kingdoms where he's no longer a slave of sin, but he becomes a willing servant of God.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us up with His presence and control our lives, we begin to be led by His presence in the right direction. You know that comment that your spouse made the other day that got you so mad you wanted to make a fool of yourself? When you're filled with the Spirit of God, it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal.
There are people who will lie about you and tell others things about you in a way where you look bad. But when you're filled with the Holy Spirit at that moment, it just seems kind of trivial and silly. It's a wonderful thing to no longer be controlled by your circumstances but instead be controlled by the Spirit of God.
How do I do that preacher? How do I get full of the Holy Spirit? First, you must be born again, and if you're born again, you need to ask Him to baptize you with His Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues, but it doesn't end there, because every day you need to be filled with the Spirit of God.
You need to let Him know you want more of Him, because you know that more of Him makes you have more of Jesus. And remember this child of God; Jesus paid a high price for you to be filled up with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

We did a study a while back on this verse, and we covered in detail these specific words. For tonight's study, I would just like to make a couple of brief points about these musical concepts:
(1) the word psalms literally is psallo and describes lyrics accompanied by music, even more specifically, in its original meaning, it denoted lyrics with the strumming of strings.
Furthermore, the connotation of this New Testament passage would obviously be giving reference to the Old Testament Psalms that were written by King David and his musicians. It has been well documented that the Jews sang the Psalms through the years of their history and utilized them as we would congregational hymns.
(2) hymns are not that different from a Psalm. In the early church, they were songs that were sang by the congregation as a whole in order to worship God, providing an opportunity to corporately worship God.
(3) spiritual songs are simply another way to describe music and singing that glorifies God. As a matter of fact the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest makes the point that there shouldn't be too much work done attempting to find specific, distinctions between these words. When the whole thought is taken together, the idea is that these words describe music that's being offered to God in adoration and praise to Him.
Ultimately, what God has showed me about the church's music is that it must preach the gospel. Yes, we use music to usher in the presence of God, but let me say this, "I've been in music services where you could feel something in the air that was making you experience all types of emotion, while at the same time not one of the songs even mentioned the name of Jesus, the blood or the cross.
We must remember that Satan is also a spiritual being and he transforms himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14); furthermore, Paul warned us that Satan has a plan to offer another gospel containing another Jesus, which has another spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4), and spirits can move on the emotions of people.
When discussing music, we must consider the enemy of our souls because there are passages that explain to us in detail that he was created with music in his person (Isaiah 14:11; Ezekiel 28:13). Furthermore, we have biblical proof that he has used music in the midst of fallen society to teach man a way to soothe the pain of his soul through the playing of music and the singing of song (Genesis 4:16, 21). The point being made here is that Cain went out from the presence of God (Genesis 4:16), and he and his offspring began constructing a pre- flood society without the presence or will of God involved in their endeavors. Furthermore, it was Cain’s offspring who first created musical instruments on the earth (Genesis 4:21). Therefore, we must be reminded that there is music from another source that is being produced from another spirit.
It must be understood that music is a very powerful entity. And last week we were exhorted by the apostle to walk a certain way:


Ephesians 5:15, 16
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

The word circumspect means with caution. The church is exhorted to walk with caution because the days are evil; furthermore, Paul speaks in multiple other places about the subtilty and deceptive devices of our enemy:
2 Corinthians 2:11
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

With all this said, I want to point out some things about music that most pastors wouldn't address for various reasons:
(1) They would say it's not necessary because they've been called to focus on the truth; therefore, I don't have to worry about exposing everything else.
(2) They wouldn't do it out of fear that it would make people in the congregation mad.
(3) They wouldn't do it because they just wouldn't feel as though it’s that big of a deal.
Lyrics to those songs:

Take me to Church—warning contains un-godly material

There Must Have Been something in the Water—need to watch the video after reading the lyrics to get the full effect
The point in exposing all this is to reveal to you the deceptive practices of Satan. If he can get us to embrace a counterfeit, no matter how closely it resembles the truth, then he keeps us away from the truth. The first song is blatantly wrong; yet, countless Christian listen to secular music, and in my opinion Carrie Underwood’s song is more dangerous because it’s pretending to be something that its not.
Ultimately, the apostle tells us that the purpose of this music is that it would make a melody in our heart towards God. A melody has a specific sound. The melody of a song is arranged in such a way that the music and the lyrics work in unison. As the lyrics accompany the music in this way, there is a sound produced that is conducive for harmony, which is a synonym for (unity) rather than cacophony, which is a synonym for (disunity).
Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

There are many times that things happen in the life of the Christian that just don't make sense. Trials and tribulations, failures and frustrations plague this world and the people in it. If we're not careful, we will have a tendency to think that all these nuisances are simply an attack of Satan, which requires an exhaustive rebuking in order to be released from his grip.
The reality is that God uses these occurrences in our lives for a bigger purpose than what our natural eyes are often willing to perceive.
The child of God must remember that while it is true that Satan has a plan to destroy our faith and walk with God, God's plan is that our faith fail not in the midst of the trial:
Luke 22:31-32
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

God used the wilderness in Israel's life to humble them:
Deuteronomy 8:2-3
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

God uses trials in the life of the believer to prove him, to let him see what is really in his heart, and ultimately to bring him to a place where he (man) can become a partaker of His (God's) holiness:
Hebrews 12:5-11
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.


I want to close this section by pointing out that often when we're in the trial or in that process where we are finding ourselves remaining under the struggle of sin, we find ourselves in misery. When we dwell in Egypt as slaves, there is no joy in sin. When we wander in the wilderness, there is no joy in sin. There is only misery. But listen close Christian, there will come a day, if you will hold onto the Lord, that Egypt and the wilderness will have served their purposes.
What is that? You may ask. It's the process of convincing your free will that what you thought you wanted only left you broken, busted and disgusted. God will use Egypt and The wilderness to convince your free will that what you are really longing for is Him!
The main thing we're fighting in this process is self and self's perception of what is good. I know this to be true at least regarding my own life. I've been through a big portion of this process already-- the process where God convinces me that what I thought was cool was killing me, and what I thought was un-cool (biblical things) was my only hope. But my problem was that I was more concerned about what my old friends and the world thought was cool more than I was concerned about what God wanted for my life.
I'm convinced now on what is right. As a preacher, I pray that the Lord would help me to articulate these truths to people in such a way that their own journey from Egypt (world) to Canaan's rest (victory in Jesus) would be greatly shortened.
I started this discourse because I simply wanted to say that there will be times in your life when you will hate the season you are living in, but be encouraged: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
because... we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Once God brings you through the trying times and you're finally convinced that sin will destroy you (no matter its flavor), you will be able to look back towards Egypt and say, "Lord, Egypt hurt; it caused a lot of pain, and there was a lot of bondage. Lord, the wilderness journey on my way to the Canaan rest was so difficult, but I thank you God! I thank you for Egypt, and I thank you for the wilderness, because without them, I could've never recognized the blessing of the Promised Land, also known as the Canaan rest."
Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.


The word here for submit is hupo- Tasso.
Hupo= under
Tasso= describes military arrangement of submission, having the idea of willingly bringing one’s self under the submission of another. It must be understood that the whole premise of this thought is built upon the Spirit filled life, which will result in a meekness and humility, a lowering of self. This is the opposite of pride:
1 Corinthians 13:4
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

The word charity is actually agape in the Greek, which is the sacrificial love of God. This certainly speaks about the fruit of the Spirit of God being produced in the life of the believer.
Look at the adverbs used to describe this type of love: (1) it's long suffering. Long suffering means patience in relationships. What does that mean? It means that the first time I do something, the second time I do something, maybe even the third time I do something you don't like, you don't just quit on me; instead, you ask God for grace in dealing with me, and you pray for me if you think that I'm going the wrong way, but look at
(2) & (3) It doesn't envy. The word here is where we get our word zeal, and in this context, the meaning is that agape love doesn't allow a burning anger towards a brother or sister to remain. Many times envy begins with some form of jealousy, but before we realize, it can quickly result in bitterness and a zealous anger.
Lastly, true love doesn't vaunt or puff itself up. The Greek scholar Vincent describes these words like this: the word puffed up is bloated; therefore, it describes a person who is full of inner pride. Whereas, the word vaunteth describes the inner pride being manifest outward. Essentially, the person who walks this way is a braggart.
When discussing submission one to another, it must be understood that this process requires humility and a teachable spirit. Sadly, there are probably people who would want others to submit to them; yet, they're puffed up and full of pride. 
It has been my experience that these people think they know something about God and in reality their understanding of God's word is minimal at best; yet, they portray themselves as a spiritual giant.
As we close this teaching, I would like to point out that next week the text starts with wives submitting to their husbands. As Jesus is the head of the church and His bride submits to Him, God has established a certain order in the home. However, let us view verse 22 in light of verse 21. As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we’re to approach one another with humility and a willingness to submit to one another in the fear of God. Already, we see that the husband’s leadership position is to be one of humility, remembering to fear God, because his wife is also his sister in the Lord, and his sister in the Lord belongs to Jesus first…that’s sobering, at least for me it is. Now, help me to act right Lord : )