Epistles: Ephesians 5:15-20 – Be Filled With the Spirit

Transformed by the Spirit

Since God cares about what we do, Paul advises: “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (vv. 15-16). Immorality and coarse jokes were common in Paul’s world, too, but he calls us to buck the trend and be different. Because sin is so common, we need wisdom in discerning how we should live — we can’t just go along with what everyone else is doing.

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery” (v. 17). When people are drunk, they are more apt to sin in other ways too. Paul contrasts that with life in the Spirit: “Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (v. 18).

Instead of to the misery of debauchery, the Spirit leads us to joy and thanksgiving: “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 19-20). This is the kind of party we need!

Questions for discussion

  1. What caution does Paul give to believers? v. 15. Why? v. 16a. Compare with Colossians 4:5-6.
  2. What does Paul mean by: “because the days are evil”? v. 16b. See Galatians 1:4; Philippians 2:14-15.
  3. What contrast does Paul make in this verse? v. 17. Why?
  4. What vivid illustration of living foolishly vs. living wisely does Paul make in this verse? v. 18. See Proverbs 23:31-35; Luke 15:13; 2 Timothy 1:7-10; 1 Peter 4:1-5.
  5. What kind of celebration do believers practice as opposed to those involved in carnal living? vv. 19-20. See Colossians 3:15-17.



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