Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Strength You Need to Share with Others

Leslie Basham: If you think of God’s blessing like water, Dr. Eric Mason has a reminder for you.

Dr. Eric Mason: God has called you not to be a puddle, but a pipeline. And as He’s called you to be a pipeline, He wants you to be a conduit for His blessing.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for Monday, April 23, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Do you ever feel like you just don’t have enough ability, or enough wisdom to pass along any help to other people? I think we all feel that way. But we’re also all called to get involved in the lives of other people and invest in them. How do you do it?

Pastor Eric Mason will help us with that today. We're going to listen to a message he gave at a Revive Our Hearts conference to a group of women’s ministry leaders. I remember sitting on the front row listening to this message on the resolve of a Spirit-filled teacher and being so deeply moved myself, that we wanted to share that message with you.

Before we start, I’ll remind you that Dr. Mason is going to be one of the speakers this year at True Woman '18. This year’s conference is about the truth that sets us free. We'll be hearing from speakers like Dannah Gresh, Betsy Gómez, and Mary Kassian and others who are going to help us focus on the truth. We’ll be teaching through topics brought up in my updated book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Us Free.

Each of those message is going to be set up with a drama sketch from the group Acts of Renewal. Along with these other messages, Dr. Mason will be sharing a pastor's perspective to lay a foundation for the conference.

True Woman '18 is coming to Indianapolis September 27–29. Space is limited and we expect to sell out early. I hope you’ll get together with a friend or a group and make plans to join us at True Woman '18. Remember, the early registration discount ends after May 1. For more details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Now, let’s hear from Dr. Mason, he’ll begin by reading Ephesians 5:15–20.

Dr. Mason: 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery [or dissipation], but be filled [somebody say "be filled"] with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I would like to talk about, from this text this morning, "The Resolve of a Spirit-Filled Teacher."

Father, again, Your power is necessary—oil from heaven is necessary—and You have to be present in order for this to work. So God, would You move and give us clarity as You take us and shape us and continue Your great work?

I'm praying for Your great work in the lives of these great women of God, who are here waiting for You and continuing to wait to see You continue to work through their lives and ministries. Lord God, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O God, our Strength and our Redeemer, in whom we trust.

In Jesus' mighty name we pray. And everybody who agrees with that said, "Amen." You may be seated.

It's interesting that we live in a world that is sort of two-sided in many ways. We live in a world where people aren't sure of anything, and on the other side of it, if they're sure about anything, they're sure about the wrong things. In a reality, we're going to continue to see the pervasive nature of the brokenness of man's (sort of) attempts to make sense of God's world, because they're only being engaged by natural revelation—in other words, what they can see.

But for the believer, we are influenced by special revelation. Somebody say "special revelation." Special revelation is different than natural revelation. Natural revelation is something that you can come upon just by looking outside, based on Romans 1. You can look outside and make deductions based on senses and science.

However, special revelation encompasses the seen and unseen. So the Bible teacher must encompass the comprehensive depth of everything that God provides to reveal Himself. The more you walk with God, the more resolves you come to, the more your values are shaped.

Ezekiel said in Ezekiel 36:25–27 that when you trust Jesus as Savior, God will give you a new heart. In the Hebrew mindset, giving you a new heart means a change of value system, a change of affections, and your will being taken out of bondage—a change of mind.

You begin to have values that are transformed and renewed; you have the capacity for that. Those values are values that come from heaven. However, there have to be affections that actually like the mindset or value system that God has given you.

Before Christ, you weren't able to choose; now in Christ you are able to choose right from wrong. What happens is, is in order for your will to be practically walked-out well and for your affections to be properly nurtured, you have to have your mind changed, have your value system usurped with a brand-spanking new value system from the living God.

So we come to the book of Ephesians, which is the theologue book of the New Testament. We have the gospel globetrotter himself, Paul, communicating some powerful information to help us to recognize and understand some deep things.

One of the things that I like about Paul's writing is his theology comes out with intimacy. In his theology coming out with intimacy, he's challenging a church whose natural tendency is to have theological astuteness without practical or effectual desires for the living God, as we see in Revelation 2:1–7.

Here in Ephesians 1, we see him laying out the godhead, and he shows the fact that God the Father, He is the One that chooses us, the Son saves us and the Spirit seals us. In other words, the Father selects, the Son saves, and the Spirit seals. I'm so happy about that!

Then the rest of the chapter lays out that fact that He wants them to have their minds shaped and illumined to have the mystery of this reality practically and continuously unveiled to them.

Then chapter 2, in the first part, he tells them, "You were dead in [your] trespasses and sins" (v. 1). All of us were jacked up to work from the floor up, not looking for God. God wasn't lost, we were—and He had to come get us. Then in the latter part of the chapter he says, "By grace were you saved by faith. It's not that of works. It's the gift of God, that no one can 'big' themselves up and boast."

They can't stick out their chest; they can't say they did anything, because it takes God to come to God. Amen, somebody?

So then, in chapter 3, he begins to get fly with it. You know what I'm saying? He gets real, real fly with it. He begins to get excited about the unveiling of the mystery of the Church. He begins to talk about that, the Church—men and women—were anointed and brought into existence by the death of Christ in order to proclaim the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers that are seen and unseen. That's a powerful, powerful moment!

Now, Paul was a worshiper. In other words, he wasn't somebody that could hear some weighty truth and just sit down and act like nothing was happening. So in the latter part of the chapter, in about verse 20, he takes a praise break. I believe, as he's under the unction of the Holy Spirit, my man takes a praise break. And he begins to dance in the Spirit, like David did, because he was extremely excited.

How do I know he danced? Because he says something parenthetically, between that. He says, "Now to Him . . ." He says, "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think," (not "can" or "may," but what you actually ask or think) "according to the power at work within us." So he has a doxology there.

He begins to praise God for all of His work in the gospel. So in chapters 1–3, we see orthodoxy, but then he transitions in chapters 4–6 to go through "orthopraxy." In other words, in chapters 1–3 he does doctrine; in chapters 4–6 he does duty.

So now we get into the duty section, and we look at chapter 5 and we see something beautiful! We see Paul talking about the work of the Holy Spirit in the community of faith. As he's talking about this reality, we see some things that are precursors that I think are good principles—great principles—for teachers to have. There are several resolves, I would say, that Paul talks about.

Resolve number 1 for a teacher: You must resolve that you will live a life of spiritual discernment. Look at what he says: "Look carefully then how you walk" (v. 15). This is great right here, because when Paul says, "Look carefully," he's not talking about the type of look we were talking about earlier—a natural look.

He's talking about a perceptive look in which he's able to see beyond the natural. He's able to see beyond the things we're normally attracted to. Some of you, when you're attracted to someone, you're attracted to their appearance . . . and so you're like, "Wow! He's fine!" Right? (laughter)

Listen, this is just an illustration. But see, you can't let fine-ness get in the way of faithfulness. Oh, y'all aren't gonna talk back to me—it's okay. (laughter) In other words, when you live a life of perceptive looking, you don't let a six-pack get in the way of a soul. Okay. (laughter)

And so when Paul looks at this and he's helping us to be nurtured in deeper perception, he says, "Look, you're going to have to look carefully." The word "carefully" is interesting. "Carefully" means to look at something based on where it actually is, like we talked about in the Psalms last night.

So when you look at something carefully, here, Paul is calling the people to be vigilant and look at things accurately, not inaccurately. In other words, he wants them to look at things in the way they actually are, not in the way they want or perceive them to be. In other words, spiritual discernment.

In order to teach God's Word, in order to help people, there has to be deep levels of discernment that nurtures in the cores of your life, to help to you see beyond the natural. Now, he says to look carefully at one particular thing. It's interesting that he's not pushing this outwardly—he calls it inwardly.

Look at what he says: "Look carefully how you walk." "Walk" in the New Testament is a term of behavior. Now remember what we said in the beginning: You've got to have your mind changed. The gospel changes your mind; it changes your affections. But guess what it also changes? Your walk!

So when you're looking carefully about how you walk, you're basing it off of God's standards. That why in 2 Peter 1 it says add to your faith add moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control (see vv. 5–6). Why in the world would he say moral excellence first? Because it's a commitment to a standard, and when he goes to knowledge, he's talking about biblical knowledge that informs the standard. Then self-control is the practice of your will being taken out of bondage, so you can walk in obedience. But it comes from, of course, introspection.

We see that Paul used this word "walk" several times in Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 2:10, Ephesians 4:1, Ephesians 4:17, Ephesians 5:2, Ephesians 5:8, and Ephesians 5:15, right here.

This is helpful, because now you see he wants them to have truth that impacts their practical behavior. Let's keep walking through this. He says, "Now, the way I want you to behave, I want you to behave in one particular way. I want you to walk—not as unwise—in other words, "unwise" here means "lacking spiritual discernment."

All of us need to grow and develop in this area of having discernment about things, based on this reality. Now, how do you get spiritual discernment? Hebrews 5 lets us know greatly how you get spiritual discernment. You grow spiritually.

In other words, when you grow, you're able to tell good from evil. See, when you're young in the faith and you're young in the head, it's like my mama used to say. When I would say something stupid, my mama would say, "Baby—you just young in the head, baby." (laughter) Right?

And so what happens as you grow spiritually, is you don't make the same dumb mistakes anymore. Amen! Paul says, in walking in spiritual discernment, you walk as one not unwise but as wise. Somebody say "wise." "Wise" here is the Greek word sophia. Somebody say "sophia."

I love this word. It's a powerful word. It borrows its definitive points from the Old Testament—or Law, Prophets, and Writings. The word in the Old Testament for wisdom that's mostly used in Proverbs is another hokh word, remember like last night? Says, chokmah. Yeah—y'all got it! You all know a little bit of Hebrew now! Now you're dangerous!

But literally it means to apply what you know, skillfully. I love that! To apply what you know, skillfully. Now, this is important in the realm of spiritual discernment, because a teacher should be becoming more skillful and self-disciplined as they grow spiritually.

That's why Paul says, "Watch how you walk." Look carefully how you walk, not as stupid people, but as skillful, wise people who apply what they know. Some statistics say that most Christians only live ten percent of what they know. So if you don't know much already and you're only living ten percent of that, you've got some catching up to do.

You've got to live a life of spiritual discernment.

Number 2, if you're going to have a godly resolve in the power of the Spirit as a teacher, resolve that you will maximize every season that the Lord gives you. Look at the text ladies, in Ephesians 5:16, "making the best use of the time." Not "a" time but "the" time. Look at it.

As Paul says that, he goes right next and says, "because the days are evil." It's interesting, "the best use of time" is one word in the original. Some of your translations translate it "redeemed." "Redeemed" means to buy back something.

Let me see if I can make it real, real with you. Some of us were some wild people before we trusted Christ. I heard about one "amen," but that's okay. Thank you to the person that was real, to my right. I'm not even going to look at you. (laughter) But some of us were wild. We used time in futility. We were prideful, whoremongers, whilin' out, drunkards, acting a plumb nitwit.

But when Christ came and got you, time shifted. Even though time still existed, the way time was used changed drastically! Because when Christ changes you, it opens your eyes to things that you've never seen. The gospel just opens your eyes differently.

God says, "Now that you belong to Me, you need to be using time differently than you used to use it." That means that you don't need to see—no matter what season you're in, ladies—never see anything as mundane and useless. Some of you are in some seasons of life right now where you're frustrated about where you are.

Let me tell you something—God doesn't waste a moment! But we do. God is calling you in what you do as mundane. See, you've got to stop the comparison ministry. Some of you just compare everything. You base your value in Christ on how God is doing something in somebody else's life. If you're not in the season that they're in yet, you figure you're useless until you get there.

God is saying to you, "No! Every moment of your life, when you're in Me—I value you just as much as I value the person on the platform. I value you, even though you're not able to teach the Bible study publicly. You can bring some young ladies over to your house and fix some bacon and some biscuits, tell 'em to fold some clothes, and ask them about the guy they're dating. And you can begin jammin' them up, mixin' some biscuits. Like, "That boy ain't no good. Look at how he's talkin' to you! Go get that Bible over there on the counter. Get my Bible, right there—come on over here. Now sit down on the stool, finish foldin' them clothes—come here." (laughter)

Now, she's over there folding the clothes—and she breaks down. That's the cry when you know the Lord is moving—that cry—that one, right there.

There may be somebody in the church who is doing a great job and people are drawn to them. Don't worry about that! Pray for them and encourage them, but take the moments and opportunities to minister to people in the church that God draws to you. It may only be two, but you pour the depths of everything that the good Lord gives to you into their lives.

You may be changing diapers, you may be cleaning cupboards . . . I'm not reducing womanhood to that, but I'm just saying, you may be in a mundane space of frustration, but don't let that make you miss that God has something for you right now.

You may be an older sister and feel like you're useless. "There's no use for me." The devil is a liar! You are still useful! God will use you until . . . The Bible says that Paul was on his back porch . . . it does. What does it say in Acts 28? "Over here, chillin' on the back porch, makin' disciples, openin' up the parsonage, dropping weight on dudes, in chains." (laughter)

Paul wrote this while he was locked up! If Paul could write landmark letters in a dungeon, chained to a guard, what's your excuse? Listen! Redeem the time!

Jesus said in a parable, very convicting, in Luke 16, "The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (v. 8). In other words, the world maximizes the world for its benefit better than the people of God maximize His world for His benefit.

I look at all of the different things that people maximize and utilize . . . their sphere of influence to its edges. You can talk bad about Oprah or whoever, and we can name different people—P. Diddy and Steve Jobs and all of these different people that are doing things to maximize the edges of the world system (and I'm not doggin' 'em) for their ends, creating iTunes and creating TV companies and creating all these different things. And they maximize, and all we do is dog 'em.

Stop looking at them and begin saying, "God, how do You want to use me? How do want to You maximize life through me? How do You want to glorify Yourself through me? How do You want to lift Your name up through me?" Maximize it, ladies! Maximize every single crack and crevice that the King gives you!

God has given you more opportunity than you know, but you have to look carefully and perceptively and creatively at maximizing. Some of you have testimonies that you don't tell nobody about, but some of your ministry is in your testimony. God wants to use some of you in your brokenness that you went through to help you help somebody else through it. Maximize the times, for the days are evil.

Second Timothy 3 says it's only going to get worse! But as it gets worse, our witness should get better. So Paul tells us and calls us to redeem the times, buy back times. Reverse how time is used because the days are absolutely, unadulteratedly, evil.

So we don't look at any of our lives as mundane. We look at places and opportunities, by the greatness of God, to be able to maximize every single season that the Lord gives us. Utilize them and grab others to be a part of those times. Then if God has given you a lot, make sure you don't squander it.

God has given you a lot, and "to whom much is given, of him much is required." Praise God for you, but don't let yourself squander the season because you have much. Be a good steward of all the great things God has given you!

Nancy: How many times do we make excuses to avoid getting involved in all God is doing around us? We’re too busy, or we have this problem or that problem. Dr. Eric Mason has been reminding us that we’ve been given so much. And it’s a privilege to use all the amazing opportunities we’ve been given to build God’s kingdom. Dr. Mason has also reminded us that when we’re weak, it doesn’t disqualify us from being involved in the Lord’s work. In fact, it's our weakness that qualifies us to draw on His sufficient grace to fill us up, so we can pour into others.

Tomorrow, we’ll hear the second half of that message, recorded at the Revive '15 conference that held for women’s ministry leaders.

Dr. Mason will join us again this September 27–29 for True Woman '18: The Truth That Sets Us Free. If you’ve never been to a True Woman Conference, I hope this is the year you’ll come to Indianapolis and experience it for yourself. You’ll worship along with Keith and Kristyn Getty; you’ll laugh and cry with the drama group Acts of Renewal. And you’ll explore the truth that sets us free as we listen to speakers like: Jackie Hill Perry, Mary Kassian, Betsy Gómez, Dannah Gresh . . . and Pastor Eric Mason who we listened to today.

The early discount for True Woman '18 ends after May 1, so let us hear from you soon. We expect this conference may sell out very close to that early registration date, so you don’t want to wait. For more details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow Dr. Mason will join us again, pointing us to the power of the Holy Spirit in order to do the will and work of Christ. Please join us again tomorrow, for Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to point you to the power you need in life and ministry. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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