Introduction

  1. Text: Eph. 5:15-17.
  2. A bit of old carpenter’s advice is: Measure twice, cut once.
    1. The more consequential an action is, the more carefully it needs to be thought out.
    2. Wise people know it is never a waste of time to ensure accuracy.
    3. It is far better to make sure one is right — deliberately, cautiously, and carefully — than hastily to act in ways that turn out to be wrong.
  3. It is possible for a person’s life itself to be “ill-measured.”
  4. In regard to God, we are sometimes shockingly careless.
  5. Consider three areas in which we need to be very careful.

I. Religion in General

  1. Given the ramifications of the question, the casual way in which many have tossed aside “religion” is nearly incredible.
  2. The average person has rejected religion on the basis of hastily made assumptions from inadequate information, not a serious consideration of the genuine article.
    1. Many have never taken the time to try to investigate the stereotypes, caricatures, and prejudicial slogans that turn people against religion.
    2. Often, modern people do not even have the curiosity of the Athenian philosophers to hear the case for Christianity – Ac. 17:18-20.
    3. Perhaps we are more like those in Athens who hurriedly mocked than those who wanted to hear more before making up their minds – Ac. 17:32.
  3. Many have never truly “considered” or “looked at” the evidence. Cf. Psa. 8:3-5.

II. “Choosing A Church”

  1. How thoughtful is the average person’s analysis of what is going on in the world of “Christian” denominationalism?
  2. Many people’s approach to choosing a church is little better than hit-or-miss.
    1. If all the seven churches of the Rev. 2,3 were in our locality, on what basis would we decide where to identify ourselves?
    2. How carefully do we check the “accuracy” of churches and their practices against the authoritative standard of the Scriptures?
  3. The question of whether a doctrine is true is no trivial matter — and it takes some searching find out!
  4. Dealing responsibly with the problem of religious division requires at least the attitude of the Bereans – Ac. 17:11.

III. How The Christian Should Live

  1. In a world filled with evil, there is no realistic hope of living acceptably before God without a careful, circumspect approach to the matter – Eph. 5:15-17.
  2. Imagine your life as a speech. What kind of speech is it: a painstakingly prepared text, or an impromptu performance that you make up as you go along?
  3. We need more men and women who will consciously and carefully distinguish right from wrong – Heb. 5:14.

Conclusion

  1. “The unexamined life is not worth living” (Socrates) — life is too consequential not to be deliberate about it.
  2. Our convictions and conduct should follow this order: we should (1) carefully settle on our convictions and then (2) fit our lives to those convictions.
    1. Too often we do the reverse: we do whatever “comes naturally” and then make up a set of “convictions” to fit what we’ve already done.
    2. Cf. Dan Shipley’s article on “After-Thought Authority” in Plain Talk, July 1972.
  3. The spiritual consequences of “ill-measured” deeds are eternal — we can’t afford to cut now and measure later.
    1. We get one life, and only one. Once done, that life can’t be undone!
    2. Building a life is serious business.
    3. Constructing a character is important work.
    4. Mistakes are disastrous.
  4. What kind of words describe the quality of your life’s “workmanship” up to now?
    1. Haphazard, slipshod, makeshift?
    2. Or purposeful, meticulous, thorough? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:15.
  5. Jesus warned us to “count the cost” (Lk. 14:28-30) of discipleship.
    1. This would involve an assessment of the cost of non-discipleship!
    2. The fact is, it costs much more to refuse discipleship than to accept it.
    3. How carefully are we considering this?
    4. It is vital that we:
      1. Study to find the truth.
      2. Think about the implications of the truth.
      3. Act on the basis of the truth.
  6. So far, is your response to Jesus the result of careful consideration and deliberate action? He deserves nothing less.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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