Thursday, January 15, 2009

Worshipful Debauchery

Ephes. 5:15-21 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [18] And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, [19] addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, [20] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [21] submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Look carefully then how you walk… make the best use of your time. Paul here gets into some practical advice, some of which you might find in any old self-help book. It is law. Law being written on our hearts is often confused with common sense, and common sense is often confused with being common. But the truth is we need a shot of it once in a while, because we are sinners. We need to be corrected, admonished and set back on the path, because the days are evil and offer us many unwise ways to widdle away the time. The old saying says idleness is the devils playground. True enough but one might also heed Christ’s words to Martha. Busyness for busyness sake is just as bad. But be wise with your time, you don’t know how much of it you have. Understand what the will of the Lord is. That requires listening to him, hearing him. This in turn requires devotion, sitting with Mary, Martha’s sister, at the feet of Christ and listening to what he has to say. Devotion takes many forms but should never exclude worship and the gathering of the saints. Yes read your Bibles, devotional books, other Christian books, say your prayers, but don’t neglect the gathering of the saints. Devotional habits should flow out of regular practice of the Divine Service, and communion, those two things are at the heart of any healthy devotional habit. And I don’t mind saying that they should also be weekly, call me a legalist for telling you you should hear the gospel on a weekly basis at a minimum. We admonish pastors to preach the gospel weekly. Is that legalism? Then why do we cry legalism when one admonishes a pastor to offer communion weekly? It is the Gospel, the New Testament in His Blood. But I digress.
Do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery. The sarcastic Old Adam in me rises up to say then it must be fine to get drunk on Scotch or beer. But we know this is wrong also. However it did strike me reading this that Paul is actually talking here of what happens in worship! He is admonishing the Ephesians to not get drunk at the divine service, which might explain why he expressly mentions wine. In this light he is also speaking specifically to worship when he tells us to be wise with our time. I mention that he is discussing worship because of the admonishment to “address one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making a melody to the lord in your heart.” Neither is it too far fetched to believe that the Christians of Ephesus allowed the worship service to descend into drunkenness and other forms of debauchery. It happened in Corinth. In America today the drunkenness might be unusual for a worship service, but I dare say debauchery can be found in other forms. When the character of a worship service begins to form itself with the structure of a rock concert led by attractive women modestly dressed or not, bouncing up and down on stage be aware you are inciting debauchery. I know plenty a man who has gone to evangelical worship services of this sort to pick up on women with great success, and not just for the Friday night dinner and a movie with an innocent kiss good night. I have also known plenty of women to fallen for these, “religious” men. The “I love you Jesus” ballads often popular at these gatherings tend to be overtly sensual. I don’t care if they get people into church, they don’t belong there. People laugh, but I swear offerings collected at the stripper poles is right around the corner if we don’t stop to heed Paul’s warning here. It would get the men back to church. They might even miss a football game for that. There are already reports of pastorettes dressing up as cheerleaders for football Sunday. Come on people, let’s be wise with our time.

No comments: