Dissipation Busters

Posted on 12/09/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning! It's a pleasure to see you all once again, and it's an even greater pleasure to worship God with you.

If you're a first-time visitor, be sure to click the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave.

A quick note to those of you who have applied for church membership, we haven't lost your application, and as soon as the system to manage memberships is complete, we'll let you know. Anyone who hasn't applied but, regardless of how often you're able to attend services, considers this your home church in Second Life, we'd be delighted to have you as a member. Just go to almcyberchurch.org and click the link to become a member.

Let's all stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer. If you have any prayer needs and would like for your family here to pray with you, you can leave your request at the prayer center in the foyer or in the prayer center in this same building. You're also invited to ask for prayer during the altar ministry at the end of this service.

Let's pray.

Lord God, thank you for today. Thank you for your love, for your Word, for your Spirit, and for your life you offer to each and every one of us today.

We'd like to petition you on behalf of those who have asked us to pray for them.

We pray for Gazambi, who has been depressed lately, saying that things with work and family are difficult, and can't seem to find a way to solve anything. We pray for peace in the middle of this turmoil, as Gazambi focuses on you instead of the wind and the waves. We pray for wisdom that is greater than these challenges. And we pray for strength to take the right actions at the right times, and also to take no action, but just to wait upon you until you give direction.

We come into agreemen with KarmicStorm on behalf of the parents of baby Kayla who recently passed away. Holy Spirit, wrap Kayla's parents Julie and Jason in your comfort, and help them find your peace during this time of great loss.

We pray for Phil, that you would grant him the Godly desires of his heart, and that you would lead him in the paths you have ordained for him to walk.

We pray for Denise. You know her situation, but for the sake of anyone praying who does not know, Denise is a single parent. She lost her mother in January. Eight weeks later, she lost her job. In August she finally found another job; but that same evening, two policemen came to her door and announced they found her oldest son, Shaun, dead. She then lost her job because they would not wait for her while she made arrangements for the funeral. Four weeks after that, her only sister died. Her bills are getting behind, and we know that she must be under more of a weight than many of us can even imagine.

Lord, we ask for a deep peace in the middle of her grieving. Bring into her life those who would support her, comfort her, and walk with her through this dark time. Bring in the resources she needs, and may she come through this having gained a depth of strength and character that will bring her closer to you and impact those around her.

We pray for Rina, who desires a closer walk with you. We ask that you keep her always in the center of your will, for that is the desire of her heart. We ask that you pour out your blessings upon her, and that she would be freed from the bondage of debt. We also pray for her son who wishes to come and get work with his resident visa. We ask that you would lead him on the road you have designed just for him, and that he would hunger and thirst after you more than anything else.

And now I pray for this service, and those who have come to worship and seek after you. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill us afresh. Point us to Jesus. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears, and give us a fresh and personal revelation of our God and King.

And we ask these things in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.

Click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's enter into his presence a little deeper with song.


GREAT IS THE LORD

Great is the lord, He is holy and just
By his power we trust In his love

Great is the lord, He is faithful and true
By his mercy he proves He is love

Chorus:
Great is the lord
    And worthy of glory
Great is the lord
    And worthy of praise

Great is the lord
Now lift up your voice
Now lift up your voice
Great is the lord
Great is the lord

Chorus 2:
Great are you lord
    And worthy of glory
Great are you lord
    And worthy of praise

Great are you lord
I lift up my voice
I lift up my voice
Great are you lord
Great are you lord


THE STEADFAST LOVE

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord.
Great is Thy faithfulness.


WELCOME IN THIS PLACE

Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Comforter, Counselor, here
Holy Spirit sent from Heaven
The God of all glory is here

Rise up within me
Living Water
Spirit of God in me

You are welcome in this place
You are welcomei n this place
God of power, love, and grace
Saturate my soul


GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Isn't God good? Do you sense his Holy Spirit? If not, just stick around and we'll talk about breaking free from those things that would keep us from partaking of his presence.

God is here with us, and his arms are open. Just accept his invitation to come and dine.


You can all be seated.


Last week the Holy Spirit led us in the direction of breaking out of our comfort zone, out of the familiar, and into the unknown where we are forced to wake up and take another look at the things and the person of God.

I hope that wasn't just an event for anyone, because that was simply a starting point. We don't move if we're holding on to where we are or where we have always been. We don't grow if we don't move. We don't become strong if we don't push against resistance. And we don't mature if we neglect any of these things.

The title of my message today is a bit strange and perhaps even corny, but it's appropriate none the less.


"Dissipation Busters."


Let's read a few verses from Ephesians chapter five, and perhaps that title will take on some meaning.


We're reading from Ephesians chapter five, verses fifteen through twenty-one.

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.


This passage is talking about sound, wise, and Godly living which springs forth from a sound, wise, and Godly attitude and heart. Of course my message title came from verse eighteen which says, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit."

I don't believe the focus of the first part of this verse is "wine," but "dissipation." This could be accurately worded, "Don't get drunk, because that is dissipation." It's not the wine that is pointed out in this Scripture as the culprit; rather, the bad guy here is "dissipation."

The original Greek word used here is the word "asotia ( a-so-te'-a )", which means "an abandoned, dissolute life." Since that still seems a bit abstract and open to quite a wide range of interpretation, let's look at the definition of "dissipation" in our own language.

Dissipation is:

a wasting by misuse
mental distraction; amusement; diversion
useless or profitless activity
using, expending, consuming thoughtlessly or carelessly

Let's read that verse again: "Do not be drunk with wine, wherein is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." This is written in the form of a contrast. On one end of the scale is dissipation. On the other end of the scale is being filled with the Spirit.

Dissipation is on one end of the block, and the filling with the Holy Spirit is on the other. The closer you get to one, the father away you stray from the other. You cannot be both places at the same time.

So let's look at the definitions of dissipation, and see how it relates to our lives.


1. A wasting by misuse

We've all done this, and at least most of us do this every day to a greater or lesser extent. We misuse our time. We misuse our energy. We misuse our words. We misuse our attention. We misuse our finances. We misuse our gifts and abilities. And when we do this, we are wasting our time, our energy, our words; we are wasting our attention, our finances, and our God-given gifts and talents. This is dissipation, and it moves us away from the level to which the Holy Spirit wishes to fill us.

Elvis Presley, for example, had an incredible gift from God. Before he was even conceived in the womb, God had layed a path for him to follow. And he began on this path at an early age, singing hymns of praise and glorifying God with his voice.

But contrary to the opinions of the world, Elvis wasted his gift by misuse. Instead of bringing glory to God, he chose to bring glory to himself and the things of the world. And while he won overwhelming fame and fortune, he lost something many many times more valuable than that. He lost his direction, abandoned his purpose, and instead of being filled with the glory of the Living God, he chose dissipation, and threw his life away.

The world would see him as a success. But he was a failure. And if we look at his life for even a moment through Kingdom eyes, we will see, with great sorrow, the empty futility of a life lived outside of the plan of God and void of the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit. Instead of leading empty, bound souls into freedom, fulfillment, and overflowing and everlasting joy and life, he pointed them to gratification of the carnal nature. And the way in which his life ended gives evidence to his own realization that, while everyone else saw him as the king, he knew deep down that he had wasted his whole life. The "King of Rock -N- Roll" was no king at all, for he had dissipated his gifts and his calling in exchange for fool's gold.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life always end in hopelessness, emptiness, and death. Don't be fooled. Become a Dissipation Buster, and follow hard after God.


2. Mental distraction; amusement; diversion

There's nothing wrong with entertainment. We all need time to unwind and relax. Sometimes a healthy distraction, a good diversion, and some clean, fun amusement is just what the doctor ordered.

But as a society and as a people, we tend to have way too much mental distraction, amusement, and diversion. We allow ourselves to get lulled into comfortable complacency. And if these things are threatened, we become annoyed or even angry.

We are entertainment addicts. Almost all of us should enroll in the local Entaholics Anonomous. Statistics state that people on average spend close to three hours per day in front of the television, and many people spend a lot more than that. When we're not watching television, many of us are listening to the radio, or reading a magazine, or playing a game. We enjoy entertainment. And we grow to crave it, experiencing withdraw symptoms of anxiety and depression if we're too long without it.

Once again, let me make it clear that entertainment in itself is not wrong, and can be a very good thing.

Let's go back to our verse in Ephesians and change the source of our culprit: "Do not over-indulge in entertainment, for that is dissipation." If we spend more time pleasing ourselves than seeking to please God, we're diverting our focus from our purpose for living and breathing and the source of that life, and it's no wonder we become unsure of or unmotivated by what we are on this earth to do.

So let's try turning off the television an evening or two this week, and put down our magazines and turn off the radio and any other distraction that would dissipate our focus and spiritual pursuit of God, and just get in his presence. Seek after him. Get in an attitude of worship and prayer, search the Word, and examine your own heart. Ask God how he wants you to spend your time, your days, your energy, your gifts, talents, and abilities, and your finances, and then change your priorities accordingly.

Let's stop being drunk with entertainment and self-gratification so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God. And your life will take on a whole new dimension of meaning, purpose, and power as you begin to move solidly forward on the path God has designed just for you.


Let's read a few verses before our passage in Ephesians chapter five, beginning with verse eight:

Ephesians 5:8-14

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as  children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather  expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in  secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever  makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says:

Awake, you who sleep,
arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.


While we once were in the darkness, seeking to please and comfort ourselves, we now are in the light, and as children of light, we should be seeking to please God, as verse ten says, "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord."

One of the definitions of the word "dissipation" is "useless or profitless activity." This sounds like verse eleven which says, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." The unfruitful works of darkness, useless or profitless activity, unfruitful -- dissipation. The works of darkness are not just those things that are obviously evil to us. Rather, they include those things which are useless or profitless.

A family vacation is useful and profitable. Even treating yourself or a friend or loved one to dinner and a movie can be useful and profitable. Enjoying a beautiful sunset or sailing on a peaceful sea can be useful and profitable.

If something is pleasing to God, does not distract us from our purpose, does not lead us off the path God has laid before us, and does not compromise the centrality of God's Kingdom and his righteousness, then it is not an unfruitful work of darkness. Just seek God in everything, making him the central part of all you do, and he will lead you in how to spend your time, tallents, gifts and abilities, and your finances, and everything you do will be done in the light of the Holy Spirit as you make yourself available to be filled by Him wherever you may be.


Let's wrap up by reading verses eighteen through twenty-one again, pondering how we can change the way we go about our days so that we are continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with  the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and  making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord  Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

We don't bust dissipation by simply not dissipating. We need to do something else instead. By blotting out one thing, we place ourselves in a vaccum, and something else will take its place. If we do not make the correct choice, that something will be as bad or worse than that thing whose place it's taking.

We've talked about dissipation, some synonyms of which are distractions, diversion, indulgence, self-gratification, squandering, scattering, and waste.

And we know what is on the other end of the block. Some antonyms, or opposites of dissipation are growth, preservation, abstinence, chastity, clean-living, centralization, and concentration.

These opposites of dissipation sound an aweful lot like the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Abstinence sounds like self-control.
Chastity sounds like purity.
Clean-living sounds like righteousness.

And how are we filled with the Spirit of God?

By speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and  making melody in our hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

First this passage mentions speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Do we speak the Word of God to one another? Do our words build up our brothers and sisters? When we see a fellow believer struggling or fallen, do we lash out in judgment, or do we acknowledge their sin as their enemy and restore them to fellowship with God?

Saying to someone, "You are weak and wicked because you dyed your hair blue" is the same un-Biblical, Godless talk as saying "You are okay living in your sin, and it's not really sin anyway." Neither one of these is the Word of God. The first is a judgmental attack, while the second is a feel-good but damning lie from the pit of hell.

The first one should be replaced by spending more time humbly seeking after God so that you begin to see people like he sees them, looking not on the outside but into the heart.

The second one should be replaced by lovingly and privately telling the one bound by sin what the Word of God says, and then reminding them that Jesus came to set free those who are bound by sin -- he loves them and has a wonderful purpose and a plan for them, and you will stand with them as they turn this over to Jesus and agree to stop sleeping with this enemy and start fighting against it instead.

I've heard Christians complain about other believers because they talk about Jesus too much. It's fascinating to hear them talk, because when they're not fussing about the number of times those holy-roller fanatics talk about Jesus, they are talking about themselves. And that's how it goes. Either God is at the center of our lives, or we are. And as we speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and as we sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts, we'll find ourselves talking about Jesus and the wonders of God a little more, too.


Instead of talking to ourselves about negative things, or fleshly, Godless things, or prideful things, or fearful things, we should give inner evidence to the centrality of God in our lives in a place that only we and God can see -- "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord  Jesus Christ."

Develop a thankful heart. Stop yourself from grumbling, complaining, boasting, or speaking fear or defeat or confidence in the flesh, before that junk comes out of your mouth. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, instead giving thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thanking him for his goodness and for the matchless price he paid for YOU at Calvary. And that which only you and God can see will begin to shine out of you, and others will begin to see the glory of God in your life as you are filled with his Holy Spirit.


The last verse of our passage says, "submitting to one another in the fear of God." And while this is the end of our Scripture reading today, it is only the beginning of the path we walk to live a life filled to overflowing with the glory of God. An attitude of humility is a prerequisite to the instructions that follow, and I encourage you to set aside time this week to read Ephesians chapters five and six. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to study it, read it over and over, and even memorize it. Get out paper and pen and write down the points. Then compare each point to your own life, your own attitudes, your own relationships, the ways you interact with others, and the ways you interact with yourself and God, and write down the next thing you need to do to walk on the path of being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.


And as the Spirit says in verse fourteen of Ephesians chapter five,

Awake, you who sleep,
arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


Have you been asleep? Then God is calling you to awake today, to arise from your slumber, to arise from your place of death to the spirit, to arise from your place of comfort, your place of familiarity, your place of complacency. And as you arise, Jesus will give you light and life.

If God is tugging at your heart, then get out of your seat and come up front to the altar, and just kneel in his presence.

This altar is open, and you're all invited to come and pray, worship, and seek after God, for his Spirit is here with us, and he is present to heal, to deliver, to transform, and to renew.

If you would like prayer or ministry, instant message someone on the ministry team.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior, then you are on the outside of the Kingdom, and it's time for you to come home. The Father isn't angry with you; rather, his arms are open wide, and he's running to meet you. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, he loves you just as you are, so much that he willingly laid down his life so that your sins could be forgiven and so you could be set free from those sins, have your weight of guilt completely removed, and so you could walk in newness of life with joy and peace.

And if God is calling to you today, answer that call. Pray with me now. Say this: Say, "Jesus, I accept your invitation. I ask you to forgive me for all my sins, and I accept your forgiveness. Come into my heart, and make me brand new. Turn my life around, and put me on the path you have for me. I accept you as my Lord and Savior, and I will follow you all the days of my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and lead me in your ways. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

Come and pray, and when you're ready to chat and fellowship, please make your way to the room on your left where we'll all meet in a bit.

Come.