In this special Mother’s Day sermon, Pastor Babij teaches from Ephesians three vital characteristics of a Christian mother who walks wisely:
1) She walks carefully before God in order to please Him
2) She walks in a controlled manner with God as a Spirit-filled believer
3) She walks compliantly before God in reverential fear
This morning, grab your Bible, grab your iPhone, grab your iPad, whatever you’re using this morning. Turn to Ephesians chapter 5. Today we’re going to be looking at the vital characteristics for mothers to walk wisely.
I’m thankful very much for my mother and thankful for the example she’s been. The other example that I have of a mother is my own wife. She has been a great blessing in mothering our children. Then I have tons of examples in the congregation over the years. All the mothers that I have observed in our congregation that have raised children and dealt with difficult situations and and how they weathered through that, especially in their trust in the Lord and their understanding and knowledge of Scripture. That really was the key and that will always be the key, to trust the Lord, to follow His word, to put those principles into practice. They can be used to be passed on to the next generation, so we can truly, with God’s help, raise the next generation to love the Lord and to follow His precepts and His Word and to carry the baton of the gospel to those that we can, and to continue it on until the Lord comes back. That is really the purpose of part of mothering, is to raise up their children to love Christ, and at least to be an example of what it means to love Christ.
So today let’s have a word of prayer as we look into Scripture today. Lord, thank You so much for this opportunity that You’ve given today to bless us. You’ve given us this venue so we can get the word of God out in an instructional way. Lord, even though it is not what we’re used to and it’s not fellowshipping together with each other, I pray that we would anticipate that day that you bring us together and all these restrictions would be lifted and we get back to normal very soon. I just pray You give us wisdom on how to do that. And I pray that You would be with those who lost loved ones and are even sick right now, just bring Your comforting hand upon them, put it upon them, Lord. I pray you would raise up those who have gotten sick. Thank you Lord for preventing many of us from getting sick, and I just asked You Lord that You would continue to do that, as we just come to trust You everyday for our very life, our very breath, for everything You’ve given us. Lord, now as we come to Your word, please use it to edify us and bless us for Your sake. I pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.
So this title of the vital characteristics for mothers to walk wisely assumes and presupposes that mothers already know how to live wisely. That is they know the difference between a foolish walk, a naive walk, and a wise walk. The wise person in Scripture is not necessarily someone who has great intellectual attainment, but one who has moral and spiritual perception, one who fears the Lord, and is the beginning of knowledge. Therefore, a wise mother knows in order to be pleasing to God, her life must demonstrate three vital characteristics. Now in implementing these characteristics, I believe that all mothers are going to have influence over their family, their children, over other people. I was reading this article about a pastor in England many many years ago, G. Campbell Morgan his name was. He had four sons, and four of his sons all became preachers and ministers of the gospel, which was amazing. One day, a person came up to one of the sons and said to him: of all the four sons, who is the best preacher? And he looked and thought for a minute and he looked at his father who was standing there and he said: the best preacher in our family is our mother. Now, she never came behind a pulpit to preach. She never led a men’s group or anything like that, but she preached in her home by the life that she lived and that life poured into her four boys, raised up four preachers of the gospel. That’s amazing. The boys knew where give the credit when it came to the example that was set before them on what it means to be godly, what it means to be a Christian, what it means to live for the Lord, what it means to live a really simple life for the Lord. So those same principles are ours today that we can use to build up the next generation.
As we look at Ephesians chapter 5, the first vital characteristic of a woman who wants to walk wisely is a woman who has a careful walk. If you notice in verse 15, it says:
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
In other words, a wise mother knows that she needs to walk carefully before the Lord. Actually, the Greek term here, a familiar one to us, is the word akribos, which we get the word acrobat. It carries the idea of accuracy with care. An acrobat brings to mind someone who does difficult and hard moves with precision and accuracy, like a person who walks on the high wire or somebody who walks the balancing beam. It takes a lot of skill, when you look at the olympics and those people are flipping on over on this little beam and landed perfectly and all those kind of things. It takes practice. It takes discipline. It takes just the needed organization in one’s life to be able to do that with skill. Now, without much practice, their moves could be fatal. I would not want to try to do that if I didn’t practice it for many many months and years, because I’d probably break my head, and so would you. Then, a wise mother really walks carefully and with accuracy and desires to practice walking more skillfully each and every day.
Now this wisdom of a careful walk is really manifested in two ways in our passage. The first one is that a mother who desires to be wise mother understands the preciousness of time. For it says here:
making the most of your time,
That wisdom here is really the skills for living, the skill for doing God’s will and pleasing Him. There’s a passage of Scripture in the Old Testament in Psalm 90:4-12. This is a psalm that Moses tells, spoken of him, telling forth of how difficult it was in the wilderness. There was many funerals in the wilderness and how precious time was to do what is right. This is some of the things in Psalm 90. It says about how short life is:
like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.
Verses five and six:
like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away.
we have finished our years like a sigh. As for the days of our life, they contains seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.
And verse twelve:
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
So there’s the goal of redeeming the time in our life and realizing time is precious, is to offer to the Lord a heart of walking skillfully through life by using the principles God has given us in His word to do so. A wise mother knows she’s working against the clock, and that time is irreversible and it marches on unwilling to wait for anyone to catch up. So what does she do? It says in Ephesians 5:16 and for anybody who’s walking in the Spirit: make the most of your time. She redeems the time. Redeem has the idea of buying up the time or taking advantage of the time. She strives to make the right use of every opportunity. The old english word “opportunity” means toward the port. It suggests a ship taking advantage of the wind and the tide to arrive safely in port. So that’s what she does. Her goal is to please the Lord. Verse 10 of chapter 5 of Ephesians it says:
trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
A second thing under a careful walk is that a wise mother is not ignorant of the presence of evil. Life is filled with evil. And because she desires to be wise, the only solution is to make the most of her time. She is aware of that time is short and the days are evil, bad, wicked, sinful. There is wickedness in high places and the evil one is active in fighting for the battle of the mind. That is what he desires. The real evil she is concerned about is the evil of ignorance about God and the foolish trends and people and circumstances to which people quickly succumb to, which deepens their ignorance and inflamed their passions to desire substitutes instead of the true and living God. She wants to steer her children away from foolishness in order to live wisely, because in the study of proverbs we know that there are really three persons there. There is the naive, and all children are born naive. All children are born foolish. Some children go on to be scoffing children, and she wants to steer those children away from being naive, being foolish, being a scoffer, and she wants to raise a wise child, to steer the child away from foolishness in order to live wisely.
That means there’s an understanding that one learns from Scripture to be able to steer a child and even your own heart away from what characterizes a foolish person. What does characterize a foolish person? There are several things. The first one could be that a foolish person is generally governed by feelings. Proverbs 1:22 tells us:
How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
She wants to get them to love the right things, not to be just guided by feelings that would usually lead down the wrong path. Also, a foolish person is guided by desires. I must have what I like. That is really foolish because Proverbs 14:12 tells us:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Also, a foolish person regularly is governed by impulses and instincts. So feelings, desires, impulses, and instinct, they all kind of go together, but many times that’s what leads them. Like Proverbs 26:11 tells us:
Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
He does not learn from past mistakes, does not learn from even his own mother and father and them giving him wisdom, but ends up repeating foolishness over and over again.
Also, there is an inadequacy in their thinking. They think inadequately, where it says in Proverbs 18:2:
A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.
They never think ahead – gets an idea and doesn’t even think through it or to the outcome or the implications of what they’re deciding to do. They just jump right in and and not think what danger they would end up in if they follow that course of action.
So the fool doesn’t really consult the plans and the specifications laid out in the Bible. Usually, they don’t usually listen to anybody. They don’t even think. They surely don’t think – what does God think? They surely don’t desire to please the Lord. Also, the fool is someone who lacks balance. It says in Proverbs 3:35:
The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.
In, other words she’s armed with, in Scripture, this knowledge and with this knowledge she’s able to walk carefully and does not want to walk carelessly. That is without proper guidance and forethought. She wants to be someone who is awake, like it says in verse 14 of Ephesians chapter 5:
For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
So she is not a sleepwalker. She is awake. Wise women look around and see what is going on so that they don’t live like fools and they’re able to teach their children not to live like fools or to stay naive, especially not to become a scoffer. So these things – the shortness of life, the presence of evil, do not make her crazy or frantic or even dismayed. At least it should not. It leaves her focused upon the Lord and dependent upon Him to accomplish His will through her.
That leads me to a second vital characteristic of a wise woman. That is that they have a controlled walk. Verse 17 through verse 19, it says:
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
The wisdom of a controlled walk is really manifested in several ways. The first way is a wise mother understands the will of the Lord. For it says:
do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Now understand here means to comprehend. It means to perceive or to have insight into. The word suggest using your mind to comprehend intellectually and to discover the will of God. Now when it comes to the will of God, Christians are not to seek mystical experiences or to rely on hunches or feelings or just inner leadings – follow your heart type of thing. The will of God here is to be equated with Scripture. According to Deuteronomy 29:29, there are two senses to God’s will. It says there:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
So the secret will of God, we don’t have to worry about that. That is the decreed will of God. Like it says in Psalm 115:3:
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
God is because God is God, and He will do His will no matter what. But the revealed will of God, that is the prescriptive will of God. The perceptive will of God, that’s in his word. We all have His word. We can follow His word. In fact Paul tells us in Romans:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
In fact, a parallel passage of Scripture to the Ephesians passage of Scripture is Colossians 3:16, where it says:
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
So the word-filled Christian and the spirit-filled Christian produce the same results, which is that teaching and singing to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
There was a person who wrote a book once called I think “Finding the Will of God”. And in that book, God’s will for us is to be saved, to be sanctified, to be serving, to be suffering, and to be Spirit-filled. Well, this passage of Scripture picks up the last one specifically, that God has given us a mind and our minds are to discover the will of God in the word of God. Therefore, the Christian woman can walk carefully and accurately because she knows what God wants her to do.
The second way a controlled walk is manifested is found in verses 18 and 19. That is that a wise mother continues to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is God’s will, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. She is known by living free of fleshly and sinful controls, where it says in verse 18:
do not get drunk with wine. for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
A command given there, that a wise woman gives herself over to the control of the Holy Spirit who lives in her. She wants to be controlled by God’s Spirit and not her flesh, not her old way of life, not her old sins, her old habits. She wants to be controlled, strengthened, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Of course the Holy Spirit is not going to violate His word, so she wants to be word-filled and spirit-filled to live the Christian life and to be involved with Christian service and to raise her family in the will of God. That means she put herself at the disposal of the Spirit so that she is constantly controlled by the Holy Spirit. That means that she is not controlled by evil forces, by strong drink or drugs, or anything that can control her outside of herself or in her body other than the Spirit of God and the word of God, or being controlled by the baser desires of her flesh. And why is that? Because she wants to be controlled by the Spirit, and He leads out of her the nobler instincts and capacities of her soul. It’s like it says in Galatians 5:16:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
That walk is really the direction of one’s life. It’s the quality of how they walk and how they live their lives. And so that’s what it’s saying. Don’t be controlled by other things, but be controlled by the Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit of God.
Now, to be filled with the Spirit of God, that means something is going on inside of that person, inside of all people who are walking in the Spirit. Actually, there are three results of walking in the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit. The first result is found in verse 19. It’s the result of being full of joy. She is known for her spiritual conversation. Verse 19:
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns…
When the focus of the believer’s heart is the Lord, then Christian joy is always present. In spiritual fellowship, we address one another, not with worldly chatter, but really in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. So the word “speaking” here is really a word that is an imperative. It’s a command that means to talk or to converse with. Implied is the purity and the joyful simplicity in which someone has a conversation with others about her Lord, about their Lord. In which ways? It says in three ways. In psalms. Now psalms are usually spoken of the nature of the work of God the Father. If you take your Bibles very quickly and turn back to Psalm 95:1-6, you get this sense there, in this passage of Scripture, that it is directing the praise there to the Father, in His work. For it says in Psalm 95:1:
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
There it is. And then it says:
For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountain are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Here, when one is being led by the Spirit, is walking in the Spirit, they are talking about the nature and the works of God and they learn to praise God for all the good things that He has done and is doing in their life presently.
Then the next word is that they sing hymns. Often hymns are directly to the redemptive work of Christ, not necessarily specifically every single hymn, but God the Son is often exemplified in hymns. Like it says in Acts 16, when at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God and the prisoners were listening to him. So they were singing to the Lord, even being in a very bad situation being in jail, and they’re praising God for allowing the Lord to use them and give His word to others. And because of it, they were putting in jail. Yet their hearts were not moved. The heart still sang praises to the Lord.
Also a woman would be known for her spiritual songs. It says in Ephesians 5:19:
and spiritual song, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.
Here, spiritual songs, possibly directed at the Holy Spirit of God or things pertaining to the Spirit, singing with thankfulness in your hearts it says in Colossians 3:16. She is a woman who joyfully converses with others, exhorting them to worship her Lord, and practices Christ’s consciousness in her home. All this music originates in her heart. When any person is at peace with God through Jesus Christ and they’re in the word of God and the word of God is washing their mind, it’s transforming their mind, then the outcome and the results of that is that she will be a person who definitely has joy in her life. It comes right from the depth of her heart. Now tell me that is not going to influence children in the home, when you have a wife or a mother whose mothering her children, and she is joyful. Where are they going to learn joy from? They’re going to learn joy from her example and how she dealt with things in the home.
So the evidence to recognize a spiritual mother is that she knows how to live joyfully. That means the object and the focus of her life is the Lord. She’s not focused on the problems. She’s not focused on herself. She has an an occupation with spiritual things and enjoyment of them. She has a joy inside of her that is expressed outwardly in the fellowship with her family, with her husband, with her children, with her neighbors, with the brethren in her church. She has a joy about her.
So the definition of Christian joy is really an emotion springing from a deep deep deep down confidence that God is in perfect control of everything, no matter what is happening and going on. In fact, there’s no event or circumstance that can occur in the life of a Christian that should diminish a Christian’s joy, except one area. And that is the area of sin. When sin is in our heart, joy seems to be trumped and is not there. So sin has to be looked for and repented of and cast out and put to death. Then joy returns. That is important. So Christians are to have a joyful heart, and a joyful heart is beneficial to our physical health. It’s beneficial to our spiritual health. Even in Proverbs 17:22 it says:
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones,
So if a woman could exemplify that to her family, that is great tremendous influence upon the minds and hearts of those who are observing it.
A second result of being filled with the Spirit of God is to be grateful for what one has. It says in verse 20 of Ephesians chapter 5:
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father,
Gratitude is the second result of being filled with the Spirit of God. There are a few times and few circumstances in which a person does not give thanks, or she does not give thanks. In fact, she has a constant character about her. She is always thanking the Lord and the Father for all things. And it is true that a grateful person is probably a godly person, and that godliness and gratitude seem to go hand in glove or hand in hand. In fact, as our text communicates, thankfulness is the preeminent sign of being filled with the Spirit of God. That also means, back in the Thessalonians chapter 5, to quench the Spirit of God is not to be thankful. So it has been said that thankfulness is the least of the virtues and ingratitude the worst of the vices. It is probably thought to be an easy virtue, and yet there are few people who are distinguished for thankfulness. It’s sad to say that people are more notable or noted for their whining and their complaining and their grumbling and their nagging than they are their thankfulness. Those are not fruits of the Holy Spirit. Those are fruits of the flesh. Those are fruits of self. Those are the kind of things that we have to put to death in our lives and mothers need to put to death. Because if you are going to be like that before your children, you’re teaching them something. Whether you have them in a classroom or not, they’re watching you every single day. In fact, it was the apostle Paul in Romans who said that unthankfulness is linked to dishonoring God and suppressing His truth and reveals a foolish heart. For he says this in Romans 1:21:
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So their heart of foolishness became more darkened just by them not being thankful. It is tragic, but true, that there is little thankfulness in the world. But the woman of the Spirit is characterized by constant thankfulness because she is rooted in Jesus Christ. She abounds therein with thankfulness by all the things that God has done in her life, all the things that the Lord has taught her, all the things and the precious things the Lord has brought into her surroundings. She is overflowing with gratitude, as it says in Colossians 2:7. It means to be exceedingly rich in something. It’s almost like saying the woman of the Spirit is an expert in thankfulness.
A last vital characteristic in Ephesians 5:20-21 is that of a compliant walk. A careful walk, controlled walk, and now a compliant walk. The bottom line is that a wise woman lives her life as if she is accountable to God for all things, for her very thoughts, her actions, her words, her feelings, and her example before her family. Therefore, she lives a life of reverential compliance, and she is known for two things.
Now this brings up a third result of being filled with the Spirit of God. And what is it? To live with harmonious relationships. Notice what it says in verse 21:
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
You cannot have harmonious relationships unless one person is willing to submit, to put themselves willingly under something, under someone. So she is known by submitting to others, meaning she learned and is learning to live selflessly. It’s not self who’s first. It’s others who are first. Christ is first. She focuses on the needs of others. Unity is essential and the result of the Spirit is dealing with people in that way. So she is subject to others in the sphere of Christ, meaning she is a God-fearer. A person walking in the Spirit has learned to walk in the fear of Christ and wants to model it before others.
Now make no mistake that the fear of the Lord needs to be taught and modeled before others. That is not something that comes naturally to anyone. It needs to be taught when the human being is a child, if you have that opportunity – a tender shoot just sprouting up. So moms, to teach your children the fear of Christ when they are young, that is when they can be molded and shaped in that fear. A good definition of the fear of God is that the fear of God is to be afraid enough to care what God has to say and to be humble enough to submit to the Lord’s authority. It encompasses both fear and trembling, but it also includes an awe and a reverence. As it says in Proverbs 1:7:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 28 verse 14:
How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
In other words, the fear of God will keep one from having a hard heart. Proverbs 14:2:
He who walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is crooked in his ways despises Him.
See, the fear of God will keep one on the straight path and from despising God. Then Proverbs 19 verse 23:
The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
One who properly fears God, both in a trembling way because of how awesome God is but also in an awe and reverential way. The fear of God will keep one living right and sleeping well, being able to put your head on the pillow after living through a day and just trusting the Lord, knowing that you have done everything God want you to do that day and honored Him.
So she’s known by submitting to others. And then in verse 22 of Ephesians 5, she is known for submitting to her husband, just like she does to her Lord. It says in verse 22:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
So what is submission? Submission is actually honor and reverence. Verse 33 tells us that. It says:
Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
To walk in the Spirit, in the same context, is to be submissive to your husband. Of course I’m not really talking about the husband’s right this morning, but the thing is that if a husband is a loving leader and if he is a loving learner of his wife, then he will be a person who a woman could very easily submit to in honor and reverence. It’s an attitude first and it shows really confidence in his decision. It is also grateful; it’s thankful. Submission is also a willing choice. The Greek word really is hupotasso. Hupo means under and tasso means to place. It means to arrange oneself under someone and of course it implies the wife chooses to submit herself to her husband willingly. Why? She does the same thing to her Lord that she’s now doing to her husband. She’s just being a consistent example.
Submission is also a spiritual matter. In verse 22, it says “unto the Lord”. So the motive is obedience to God. You can’t be right with God if you don’t do this. Really, a woman who’s unwilling to be submissive to her husband cannot be right with God. She cannot submit to God unless she’s doing both.
Also submission is comprehensive. It says in verse 24 of Ephesians 5 “in everything”. They are to submit in everything, all categories of life, obviously excluding sin. Parenting, finances, sitting down and discussing with her husband these things. She’s very dedicated to her husband because they’re teammates. She completes him and put her gifts at his disposal. Husbands and wives who are fighting with each other, resisting each other, not implementing these things in front of their family and in each other and in front of the church, and they’re never coming to the place where they’re loving one another and submit to one another are not exemplifying a spiritual life at all whatsoever. Don’t even think you are. Don’t even think you’re walking a holy and godly life. You’re not because right there you need to get down and repent of your sins, get that things right and work on your relationship as a husband and wife because that’s God’s will for you is to do that.
Also submission is God’s way of attaining and maintaining function in order in the home. The reversal of the roles is what causes turmoil in the family. It started in the garden, and that has been the problem all through human history. God is not the author of confusion. He wants unity in the home. He wants the home to function with order. Also, it is the best way to influence the husband. In 1 Peter 3:1 you see submitting women influencing their husband in the right way because of their willing submissive attitude before God. God does something in that relationship and brings them together to get things done.
It also includes being a homemaker. When a wife, wise woman is submissive, that the home is her greatest sphere of influence. That’s her primary domain. It is her priority. Whatever else she’s doing, whatever else she’s involved with, even if she is working outside the home, her primary domain and responsibility is to be a homemaker, to make sure everything is going the way it ought to be going at home. When she does that, it sure brings a balance and a peace to one’s life.
But isn’t submission the way of all believers? We submit to government. We submit to teachers at school. We should submit to the elders in the church. We submit to bosses. So submission is around us everywhere. We are all practicing it in some way, but this kind of submission, submission that is letting guided by the Holy Spirit of God. I would have to say this too – that submission is not always fair. It doesn’t mean because you submit, everything is going to go your way or people are going to respond to you the way you want. No, we just need to trust God that this is God’s way. When we submit to the Lord and submit to His authority and to things God’s placed in our life, then we find out that this actually becomes a tremendous privilege, to willingly put ourselves under someone else and esteem them higher than ourselves.
And of course, it’s also important in the area of testimony. When you live this way, you are a testimony to the world. You are testimony to the church. You are testimony to the children.
So this morning I pray that these vital characteristics will be developing in your life as you grow in and walk with the Lord – the vital characteristics of a careful walk, of a controlled walk, and a compliant walk.
I just want to say to all mothers happy mother’s day. God bless. Enjoy your day. And children, make sure you say something to your mom about how great she is. God bless.