Monday, November 26, 2012

Children of Light

Part 27 of a series through the New Testament book of Ephesians

You can listen to this sermon here.

Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 

“Awake, O sleeper, 
and rise from the dead, 
and Christ will shine on you” (5:7-14). 

Now You Are Light in the Lord 

Paul writes, “Therefore do not become partners with them [people who are “sexually immoral,” “impure,” and “covetous,” v. 6] for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (vv. 7-8a).

The Christian life is always a call to be who God says you are. 

“…Paul does not say merely that before their conversion Christians were in darkness and that now, since their conversion, they are in light, though that is true. He says something more profound. Before they were darkness, now they are light. He is pointing to a change in them, not merely to a change in their surroundings. Before they were not only in darkness; darkness was in them. And now not only are they in light they are light….” (James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians, p. 183).

Walk as Children of Light 

Since we are now “light in the Lord,” we should “walk as children of light” (v. 8b). “[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). God “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). How are we to live as children of light?

1. Children of light should live lives that please God. 

Paul says that “the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” (v. 9; cf. Rom. 6:21-22; Gal. 5:22-23; Phil. 1:11). “Goodness” is often used of showing benevolence to others (unlike “covetousness,” v. 3). We are to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (v. 10). “What is pleasing to the Lord” is a positive way of saying, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (4:30).

2. Children of light should not participate in the works of darkness. 

We are to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness” (v. 11). In verse 7, Paul says that we are not to become “partners” with those who do the works of darkness. “Paul is not telling Christians to avoid all contact with nonbelievers but to avoid joining them in their sin” (ESV Study Bible, p. 2270). (In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Paul says it’s unrepentant professing Christians, not unbelievers, whom we are to avoid.)

3. Children of light should expose the true nature of the works of darkness. 

Instead of taking part in the works of darkness, we are to “expose them” (v. 11b). The works of darkness are “unfruitful” (v. 11) and “shameful” (v. 12).

Leave the Light On

“Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (v. 14b; cf. Isa. 60:1; Jonah 1:6). Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

“Turn the light off!” This is what my Dad would say whenever I forgot to turn the light off in a room. As Christians, we need to leave our lights on.

The way we live may result in others escaping the darkness. 

Jesus said to his followers, “You are the light of the world…. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 16).

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