Walk as Children of Light
The transition from not being Christian to Christian
How do we live? How does God expect us to live?
We look to others examples and find a mixed bag of answers and examples.
Denominations give us a mixed bag of answers.
Ephesians deals with this question and tells us how to be the church in a broken world.
First half dealt with doctrine, specifically defining salvation.
How because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross we have been made new, we are alive.
This opportunity for salvation is for all people, both Jew and Gentile.
This creates a messy church, Jews and Gentiles together trying to figure out what God expects of them.
Reconciled Through Christ, yet living in a messy world full of temptation.
This messy church full of diverse people is exactly what God wants, yet we have a choice, do we live as the world shows us to live or do we live as Christ calls us to live?
In the first half of Ephesians Paul has explained the dynamic of salvation, and what our calling is in Christ. To become unified through the cross and live worthy of our calling.
This calling is counter cultural, it’s different.
In chapter 4, Paul transitions from teaching the doctrine of salvation, to telling us exactly what this calling is to look like.
4. We have been made new, our minds have been transformed, therefore we are people who choose to walk in love.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
a. Christians always take the path of love, this has been Paul’s message throughout Ephesians. We are to love our enemies, and treat others with respect.
b. But this message of love can get a little messed up when we live in a broken world with the tension of living in Christ or in the world.
c. the church struggles with this tension and has allowed some things to become more about love defined by the world, and less about living in Christ, with the kind of love Christ defines.
This is where our passage for today begins, with the earlier instruction of walking in the way of love, but with a big BUT as a transition from verse two to three.
Avoid All Immorality
Avoid All Immorality
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
Paul gives us a sharp contrast between his understanding of what it means to live a life of love, and the contemporary cultural understanding of what it means.
In Paul’s mind nothing could be further from a life of love than to be involved in relationships that are immoral, or impure, or greedy. He even corrects ones thinking of how they talk and joke with one another.
Premarital and other immoral sex, insolent speech and sexual humour were as common in ancient pagan society as they are today. Paul did not water down God’s standards to accommodate the culture, he actually instructs us that we should be counter cultural.
He gives us an alternative action, rather then live as the world lives, we should be thankful.
The world looks at sexual relationship, humour and joking as something that is harmless and you can do whatever you want. Women are just a sex object that we can look at on the internet, or it’s no big deal to make that joke about cheating on a spouse. Our world waters down morality and makes it a joke.
But Paul is serious about his instructions that we should not view things this way, instead we should be thankful that God has given us sex with our spouses, and humour as a gift. There is consequences if we don’t change our view from being worldly to Christlike.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
This is a common way of looking at immoral behaviour in the 1st century.
the Jews and early Christians taught that your lifestyle shows where your heart is.
If your lifestyle is the same as the world, you are not experiencing the kingdom life that scripture talks about.
you are missing out on the freedom, the love and the grace that Jesus offers to us here and now. The kingdom has come through Jesus and we are called to live in that kingdom, not the world.
Yet many Christians profess Christ as their saviour, but not as their Lord.
Jesus as Lord means you have given your entire self to Him, and you are allowing the Holy Spirit to mould you into Christlikeness.
Don’t Be Deceived
Don’t Be Deceived
But some teach that these issues are a work in progress, and it’s ok. We have grace, and the world is tempting. Jesus understands your struggles, just love people and it will all be ok.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
a. Paul is very clear in this passage that when it comes to sexual immorality and how we talk, what we joke about, these things matter. Yes, we are under the grace of God through the cross, but receiving Christ as our Lord and Saviour means we are transformed into the likeness of Christ.
b. The Gospel is transformative, which means we become different from the world. This difference moves beyond love, the pagan can love, it moves into a radical love that is different. It’s a love that makes you willing and motivated to see the world differently. To act differently.
Walk As Children of the Light
Walk As Children of the Light
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
We are children of light, and light exposes what is in the dark.
repentance means we expose our sin and change it.
living in the light means we don’t have dark secrets anymore because Christ has freed us from those secrets by being our light.
so Paul says we should have nothing to do with fruitless deeds, instead we should wake up and let Christ be our light.
Light also shines on others.
when we are a light, we shine on others.
people notice we are different then the world, they see a radical love that respects others and shows the likeness of Jesus.
Be Carful How You Live
Be Carful How You Live
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Live a wise life, making the most of your opportunities.
a counter cultural life runs through the open doors, shares their faith with others and is proud of the Gospel message.
Understand God’s will.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
“If you love me, keep my commands.
God’s will for your life is to keep His commands, rejoice, pray continually, and give thanks in ALL circumstances.
3. Don’t Find Joy in wine, instead find joy in the Spirit.
a. Paul tells us to live life filled with the Spirit.
b. the world looks to things like getting drunk in order to have fun and find joy.
c. The Christian lives life filled with the Spirit, which means the Spirit is leading our lives which brings constant joy. This joy brings music to our hearts. That’s the rejoicing Paul talks about in God’s will.
d. We are to lives lives of worship!
4. Thankfulness is the heart of the Father.
a. If you tank God for everything your heart will change, your perception of the world will change.
b. Notice Paul keeps mentioning thankfulness as the thing that combats these worldly desires.
Big Idea: The life of love that scripture calls us to, is a life of obedience, joy and thankfulness. The Gospel is a transformative message that changes lives. Live a life that is transformed by the power of the Spirit, making Jesus Christ your Lord, not the world.
If you have something in your life that needs to change, that the Spirit is convicting you of, respond and change it. God wants your life to be full of grace, the kind of grace that transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.