Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – Walk in the Light
Ephesians 5:7-14 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 arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
In this passage, Paul continues to describe the way we should imitate Christ and how we should walk in love. Last week, we looked at a number of prohibitions that serve to protect us and to give us a life filled with joy and continued peace. Today, Paul continues that discussion as he encourages us to be children who walk in the light. Notice that in this passage, Paul challenges us to accomplish five things.
First, he states that we must consider whether our relationships lead us to the light or into darkness. The point being made here is that we are to avoid partnerships with those who commit sins related to sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness. Notice he speaks of a partnership because these partnerships are generally the people we spend the most time with. To partner with those who support such things will most often bring us down rather than build us up. Wrongly crafted partnerships impact us and determine who we will become. You see the question is not whether a relationship is right or wrong, but rather is it wise to continue that relationship especially if that relationship tends to cause us to do things we would not do without them. This does not mean that we don’t have friends or relationships that do these things, we just don’t let them control us or our decisions.
Secondly, Paul challenges us to walk as children of the light. Once again, we are reminded that the term walk represents the totality of all that we do, what we say, and how we live. The light here is represented by the light of the Gospel and the life that Christ lived. He is the light and we are the light of the world based on the fact that we have received Christ into our life.
The bottom line here is that because He is the light, there should be no part of our life that is not unaffected by the light of the gospel. You see, while we are the light, but it is possible to act in a way that begins to diminish the light in our life. I am not sure whether or not you have had this problem, but the headlights on my little car get from time to time coated with a film of dirt and oil from the highway. When this happens, the light being emitted is not as bright. To address the the issue, I must take the time to clean the lens so that the light is bright once again. But here is what I found, the light had not changed. The lens had been darkened by the grime but light underneath remained the same. We must choose to walk in the light and alleviate anything that would diminish the light’s effectiveness in our lives.
Another issue that comes to us is that too often we narrow things to the degree that we measure our actions by whether or not the action we partake in is right or wrong. The better question, however, is whether or not it is the wise thing to do. You see there may not be anything wrong with a specific single decision, but where will that one decision lead us. Bad moral decisions are usually preceded by a series of unwise decisions. Let me explain. If we are struggling in our relationship with our spouse, we might decide to have lunch with a coworker or friend. Is there anything wrong with having lunch with someone? No, not in its purest sense. But, then we begin to work late with that person or spend more time with them. Again, there is nothing wrong with this in itself, but then we move from lunch and working late to having dinner, and then moving toward listening compassionately to one another’s spousal problems. Then we decide to stop by their home because we know their spouse is away and they need counsel. This is followed by a hug and so on and so on. You see no one decision in itself is wrong but was it a wise decision. The problem is that a series of unwise decisions set us up for wrong moral decisions.
The problem that exists is that this potential allows the light of one’s testimony to be diminished, if not snuffed out. You see the problem with sexual sin is that once lines are crossed there are serious moral and personal consequences. This does not mean that one sin is worse than another, it means that the consequences of this sin are different. As passionate followers of Christ, we must avoid those things that cause the light of Christ to be diminished in us. Therefore, do not walk in the path of darkness but rather in the light. Choose the light.
Thirdly, Paul challenges us to try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. To please the Lord, we must honor the Lord in all we do. The question to be asked is do my actions or my decisions lead to honoring God. Once again, this is not always just about what is right or wrong but doing that which is wise and honoring to God. When we seek to please God rather than men, it will keep us safe. Men will lead us astray but God always directs our steps toward health and wholeness. Do we honor God in our actions is the question?
Fourthly, take no part in unfruitful works of darkness. Paul is aware that our decisions lead to action. His desire is for us to seek that which honors God and does not detract from God’s purpose for our life. Listen to this. God is calling us to a higher standard of living, not to steal our joy or to cause us to become arrogant and prideful, but we honor God most by living to a higher standard.
This means that we avoid living on the edge when it comes to morality. If we are talking calories push it to the edge. There is no major consequence other than a few pounds. We can quickly adjust that later. But when it comes to moral issues, the closer we come to the edge, the more likely we will be pushed over the edge. The enemy loves to take advantage of those well timed moments where he pushes us to the edge of morality and then tempts us to make unwise choices. Andy Stanley had this to say, “Culture baits us to go to the line and then chastises us when we step over the line.” For that reason, we must build margin into our life. Margin means that we establish boundaries to prevent us from being caught in a trap or walking so close that makes it easier to step over the line.
Fifth, Paul calls us to awake and arise. We are to take action. There is great power in doing this. If we rise from our sleep and do not just go through the motions, we will experience an amazing freedom and power in life. Too often, we live in a stupor. We have been captivated by immorality to the point where we have been mesmerized by it. Too often, we do not take spiritual things seriously. Too often, we go through the motions but do not have a clue about what we do or why we do it.
There is value in the light shining upon us. As the light shines, we will reflect Christ as the moon reflects the sun. The light also exposes darkness. Light is good for our growth. Light gives us direction. Anything exposed to the light becomes visible. Too often, we are afraid to allow the light shine because we afraid of what it will expose. What is exposed by the light? Well, for one hidden sin is revealed. Sometimes, we have a blind spot in us that we are not even aware of. As God’s light shines into our heart, suddenly, we begin to sense a dissatisfaction with a particular issue. That is the conviction of the Holy Spirit that is leading us to truth. Sometimes as the light of God is shining into our lives others begin to see the shortcomings in us. And often they see them better than we do because we are in essence blinded to them.
The light of Christ will also expose those things that we have suppressed to the degree that we do not remember them any more. While we have forgotten about them, they continue to effect us. It is like a computer virus. Most computer viruses are running behinds the scene. They could be collecting data about us or could be causing our computers to run slower than normal. When it comes to sin, the sin may remain in the background but is engaged when we meet certain people because we respond in ways that we do not understand. There are times, as well, where we are tempted by certain stimuli. We don’t understand it when this happens. It is often foreign to us.
The problem is that many times we don’t see these things in ourselves. We are blind to our own problems. That is why we need a Nathan in our lives. Remember the story of David and Nathan. David had sinned personally and openly before the kingdom. He lusted, committed adultery, he lied, and tried to hide his sin by having Bathsheba’s husband killed. David even did a great job of hiding the sin and filing it away from himself. The amazing thing to me is that David was so good at this that he was able to deceive himself into believing that he could live life as usual. But God knew what he had done. So one year after sinning, Nathan came along to shine the light of the gospel into David’s heart. Nathan famously stated “David, you are the man.” You have sinned. You are wrong. The light of Christ will do that for us, if we let it. It will speak life to us. At times, it will scream the words “you are the man.”
So what does this mean for us today? It means that we must take inventory of our lives. How are we doing? Are we walking in the light or are we walking in darkness? Do we have partnerships that we need to consider getting out of? Do these relationships encourage us toward the light or toward darkness? Do we seek to honor and please God or do we do our own thing? Are we willing to have the light of the Gospel shine into the depths of our soul or do we try hide a part of us so no one else knows who we truly are? May God help us to walk in the light!
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom