BIG IDEA: There’s a difference between living in the light and living in the dark. Those who are children of light, should care a lot more about the decisions they make and the way they choose to live their lives because they are exposed; they are in the light. What does it mean to live in the light and why should we care?
The book of Ephesians relates God’s plan for creating a new society by his grace and for his glory. It is “…doctrine set to music. Just as [Paul] proclaimed God’s order to the post-Augustine Roman era which was marked by a process of social disintegration, so Ephesians is today the most contemporary book in the Bible, since it promises community in a world of disunity, reconciliation in the place of alienation and peace instead of war” (John Mackay, President Princeton Theological Seminary, 1948).
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 5:3-14
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
- If you are not a Christian, know that this message is primarily to the Christian. But there is still something to be gleaned for you. You can hear the reasons that certain modes of living don’t fit with the Christian faith.
- If you are living in the light, you are visible, and the decisions you make as a follower of Christ matter a great deal.
- Why does Paul draw out sexual immorality, covetousness/greed, and filthy language/foolish talk? In Rome, at the time of Paul, these vices were rampant. These vices continue to be prominent in our culture today. Humanity is consistent in its vices. We are consistent in our vices.
- Why doesn’t Paul go into specifics of these vices? Because we, as children of the light, know in our hearts what these things are, and Paul’s point is that we should care much more about how we live and what place these vices have in our lives.
- Care about….
- What you do with your body
- What you do with your finances
- How you speak
- Why? Because these lifestyles, certain ways of living and acting that are not fitting for a follower of Jesus.
- Living the Correspondent Life: live a life where your actions and your beliefs correspond with each other.
- Saying you believe and actually believing are two different things. Your actions will reflect your true beliefs.
- These vices shouldn’t even be named among you: Paul means that no believer should even be named in association with these vices. You should care whether or not your name is associated with these things. It should upset you because you are a representative of Christ.
- What should be our motivation for wanting to live the correspondent life?
- First, remember that we are not saved by correspondent living nor must we live a correspondent life in order to be saved.
- “Let there be thanksgiving” – When we live a life of gratitude for the Cross, when we really understand what God has done for us, there is a natural thankfulness that wells up within us and begins to affect everything that we do.
- If we remember the Gospel in our decisions, we can’t help but care to make the best decision we can make.
- Look at Eph 4:30 – do not grieve the Holy Spirit: any time we make a decision that isn’t in line with who we are in Christ, it grieves the Holy Spirit. If you really care about someone, you don’t want to grieve them. Therefore, if you truly care about God, then you will make decisions that will not grieve him.
- Those who have been redeemed by Christ have a “new normal.” We are new children of light. We are set apart from the rest of the world, and we live by a different standard.
- Our eyes are always drawn to the things in the light. The world watches Christians specifically because we are in the light, so be careful how you live.
- It will begin to get easier to live in the light and living in darkness will lose its appeal.
- When you have the Light of Christ shining in you, people living in the dark will start to stay away from you because you are bearing fruit of the light. The light within you exposes the darkness.
- Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Yes, it will start becoming natural to do what is pleasing to the Lord, but you now have the opportunity to cooperate with God’s work. You have human responsibility to discern the will of God. He lets us into relationship with him, which means we need to be diligent with our actions.
- How do we discern well? Pay attention to what people say, even people who have titles you think you can trust, pay attention and stay away from anyone who claims that the darkness is not dark, who will try to sanction and claim as godly ungodly living.
- John Calvin quote: “In all ages, indeed, Satan raises up sorcerers of this description, who endeavor by unholy scoffs to escape the Divine judgment, and who actually exercise a kind of fascination over consciences not sufficiently established in the fear of God. ‘This is a trivial fault. Fornication is viewed by God as a light matter. Under the law of grace God is not so cruel. He has not formed us so as to be our own executioners. The frailty of nature excuses us.’ These and similar expressions are often used by the scoffers. Paul, on the contrary, exclaims that we must guard against that sophistry by which consciences are ensnared to their ruin.”
- Disassociate yourself from communities of darkness because you can quite easily be swept up into practices of the darkness.
- Don’t let your Christian brothers and sisters be deceived: it is our job to shine a light on your fellow Christians. Not as punishment, but for the purpose of restoration. Matthew 18 gives us instructions on how to confront/expose darkness in fellow believers. Sometimes conviction comes from correction from fellow believers, and without conviction, we’re often unmotivated to actively correct the way we live.
- Be thankful.
- Care how you live.
- Help each other live a correspondent life.
Want to study this topic more?