- A Dark Past (verse 8a)
- A Bright Present (verse 8b)
- A Shining Proof (verses 9-13)
- a. In Production Of The Spirit's Fruit (verses 9-10)
- b. In Abstention Of Sin's Fruit (verses 11-13)
- An Awakening Promise (verse 14)
Amen. Now let me welcome you to our Bible Reading tonight here in the Iron Hall, it's great to see you all out with us. Ephesians and chapter 5, and as you can see on your study sheet we're looking from verses 8 through to verse 14, and our subject is: 'The Children of Light'. We'll begin reading at verse 8 - verse 7 leads us on, it was our last verse last week: "Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit", or the fruit of light, "is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light".
I want you to turn with me to another passage of Scripture that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. The second epistle of the Corinthians and chapter 6, which is - in biblical terms, in the gamut and the panorama of the whole of the word of God - is a parallel passage to the passage that we have been reading about. We've been studying in chapter 5 of Ephesians and verses 1 through to 14, and indeed the whole of this passage is speaking of how we walk worthy, and walk as children of light - that's the crux of it, that's the theme: how to walk as children of the light. Tonight in the passage that we are looking at, verse 8 through 14, it is the key passage to the whole of that chapter 5. But here, in 2 Corinthians 6, we have a parallel to it - very familiar verses.
Verse 14: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God".
The historical context of the verses that we're looking at tonight, verse 8 through to 14, as many of these corrective epistles have as a backdrop, is a false doctrine that has arisen within the early Church. You will know that as a background to many of these epistles there were either one or more false doctrines that had arisen within the church of Jesus Christ, and Paul the apostle, or perhaps another apostle, is writing to correct these false doctrines. A challenge had arisen within the church here at Ephesus - and Paul, as the great apostle to the Gentiles, had to oppose that great error. It was the teaching of compromising men, men who were compromising with the world, the culture, the custom, around them in the city of Ephesus. Now, we get a glimpse of this in the book of Romans - if you want to turn to Romans chapter 6. It's not the city of Ephesus, but it's the same ancient world and we get a bit of an idea as to what Paul was writing to there and what he is writing to here.
Romans chapter 6 and verses 1 to 2, very familiar verses also. He asks the rhetorical question: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?". Now it's important to notice that, in many of these corrective epistles, Paul the apostle defends his apostleship. The reason for him doing such is because those false teachers who, most of the time, came after Paul contradicting what he had been teaching, disputed whether or not Paul was an apostle sent from God. So you can see what was happening, first of all these false teachers were undermining Paul's credibility - and once they had pulled that rug from under these believers, they had lost faith in Paul the apostle as the great teacher of God - then they could begin to unwind the teaching that Paul painstakingly had watered, and planted, and watched grow within the lives of these new believers.
I often wonder how Paul would have felt when he was on, perhaps another journey preaching the Gospel, and to get word that all the good work that he had put in in the Gospel and in teaching was now being tried to be unravelled by false teachers. Paul's opponents denied his apostleship and contradicted his teaching. At the crux of it, here in Ephesians, they felt that Paul was being too rigid in his interpretation of Scripture. They felt he was being too hard line, and to put it bluntly: they believed that his doctrine was contrary to their culture, to their custom, and perhaps to common sense. What they believed in could be termed as antinomianism - you can explain that word from the book of Deuteronomy, by the name Deuteronomy. You have that little phrase 'onomy' within it which means law, it's Latin for 'law'. Antinomianism is anti-lawism - in other words, that there are no rules. It is gone from the liberty that we have in Christ, to squander and submerge itself in absolute licence whereby everything goes. You can understand why Paul said: 'Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?' - he's addressing that heresy, antinomianism. They felt that because God had forgiven them, God had wiped the slate clean, therefore they could go out and do what they wanted and be forgiven for it.
In fact it was deeper than that. If you were here last night at the Gospel meeting we were looking at Psalm 25, and we saw how it is not a shame for God to forgive sin. In fact, God takes great delight in forgiving great sinners - and, indeed, God can take great glory when He forgives and pardons the sins of a great sinner. But, as with all false doctrine, these false teachers took that truthful doctrine a little bit too far - always beware of taking a true doctrine a little bit too far. They went on to say: 'Because God delights in forgiving sinners, and because God is glorified in forgiving sinners, then we must go out and sin as much as we can - and by doing that, when we get forgiven, we'll be bringing all the more glory to God'. Now, that's logic, but that is warped logic.
Here we find concreted within these false teachers, who were frequenting the church at Ephesus, this false idea of the forgiveness of God - but what underlined it all was the fact that what Paul the apostle was teaching, and what the Holy Ghost was bringing, to these newborn believers was contrary to their way of life. It contradicted their culture, their custom, and what was seen in that society as pure common sense and acceptable behaviour, was being undermined by the word of God. Therefore they had to bring a doctrine to fit it in. Now this is what is happening today in our society. Because there are certain things that are out of the norm within the Christian church, and we begin to be seen as fanatical and strange and peculiar, the Christian Church - whether they realise it or not, consciously or unconsciously - begins to dream up new types of doctrines to be acceptable.
We can see this in historical documents. In Procalio (sp?) Cicero writes these words, and I read them verbatim to you - and it'll give you a bit of an idea about the mentality of the people Paul was writing to. He pleads: 'If there is anyone who thinks that young men should be absolutely forbidden to love courtesans', and that's a polite word for prostitutes, 'he is extremely severe. I am not able to deny the principal that he states, but he is at variance not only with the licence of what our own age allows, but also with the customs and concessions of our ancestors. When, indeed, was this not done? When did anyone ever find fault with it? When was such permission denied? When was it when this was not lawful that is now lawful?'. He goes on: 'The Greeks said that Sawlon (sp?) was the first person to allow the introduction of prostitutes into Athens, and then the building of brothels. With the profits of the new trade a new temple was built to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Nothing could show the Greek point of view better than the fact that they saw nothing wrong in building a temple to the gods with the proceeds of prostitution' - Cicero, an unbeliever, a pagan.
Now let's analyse, for a moment, what he said. First of all he says 'it is extremely severe'. To say that a young man can't go with a prostitute, he says - this great philosopher, intelligent man - 'it is too severe'. That is what the false teachers were saying about Paul: 'His doctrine is too severe'. Now notice, Cicero goes on to say: 'I am not able to deny' - in other words, like our society today, they cannot prove our faith wrong. In fact, they may even admit that, if we live a life that is godly and holy in this present world, we may have a more pure, satisfying, healthy life - they can't deny that, that's the proof. But they say, as he says: 'it is at variance not only with the licence of what our own age allows, but also with the customs and the concessions of our ancestors' - everybody's doing it.
The world hasn't changed much, has it? Therefore you can see what Paul was writing to, and you now understand this doctrine of antinomianism that Paul is grappling with within this passage of scripture. Now these false teachers were very very persuasive. In other words, they're saying: 'Look, God made you, son, with all these desires within your bosom. God made you that way - so therefore if God made you that way, why would He prevent you fulfilling your desires?'. Paul saw these men as Satan's servants, and the main thrust of this passage is found in the verse we ended with last week: 'Be not', verse 7, 'ye therefore partakers with them'. 'You see these boys', Paul says, 'these false teachers who are encouraging you to sin so that God might forgive you, so that God could be brought greater glory - you be no partakers with them. Have nothing to do with them!' - and so he goes into the discourse, that we're studying tonight, on light and darkness.
He says to them first of all: 'You had a dark past' - that's the first point, verse 8a: 'For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light'. Now, I want you to notice that it doesn't say 'You were sometimes in darkness' - look at the verse, it says: 'You were sometimes darkness'! Now there's a difference, because what Paul is doing here is he is personifying darkness. He is saying: 'It's not just something that you follow, it's not just something you imbibed, or a practice of a lifestyle that you made yours - but you actually yourself were darkness'. We learnt that the book of Ephesians, the second half mirrors, in explanation, the first-half - and this passage is mirroring again chapter 2 and verses 1 to 10, where Paul describes how we were dead in our trespasses and in our sins - we were dead! Absolute darkness! We didn't have darkness, we were darkness!
Darkness is where disease flourishes, total darkness brings death to the earth's flora and fauna and all life - if we haven't the sun we have not life. That is what it brings: death. Spiritually speaking Paul is saying here, as one writer put it: 'The leaven of sin silently swells in the darkness until the whole life is infected'. What a past we had! I believe, sincerely, that some of the greatest difficulties we have in the Christian life with regards to holiness are because we do not fully understand our own depravity before we were saved. We think of ourselves more highly than we ought. Paul is reminding them: 'You have a dark past, this was your past, you were darkness'. Then he goes on in verse 8, the second half: 'But now are ye light in the Lord' - you have a bright present. Those old things are gone away, those old dark things, and now you are in union with the Lord, and the Lord is the Lord of light - He is light, we are in Him, therefore we now are light in the Lord. Do you see his thought pattern? You've come from being darkness, and you can't come to be near the light, you can't come to partake of the blessings of the light - you were darkness and you must become light. The only way that you can come from being darkness, to come to being light, is being in the One who is light.
Therefore, Paul says, our state should now correspond to our standing. Isn't that what this wee book is all about? Because you are blessed, do this. Because you have this, live like this. Now Paul is saying, because you have gone from darkness into God's glorious light, now this is your state, being illumined, shining forth the glory of God and being in Christ, your standing must correspond to it. This is what he says: 'You must walk as children of light'. How do we do that? Well, in verses 9 to 14 we get what I have entitled: the shining proof that we are the children of light. In verse 9 we find these words: 'For the fruit of the Spirit' - now he's going into parentheses, and he is now describing what this is to be a child of the light - 'The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord'. He's telling us: 'Look, if your past is darkness, and if your present is light, and you are now the children of light, you are to walk as the children of light - and if you are walking as the children of light, you will show forth the fruit of light'.
Indeed, that's the way that phrase should be translated, I believe: 'The fruit of the light', rather than, 'The fruit of the Spirit'. The first thing that Paul tells us to do, positively speaking, is to shine forth the proof of God's light in our life in the production of the Spirit's fruit. The fruit of the light and the fruit of the Spirit correspond in this passage of Scripture. Indeed, if you were to look at Galatians chapter 5 and verse 22, you would find mentioned here the first fruit of the light: goodness. Goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and what Paul is asking us to do is to look into our own lives and see if there is the fruit of goodness, the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of truth. He's asking us: 'If you are the children of light, you will reflect the life of Christ'.
You know what a prism is, don't you? It's that little crystal-like piece of glass. When the sun's rays shine in from the window, it breaks up all the particles of that light into a spectrum of a rainbow of colour. God is saying: 'Look, if the light of God is in you, you will be the prism of Jesus Christ - and you will radiate His light in these three things: goodness, righteousness, and in truth'. Now let's look at them, look at the first one: goodness. Within the word of God this is an inclusive term, it means all moral excellence. It means what it says: goodness. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and to put it in a defining term: it is love in action, charity, loving in action by what you do, say, and think of others around you - that is what goodness is. If you're walking as a child of the light you will have goodness with you.
Secondly, he says we need to have righteousness. Now, righteousness here means integrity. Integrity in our dealings with God, and in our dealings with other human beings, with men. We have integrity with men in our actions, what we do and what we say. We have integrity with God by our character, who we are and the way we live, who we are inside. This righteousness is a fruit of the light: before God our conscience doesn't condemn us, and before man we are blameless.
Then thirdly, he mentions truth. What that word there means is: honesty, equity, and reality. Indeed, it's like a summary of the last two things: goodness and righteousness - you can only have goodness and righteousness if you have truth, it all must be based on the truth. What is the truth? Jesus said: 'Thy word is truth' - therefore if you want to have the truth, and if you want to be sure that one of the rays that's shining out of your life because you're a child of the light is truth, you will walk in the truth. John said: 'I have no greater joy than my children walk in the truth'. It is walking in the word of God, and to walk in the word of God is to walk in the will of God. All these things together: goodness, righteousness, truth - all of them speak of a life that is filled with the light of Christ, shining out of the darkness of our past, changed into His glorious light!
Now, let's go back to our context. This is the difference between God's faith and pagan religion. It doesn't change, it didn't change in Paul's day, it hasn't changed in our day - for pagan religion in the life of our custom, our community, our times, and even common sense through consciences that are seared with hot irons because of hardening themselves in sin: all of them encourage immorality! But God encourages morality, God is able to plant into the bosom of an unbelieving child, a dead sinner that should be dead and buried, He's able to put His own life into their soul, and He's able to make them live unto holiness and unto godliness. That's amazing! Isn't it? That to come from the life that these pagans lived, with all the ritualistic prostitution, and false god worship, and all the extortion that was in society of the day - to come from that great darkness into God's glorious light, to be holy! That's the power of our God!
You see, in Paul's day, and in this place Ephesus, it was permissible not only to use prostitution, but to swindle, to cheat people out of money in your own business, in order to contribute to the temple. They didn't care how the money came to the temple, as long as they got money to it to build it. Hence when Paul, remember when he went into Philippi in the book of Acts chapter 16, he condemned those men who were making the idols, making money to build this temple - and when he condemned them it aroused anger. They had him whipped, and they had him thrown into prison - why? If you look at Acts 16:20 and 21, listen, this is the reason why - they pointed the finger at Paul and said: 'These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and', listen, 'teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans'. Teach customs!
Our Lord Jesus Christ - and we go on a slight digression now - shed a great deal of light on the subject of the light. If you were to go back to Matthew's gospel and chapter 5 and verse 16, He gives this instruction to His followers, listen: 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven'. In John chapter 3 and verse 20 and 21 He says: 'For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God'. What He is saying is this: we can hide many things from our friends and from our loved ones and from those around us, but we can't hide anything from God. He is the God of light, and if we are to walk as children of light - do you know what it means? It means that we are to walk, living before the eyes of God and not hiding anything! That's hard.
In Hebrews 4:13 we read of God: 'Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do'. It's the old scenario, isn't it, when you go through the airport and your baggage goes through the x-ray machine - you're only worried if you've something to hide, isn't that right? If you something wrapped up in an old towel or rug that you don't want them to see, that's when you're worried - but when you know there's nothing there to be afraid of, it doesn't matter! Old Spurgeon on one occasion was asked permission by an author to write his life story, do you know what he replied? He said: 'You can write my life on the skies, I have nothing to hide!'. Can we say that?
He goes on in verse 10 to say that another fruit of the light is to prove what is acceptable unto the Lord, to prove what is well-pleasing unto the Lord. That means to put every thought, word, and action, to the test - in other words, in everything in our lives asking the question: 'What does the Lord think of this?'. Do you do that? What does He think of this? This decision, how does it appear in His presence? It means to, in every area of your life, spread it all before God, let it come under the searchlight of God - whether it be your conversation, your standard of living, your clothing, your books, your business, pleasures, friends, holidays, cars, hobbies, sports, it doesn't matter - it means to put everything under God's great light. Do you do that?
That is the positive thing that, Paul says, whereby we can know that we are the children of light, and that we are walking as the children of light. It is to show forth the fruit of the light in all goodness, in all righteousness, in all truth - proving what is acceptable with the Lord, living in God's will. Then negatively, in verses 11 to 13, he speaks that we have a shining proof of being the children of the light, by the fact that we abstain from sin's fruit. It's not just showing forth these things - goodness, righteousness, truth, and proving the will of God - but there is a negative aspect to it, which is: not partaking, abstaining from the sin and its fruit. Verse 11 says: 'Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them' - and what that means is simply this: no fellowship, either by participation or by attitude. What he's indicating there is an attitude of tolerance, an attitude of leniency, towards sin - and that abounds today! It abounds in the world and in the church: 'Say nothing, turn a blind eye to it all!' - but Paul says, listen: 'Don't you have fellowship with it'. To put it literally, it means this: 'Don't become a sharer, don't join oneself as an associate to sin'.
Now, I want you to look at that verse 11, for there are some who are exclusive and will not fellowship with unbelievers. In other words, they won't drink with them, or eat with them, or go anywhere with them, won't even live in a house beside them - but notice Paul says: 'Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness'. He is speaking of the fruit of sin, sins themselves not sinners! Never forget, the Lord whom you serve and worship was the friend of publicans and of sinners. Now the question that would have arisen in the minds of these Ephesian believers is this: 'Does that mean I can't go on selling my idols?'. Now think of it: 'Does that mean my business is going to fall because, although I'm not being a partaker of it, I'm associating with it? What does it mean for my life? Does that mean I'm no longer to give racketeering to the temple?'. You see, it affected their lives - and it was what Paul was saying about having no communion, no fellowship, with darkness.
Second Corinthians 6: 'What fellowship hath God with Belial?' - these men that had become Christians, now making these little gods with their own hands, could they continue doing it? No! Of course they couldn't! Unfruitful - that's why they couldn't - this is deadly, this is poisonous. Look at the verse, these are unfruitful works of darkness, they will bring into your life and the life of every believer that dabbles in them utter barrenness and deadness. That's why Paul asked in Romans 6, the passage we already read about antinomianism, verse 21 he asked the question: 'What fruit had ye in those works whereof ye are now ashamed?' - what fruit had you in those? He concludes that statement by saying: 'For the end of those things is death' - the wages of sin is death! Leave them, leave them behind! Turn away and walk as children of light - Paul is saying: 'Have nothing to do with them at all! Touch not the unclean thing, come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will receive you'.
They had come from the world of darkness, the world of dim lights, the world of locked doors and back street rooms. In that old depraved life they reflected the natural appetite for darkness, and they hated the light. As the Lord said: 'Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil'. Now Paul was not just telling them: 'Listen, you abstain, negatively, from prostitution, from making idols, and from doing all these things, and giving money to the temple, and contributing to your custom and community which is sinful' - but he goes further than that. He says: 'No fellowship', verse 11, 'with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them'! It's not enough that you pull back from these things and have nothing to do with them, but you must positively reprove and expose these things.
There are two ways in which you can do that. One: by the life of holiness - as the Amplified Version of the Bible translates this verse: 'But instead let your lives be so in contrast to expose and reprove and convict them'. If you're walking in the light, and you step out from among the darkness, and you walk in a holy manner before men and women in this ungodly and adulterous generation: you will stand out and convict them of their own sin. Two: you reprove and expose by the words of correction that you use, guided - mark now - guided by the Holy Spirit. It's true, isn't it, that God's glorious light reveals all true character. I believe that's why a lot of men don't like listening to the word of God, coming in - unbelievers - to hear the Gospel, because it should and it does make them feel uncomfortable. It tells them the truth, it is the light, and the light is showing up, shining upon the darkness and showing up all the stains and the dirt and the trappings of sin - and we don't like it!
Modern man's motto today, in our world, is: 'The one thing I will not tolerate is intolerance'. You can tolerate everything, but don't be intolerant of another for you will not be tolerated! That's why the evangelical Christian fundamental church is rejected in the world - there's no place for them within this world of toleration of all things. The darlings of the world are those church leaders who will baptize every sin to be seen as open-minded and tolerant, isn't that right? To bring everything under the wing of Christ and God, to be seen as loving, open-minded and tolerant! Verse 12, Paul goes on, you can't be tolerant of these things. You have left them in your past life, you are now children of the light, you've to show forth other fruit, you've to expose and reprove and reject these things - why? It's even a shame to speak of these things which are done of them in secret! You're not even to mention these things, these unfruitful works of darkness. It's a shame to speak of them! Never mind committing them, you're not even to have the words upon your lips!
It's a fact - and all of us know it too well - that there are certain sinful perversions of men and women that are so bad, that to describe them would defile the mind of the listener. Therefore the Christian should refrain even from mentioning these depraved, deplorable, things - and listen, we need to be careful because I sense in our Christian age today that in some circles there is a need, a feeling of necessity, to go into great detail in describing sins of all vileness! It could be said that you could learn more about certain perversions by going into a Christian bookshop than anywhere else! We are the children of light, we are to walk in the light, we are to expose sin - but how are we to expose it? Not by going into intricate detail of what they believe, or what these people do in dark back rooms, but we expose these things by shining in the light! That's how!
Jesus, the Lord Christ, said this in John 8:12: 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'. Now this amazed me, the previous night that the Lord Jesus said this was a ceremony called the 'Illumination of the Temple'. It was the grand finale of the Feast of the Tabernacle, and what they would do was take a great candelabra - it was said that it would reach up to the highest walls in the temple, that's how high they were. There were these big massive bowls at the top of the candelabra, filled with oil, and an agile priest would climb up the candelabra and would light it. The blaze of that great light, it was said, lit up the whole of that court - and, indeed, lit up Jerusalem. The next day that happened, standing in the same court of the temple our Lord Jesus Christ - perhaps standing right beside the great candelabra in all its darkness, the light had gone out - shouted: 'I am light of the world'!
Their light had gone out, but He would be that eternal light, and He shone - and the problem that He had (and I say that), His problem in humanity, as He came as God's Son into the world, [was that] because He shone the light of God, He illumined all darkness around and men's sins were to be seen. That's what He left us to do, for He said to His disciples: 'Ye are the light of the world'. Just as the sun rises at dawn, and then it sets at evening, the moon rises to take the place of the sun - and you know the moon has no light of itself, but the moon reflects the light of the sun. He said: 'I am the light of the world', and then when He went, we are light of the world. The problem with being the light of the world is: we show those things around us up. Indeed we could argue, humanly speaking, that this was the reason - one of the reasons - why the Lord Jesus Christ was put to death and crucified. Because the religious leaders of His day, in all their sinfulness and unholiness, when they saw Christ they shrieked within themselves because of their inward sinfulness before God. Christ Jesus, the light of the world, was exposing their sin, their darkness - no-one was exempt, no one could hide! Did He not say it Himself in John 15? 'If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin'.
Verse 13b: 'But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light'. Now that should read like this: 'For everything that is made manifest is light' - everything that is made manifest, uncovered, is light. Or to put it another way: 'Everything that is illumined becomes light' - everything that the light shines upon becomes light. Meaning this: that when Christians walk as the children of light, as Christ walked, light will be brought to other people. We are to show forth God's light, and it's not just preaching the Gospel, but it's preaching the Gospel with a life filled with the light of God - that's what makes the difference! When men can see: 'That is for real! That really works!'. Would you buy detergent off a man that was standing in rags at your door, filthy? Would you? But the Gospel changes a man's life - we are epistles written unto the world, we ought to be! Showing forth, as children of light, the light of God. The sad thing is, whenever you begin to show signs of wanting to walk in the light, and wanting to be more holy, and wanting to be more godly, even in the church - and in fact, mostly in the church - you begin to upset the folk around you, because your light shows up their darkness. Your light shows up the way they are spiritually, and they don't want that to happen - and it disrupts the light of the world, Christ of God disrupted this world. He brought enmity in the home: 'I came not to bring peace, but to bring war' - because the light shows up the dirt.
We are to radiate the light of Christ. Have you ever been in the company of those that really radiate the light of Christ? You know who I'm talking about, you know that person that you know that when you have a bit of time with them, you're in their company and they go - they make you want to be more holy! There's something about them, they're like Moses coming down from the Mount - they maybe don't even know it, but their face shines with God! I read of a missionary who desperately needed to learn one of India's hardest languages, and he sought the services of a great teacher and he was refused - he didn't want to teach him. He offered him a great amount of money to pay for whatever expenses were required - and the man replied, listen: 'I don't want to become a Christian!'. The missionary says: 'Look, if you just teach me I'll not mention Christianity, it'll not be mentioned if you teach me this Indian language'. The wee man replied calmly: 'Look, to teach you my language I would have to spend many hours of every day in your presence, and no man could live with you and not become a Christian'. Oh, that I would die and men would say that about me, eh? To walk as a child of the light, to show forth God's light!
Then he comes to this great climax about an awakening promise, he has built up his argument all along right down to verse 13, about how we are to be children of the light. Verse 14: 'Wherefore he saith', God, 'Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light'. The light is associated with the dawn, isn't it? When the sun rises, and the birds begin to sing, and those great rays go like a sea across all of creation and waken it all up. It reminds us of the Son of God's righteousness that rose from the dead. Remember that Easter morn, Paul says in Romans 1 that He was declared to be the Son of God of power - He was literally 'horizoned', 'horidzami' (sp?), brought up just like the sun from the horizon - seen! He has awakened from the dead, but what Paul is saying here: there are many of you Ephesian Christians that are still sleeping. You were dead in your trespasses and in your sins, but God has quickened you with Christ, He has put you in heavenly places - but the tragedy is this: that is your state, but that is not the way you're living. Paul says: 'Waken up!'.
The church at Ephesus, the church today, needs to waken up. We need to start walking in the light that we are in. We need to waken out of our lethargy - as one writer has said: 'The soldier that sleeps on a battlefield might never ever waken'. There are those within our day, as within Paul's, that are slumbering. The tragedy of slumbering is this - and you beware, my friend: that those who slumber don't even realise it. Kent Hughes put it like this, listen, I think this is powerful: 'It is possible to be slumbering light' - slumbering light! - 'and even to be well regarded by others in the church, especially by others who are in the same state. It is possible to be asleep and appear awake. It is possible to pray while asleep, mouthing phrases others have used before. It is possible to sing a hymn without being awake to the words. It is possible to walk while asleep and end up in harm's way. It is possible to live a dreamy life of unreality in the netherland of inaction'!
Are any of us living a dreamy life of unreality in the netherland of inaction? I leave you with these words from Romans chapter 13, the same theme as our passage tonight. Listen, Paul says: 'And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof'. I end with this, listen: the light calls us tonight to a life of illumination in Jesus Christ. Will we walk as children of light?
Our Father, we pray that we would be as our Lord instructed us to be: a light set on a hill. Lord, that we would not put the candle underneath the bed, but that we would put aside all filthiness and all the old clothes of darkness and death, and let our light shine before men - that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven. Oh, Lord, help us to more holier be, that Thou should be seen in me. In Jesus name, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the twenty-second tape in his Ephesians series, titled "The Children Of Light" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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