Walk in the Light
September 7, 2016, 10:31 am
Filed under: Culture, God | Tags: , ,

This is a sermon I preached a short while back. The reading for this sermon is found in Ephesians 5:8-14.

I remember waking up in a new place and getting out of bed walking to the bedroom door, at least I thought it was the door, then tripping over a chair, actually, stubbing my toe. Man did that hurt! Finally I found the light switch and turned on the light so I could see where I was going. I imagine we all have had this type of experience at one time or another. It sure isn’t much fun when it happens either. Even in a room we know, it can be very unpleasant trying to find our way across to the light switch in the dark.

Paul says to us, “For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!” in Ephesians 5:8 (NLT). What Paul is speaking about is a form of blindness, an inability to see, or understand the things of God. The Ephesian people were religious, they had one of the great temples to Diana. That temple was considered one of the wonders of the age. Of course merchants made a fortune from this temple, they sold religious icons and statues of Diana in bronze as well as other metals and sculpted statues.

What Paul is pointing out is the reality of the Ephesian believers having come from darkness to light. When they came to see Jesus as Lord and Savior, they received the light of Christ in their lives. In reality we receive a new identity, we are, in Christ, the light of the world. What a wondrous potential for spreading the gospel, our lives become the light of the world, a light that helps others see where before they were unable to do so. It is a wondrous thought, that by introducing the light, darkness can be abolished, for darkness cannot extinguish light.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” If we let our light shine, that will be proof for others that the light is in the world, and that the light has caused us to be changed, to be illuminated. Paul then says in verse 9, of Ephesians 5: “For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” The fruit of the light or of the Spirit is that which is good and so we are to live as children of the light that all might see the changes that God has wrought in us.

Verse 10 says we are to find out those things that are pleasing to the Lord. What is it that will bring glory to God? Is it not that which builds up those around us? Is it not that which reaches out to those who are in need of the love of Christ in their lives?

Remember that Jesus Himself said that He had come to preach good news to the poor, recovering of sight to the blind and release to the prisoner. Good news to the poor, is that which releases them from the servitude of poverty to gain the reality of work that rewards their labor, puts food on the table for their families and gives them dignity.

Recovering of sight, is that which Christ for more than one blind man, but more than that allowed them to be open to seeing eternity. Can we be the light that allows others to see eternity and realize that it is theirs for the receiving? Can we help those caught in the prison of their own making, their sins, those decisions that they have made that have sent them into the spiral of sin and death, to also see?

To see that God is waiting for them to come to Him, that he would put the shoes on their feet, new clothing on their backs, so that when He looks at them they are clothed, as are we, in the blood of Christ, instead of in sin and degradation. Our God would have us walk in such a way as to show our light before men that they might see. This is a way of life, it is not something we do only on Sunday for one hour or two, living in a way that is pleasing to God is a worship of God in all that we do. We offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving, we offer our labors to Him as a joy before the throne of grace. We offer our families before God as gratefulness to Him for the bounty of our spouse, our children and our grandchildren. That is that which is good and right and acceptable.

It is also walking connected to the source of our power, remember that Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” He was talking about being connected to Him so that we could accomplish that which we set out to do. That He would be the source of our power, and as long as we stay connected to Him we will be fed all that we need so that we may see and do that which He would have us do. Paul says that walking in the light will produce goodness: He means that we will be selfless in giving and in right doing. In 1st Thessalonians 5:15 he says: “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else.” We are to practice goodness always.

  1. Be courteous behind the wheel, even when others make obscene gestures and are discourteous.
  2. Volunteer your time to some good and worthy cause within your community, or a church group. Volunteers in Mission is one way to do this.
  1. Do something unexpected and good for those in your own household, just because.

Walking in the light should also produce righteousness. As Paul tells Timothy in the first letter 6:11, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Another way to put this is that we are to walk the talk. So that others can see that we do what we say.

Next is that walking in the light produces truth: We should not dissemble, their should not be lies and deception as a part of our lives. I remember that my Dad once went to Pennsylvania to buy a car, his uncle had told him that the dealer was an honest man so my Dad went there to buy his next vehicle. When they finished haggling over the price they shook hands, there was no contract or anything like that. My Dad went back at the appointed time to pick up his new car, and all was ready. He received exactly what he had bargained for and he paid the man cash for the vehicle. Truth is the way we are to talk to all persons, that our word will be counted as our bond.

Walking in the light also means being obedient to the Lord, reading His word, praying, and doing those things that please Him.

Now comes one of the tough things that Paul says we must do as children of the light. In verse 11 he says, “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.” We are not to participate, nor may we ignore that which is evil and wrong, that which is of the dark. We are instead to expose sin, to rebuke sin, wherever we might encounter it.

Brethren, we cannot be the epitome of goodness, righteousness and truth if we are going to ignore evil. That is not acceptable. A Christian cannot be neutral when it comes to the issue of sin. It is time for us to wake from our nap, that the light of Christ might shine out through us and on us. It has been said, “The world is lost in the darkness while the church is asleep in the light.”

Let us understand that sin is not only to be found outside our doors, we must look at ourselves as well, exposing our own sin that it might come under the light of Christ and be cleansed and expunged from our body. As long as we are not willing to shine the light on our own sin, we are not walking in the light ourselves.

Nina G. Gunter of the Nazarene World Mission Society tells this story: “A young Christian girl had just started her first job after graduating from high school. Her first day of work she was completely unprepared for the things she heard and saw. The language shocked her and the lifestyles sickened her. In great despair she went home and told her Christian parents that she was not going back. She just could not put up with that kind of sin. In the middle of her complaining her dad asked, “where do you place lights?” She shrugged the question off. What could that have to do with her problem? She carried on telling them all about the horror stories, and again her dad interrupted. “Honey, where do you place lights?” “Dad, what do you mean? You know that you place lights where it is dark. Exactly,” said her dad, “As a Christian you are a light, and lights are placed in dark places. You go on to work tomorrow and be careful to let your light shine before those godless men and women so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

That is what Paul is talking about when he says: “And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”” Jesus knows the power of His light, it is His light that dispels the darkness of sin and degradation. He therefore commands you and I to place our lamp on a stand and let it give light to all in the house (Matthew 5:15).

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. It is not darkness that extinguishes light, it is the snuffer of sin that puts the light out and hides the love of God from those who have need of His grace in their lives. So indeed let the light of Christ shine through you, that His grace and glory might be known.

Deal with the areas in your own life that need to be exposed to that cleansing light of Christ. You don’t have to stumble around in darkness beloved. You too can walk securely if only you will reach out to the source of your power and turn on your light.

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