“Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),”finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’”
– Ephesians 5:7-14 NKJV
The deacons of a small southern church were voting on the purchase of a new chandelier for the auditorium. One of the board members came in late, and arrived just as the vote was beginning. “Hold on!”, he said. “I don’t know what no ‘chandelier’ is. I can’t spell it. We can’t afford it. What we really need is mo’ light!”
So does our generation! Listen (and weep) to two recent area headlines:Children overdose on prescription muscle relaxers are now fighting for their lives, and their parents thought they were going to a harmless school function.A mother in Syracuse (NY) gets killed because her son is a witness to a murder, and then the boy must have police protection in order to go to her funeral.What we need is “mo’ light”!
And where does that light come from?
A special vision from the Lord, as in “I saw the light!”?
A retreat, a boost in the spiritual arm, where we all come back determined to be what we ought to be?
No! Our text says the light comes from GOD’S PEOPLE living the lives God has called them to be! (Verse 8) The Amplified Version reads this way:
“Walk as children of light – lead the lives of those native born to the Light”.
The battle isn’t between going to church or not going to church, although some think that is the battle.
The battle is between LIGHT and DARKNESS – the heart of the battle is the battle for the heart. Have you read John 3:19-21 lately? We know John 3:16! Listen to these verses which are shortly after one of our favorite verses:
“19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
So how are God’s people to walk in light that we can make a difference in the areas of ministry God has called us? What lessons about LIGHT does our text teach us?
FIRST, THE LIGHT PRODUCES FRUIT (verses 9-10)
How many of you have had gardens this year? We have! We live in a small apartment, but our landlord allowed us to put “garden pods” outside – small (about 5 feet across) enclosed meshed material in which we can put dirt and seeds. And then we wait for fruit! Why we have tomatoes (OH! The cherry tomatoes have been DELICIOUS!). We have potatoes. We have squash and carrots. And…WEEDS. And I met the other morning a pesky…SKUNK! I had my garden hose in hand, water on. I was ready for him. Fortunately, he was more interested in what a neighbor’s cat was doing!
The “Garden of Light” produces the fruits of “goodness, righteousness, and truth” (verse 9):
- “GOODNESS”: “an active and positive display of kindness towards others”. The world advocates “RANDOM acts of kindness”, right? But the Bible advocates that these are to be ACTIVE not random, DAILY not occasional, exhibitions of SONSHIP not parts of a cause.
- “RIGHTEOUSNESS”: “moral integrity that is without reproach”. It means in action to live with a clear conscience. It does NOT mean to have a SINLESS conscience, which is impossible.
- “TRUTH”: We are all familiar with 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS”. When we do that, then we live with integrity.
I encourage you to re-read the familiar words found in Psalm 119:9-11, 105. Perhaps some of these words are on plaques in your home or in your church. The issue is not religion or church. The issue is TRUTH: I see myself as God sees me, and I desire to conform myself to His ways.
Which leads to the TEST of verse 10: “let your lives be constant proofs of what is acceptable to Him”. In action, it says “I live this way because I have learned this of Christ!”.
SECOND, THE LIGHT PRODUCES DISCERNMENT (verses 11-13)
Notice that there is a difference between “fellowship” and “exposure”. The word “fellowship” here is loosely used in our English. The correct word would be better as “communion”, that which is centered on the CROSS! I encourage you to read 1 John 1:3-7.
The exposure is bBy Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopfordy living godly lives that show what is light and what is darkness. Allow me to illustrate:
For many years one of my jobs was to collect all the money out of the parking meters of our local city. I would get to work early that day, before businesses were open and before there was much traffic downtown. Then I would take my coin holder and wheel it from parking meter to parking meter, emptying each meter into the holder. At last, I would arrive at the bank where the nice clerks would escort me to the back room where a coin sorter was already on a table. I would then empty the coin sorter on to the table, and all those coins now looked like an huge mountain ready to climb!
Here’s where the fun began! All the coins had to be hand checked. In that pile would be found items that were not “legal tender”, from slugs to beer can tabs to coins that were in poor shape. Now mind you, there was on average during the “season” (April through September) about $2000 (that’s TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS) in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters each week – all now making up that mountain before me. How did I sort them all?
How DID I sort them all? By looking for the slugs, beer tabs, and damaged coins? NO! I looked for the GOOD COINS, the ones that I would be able to deposit into the city account. When I looked for the UNDAMAGED coins, the DAMAGED, the NON-DEPOSITABLE were quite evident.
The light always shows the opposite of darkness.
Did you notice from verse 12 the word “shameful”? This is a word lost in our culture! When Adam and Eve sinned, they KNEW they were naked! Immediately it produced – do you remember? – why, it produced SHAME! Our culture needs to bring back SHAME!
And we also need to be vessels of CONVICTION (as per verse 13), another word lost in our culture. We need to be able to determine what is DARKNESS and what is LIGHT. Then, as the verses well say, we need to live accordingly.
THIRDLY, THE LIGHT PRODUCES LIFE! (Verse 14)
John 10:10 reads, “I am come the they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Who is rising from the dead, according to this verse? Christians!
And WHEN are we rising from the dead – in some future time? True, but we are also rising from the dead…NOW!
THE INVITATION IS TO SEE GOD WORK IN A LIFE THAT IS LIVED GOD’S WAY.
THE ISSUE IS A CHOICE!
ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE THAT CHOICE?
YOU WHO SAY YOU BELIEVE IN THE RISEN LORD JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR, ARE YOU WILLING TO LIVE A LIFE THAT IS LIVED GOD’S WAY?
ARE YOU REALLY WILLING TO MAKE THAT CHOICE?