Walk As Children of Light

Sanctity of Marriage

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February 12, 2017

Ephesians 5:5-14

Allen Burns

  Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:6-14 Sermon Title: Walk as Children of Light Sermon Text: Ephesians 5:6-14 Memory Verse: Ephesians 5:8b-10 MAIN IDEA: Do not walk in darkness, but walk in the light as children of light. Six essential steps children of light take to walk in the light of life: 1)      Do not be deceived 2)      Do not be partakers with those who are disobedient 3)      Learn what is pleasing to the Lord 4)      Do not participate in the deeds of darkness 5)      Expose the deeds of darkness 6)      Be awakened to the light of Christ NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." I provide this manuscript as a courtesy. I do not follow the document word for word during the message. Thanks for understanding.    

 Introduction: Children of light

We are together alive, risen, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:4-6). The glory of the LORD has risen upon us (Is. 60:1). We are joined together with God’s Son in Holy Matrimony. We are the bride of Christ, adorned in splendor and beauty, wearing dazzling garments washed in the blood of the Lamb. The blood which washes our garments clean redeems us so we are no longer slaves to sin, living in the domain of darkness, but we are citizens of the kingdom of light living in righteousness. This morning, the words of Scripture are telling us to have eyes to see our true self in all the glories of spiritual reality and to open our ears and hear God’s voice saying, “Wake up my child. Be the person Christ made you to be. Be His beloved bride. Christ is your head and you are His body. I am the Father of lights and you are My child of light. Therefore, walk in the light as my child of light.” The main idea of the message is: MAIN IDEA: Do not walk in darkness, but walk in the light as children of light. God gives us six essential steps children of light take to walk in the light. The first step is:

1) Do not be deceived

6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. All around us, as children of God, we hear enticements, temptations, and invitations seeking to draw us into a web of rebellion to God’s truth. The enemy desires for the child to betray the Father. The enemy seeks to deceive us into thinking our betrayal is harmless. He whispers “revolt, rebel, disobey.” He tells us we were much happier before Jesus. The enemy gives us sales brochures complete with a payment plan on we might live out our dreams in this world. The plan doesn’t include the widows and the orphans, or others in need. It doesn’t include the church or the gospel. The center of the plan is self, numero-uno, first and foremost. The enemy uses many tools and devices to deceive us with empty words. He has an individualized campaign. For some, the enemy uses the government and the media. Other times it is academia or Hollywood. Other times, it is Better Homes and Gardens, Car & Driver, or Sports Illustrated. Our enemy even stoops so low as to use our unsaved friends to deliver to us empty words of deceit. The deceptions are never ending because the philosophy of this world and our enemy is continually contrary to God’s ways. The prince of the power of the air who is working in the sons of disobedience will continue to speak words of deception, trying to deceive us into pursuing the lusts of our flesh and to indulge in the desires of our mind, and to seek the pride of life, until Christ steps foot once again on the Mount of Olives. All around us truth is stumbling in the streets. We live and stumble in darkness and grope around in this world like blind men. We are not blind. We have the truth in our hands, and God’s Holy Spirit resides in our hearts. Child of light, stand fast and do not be deceived. Those who follow the empty words of deception face the wrath of God. We must never forget what the Spirit of Truth has told us, God is holy, just, and an all-powerful God who punishes the wicked eternally in a lake of burning fire. We must never look upon God’s judgment as being inconsequential or trivial. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (He. 10:31). The only way to avoid being deceived is to be filled with truth. Let no one deceive you with empty words, instead, obey the words of life spoken in the letter to the Ephesians: Speak the truth in love to one another (Eph. 4:15) Be taught in the truth just as truth is in Jesus (Eph. 4:20-21) Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God, is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:24) Lay aside falsehood and speak truth each one of you with his neighbor (Eph. 4:25). The fruit of walking as children of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth (Eph. 5:9) The devil is the father of lies. His primary weapon against the child of God is deception from the truth. Do not be deceived. Study to show yourselves approved of God, rightly dividing the word of truth. The next essential step we are to take as children of light is:

2) Do not be partakers with those who are disobedient

7Therefore do not be partakers with them; Don’t be accomplices with those who are walking in disobedience to God. This verse is not saying is to forbid our children from playing in little league baseball. Baseball is not evil and disobedient to God. This verse is not saying to forbid conducting business with unbelievers, because conducting business is not being disobedient to God. What this is saying is children of light are not to partake in fellowship with the works of darkness. If the coach on the little league is teaching the children to play in a way which is unsportsmanlike, then we are to not to be partakers with them. If our business partner cheats on taxes or misrepresents a business deal, we are not to be partakers with them. We are to turn away when our unbelieving friends ask us to give an ear to their crude jokes and lewd talk. We are not to be partakers with them as they conceive mischief and their fingers bring forth iniquity. We must make every effort to live holy in an unholy world. We are to find no delight in immorality and ungodly speech. Any such association is forbidden because it is not in keeping with the children of light. Our problem is not just in this world and with the wickedness of unbelievers. We need to draw a line in the sand in our church body and declare, “no unrepentant disobedience may cross over and be in our midst. We will be holy.” Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 5. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. (1 Cor. 5:9-13) It is easy for us to point out the sins of the immoral unbelievers in the world. They are not our concern. The unbelievers who are outside the church, God judges. God wants us to make sure we clean His church of filth. We are not to partake with immoral people in the church. When “so-called” brothers and sisters in Christ live in unrepentant sin, we are to disassociate ourselves from having fellowship with them. The context of this passage is about a man having an incestuous relationship. Everyone in the church and outside the church knows about his immoral situation, yet the church in Corinth did nothing. It was church as usual in Corinth. Paul is flabbergasted that the church overlooks his sin. They were not considering the principal of verse six, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Cor. 5:6). We are not to allow the “so-called brothers” to bring disgrace and shame upon the church. We are not to allow the influence of sin within the walls of the church. If we have people in our church who are public in their immorality, drunkenness, swindling, and so forth, we have no choice but to remove them from among ourselves. At the same time, God does not want us to be “sin police.” We are not to eye one another with suspicion. Part of our unity with one another is to show patience and tolerance. Heeding these commands requires a heavy dose of wisdom and prayer. We are to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1). Partaking with those who are disobedient is being an imitator of the devil and not an imitator of God. Do not be partakers with those who are disobedient. (turn back to Ephesians) The next essential step we are to take as children of light is:

3) Learn what is pleasing to the Lord

8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. We were formerly darkness. In other words, our person, from the outer layer of our skin to the inner marrow of our bones was nothing but evil and wicked. We were not living in a dark world; we were the darkness of the world. We made the world dark. Our very being was wicked. Our thoughts were dark, our words were dark, and our actions were dark. Everything we touched became tainted with wickedness. We hated the light and loved the darkness. As John says, … men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) Now we are Light in the Lord as new creatures in Christ. Because we are light, our thoughts, words, and actions are to be light. Jesus placed upon us His breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. He clothes us in beautiful garments of light. When we walk in the darkness, it’s as though we are a bride who puts on her wedding dress to play in the rat-infested, smoky, burning town dump filled with filth, grime, and disease. The reason the Bible uses the picture of darkness to portray evil is because darkness is dangerous and unsafe. We know from personal experience the object lesson of darkness. The wicked will spend eternity in the pit of darkness. Why would we dare venture to walk in and out of that pit? Jesus, our Husband, came as Light into the world, so that we who believe in Him will not remain in darkness; we are free from the evil and danger of darkness. (John 12:46) Jesus reconciles us and makes us children of light so we may receive from the Father of lights every good thing and every perfect gift from above (James 1:17). When Moses came down the mountain after being in the presence of God, the people of Israel asked him to put a veil over his face because it was difficult to look upon his face because it shone from being in God’s presence. We are to be close to our Father, so our face shines with His holiness and righteousness. Verse nine says the result of walking in the light is goodness, righteousness, and truth. As we take steps in this world, we should look at our path we leave and see a trail of goodness, righteousness, and truth. When people of the world speak about the children of light, there should be no immorality, impurity, or greed named among us. If the world hates us, let it be because we bear the name of Christ and not because we live in darkness like the rest of the world. We should live in such a way that it is difficult for people to find fault in us as we walk in the light spreading the fruit of goodness, righteousness, and truth. As we walk in the light, we are to be learning what is pleasing to the Lord. Paul prayed to the Colossians that they become filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects, and bearing fruit in every good work (Col. 1:9-10). There is only one way to learn and know the will of God and what is pleasing to our Father. We will not know God’s will by watching Fox News or CNN. We will not know what pleases God by playing video games, following the Patriots, watching the latest Hollywood box office release, or bingeing on a TV show. Do we desire to please God? Read what He wrote and we will learn what pleases God. Reading His Word is the only way we learn what is pleasing to the Lord. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God, accurately handling His Word of Truth. In His Word, we learn God is not pleased in wickedness (Ps. 5:4) Nor is He pleased in sacrifices made by people whose heart is far from Him. (Isaiah 1:11). We learn God is pleased in our doing good and sharing (He. 13:15). God is very pleased when we share the Gospel (1 Thess. 2:4). Proclaiming Christ brings glory to Christ; the One in whom the Father is well pleased. God takes great pleasure in establishing His purpose (Isaiah 46:10). When we seek His will in our lives, we please God because we are participating in establishing His purpose. Walk as children of Light, trying to learn what is pleasing to our loving Father in Heaven. The next essential step we are to take as children of light is:

4) Do not participate in the deeds of darkness

11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. Verse 7 commands us to not participate with wicked people who do deeds of darkness. Here, God commands against our participation in the unfruitful deeds of darkness. The deception of this world may make it so we do not realize we are participating in unfruitful deeds of darkness. We find delight in movies that promote adultery, murder, and theft and we participate by giving our money to the producers. We put our children in front of the television and tell them to watch movies about “harmless” occult practices of casting spells and rebellion against adults. We fill our I-Pod with music featuring lyrics laced with profanities sung by people who glory in their immoral lifestyles. We allow pornography to pass unfiltered onto our computers and mobile devices. We boast about our past and compete with one another about how bad we used to be when we should be disgraced and ashamed of our rebellion against God. God commands us to not participate in the deeds of darkness for a reason. They are the unfruitful deeds of darkness. They are disgraceful and shameful. It is disgusting to even talk about them, never mind do them. God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6-7) We sometimes wonder why our Christian walk is stalled and not progressing. Perhaps we should look and see how much of our foot resides in the world. Maybe we don’t sense fellowship with God because we are walking in darkness. When we read in the Bible and see the Saints blessed with joy and peace, and we wonder, “Why do I feel down in the dumps and anxious? Where is my joy and blessing?” Perhaps we should spend time on our knees and ask God to shine light upon our sin so we may live a more joyous Christian life. (It may not always be our sin that robs our joy, but we should be willing to examine ourselves.) Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness. They bring nothing but misery. The next essential step we are to take as children of light is:

5) Expose the deeds of darkness

11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. When we think about exposing the unfruitful deeds of darkness, our first thought is that we are to become investigators and detectives who uncover all that is done in secret. However, this is not what God wants us to do. God does not want us peeking into people’s personal lives or checking to see if they have visited immoral websites by looking at their computer browsing history. God does not want us to become sin police raiding each one another’s homes and saying, “Gotcha!” The way God desires for us to walk as children of the light is to bring the Light of the world everywhere we go. We bring the light by bringing Jesus; Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). Jesus said we are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (John 5:14-16) Paul told the Corinthians that when the Gospel of truth goes forth clearly, there will be conviction. When the light of the Gospel shines and reveals the secrets of the heart; the listener will fall on their face and worship God (1 Cor. 14:25). Too often, as Christians, we put our trust in the government, education, and our business to bring about change. We think somehow, the right candidate, school curriculum, or business practice will eradicate the darkness. There is only one thing that takes away darkness, and that is light. For too long we, the bride of Christ, have muttered, protested, griped, and whined about the evil and darkness. We may not complain about the darkness if we are unwilling to put on the light. We need to put our faith and trust in the power of the Gospel and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As an engaged bride shows off the wonders of her husband-to-be, let’s open the pages of the book describing the glories of our husband. Let’s shine the light of the depth of His love into the world filled with dark hatred. Let’s bring the brightness of His holiness and let it shine in the corners of ungodly wickedness. Let’s place the glory of His Kingly Scepter like a stake in the ground in the center of the rebellion so all may see His divine authority and bend their knee to His throne of goodness. Expose the deeds of darkness by bringing the light of the Gospel into the dark, secret places. The sixth step we are to take as children of light is:

6) Be Awakened to the Light of Christ

Verse 14 is a shorthand reference from chapters 59 and 60 of Isaiah. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14) Let’s look at the passage as it may have come to the mind of the Apostle (cock crowed analogy). As we read the passage, we will see its influence in the letter to Ephesus. (starting with Isaiah 59) 9 Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. 10 We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes; We stumble at midday as in the twilight , Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men. 11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities: 13 Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words. 14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter. 15 Yes, truth is lacking; (hence darkness the darkness) And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Commentary: These verses are talking about the people of God. They hope for light and salvation to come, but there is only darkness and sin. They are like dead men. Truth is stumbling in the street and is lacking. God’s people who try to turn aside from evil, are like prey, evil people prey upon them for doing what is right. The second half of verse 15 reminds me of Ephesians 2:4 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. 16 And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him. 17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. 18 According to their deeds, so He will repay, Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; To the coastlands He will make recompense. 19 So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the LORD drives. 20 “A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. 21“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” (Commentary: The next verse is the reference in Ephesians) 1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 “For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. 3 “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 “Lift up your eyes round about and see; They all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, And your daughters will be carried in the arms. 5 “Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you. 6 “A multitude of camels will cover you, The young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come; They will bring gold and frankincense, And will bear good news of the praises of the Lord. 7 “All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; They will go up with acceptance on My altar, And I shall glorify My glorious house. 8 “Who are these who fly like a cloud And like the doves to their lattices? 9 “Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar, Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the Lord your God, And for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you.

Summary: Children of Light

Our spiritual reality is already determined. We are alive, risen, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places. We are children of light. Do not be deceived into looking lightly upon these truths. Embrace them. Claim them. Live them. Teach them to your children. Proclaim them on the rooftops. Endeavor to pursue godliness and being a child of God with a full heart. Daily, we must be willing to radically amputate and purge the darkness from our life. Our adoption is bought with a price and it is not cheap. The blood of Christ purchased our right to be called a child of light. Let’s endeavor, with our whole heart, to demonstrate the value of the blood of Christ. Don’t be deceived into thinking darkness and worldly pleasures are worth trading for what Christ has purchased. Being partakers with those who scorn Christ will never bring us joy. The deeds of darkness will never yield the fruit of happiness. Do not be deceived by the lies and false promises of the world. The Holy one of Israel has glorified us. Do not walk in darkness, but walk in the light as children of light