Living in the Light
Part 5, The Marvellous Plan of God for the Church Sermon Series, Ephesians, 5:1-32
“Benjamin Franklin, [the founding father of the United States] wanted to interest the people in Philadelphia in street lighting. He did not call a town meeting nor try to persuade the people by talking about it. He acted upon what he considered a good idea. He hung a beautiful lantern on a long bracket in front of his house. He kept the glass polished and carefully trimmed and lit the wick every evening at the approach of dusk. The lamp helped the people see the pavement ahead; made them feel more secure at night. Others began placing lights in front of their houses. Soon Philadelphia recognized the need for streetlights.” (Anonymous)
This is a fitting illustration of how Christians must live in this dark world. We may not be able to articulate our faith always, but if we live at the center of God’s will, people around us will begin to see how having a wonderful relationship with Christ influences how we live. Walking with God in close fellowship changes everything. It changes our perspectives, our worldviews, our goals, even our personal desires. This is part of God’s marvellous plan for his church: to live in the Light so that we may become little lights in this world.
1. Imitate the Lord.
“1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
· There is no higher calling in life than to imitate the Lord.
· Walk in the way of God’s love: Self-denial or selflessness; faithful and sincere; endless and unlimited.
· In the Old Testament, Israel offered to God for the forgiveness of their sins. This also established their relationship with God.
· Jesus as a “fragrant offering” to God, not only became the means of our forgiveness, but also, became the way to establish God’s relationship with us.
2. Renounce evil practices.
“3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them.”
· Jesus pursued what His Father wanted and gave to us what we truly needed – change; transformation; from darkness to light; from enemies of God to being God’s children.
· There are no spiritual benefits to evil practices. The Bible considers such practices as foolishness because we already have been freed from the power of sin.
· The aim of living in God’s light is to live in holiness and in Christ’s righteousness.
3. Live under the guidance of the Spirit.
“17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
· Christians must never imitate the ways of the people who live in darkness, no matter how popular they maybe. Rather, Christians must practice the ways of Christ as taught in the Bible, no matter how unpopular they maybe.
· The dictionary described dissipation as “excessive drinking, a descent to drunkenness and sexual dissipation.”
· In the day of Paul, the pagans worshipped their goddess in an ecstatic way. Getting drunk with wine made them believe they can all be in physical union with their goddess as they come together in their cultic worship.
· The new converts who came from this pagan’s practice of drunken dissipation, that was marked by uncontrollable emotions, and unreasonable directives, were told not to carry over these cultic practices to their new life in Christ.
“Since all believers have received the Spirit at the time of salvation, they will live continually under the influence of the Holy Spirit by letting the Word of God control them… being filled with the Spirit is living in conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done.” John MacArthur, The MacArthur Commentary, 1700.
· The practical effect of being filled with the Holy Spirit will be manifested through our public and private life.
· Publicly manifested in corporate worship, and privately, in their closest relationships.