Mike Gerhardt, November 12, 2017, Community, Outline #6, Flashes and Flickers. Ephesians 5:1-8.
Paul addressed the practical concerns of living in Christ by listing several imperatives to two different cultures of saints who are to be bound together in love and in the Holy Spirit.
I was into turning out my car lights while driving on a deserted road in the middle of the night; I’ve been told I’m too responsible to do that now. We are really dependent on light. When we restored our ceiling here at Parkside, we installed LED bulbs that at 8 hours per day would last 22 years. I thought that was impressive until I found out that General Electric claims a light bulb that has been lit since 1902. It hangs in a fire station in Livermore, California. It has burned brightly for over a million hours. Genesis 1:1-4 tells us that God is the originator of light. After He created light, God separated the light from the darkness. It isn't until verse 14 (or the fourth day of creation) that he created the luminaries, the sun, the moon (which reflects the light), and the stars. Lucifer (better translated Morning Star or Illuminated one), was an angel of God who rebelled and led a third of the angels in disobedience. This fallen angel, whom we call Satan, is the prince of darkness and the god of this world. Hell is made for Satan and the fallen angels and it is called a place of darkness. Yet the devil can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). However, it is Jesus who is the light of this world. We are to be like the moon and reflect the light of the Son. Light dispels the darkness. Darkness only grows as the light diminishes.
Imitate God. In 4:26-5:14 are 20 imperatives or commands about being Children of Light. Paul is lecturing the Ephesians. We don’t wear our Christian behavior like tinsel on a tree, but we are to radiate light and warmth like the sun.
God is light, we are to be light. 1 John 1:5-7 God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Jesus told us only God is good. If we are to be like Him, we are also to be good. Paul points out three areas to avoid when being good: immorality, impurity, and greed. The first is the Greek word porneia. Yes, you heard the transliterated word porn as in pornographic. It would be any sexual activity or aberration that is outside a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. ANY activity. Jesus even included lusting for that sexual activity as porneia. Not even a hint or a slight indication of it. Nor any kind of impurity: being ceremonially unclean, dirty to both Jews and Gentiles. Nor greed defined as a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed (as money). Reason: these are improper for God's Holy Family. God's Royal Family.
God said: be holy as I am holy Leviticus 11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7, 20:26, 1 Peter 1:15-16: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. When God calls us saints, He is labeling us as holy ones. Do you FEEL holy? I didn't think so. But in Jesus we are holy. SO, be pure. We talked about language last week here is more: no obscenity- gutter language; no foolish talk this is the Greek morologia, where we get the word moronic. In this case, it is silly chatter. Don't talk like a moron. No coarse joking. Refrain from vulgar wit. Sometimes I overhear men talking and it seems like they are want-to-be shock jocks or talk radio hosts. Replace those works with thanksgiving: gratitude for God and for others. Proverbs 4:18-19 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
Live a Life of Love. We in Christ receive an inheritance, a present title to a future possession. Those outside of Christ will receive a just punishment. If you continually, actively practice immoral, impure, greedy behavior, you are called an idolater: one who serves idols or puts things before their devotion to God. The last imperative in this statement: do not be partners with them. Colossians 3:5-6 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. Partnerships are important to some startup companies. If you are signing a contract to be partners with them, whether it is a marriage contract, a business contract, an investment contract or any other partnership: make sure they love the Lord as much as you do and are committed to Him. The phrase let no one deceive you with empty words may be for those who talk you into being a partner with them. They may talk a good talk, but do they really believe what they say they believe. Our church does background checks for those who work with our children not because we suspect you are a criminal but to verify that you are one of the saints. A good reference is a testimony to your shining the light of the Lord. How brilliant is a raw uncut diamond surrounded by tons of dirt, rock, and darkness? Probably not bright at all. Once found, however, the diamond cutter can see the potential. He cleans, cuts and polishes the diamond to perfection. He places it under glass on a pillow of black velvet, and then he adds lots of light. It sparkles, dazzles and reflects the light with every facet. Over thirty-seven years ago, I purchased a tiny clear rock, had it placed in a ring setting. With her mother's permission, I hid it in Janet's room. My last clue was find the truth of my love in the light. I thought it was obvious that I tied her ring on the lamp switch near her bed. She didn't find it. So, the surprise was a bust. Can God find the truth of your love in the way you reflect His light?
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
What kind of light are you? Flashlight or searchlight; A house light or a lighthouse.