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Children of Light

Ephesians 5:1-20

______________________________________________________________________ Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2Live a life lled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among Gods people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokesthese are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Imitate Jesus (v1) In the last passage we talked about being in the school of Jesus, the way we learn is like children we imitate Jesus. All children learn by copying, so we should learn by copying the ways of Jesus. We should probably read this verse as part of the preceding passage It links wonderfully to forgiveness.. we imitate God when we forgive! Walk in Love (v2) The way of Jesus is the way of love. Love isnt focussed on us, here Paul is saying imitate Jesus who walked the way of love, sure we feel loved by Jesus, but actually the way of love is to express love externally. This passage captures the idea that Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. If we are to truly walk the way of love, we externalise the love we have received rather than xate on whether we are loved enough. When we walk in this way of love it is described as an offering and sacrice, a 'sweet smelling aroma', like incense burning before the altar. This OT metaphor is of a sacrice burning on the re and the smoke turns into a prayer, it moves from the visible to the invisible, from the realm of earth to the realm of heaven. (Gen. 8:21; Exod. 29:18; Lev. 1:9, 13; Ezek. 20:41; II Cor. 2:14; Phil. 4:18) Christianity has an initial decision followed by a lifestyle of discipleship, or sacrice. It is not just a decision and it is not just doing good, it has to be an intentional decision to live differently, decision and lifestyle are inextricably mixed. Love not lust (v3-4) Dont allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, lthy practices, or bullying greed (The Message) There are things that are just opposite to the way of love, which is the lifestyle of the believer. As we move into a deeper place with God the things of darkness should not be part of our lifestyle. It poses us a big question about how we are engage with the world we live in without allowing ourselves to be inuenced by it, are you inuenced or inuencing? At the time of writing sexual activity was often associated with some sort of pagan worship, so 'alternative' sexual practice other than sex in marriage was very acceptable. We live in a similar society. Sex may not be so closely associated with other gods, but the worship of body beautiful and consenting varied sexual practice is common place. To the point now
Stewart Keiller! 12th August 2012

that if anyone dares to suggest that a sexual lifestyle outside of marriage (which is currently being redened) is not aligned with God's intension, we are labeled intolerant and are even seen as evil! How the tables are turned. The context for Paul's words is exactly how we nd ourselves now. Greed is also mentioned, the intense desire to have more, an insatiable pursuit of more and more. Western society is fuelled by greed, have more than you need. He is repeating and reinforcing the concern areas that were highlighted before at the end of chapter 4. He turns on its head the speech problem, dont use your language for coarseness but rather use it for positive, giving thanks! foolish talk' is made up of the words moron and logos which means word: mrologia. It means one who talks like a fool. The concern here is not with intelligence. It is with morals. Boice, J. M. (1988). Lets not do all this stuff but lets give thanks to God. Each of the vices is a distortion of something from which we can give thanks. Sex in marriage is great and good, it is essential for the survival of people! Material possessions bring comfort and can be a huge blessing to us, families and friends - being prosperous is part of the blessing we inherit Speaking the truth should be a blessing, truth is not something that is harsh rather it should be life giving. Inherit the Kingdom (v5) Paul makes a very bold statement that people that are sexually loose, greedy or impure can not inherit the kingdom of God. Does this mean that they are not saved? I dont think so, but it surely means that the manifest kingdom will be held back by the lifestyle of the believer that lives this way. It probably also means that if a new believer confesses Jesus but does not change the way they live, then they do not inherit or are able to experience the kingdom. Just coming to the front of a meeting does not get someone saved, salvation is a supernatural immersion into the things of the spirit, our confession stimulates the seeds of transformation working inside. However, when sex or money becomes the focal point of our lives, we are in effect idolatry. Sin of all sorts has a corrosive affect, it shuts out God from the leading role in our lives and so shuts out the fullness of the revelation of heaven. If we are people that seek to see the fullness of the presence of God in our lives then we need to abandon sin in our lives. It is fairly obvious that sin acts as a barrier to the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom comes with confession of Jesus, the kingdom comes with a lifestyle of devotion, the kingdom comes with the nal return of Jesus. At any point we can shut out the effects of the kingdom! Our openness to God in our lives makes an open heaven so that the kingdom comes later in v12 it says that we should manifest light.
6Dont

be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7Dont participate in the things these people do. 8For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Stewart Keiller! 12th August 2012

10Carefully

determine what pleases the Lord. 11Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light. Wrath of God (v6-7) There were and are people that try to say that lifestyle doesnt matter, its all about grace! Well clearly that is just not biblical. If lifestyle does not change (over time) then it calls into question whether the confession of Christ has actually brought new birth about? We dont need to accuse or judge someone, God looks and evaluates the heart response. It may be that someone has huge difculty overcoming the sin in their lives, however, over time the powerful working of the Spirit inside us means that our regeneration is such that blockages to a Christlike lifestyle are overcome. The wrath of God is a subject that gets either over attention or under attention. The context of the preceding verses is the walk of love, so the over whelming paradigm of God is one of love, a loving father. However justice is a very strong dimension of the character of God. In fact Deut 5:9-10 shows the contrast, he judges us to the 4th and 5th generation for sins but his love and faithfulness runs to a thousand generations! Paul, the NT author, is making it very clear that we should not be naive and think that suddenly the justice of God is not going to be put into operation, no rather because of the sins that are mentioned, justice will prevail against those that stubbornly refuse to submit to his loving advances. It does beg the question how much we should associate with those that are against God? Of course we should eat with sinners, I think the sense in this passage is when our association affects our behaviour? If it is going to pull you away from godly living then watch out! Walk in the Light (v8-10) The verses here in his list correspond with the list of earlier vices, you need to operate in a different spirit if you want to overcome the sins that have been specied. Here we are called children of light as opposed to sons of disobedience (NKJV) (v6). Believers words, lifestyles, and priorities reveal who they are!1 . Here is the key, 'Christians are to be Gods light in the midst of this worlds darkness', its not that we are supposed to be light, but rather we are already light!2 The journey of walking in the light is a journey of discovery of what God likes. Paul is giving us some ideas, product of the spirit working in our lives is fruitfulness. If we are children of the light act like it, operate in the light that is ours. Our faith is tested by how we live not what we say. He goes on to say (v11-12), just dont have anything to do with stuff that even hints of not being godly. Why would we want to mess about with things that belong to darkness when
1

Utley, R. J. (1997) Boice, J. M. (1988).


12th August 2012

Stewart Keiller!

we get to have the things that are to do with light? This is not a kill joy God, it is the things of darkness that kill real joy! The command (v13-14) (is a paraphrase of Is 29:19 or perhaps a Christian baptismal hymn) then is to be roused, awaken, get up, sleep and dead are metaphors for behaviour that is more associated with darkness, time to turn to Christ who gives you light.
15So

be careful how you live. Dont live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Dont act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18Dont be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be lled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be Wise : Redeem the Time (v15-20) So all this advise suggests to be wise, give thought to what is going on in the world. Foolishness is to plough on regardless but wisdom is to reect on how you live. "Redeeming the time" is kairos time, a season or moment. At one level means don't waste your time on a lifestyle that will destroy the life of God in you. But for those of us who have regret over past mistakes, redeeming the time means that in the grace and spirit of God the past does not have to determine your future and you can make up time in the future, there is always an opportunity to get out of mess! Seize the day. So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! (The Message) Wisdom (v17) really means get meaning from God, it is not about the pursuit of human knowledge it is grasping spiritual understanding, we need to understand the will of God, he is in the business of displaying the mystery of his will so use the days wisely and grasp his wisdom. 'Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom' (Prov 9:10), Christ crucied is a foolishness to the gentiles (1 Cor 1:23-25) Finding out the Lords will for us in this kairos moment is critical, When the season of the Lord changes, we need to consider what our response has to be, we need the life giving spirit to reveal His will in this season. Its more like detecting the direction of the wind and then putting up the sail to catch the direction that he is going in. Spirit Filled (v18-20) The fullness of the spirit can be mistaken for drunkeness (Acts 2) so it is not really surprising that Paul encourages us not to get drunk but instead be lled with something permanent and lasting that will bring joy to our lives. The fullness of the spirit creates praise and thanksgiving in us. Paul reinforces our worship to be joyful and happy. Singing together on a Sunday is an expression of our collective joy, our expression of thanksgiving. These outbursts of song and praise are expressions of our lling with the HS it follows with a link sentence about submitting to one another which really introduces the next passage.

Stewart Keiller!

12th August 2012

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