Walk as Light
Shades of Life
READ Eph. 5:8-10 PRAY
We began this new year of 2010 by looking at the command in Scripture to: “Walk in the Light.” We have looked at various biblical texts that command us to walk in love…..to walk in unity that displays our calling….our new life in Christ! Throughout these messages we are getting the Spirit’s teaching on what it really means to love….to love God’s way and not as the world loves! We are coming to understand that our Christian love must never be self-centered….but it is truly “love in action”---a giving, selfless love! We must also love in a for-giving way….guarding our hearts and the hearts of others by forgiving when wronged and repenting when we sin against another! Neither forgiveness nor repentance is optional. God simply doesn’t allow bitterness (when we fail to forgive) or pride (when we fail to repent)!
We looked last week at walking in a manner worthy of our calling to Christ! We walk together, not alone…..we walk in the unity of faith to which we are born again by the Holy Spirit – and we maintain the Spirit birthed unity – by loving as Eph. 4.2 told us last week - 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,. This morning, we look at a new command to walk……that we are to walk, not simply in the light….but to walk as the light that we are in Christ! My prayer this morning is that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we might commit anew to live as who we are in Christ! That together, our church will be the shining city on a hill that pierces the darkness around us! That we will walk as children of the light inside the church and without!
“I am the Light of the World”
In John 8:12, Jesus stood in the Temple Treasury and proclaimed loudly, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” But here’s the background to this beautiful self description of our Lord and His promise of salvation to those who will place their faith in him! Jesus and his disciples had come into Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths, also called the Feast of Tabernacles. This Temple Feast ocurred during harvest, and it celebrated the care from God of the Hebrew people after he delivered them up out of the land of Egypt.
Illumination of the Temple – On the final night of the Festival, there was a grand illumination of the temple that took place in the Temple treasury before four massive golden candelabra topped with huge torches. It is said that the candelabra were as tall as the highest walls of the Temple, and that at the top of three candelabra were mounted great bowls holding sixty-five liters of oil. There was a ladder for each candelabrum, and when that evening came, healthy young priests would carry oil up to the great bowls and light the protruding wicks. Eyewitnesses said the huge flames which leapt from these torches illuminated not only the Temple but all of Jerusalem. The Mishnah (a book of Rabbinic teachings on how to apply God’s Law to life) tells us that some of the priests would dance before the candelabra with burning torches in their hands singing songs of praise and countless Levites played on harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets and instruments of music.” This religious rite celebrated the great pillar of fire (the glorious cloud of God’s presence) which led the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness and spread its fiery billows over the Tabernacle.
It was after this ceremony, and in the same Temple treasury the following morning, with the great charred torches still in place, that Jesus lifted his voice above the crowd and proclaimed, “I am the light of the world”. Jesus was announcing one of the supreme truths about who He was and is…..he was, in effect saying, “The pillar of fire that came between you and the Egyptians, the cloud that guided you by day in the wilderness and illumined the night and enveloped the Tabernacle, the glorious cloud that filled Solomon’s Temple, is me!” “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus is everything wonderful that can be associated with light….and so much more!
We Are Light in the Lord – BE WHO YOU ARE!
Eph 5:8 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
In a most amazing way, the Apostle Paul applies this same metaphor to us as Christ Followers….as the church. “….you are the light in the Lord.”
Illustration - Think of it in this way: When Christ was in the world he was like the shining sun. What happens when the sun sets? Darkness falls and the moon rises! The moon is a picture of the church. The moon brings light into a dark night….but how does the moon shine? It has no light of its own! The moon reflects the light of the sun! So it is with the church! The church, like the moon, has no light of its own, but reflects the light of Christ in the dark world around it! A church can fully reflect the beauty and glory of Christ – they can be like the full moon….or they can be just a sliver of light barely piercing the darkness around them!
Tie-in – v. 8 says that we are the light in the Lord…..meaning that we are more than reflections…..that because of the amazing gift of salvation, we are born-again into Christ! In some way that perhaps we can’t fully understand – we are the light…..but ONLY because we are in the Lord!
So again, we find Scripture commanding us to live who we are! We are saints of the Lord….so live like saints! We are the light of Christ, so live like light and have nothing to do with darkness! Live who we are in Christ Jesus! And as a church – live and act and speak as those gathered to worship in Spirit and in truth! Live and act as those who are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…...and then expecting that all other blessings will flow from this pursuit of Jesus!
The Contrast – Paul wants us to see the difference….between who we were before Christ….and who we are now. You were darkness…..no light, no life, no hope! But now you are light in the Lord – never to walk in darkness again, but having the light of eternal life in Christ! (John 8.12)
The Command - Fruit of the Light – vv.8-9
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
So, we must recognize and live who we are…not who we were!
Colossians 1.13 says: [Our Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”. We are to walk as children of light…..we have been commanded to walk in the light….but here it is to walk as light! God says, “You were darkness and you walked in darkness, lived in darkness, and it was dark all around you! But now I’ve called you into the kingdom of Christ…..you are not dark, but light……so walk and live as light!” Then, v.9 adds a parenthetical expression….a parantheses that explains something about v.8…..and in this case, Paul is telling us what it will look like to us, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to the world - - what characteristics will be present when we walk as light? The fruit or consistent results of walking / living as light are: “all that is good, and right and true.” Here’s another way of seeing this: if you are light in the Lord, then the result of your living…..the by-product of your words, and thoughts, and actions…..the result of your taking up space in another’s life will be:
goodness = which here in Gk ____________really points to good in a moral sense. It is love in action where others are placed before yourself!
right = is the same word as righteousness! It means having the right relationship with God – doing things His way….AND the right relationship with others!
true = Truth grounds all of our behavior, ideas, beliefs, and actions. If it is not true….then it cannot be good or righteous!
v.10 - 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
We walk as light….and we try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord! The word translated “discern” ______________ means to prove by examination or to prove by testing!
Application – Illustration – In the papers right now we read of the debate that is going on between our personal rights and the security of everyone in commercial flying. The government has begun placing scanning machines in security areas of the airport that do full body scans….nothing can be hidden from the camara. The failed bombing attempt over Detroit at Christmas had a terrorist trying to set off a bomb he had smuggled through security in his underwear! A full body detection system prevents such lapses…..and the price of it is complete nakedness before the camara lens and the person scanning you. You cannot hide anything on or in your body!
Tie-in – that’s the sense of this passage….that’s what happens when we walk as light and in the light! Nothing is hidden in darkness…..our true hearts are exposed….our motives naked before the Lord!
In the end…..we will all stand before Christ our judge! There will be those who did many good works! There will be “decisions for Christ”; church membership and tithing and working in missions to serve the hungry and clothe the naked….and yet all of these things can be done in shades of grey….pretending to be righteous and good but with impure or selfish motives or in pride. To those, we have the dire warnings of our Lord…that they will be sent away….for he never knew them in an intimate, personal way! In the end, the only shade of life that will matter is light…pure, unfiltered, light that comes by “being light in the Lord.”
The truth is this…..When God sent His son into the world…..for the first time since the creation of man….True Light came into this dark world!
Jesus spoke of this…..
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
You may be here this morning and you are tired of living in the darkness. The light of Christ has been shown here today….for whatever is holy and pure and good is found in Jesus Christ. You must simply believe that Jesus is the Christ…..have faith that He will save you from the darkness. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the words of Christ.” (Rom. 10.17)
You have heard the words of Christ……Follow Him…..Love Him….and leave the darkness for the light! Turn from your sin and live….Trust Jesus Christ and have the light of life!
If you have Christ…..then my message to you from the Lord this morning is simply to Be who you are in Christ! Have nothing to do with darkness…..for you are light in the Lord!
Heavenly Father -
We so desperately want to be the city on a hill….the lighthouse that shines the love and glory and beauty of Christ all around us! We know, Father, that we cannot walk as light and bear the fruit of light at all! This comes only from living in the power of your Holy Spirit! Living in and under the authority of your Holy Word….and trusting you to teach us to love you totally ….without any reservation…holding nothing back - -and loving each other genuinely….in humility and with gentleness and patience.
We long to walk as light….we don’t want shades of grey and we don’t want to walk in the shadows….but we desire the full light of Christ to shine through our lives and from our church! Give us the boldness to live lives as light that exposes the darkness!