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Living as children of light
The title of my message today is “Living as
children of light”. This week I have been thinking about light and how
light shines in dark places to bring change. Light has a way of
revealing things. Light helps us to find lost things. And how a small
flickering candle can light up a dark room.
So this made me think about what the Bible says about light and if
light has anything to do with the way we should live as Christians. So I
guess you can understand the title of my message. My main text comes
from Ephesians 4:17-32, but before that I want to read a few Scriptures
that talk about light.
1 John 1:5 - This is the message we heard
from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no
darkness in him at all.
John 8:12 - Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the
light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in
darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Matthew 5:14 - “You are the light of the world—like a city on a
hilltop that cannot be hidden.
1 Peter 2:9 - But you are not like
that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation,
God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness
of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
All of these verses talk about light. They tell us things like God
is light, Jesus is the light of the world, we are the light of the
world, those who trust Christ live in the light, and that we have been
called out of darkness into the Kingdom of light.
Now on to my
main text for today. In Ephesians 4:17-32 Paul encourages us to live as
children of light. This passage has three main sections and a
motivational reason to live this way.
17 With the Lord’s authority I say
this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly
confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the
life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their
hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for
lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard
about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off
your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted
by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts
and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly
righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our
neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And
“don’t sin by letting anger control you.”* Don’t let the sun go down
while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands
for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t
use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and
helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way
you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,* guaranteeing that
you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all
bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types
of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
There are a number of points
in here that we can look at today. On my heart though is three main
1. Don’t live like non-believers
This may seem obvious, but we should not live like non-believers. In
verses 17-19 it describes gentiles as people who wander far from God,
have hardened hearts, have closed minds, live for lustful pleasure, have
no sense of shame and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
There needs to be an obvious difference in how we live our lives. When I
start at a new workplace I don’t tell people I am a Christian. I wait
about three months before I talk about my faith in Christ or attending
church. I want them to get to know me first and see the way I live and
interact with others. I want them to see Christ before them I tell them
I follow Him. When I do tell them I don’t want them to be shocked or
surprised. I like it when they say “Oh that makes sense”.
imperative for us as Christians to live differently. We need the Kingdom
way, by following the example of our King.
2. Put on the
Verse 20-24 says these things are not what
knowing and following Christ is all about. Verses 23-24 says, “Instead,
let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new
nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy”.
these first two sections we see real contrasts of living the worldly way
without God and living the way God wants us to live. He wants us to live
with a new attitude with the new nature that leads to righteousness and
Paul talks about putting on this new nature in a number
of other places in the New Testament. In Colossians 3:12-14 he says,
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe
yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a
grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over
all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect
I love the analogy of clothing ourselves. It says we need
to put on these attitudes and behaviours on like getting dressed.
Before I move on to my third and final point I want to read you a
short story I read recently. It is called, “Saints that shine”.
couple took their young son with them on a trip to Europe where they
visited many of the cathedrals on the tourist trek. When they returned
home the little boy’s Sunday school teacher asked him, “Did you learn
what a saint is?”
He remembered the many stained glass windows
which depicted the Christian saints so beautifully, and he said, “A
saint is a person who the light shines through.”
I wonder if
that is not the best definition I’ve ever heard, and a good testimony to
what we are trying to do ourselves here on earth. So let us put on our
new nature and let the light shine through us.
3. Practical things to put off
The next section verses
25-31 talks about some practical things to put off. Here we see some
real measurable things. They are things that we can reflect on to see
how we are going at the moment. I am not going to labor them as we know
them all, but it is just a reminder.
- Stop telling lies to our neighbours (v25)
- Don’t let anger control the way we live and respond (v26-27)
- Don’t steal, but work hard (v28)
- Don’t use foul or abusive speech (v29)
Verse 31 emphasizes this when it says, “Get rid of all bitterness,
rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil
Again in Colossians 3 Paul says in verse 5 “Put to
death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual
immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
The Greek word here used for “death” is νεκρόω (nekroō). It means
kill, put to death, deaden.
What is our motivation to do
Our motivation to live as children of the light in
this passage is so we don’t bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit. Verse 30a
says, “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you
live”. It should motivate us to live right as the Holy Spirit dwells
In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV it says, “For Christ’s
love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and
therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no
longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised
Also in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NIV it says, “So we make it
our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from
it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each
one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body,
whether good or bad.”
really are two ways to live. For the Christian it is about putting off
the old worldly ways, and putting on the new nature by allowing the Holy
Spirit to renew our hearts and minds. Our motivation to do this is, is
to not bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit, the compelling love of Christ
and making it our goal to please Him.
Today as we go out, let us
remember of words of the little boy in the story, “A saint is a person
who the light shines through.” Let us live as children of light. Amen.
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSION Australia
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