Live as People of Light!
At my day job, I have an employee who loves her job and loves Jesus. Every time this young lady is around, the room lights up. She always has a smile on her face and is a joy to be around. She’s one of those people who you can’t help but smile when they are around them. I also have an employee who does not love her job and, if she loves Jesus, it doesn’t show. She’s a Debbie Downer, every time she enters a room, it’s like a cloud overshadows everyone, she rarely smiles and even her posture tells everyone that she doesn’t want to be there. There’s an old song I love by DC Talk that says:
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
We all know what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” We are that shining city on a hill! No one in their right mind would turn on a light and then cover it. If you turn on a light it is to light up the house, covering it would just be a waste of energy and senseless. Just like that lamp, we need to let our good works shine for the world to see. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved for good works. James tells us that, if our faith is not backed by good works it is useless.
Today’s passage, Ephesians 5:6-9 tells us, “6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So, live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Paul starts out by telling us not to be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins. So, what sins is he talking about? Those sins listed in the last few verses, sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes. But, it isn’t limited to those sins. We all try to excuse our sin. We tell ourselves that it isn’t as bad as what that other person is doing, or it doesn’t affect anyone but me, but sin is sin whether it is sexual immorality or using foul language. If we give ear to those who try to excuse those sins, we will allow ourselves to fall into them ourselves. That’s why Paul tells us not to participate in the things these people do.
Sin has a way of creeping into our lives undetected. It starts by us listening to those people that say it’s okay to cuss because the Bible only says not to use the Lord’s name in vain. First of all, as we saw last week, the Bible has a lot to say about the words that come out of our mouths, but it goes so much farther than that. You see, once you give in to one sin, it becomes easier to give in to other sins. It’s like with drugs, people don’t just pick up a needle one day and say, I think I’ll try heroin. They start by smoking a little pot socially, then they think that maybe cocaine isn’t that bad. The next thing you know they are trying uppers and downers, then acid. Before they ever know what hit them, they are an addict. That’s how sin works. One day you are justifying your cussing, then you think it’s okay to lie as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. The next thing you know, you are into porn or adultery or any number of other sins and justifying it all the way.
You see, the Devil is no dummy. He knows that if he planted a seed in your head to rob a bank you wouldn’t do it. But, if he tempted you with some little thing in a store that you want and can’t afford, then can get you to justify in your mind that this big store would never notice it, he’s got you.
Here’s the thing, if you are a Christ follower, Satan has lost you. In John 8:34-36 we read, “34 Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.’” We are free from the power of sin. Satan has no power over us. His only hope is to tempt us so that we will slip and ruin our testimony before the world. He can’t have us, but he can stop us from winning others.
Let’s look at the end of today’s passage. Paul said that at one time we were full of darkness but now we have light from the Lord. 1 John 1:5-7 tells us, “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. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” There is no darkness at all in God, so if we have the Spirit living within us, we have the light of the world within us.
Paul ends by saying that since we have the light of God within us, we need to live as people of the light! And, why should we do this? Because this light within us, the light of the world, only produces things that are good and right and true…nothing else. So, if what is coming out of you isn’t good and right and true, it is not coming from the light, we are allowing ourselves to be slaves to the darkness again. Just remember what Philippians 4:8-9 says, “8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Let’s all make it our daily goal to fix our thoughts on these things and live as people of the light!