Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
March 10, 2002
Fourth Sunday of Lent
“Things Are Different Now”
INTRODUCTION: How many have heard the statement, “They are as different as day and night.”? Paul is using this same kind of contrast between darkness and light when he is speaking of the old life without Christ as compared to the new life in Christ. In this scripture Paul is speaking to believers when he says, “You were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord.” (vs. 8). He is saying that before we come to Christ we are dead in our tresspasses and sins and we are the children of Satan. We are without any light whatsoever and are content to be darkness. But then something happens. We have by God’s grace been made “light in the Lord.” Because Jesus came to save us we are in Christ and we are now light. Why is this terminology used? Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world.” We who were once children of darkness have now become children of light.
The Lenten Season is a time to evaluate our lives in the light of scripture. Are we living as children of light should be living? Are we shining brightly in a darkened world or have we grown so dim that we can hardly be distinguished from non-Christians? Let’s see what we can get out of this scripture and how we can apply it to our lives this week.
1. The Call to Live as Children of Light: I Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”
Many times we put ourselves down by saying, “Oh, I’m just a nobody. I’m just a loser. I don’t have any faith. I’m just an ‘ordinary run-of-the-mill Christian’. Don’t have any talents and can’t do much for the Lord...”
That’s not scriptural. Each of us has been called to live different lives from those who are still groping in darkness and sin. We have the responsibility to show up in the world by living a contrasting way of life--by showing that Christ really does make a difference in how we live our daily lives. Wherever we go we can cast an illuminating beem of light into the dark corners and be a positive influence on those who are still in darkness. In order to do this Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to thepattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). This is not an overnight happening but usually a process as we seek to live out our lives each day.
STORY: Two brothers earned their money by stealing sheep and selling them. As happens to all thieves, one day they were caught. Rather than kill them the villagers decided to brand the two brothers on the forehead with the letters S. T. for sheep thief. The action so embarrassed the one brother that he left town and was never heard from again. The other brother was so filled with remorse that he stayed in town and tried to reconcile himself to the villagers he had wronged. At first the villagers were skeptical and most of them wouldn’t have anything to do with him. But he was determined to make restitution. Whenever there was sickness, the sheep thief ws there to help care for the sick person. Whenever there was work that needed to be done, the sheep thief showed up to help. He was always there to lend a helping hand and he soon was an integral part of the community. His life was lived forothers and as a consequence he was a friend of all and became well respected.