Summary: The Christian life is about seizing every opportunity to do what pleases God and brings othes to Christ.
Title: Doing Time
Text: Ephesians 5:8-17
Thesis: The Christian life is about seizing every opportunity to do what pleases God and brings others to Christ.
A man had been driving all night and by morning was still far from his destination. He decided to stop at the next city he came to and park somewhere quiet so he could get an hour or two of sleep. As luck would have it, the quiet street he chose happened to be one of the city’s most popular jogging routes. No sooner had he settled back to snooze when someone knocked on his window. He looked out and saw a jogger running in place.
“Excuse me, sir,” the jogger said, “do you have the time?” The man looked at the car clock and answered, “7:15.”
The jogger said thanks and left. The man settled back again and was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window and another jogger.
“Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?”
The jogger said thanks and left.
Now the man could see other joggers passing by, and he knew it was only a matter of time before another one disturbed him. To avoid the problem, he got out a pen and paper and put a sign in his window saying, “I do not know the time!”
Once again he settled back to sleep. He was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window.
“Sir, sir? It’s 7:45!”
Most of us are keenly aware of the time… the question is, “How are we doing our time?” Perhaps a more direct question would be: How are you living your life or what are you doing with the time of your life?
I. The Christian life is not just something to be known… it is to be done.
Though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it. For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Ephesians 5:8-9
Note how the text unfolds the contrast between the old or former way of life as an unbeliever and the new way of life as a follower of Christ. The contrast is illustrated by the terms “darkness” and “light.” Darkness describes how we lived before we became Christians and light describes the life lived in Christ.
In the second chapter of Ephesians Paul described the contrast like this: Once you were dead, doomed forever because of you many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way… But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sin, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. For he raised us along with Christ… God saved you by his special favor when you believed. Ephesians 2:1-8
Life is always lived… we will either live it in darkness or in the light. Life is always lived either in obedience to God or in disobedience to God. When we live in obedience to God we are living in the light.
A. The Christian life is to be “lived” in the light.
And what we “do” in life reflects whether our lives are lived in darkness or the light.
B. The Christian life is to be “done” doing what is good, right and true.
One way to think about living in the light and doing what is right is to think in terms of consistency in character or integrity. When we live in the light there is nothing furtive or stealth-like about our lives. There is nothing hidden. We live fully exposed all the time.
Abe Lincoln once said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Recently Senator John Ensign of Nevada and Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, both professing Christians, have confessed to marital infidelity. Both found that privilege and power can test one’s character. And we, along with them and many others, have taken hits to our character that have humbled us and brought us to the foot of the cross seeking God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness.
But our lives are not intended to be lived like the shifty character that walks down the sidewalk of a city street, ducking in and out of alleys. One minute you see them walking in the light of day and the next they have stepped into the shadows and out of sight up a dark alley. The challenge is to obey God at all times so that we are who we are in Christ wherever we are and with whomever we are. Walking in the light means we are not different people in different places.