Summary: A study of how the light of Christ in our lives transforms us and drives out the darkness that we were previously in.
Driving out the Darkness
Text: Ephesians 5:7-14
By: Ken McKinley
When I was a little boy, in grade school I remember taking a field trip to The Alabaster Caverns. Well when we moved back into this area I was excited about taking Leslie and Gabriel to Alabaster Caverns. They didn’t change much in those 25 years, and even the tour is still pretty much the same. The one thing that seems to be held in common by all cave tour guides is that at some point during the tour they turn the lights out and allow the group to experience absolute darkness for a few seconds.
Darkness is something that is almost foreign in today’s world. We live in a world where street lamps light up the night sky, even in a small town. Even when we lived in the country we had a light that would illuminate our yard. And when the power goes out, almost every household has its extra flashlights lying around somewhere… in the junk drawer, or whatever you might call it. So it’s hard for us to imagine what it might have been like even 2 or 3 hundred years ago, let alone 2000 years ago.
But the Bible talks a lot about light, and how it drives away darkness. In the very 1st book of the Bible we read that creation began with darkness covering the face of the deep, and it was God’s creative Word that brought light into the darkness. In John’s Gospel he wrote that through the Word all things were made and “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shone in the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it.” Of course John was using that metaphor to describe sin and salvation, and in our text this morning we see that light is also being used to describe a change that takes place in our lives.
Now if you remember; when we started our study of Ephesians I told you all that the first few chapters tell us who we are in Christ, and then the last three chapters are applying that truth to the every day circumstances and situations of our lives. So keep that in mind as we study this passage this morning.
You notice that Paul starts this passage by saying you were once in darkness but NOW you are light in the Lord. Back in chapter 2:1 Paul said we were dead in our sins and in chapter 4:17 he said that our thinking was futile, our understanding was darkened. In context Paul isn’t saying that we were just IN the darkness, but that we WERE the darkness. Some people don’t like to hear that. It’s ok if we say that we were “sick” or that we were “weak” or even that we were off target. All of those things don’t offend people as much, because if they are sick then it’s possible they can get well, and if they were weak then it’s possible that they might be able to strengthen themselves, and if they are off target then it’s possible that they might correct their aim. But when we start telling people that they were DEAD, people start feeling uncomfortable. And when we start telling people that the reason that they sin is because that’s all they can do without Christ, you might even get some people a little angry with you.
But the Bible teaches that our starting point is a lot more desperate than we could ever imagine. It is a fatal mistake to tell yourself that without Jesus Christ you aren’t really all that bad. It’s fatal for two reasons: First if we really aren’t all that bad, then maybe with a little adjustment here and an adjustment there we tell ourselves that we are then good enough.
And if we really aren’t all that bad, then we downplay God’s grace and do not look to Christ for everything we need.
See Paul says, “YOU were once darkness, but now you are light IN THE LORD!” And it’s only in the Lord. He tells us our past condition so that we can see our present condition more clearly. And I want you to notice something else here – there is no gradual transformation here. He says we WERE and now WE ARE. In other words, the light switch is either flipped on or it’s flipped off. Turn with me to 2nd Cor. 4:6 (read).
Moving from darkness to light is not about trying your best. You are light because you are in Christ, or you are darkness because you are still in your sins. It’s pretty cut and dried. But Paul goes on in verse 8 and says, “Because you are now light in the Lord, walk as children of light.”